University of Southern California
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Academic Policies

Students are expected to be familiar with university policies and to monitor their own academic progress. They should keep all records of official grades earned, degree requirements met, transfer credits accepted and actions taken on requests for substitutions or exceptions to university policies and regulations.

The USC Catalogue

The USC Catalogue is the document of authority for all students. The degree requirements listed in the USC Catalogue supersede any information which may be contained in any bulletin of any school or department. The university reserves the right to change its policies, rules, regulations and course offerings at any time.

Other University Publications

The bulletins published by the schools provide program descriptions and information about other topics of interest to the prospective student. Bulletins may be obtained by calling the individual schools.

Schedule of Classes
The Schedule of Classes lists the courses offered during any given term and provides detailed information on registration procedures. The schedule is distributed during the registration period of each session. Students may obtain the schedule at the Topping Student Center, the Office of Academic Records and Registrar, the Office of College Advising, Leavey Library or on USCweb (

This annual publication contains both general guidebook information for students and university policies concerning student conduct, administrative procedures, and student rights and responsibilities. Students are responsible for understanding and abiding by policies contained in SCampus. SCampus may be obtained at the Topping Student Center or on USCweb (

New Student Orientation

All incoming students are expected to participate in new student orientation as part of their introduction to USC. Orientation allows students to learn more about the university's services, programs and academic and co-curricular opportunities. Program descriptions and session dates are mailed to newly admitted students in their Welcome Packet, and can also be accessed online at

The Office of Orientation offers a variety of orientation sessions for incoming students. On-campus programs for freshman undergraduate and transfer students are offered in December, January, June and July. Off-campus programs are offered on the East Coast (Newark), Midwest (Chicago area), Pacific Northwest (Seattle area) and in Hawaii (Honolulu) in May. An additional charge to cover meals, refreshments and overnight housing will apply when the orientation program selected includes meals and/or an overnight stay. Partial fee waivers are available for freshman sessions to defray costs and are available to students with demonstrated financial need.

During orientation, students receive academic advisement and register for their classes. Placement tests are also administered at the freshman sessions. Students also learn about the USC campus, student services and academic demands and expectations. Parents and family members are invited to attend orientation to become acquainted with the university. Workshops, programs and lectures are provided to address the special needs and concerns of parents and guardians.

International student orientation, sponsored by the Office of International Services (OIS), is offered prior to the beginning of each semester. More details can be found on the OIS Web site at

A number of academic departments and professional schools offer orientation programs in addition to those offered by the Office of Orientation. Programs are also available for graduate assistants through the Center for Excellence in Teaching (CET). For information about CET's programs, visit or email to subscribe to the Friends of CET weekly update.

All new entering students are assessed a mandatory one-time orientation fee payable their first semester of enrollment along with tuition charges and other fees. This fee covers special services, programs and publications throughout the student's continued enrollment at USC.

Academic Integrity at USC

The university as an instrument of learning is predicated on the existence of an environment of integrity. As members of the academic community, faculty, students and administrative staff share the responsibility for maintaining this environment. Faculty have the primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining an atmosphere and attitude of academic integrity such that the enterprise may flourish in an open and honest way. Students share this responsibility for maintaining standards of academic performance and classroom behavior conducive to the learning process. Administrative staff are responsible for the establishment and maintenance of procedures to support and enforce those academic standards. Thus, the entire university community bears the responsibility for maintaining an environment of integrity and for confronting incidents of academic dishonesty.

Specific guidelines governing academic integrity are described in SCampus. Additional information can also be found on the Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards Web site at

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The University of Southern California maintains the privacy of student education records and allows students the right to inspect their education records as stated in the university's Student Education Records policy, consistent with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). The entire text of the university's policy is located in the Office of the General Counsel and in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. A summary also appears in the current edition of the student guidebook, SCampus. Additional information regarding FERPA is also available on the Registrar's Web site,

Faculty and staff who request access to student academic records in order to execute their normal duties must first review the information found on the FERPA Web site and complete the tutorial before access will be granted.

Students wishing to review or seeking to amend their educational records should submit a written request to the university office in which the record is maintained.

At the discretion of university officials, USC may release certain information classified as directory information unless the student requests that such information not be released. A complete listing of directory information is published in SCampus in the Student Education Records section and is also found in the FERPA section of the Registrar's Web site.

Students wishing to restrict release of directory information may do so by completing the appropriate form provided by the Registrar's Office (SAS Lobby). Such requests remain in effect for the academic year. Students wishing only to have their information withheld from the online USC Student Directory should contact the Registrar's Office (SAS 104).

Parents who wish information from the education record of their son or daughter will not be provided the information unless the student has completed a "Records Release Authorization" form and submitted it to the Registrar's office. Students who complete this form authorize the university to release specific information from their education records to approved individuals. The form is available in the Registrar's office and may be downloaded on the university's FERPA Web site at

Policy on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The University of Southern California is committed to full compliance with the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As part of the implementation of this law, the university will continue to provide reasonable accommodation for academically qualified students with disabilities so that they can participate fully in the university's educational programs and activities. Although USC is not required by law to change the "fundamental nature or essential curricular components of its programs in order to accommodate the needs of disabled students," the university will provide reasonable academic accommodation. It is the specific responsibility of the university administration and all faculty serving in a teaching capacity to ensure the university's compliance with this policy.

The general definition of a student with a disability is any person who has "a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's activities," and any person who has "a history of, or is regarded as having, such an impairment." Reasonable academic and physical accommodations include but are not limited to: extended time on examinations; substitution of similar or related work for a nonfundamental program requirement; time extensions on papers or projects; special testing procedures; advance notice regarding booklists for visually impaired and some learning disabled students; use of academic aides in the classroom such as notetakers and sign language interpreters; accessibility for students who use wheelchairs and those with mobility impairments; and need for special classroom furniture or special equipment in the classroom.

Procedures for Obtaining Accommodations:
Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services and Programs (DSP) prior to or during the first week of class attendance or as early in the semester as possible. The office will work with Classroom Scheduling, the course instructor and his or her department, and the student to arrange for reasonable accommodations. It is a student's responsibility to provide documentation verifying disability.

Academic Accommodations: Students seeking academic accommodations due to a physical, psychological or learning disability should make the request to the course instructor prior to or during the first week of class attendance or as early in the semester as possible. Course instructors should require that a student present verification of documentation of a disability from Disability Services and Programs if academic accommodations are requested. The USC Gould School of Law has a unit specific policy for handling requests for academic accommodations, however all students with disabilities should register with DSP. Refer to the Law School Student Handbook.

For assistance in how to provide reasonable accommodations for a particular disability, course instructors are encouraged to consult with the staff at DSP. Students requesting academic accommodations must have verification of disability.

Grievance Procedures
Detailed information about processing a grievance is found in the Student Grievance Procedure section of SCampus, a guidebook for USC students, and in a brochure available in the Disability Services and Programs office, STU 301.