Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

How is the 25 percent rule determined for upper-division major course work?
The 25 percent rule is based upon specified course requirements. For example, a graduate program may require 48 units total but specify only 8 of those units (excluding 594 Master’s Thesis and 794 Doctoral Dissertation). Students in this program would be able to waive or substitute a maximum of 2 units (or 25 percent of 8). All substitutions and waivers that exceed 2 units violate the 25 percent rule and require additional approval. Violations of 25 to 50 percent require the dean’s approval. Waivers or substitutions over 50 percent are very exceptional and must be approved by the vice provost for graduate programs.

Does a substitution with the same department prefix contribute to the 25 percent calculation?
No, substitution of courses with the same prefix are exempted from this limit, as are transfer courses in the same discipline and graduate degree programs with three or fewer required courses.

Why has an exception been put into history?
An exception will be put into "history," i.e. invalidated, if it violates the 25 percent rule or if it uses a required course as a substitute for another required course.

What are the administrative deadline dates for the spring, summer, and fall terms?
Spring: June 15
Summer: September 15
Fall: January 15

How is a student’s degree date determined?
To be eligible to graduate in a specific term: A student must complete ALL degree requirements on or before the last day of, and meet the administrative deadlines for, that term.

What date should be entered for the completion option?
The date entered in the DATE field for all completion options such as COMPX, DEPTA, or PROJ must be the date that the examination, required work, or project was completed.

Why does the STARS report not reflect any page-three entries from GRAD.INFO?
The STARS report cannot display page-three entries until the application for degree check has been submitted.

Why does the STARS report not reflect a GRADTERM or READMIT entry?
READMIT is processed manually by Degree Progress on a weekly basis. All entries made in one week will be processed during the following week.

How can out-of-sequence 594/794 registrations be corrected?
Degree Progress can correct out-of-sequence registrations in 594 or 794 and should be notified before applying any out of sequence course work on page 1 of GRAD.INFO.

What is the difference between a terminated post and an expired post?
Terminated post: A post that has been discontinued by the university. Students have a maximum of five years from the term of discontinuance to complete the degree requirements for a terminated post. Once the five-year time limit has elapsed, the post may no longer be pursued.

Expired post: A post that is no longer active for a student.

When should an application for a degree check be submitted for a student pursuing a master’s degree?
For a student pursuing a master’s degree, the application for a degree check should be submitted at least one semester prior to the student’s expected term of completion.

When should an application for a degree check be submitted for a student pursuing a doctoral program??
For a student pursuing a doctoral program (excluding DPT, OTD, and some DMAs), the application for a degree check should be submitted once the DOC has been recorded.

Who should be contacted if a student has passed the qualifying exam but the DOC does not appear on page 3 of GRAD.INFO?
The Graduate School should be contacted to record the DOC.

How do I substitute two courses for one course on the STARS report?
Degree Progress can enter a two-for-one exception.

How is catalogue eligibility determined?
A student is eligible to follow a catalogue year only if he or she was enrolled in a term included in the catalogue year and if his or her program of study was available during the catalogue year. A student may not follow a catalogue year prior to the term of admission.

How is transfer work made available in GRAD.INFO?
Students must email the Registrar One Stop Center, to request that domestic transfer work be made available in GRAD.INFO. Once evaluated, the course work will appear in GRAD.INFO, and students will receive a graduate transfer credit statement. For more information please visit Graduate Transfer Credit.

Do grades of W satisfy the continuous enrollment requirement?
Yes, a grade of W does satisfy the continuous enrollment requirement.

Which Degree Progress Analyst should I contact?
The student population is divided alphabetically by last name among analyst. Please refer to the Staff Directory page to find your analyst.

Can a course with a V in the APPLY field be applied in GRAD.INFO?
Yes, a maximum of 12 units of course work with a V may be applied. Please contact the appropriate counselor once the courses have been applied so that they may be coded accordingly.

I was a former USC student and would like to return to complete my degree. How do I determine what requirements I have left for graduation?
The Registrar’s office receives many such requests from former students to find out what degree requirements remain outstanding. For students who have not attended in many years, Degree Progress staff members spend a considerable amount of time to locate records and determine remaining degree requirements. In consideration of the resources required to prepare these degree checks, a document preparation fee has been established.

Students who have not attended USC in more than 10 years will pay a nonrefundable $150 fee for this service. Students who have not attended USC since 1985 will pay a nonrefundable $300 fee.

To request a degree check please refer to the Staff Directory page and contact the analyst who handles the alphabetical split under which your last name falls. Students whose names may have been changed legally: Please use the last name you used when you were a student.