Undergraduate Frequently Asked Questions
- How is the 25 percent rule determined for upper-division major course work?
- How is the 25 percent rule determined for minor course work?
- How are upper-division transfer courses be identified?
- Can a student graduate with a missing grade?
- Can students take a GE course as Pass/No Pass if they have already received an NP in a GE course?
- Where do I submit an undergraduate Leave of Absence?
- What is the difference between a terminated post and an expired post?
- How do I substitute two courses for one course on the STARS report?
- Why does the STARS report indicate that the basic college requirement has not been met, even though the student is exempt because he or she is pursuing a double major with one major in a professional school?
- What are the administrative deadline dates for the spring, summer, and fall terms?
- How is a student’s degree date determined?
- How is catalogue eligibility determined?
- Who is eligible for Freshman Forgiveness?
- Can a course used for Freshman Forgiveness be taken Pass/No Pass?
- Can a course and its prerequisite be taken in the same term?
- Which Degree Progress Analyst should I contact?
- Where should I send the official transcript if I would like credit from another institution evaluated?
- 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?
How is the 25 percent rule determined for upper-division major course work?
The 25 percent rule is based upon the total number of upper-division major units required. For example, for an undergraduate program that requires a total of 28 upper-division units, a maximum of 7 units (or 25 percent of 28) are available to substitute or waive. All substitutions and waivers that exceed 7 units violate the 25 percent rule. Please remember that the substitution of courses with the same department prefix is exempt from the limit.
- No more than 25 percent of all required units may be substituted; and
- No more than 4 units may be waived for minors that require 17 to 20 units, or no more than 8 units may be waived for minors that require more than 20 units.
How are upper-division transfer courses identified?
A transfer course is considered upper division only if it was considered upper division at the transfer institution. An upper-division transfer course will be listed under the “Summary of Upper Division Courses” on the Transfer Credit Report (TCR). Please remember that lower-division courses (USC or transfer) cannot be substituted for upper-division course requirements.
Courses Taken Prior to Fall 2005: The student may graduate with the missing grade only if the course is not needed to fulfill any degree requirements and if the GPA requirements are still met when the missing grade is calculated into the GPA with zero grade points. The missing grade will remain on the transcript and cannot be resolved once the degree has been awarded.
Courses Taken Fall 2005 or Later: If the grade is not resolved after one calendar year, it will be changed to a UW. If the course is not needed to fulfill any degree requirements and if GPA requirements are still met when the missing grade is calculated into the GPA with zero grade points, Degree Progress will change the grade to a UW upon request and post the degree.
Can students take a GE course as Pass/No Pass if they have already received an NP in a GE course?
Yes, if a student received a grade of NP in a GE course, the student may take another GE course with the P/NP grading option without exceeding the four-unit limit on P/NP course work. Only grades of P affect the four-unit limit for GE courses graded P/NP.
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.
Why does the STARS report indicate that the basic college requirement has not been met, even though the student is exempt because he or she is pursuing a double major with one major in a professional school?
The STARS report cannot distinguish between majors in the college or in a professional school. Degree Progress manually adjusts the basic college requirement during the term in which a student pursuing a double major is expected to graduate.
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.
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.
Who is eligible for Freshman Forgiveness?
Only first-time freshmen are eligible for Freshman Forgiveness. These students may repeat a maximum of three courses taken during the first two semesters at USC in which grades of D+ or below were received. Only the subsequent letter grade, even if lower, will be calculated in the grade point average. Students first admitted to spring semester, who were first-time freshmen elsewhere in the previous fall, may repeat a maximum of two courses taken during the first semester at USC in which grades of D+ or below were received. The same provisions stated above apply.
Can a course used for Freshman Forgiveness be taken Pass/No Pass?
No, a course used for Freshman Forgiveness must be taken for a letter grade. Both courses will remain on the transcript, but only the second course will be available for degree credit.
Can a course and its prerequisite be taken in the same term?
Yes. Both courses will be available for credit. However, the prerequisite course will not be available for credit if it is within the same discipline and taken after the higher level course has been passed.
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.
Where should I send the official transcript if I would like credit from another institution evaluated?
Refer to the General Information section of the Undergraduate Transfer Credit page for more information.
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.