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USC Office of Degree Progress

Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How is the 25 percent rule determined for graduate course work?
  2. Does a substitution with the same department prefix contribute toward the 25 percent calculation?
  3. Why has an exception been put into history?
  4. What are the administrative deadline dates for the Spring, Summer, and Fall terms?
  5. How is a student’s degree date determined?
  6. What date should be entered for the completion option?
  7. Why does the STARS report not reflect any page 3 entries from GRAD.INFO?
  8. Why does the STARS report not reflect a GRADTERM or READMIT entry?
  9. How can out-of-sequence 594/794 registrations be corrected?
  10. What is the difference between a terminated post and an expired post?
  11. When should a degree check application be submitted for a student pursuing a master’s degree?
  12. When should a degree check application be submitted for a student pursuing a doctoral program?
  13. Who should be contacted if a student has passed the qualifying exam but the DOC does not appear on page 3 of GRAD.INFO?
  14. How can I substitute two courses for one course on the STARS report?
  15. How is catalogue eligibility determined?
  16. How is transfer work made available in GRAD.INFO?
  17. Do grades of W satisfy the continuous enrollment requirement?
  18. How do I know which Degree Progress Counselor to contact?
  19. Can a course with a V in the APPLY field be applied in GRAD.INFO?
  20. 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?


  1. How is the 25 percent rule determined for graduate course work?
    The 25 percent rule is based upon specified course requirements. For example, a graduate program that requires 48 units but that specifies only 8 units of course work (exclusive of 594 Master’s Thesis and 794 Doctoral Dissertation) has a maximum of 2 units (or 25 percent of 8) available to waive or substitute. All substitutions and waivers that exceed these 2 units violate the 25 percent rule and require additional approval. Violations between 25%-50% require Dean’s approval. The very exceptional case of waivers or substitutions over 50 percent must be approved by the vice provost for graduate programs.
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  3. Does a substitution with the same department prefix contribute toward 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.
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  5. Why has an exception been put into history?
    An exception will be put into history if it violates the 25 percent rule or if it uses a required course as a substitute for another required course.
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  7. What are the administrative deadline dates for the Spring, Summer, and Fall terms?
    The administrative deadline for the Spring term is June 15th, for the Summer term is September 15th, and for the Fall term is January 15th.
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  9. How is a student’s degree date determined?
    A student must complete ALL degree requirements on or before the last day of a term to be eligible to graduate in that term. A student must also meet the administrative deadlines for a term to be eligible to graduate in that term.
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  11. 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.
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  13. Why does the STARS report not reflect any page 3 entries from GRAD.INFO?
    The STARS report cannot display page 3 entries until the degree check application has been submitted.
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  15. Why does the STARS report not reflect a 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.
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  17. 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.
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  19. What is the difference between a terminated post and an expired post?
    A terminated post is one 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. An expired post is one that is no longer active for a student.
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  21. When should a degree check application be submitted for a student pursuing a master’s degree?
    The degree check application for a student pursuing a master’s degree should be submitted at least one semester prior to the student’s expected term of completion.
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  23. When should a degree check application be submitted for a student pursuing a doctoral program?
    The degree check application for a student pursuing a doctoral program, excluding DPT, OTD, and some DMAs, should be submitted once the DOC has been recorded.
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  25. 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.
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  27. How can I substitute two courses for one course on the STARS report?
    Degree Progress can enter a two-for-one exception.
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  29. How is catalogue eligibility determined?
    A student is eligible to follow a catalogue year only if the student was enrolled in a term included in the catalogue year and if his/her program of study was available during the catalogue year. A student may not follow a catalogue year prior to the term of admission.
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  31. How is transfer work made available in GRAD.INFO?
    A student must contact Nelson Shirota, Student Services Manager in Degree Progress to request to have domestic transfer work made available in GRAD.INFO. Once evaluated, the course work will appear in GRAD.INFO, and the student will receive a graduate transfer credit statement.
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  33. Do grades of W satisfy the continuous enrollment requirement?
    Yes, grades of W satisfy the continuous enrollment requirement. In addition, admitted graduate students who subsequently withdraw from all courses in their first term are also considered continuously enrolled and therefore, do not need to be readmitted or have their term of admission updated.
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  35. How do I know which Degree Progress Counselor to contact?
    The student population is divided alphabetically among counselors. Please refer to the Degree Progress Directory and contact the counselor who handles the alpha split under which the last name of the student falls.
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  37. 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 course(s) has been applied so that the course(s) may be coded accordingly.
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  39. 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?
    Frequently, the Registrar’s Office receives requests from former USC students who attended, but did not graduate, 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, determine degree requirements, and prepare degree checks which itemize remaining 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 non-refundable $150 fee for this degree check service. Students who have not attended USC since 1985 will pay a non-refundable $300 fee for the service.

    To request a degree check please refer to the Degree Progress Directory and contact the counselor who handles the alpha split under which the last name of the student, at the time they were a student, falls.