The Graduate Council
Marianne Bickle, Retailing
Nancy Brown, Social Work
James Buggy, Ex Officio, The Graduate School
Xiaomin Deng, Mechanical Engineering
JoAnne Herman, Nursing
Scott Huebner, Psychology
Satish Jayachandran, Marketing
Louise Jennings, Educational Studies
Zach Kelehear, Chair, Educational Leadership and Policies
Murray Mitchell, Physical Education
Lucia Pirisi-Creek, Medicine
Francisco Sanchez, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Donna Shannon, Library and Information Science
Andrew Shifflett, English
Shirley Staples Carter, Journalism and Mass Communications
Ognian Trifonov, Mathematics
Nic Ularu, Theatre
Irma Van Scoy, Instruction and Teacher Education
George Voulgaris, Geological Sciences
Mike Wyatt, Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
The Graduate Studies Bulletin is the official manual of regulations and guidelines for graduate study at the University of South Carolina. Its contents are approved by the Graduate Council and supersede any conflicting information that may appear in a publication of an individual program at the University. Graduate students are expected to read and adhere to the regulations of this publication throughout their matriculation at the University. Students are bound by the bulletin in effect at the time they begin or renew their enrollment in The Graduate School. Change to a later bulletin requires permission of the program and The Graduate School.
The mission of The Graduate School of the University of South Carolina is to set high academic standards, promote best practices, provide administrative support for graduate programs throughout the University, embrace new and emerging technologies, and assess effectiveness to ensure excellence in graduate education for students and faculty. The Graduate School is committed to honoring the diversity of communities at the University of South Carolina, to fostering best practices for graduate education for faculty and students based on complementary ehtical responsibilities and behavior, and to setting clear expectations for academic and professional excellence.
The Graduate School oversees postbaccalaureate degree programs designed to give qualified individuals professional competence in specialized disciplines and trains scholars, research specialists, teachers at all levels, and experts in various professions. Emphasis is placed on methodology as well as on mastery of defined areas of subject matter. Graduate work brings together a group of scholars actively engaged in research and thus provides a close association between students and mature investigators with a wide range of interests. While emphasizing specialization as basic to graduate work, The Graduate School encourages interdisciplinary study as a response to the complex problems of a rapidly changing world.
The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is offered in more than 50 academic areas, while professional doctorates are offered in education, music, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, and public health. The Universitys School of Medicine offers the degree of Doctor of Medicine, and the School of Law offers the degree of Juris Doctor.
The University offers the Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Science, Master of Arts in Teaching, and the Interdisciplinary Master of Arts in several disciplines. It offers professional masters degrees (e.g., Master of Business Administration and Master of Education) in many academic units, including arts and sciences; hospitality, retail, and sport management; business; education; engineering and information technology; mass communications and information studies; medicine; music; pharmacy; public health; and social work. Education Specialist degrees are available in library and information science as well as education (teaching, educational administration, and counselor education).
In addition, certificates of graduate study are offered in advanced practice nursing, drug and addictions studies, applied statistics, gerontology, higher education leadership, historical archeology and cultural resource management, library and information science, museum management, music performance, nursing administration, psychiatric rehabilitation, school health education, teaching English as a foreign language, and women's studies.
For a complete list of degrees offered at the University, please see the degree chart.
Only applicants to degree programs listed on the degree chart may be fully admitted to The Graduate School. Applicants for degree programs are required to meet all admission standards published by The Graduate School and by the unit that administers the program. When fully admitted, graduate students have all rights and privileges assigned to them by the University, including eligibility for the award of fellowships, assistantships, and other financial aid.
Educators and other professionals who possess at least a baccalaureate degree and have no degree objective may apply for nondegree enrollment to take courses for certification or license renewal. Nondegree students may take up to 12 credit hours.
If and when a nondegree student matriculates in a degree program: 1) all academic progression policies apply to course work for the program, including courses taken under a nondegree status; 2) no more than 6 credits of course work taken in a nondegree status can apply to a degree program of study.
A graduate student who is academically suspended from a University degree program cannot enroll as a nondegree student without the approval of the dean of The Graduate School.
Normally, international students may not enroll as nondegree students. On a case-by-case basis, international students may be permitted to enroll as nondegree students if: 1) they are in the United States on a valid visa that will not require the issuance of a new I-20 or DS 2019 by the University of South Carolina; or 2) they are participants in a special academic program recognized by The Graduate School.
All graduate students should be familiar with this publication's general regulations governing admission to graduate study at the University of South Carolina. General information and assistance may be obtained from The Graduate School.
Minimum requirements listed in departmental entries in this bulletin are for reference purposes and do not guarantee admission. Competition from other applicants and enrollment limitations in some programs are examples of factors that may prevent applicants from being admitted even if their submitted credentials meet the listed minimum requirements.
For admission to The Graduate School, a baccalaureate or higher degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting agency is normally required. Applicants' academic records should demonstrate adequate preparation in the field in which graduate work is to be undertaken. Also required are standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and other materials specified by the individual academic program. The dean of The Graduate School admits applicants on the recommendation of the department or college concerned after an appraisal of the credentials submitted.
Applicants whose educational preparation is equivalent to that represented by a baccalaureate degree and who have sufficient maturity to undertake advanced study may be admitted after submitting their credentials, including appropriate test scores, for review by the dean of The Graduate School.
Note: Individual programs may have special application requirements in addition to those of The Graduate School. These requirements range from personal interviews to statements of purpose and employment histories to auditions and portfolios. Applicants should consult the appropriate college or department to learn what these requirements are. However, all materials must be submitted directly to The Graduate School to ensure that they are included in the applicants file.
Change of Academic Objectives
Students are admitted to graduate study for the specific objective (e.g., a degree in a particular field) indicated on the application and defined in the letter of acceptance from The Graduate School. When students complete that objective and wish to pursue further study at the University, they are required to submit a new application. For example, a student completing a master's degree program must apply for nondegree admission and be approved to take additional courses without a degree objective, pursue a second master's degree, or work toward a more advanced degree (specialist or doctorate).
Similarly, students who wish to change their objectives after admission, including changes in their major or degree sought, must follow procedures established by The Graduate School. A Change of Status form, new application, or application supplement may be required, and new fees may apply to any of these transactions.
Valid Period of Admission
An offer of admission to The Graduate School generally must be accepted and followed by enrollment within one year unless a shorter period is specified by a particular program. Unless a deferred enrollment has been approved by the program and The Graduate School, a student who fails to enroll within this 12-month period must submit a new application and pay a $50 application fee. In addition, the student becomes subject to the regulations of the Graduate Studies Bulletin in effect when the student begins course work.
After enrollment, students are expected to make satisfactory and timely progress toward their degrees. Following three years of nonenrollment (less in some programs), the graduate admission of students admitted to degree programs becomes invalid. Degree-seeking students must reapply and fulfill the admission requirements then in effect if they wish to continue graduate study. Upon readmission, these students are subject to regulations in the current Graduate Studies Bulletin and of the program to which they are admitted.
The University reserves the right to decline admission to applicants, to suspend students, or to require the withdrawal of students when, for any reason, such action is deemed to be in the interest of the University.
Conditional Admissions Recommendation
Academic units do not have the option of recommending nondegree enrollment for an applicant to a degree program. Instead, they have the option of recommending the applicant for admission with conditions. This indicates that an admissions committee has met and determined that it is not yet ready to recommend full admission for the applicant. This conditional recommendation is appropriate for applicants who:
- need to take undergraduate courses or other prerequisites
- need to prove themselves capable of graduate course work in the program by making grades of B or higher in two or three required courses
- need to satisfy any other valid conditions that a committee sets before full admission can be recommended
- are residing in a foreign country that does not offer the GRE. Students in this last category may be granted, on the basis of a hardship, a one-semester postponement of the GRE but not of the TOEFL or IELTS. Permission to register for subsequent semesters will require the submission of acceptable GRE scores, as defined by the academic unit.
Up to 12 graduate hours that are successfully completed by students admitted with conditions may be used in their programs of study, subject to approval by the academic unit. The academic unit must monitor the progress of such students and send a new action sheet to The Graduate School recommending full admission once the conditions have been met.
Graduate students admitted with conditions may receive financial aid, including assistantships and fellowships, but only if they meet all requirements for such aid.
Applying to The Graduate School
Applying to a Degree Program
The most convenient and secure way to apply for admission to a degree program is to complete the online application. Applicants should go to the homepage of The Graduate School at www.gradschool.sc.edu and click on "Admission," or go directly to the application at web.csd.sc.edu/app/grad. Links to the application may be found on the homepage of the University of South Carolina (www.sc.edu) and the homepages of several departments and colleges. Paper application packets may be obtained from The Graduate School by calling 803-777-4243 or writing to The Graduate School, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, or to the department or college in which admission is sought.
Completed application forms and all supporting documents must be sent to The Graduate School. An application will not be given final consideration until all required credentials have been received and the application fee is paid. Therefore, applicants are advised to arrange for the transmittal of all documents well ahead of the application deadlines specified for respective programs. All correspondence should include the applicant's Social Security number. International applicants who do not have a U.S. Social Security number at the time of application will be issued a USC student identification number.
Note: The term "degree program" includes programs leading to a graduate certificate, specialist, master's, or doctoral degree.
Applying for Nondegree Enrollment
All applications for nondegree enrollment must be sent to The Graduate School. The online application at web.csd.sc.edu/app/grad is the most convenient way to apply. Paper applications may be obtained from The Graduate School by calling 803-777-4243 or writing to The Graduate School, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.
A nonrefundable application fee of $50 is required of all first-time applicants to The Graduate School. A Change of Status fee of $15 is charged when changing program or degree intent within one year of the date of initial application and with submission of a request on the Change of Status form. A nonrefundable enrollment fee of $375 is required of all students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Fall semester: July 1 (Note: Applicants seeking financial aid for the fall term should apply no later than March 1.)
Spring semester: November 15
May session: April 1
First summer session: May 1
Second summer session: June 1
Some programs have established earlier deadlines or admit students only in specified terms (see table). Applications received after the announced deadlines may not be reviewed in time for admission for the desired term. Applications should be completed at the earliest possible date, because programs may close applications prior to the announced deadline if available spaces have been filled.
For Admission to Degree Programs
1. A signed and dated application, with all requested information supplied.
2. Official transcripts showing all college-level course work attempted and the award of the baccalaureate or higher degree by an accredited college or university. Official transcripts verifying all previous college-level course work are required for the University's records. To be considered official, transcripts must be sent directly from the institution to The Graduate School or delivered in a sealed envelope bearing a registrar's stamp.
3. At least two letters of recommendation.
4. Test scores. Most programs require a report of scores achieved on the GRE. Programs in business administration may require scores from the GMAT. Please contact the appropriate college, school, or department about which tests may be required for admission. Applications for the GRE and the GMAT can be obtained from The Graduate School or from the Educational Testing Service, Box 955, Princeton, NJ 08540. Applicants from western states should write the Educational Testing Service, 1947 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704.
5. International applicants whose native language is not English are also required to submit a satisfactory score on the TOEFL or the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 80 (Internet-based), 230 (computer-based), or 570 (paper-based), but many programs have set higher requirements. The minimum acceptable overall band score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam is 6.5.
Please be aware that GRE, GMAT, and MAT test scores are valid for five years; TOEFL and IELTS Intl. exam scores are valid for two years.
For Permission to Enroll as a Nondegree Student*
1. A signed and dated application, with all requested information supplied.
2. Proof of a baccalaureate or higher degree. (Educators may submit a copy of a valid S.C. Teaching Certificate as proof of degree.)
Students enrolled in or admitted to graduate degree programs at other accredited institutions may seek permission to attend The Graduate School of the University of South Carolina as transient students for a limited number of hours. Students must be candidates for graduate degrees at their institutions and must have approval from the program directors and graduate deans of their institutions to take specific courses at USC that will transfer. Transient applicants must submit a nondegree application to The Graduate School with the nonrefundable $50 application fee.
A USC graduate student seeking transient admission at another institution should complete and submit the Special Enrollment Request form available on the registrar's Web site to The Graduate School for approval.
*Admission to graduate courses is always subject to departmental consent. Before enrolling in graduate courses, contact the graduate director of your program for permission.
International Students and Credentials
Graduates of international universities or colleges who have completed academic programs equivalent to an American baccalaureate degree may apply to any of the graduate degree programs listed on the degree chart and be fully admitted if they meet admission standards. International applicants must submit with their application an official certified transcript indicating the nature and scope of their academic training. Only international students who are interested in seeking a degree and pursuing a full course of study are considered for admission.
An applicant whose native language is not English is required to submit a satisfactory score on the TOEFL or the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 80 (Internet-based), 230 (computer-based) or 570 (paper-based), but many programs have set higher standards. The minimum acceptable overall band score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam is 6.5.
Applicants may write for details to:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language
- Educational Testing Service
- Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
- IELTS International
- 100 East Corson Street, Suite 200
- Pasadena, CA 91103, USA
In addition, admitted applicants whose native language is not English are required to take a diagnostic test in English when they arrive at the University. Students with deficiencies are provided an opportunity for further study in reading, writing, and speaking English.
U.S. government regulations require that international applicants provide evidence of financial resources sufficient to cover the expense of one year of study, including tuition and room and board. Applicants may contact the Office of International Programs for Students (www.sc.edu/ips) to determine how much financial support must be indicated. Evidence of financial support may include graduate assistantships, scholarships, or fellowships as well as support from sponsoring agencies and personal funds. Evidence of financial support must be received in the Office of International Programs for Students before an I-20 or a DS-2019 document can be issued.
In addition to meeting the regular requirements for admission, students who expect to enroll under the provisions of any of the various federal laws governing education or rehabilitation for veterans or their dependents must be sure to obtain all necessary approvals from the Veteran's Administration and obtain and submit the necessary documents.
Information regarding educational benefits to veterans and children of deceased or disabled veterans may be found in the "Financial Aid and Fellowships" section.
The University of South Carolina requires all students born after December 31, 1956, to be immunized against, or provide proof of immunity to, measles (rubeola) and German measles (rubella). Proof of immunity and/or immunization requires documentation of one of the following:
1. two measles and one German measles (MR or MMR) shot after 1967 (not before first birthday)
2. positive serum titers (blood antibodies) to measles and German measles
3. physician-diagnosed measles illness and either shots or positive serum titer for German measles. (A history of German measles illness does not meet requirements.)
For more information, call the Immunization Office at 803-777-9511.
Mandatory Health Insurance
The Graduate School adheres to a mandatory hard-waiver health insurance program implemented for all graduate assistants (teaching, research, instructional, and staff), all international students, and other full-time enrolled graduate students (9 credit hours or more). Graduate students in these categories will be required to have health insurance coverage as a condition of enrollment.
Graduate students affected by this mandatory health insurance requirement will be automatically enrolled in the University Plan (with the cost included in students' bills for tuition and fees) unless documentation of comparable alternative health insurance coverage is on file in the Health Insurance Assistance Office at the Thomson Student Health Center.
Students with disabilities are assisted by the Office of Disability Services, whose professionally trained staff works to provide accessibility for all University programs, services, and activities in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some of the services offered include orientation; priority registration; adapted housing; library access; classroom adaptations; sign-language interpreters; and academic, personal, and vocational counseling. Students with disabilities should contact the Office of Disability Services at 803-777-6742 (TDD) or 803-777-6744 for specific information about University services. When applicants receive The Graduate School's offer of admission, they should notify the Office of Disability Services of their need for specific accommodations.
Notification of Student Rights under FERPA
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These include the following:
1. The right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
Students should submit written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect to the registrar, dean, academic department head, or other appropriate official. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
2. The right to request amendment of student education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading.
Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.
If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of the right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student with notification of the right to a hearing.
3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
The University of South Carolina will disclose information from a student's education records only with the written consent of the student, except:
A. to school officials with legitimate educational interests
(A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the University has contracted [such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent]; a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting other school officials in performing their tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill a professional responsibility.)
B. to officials of other institutions in which the student seeks or intends to enroll provided that the student has previously requested a release of the record
C. to authorized representatives of the U.S. Department of Education, the comptroller general of the United States, state educational authorities, organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the University, and accrediting organizations
D. in connection with a student's application for, and receipt of, financial aid
E. to comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
F. to parents of dependent students as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, Section 152
G. to appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency
H. to the alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by the University.
I. The University may disclose the result of a disciplinary proceeding to a parent or guardian so long as the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the incident and the proceeding has resulted in a violation of University drug or alcohol policies, or any federal, state, or local law.
J. To students currently registered in a particular class, the names and e-mail addresses of others on the roster may be disclosed in order to participate in class discussion.
The University of South Carolina has designated the following items as directory information: a student’s name; electronic mail address; local and permanent mailing addresses and telephone numbers; identification card photograp; semesters of attendance; enrollment status (full- or part-time); date of admission; date of graduation; school; major and minor fields of study; whether or not currently enrolled; classification (freshman, etc.); type of degree being pursued; degrees; honors; and awards received (including scholarships and fellowships); weight and height of members of athletic teams; and whether the student has participated in officially recognized activities and sports sponsored by the University.
The University may disclose any of these items without prior written consent, unless the student has submitted a written request to the Office of the University Registrar not to release directory information. Requests will be processed within 24 hours after receipt. Telephone directories are published during the summer; students eligible to enroll for the upcoming fall term will be listed in the printed directory unless the Office of the University Registrar is notified by May 31. The electronic directory is updated each weekend; requests for nondisclosure will be honored with the next update after the request is processed by the staff of the Office of the University Registrar.
4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University of South Carolina to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605.
Questions concerning this law and the University's procedures for release of academic information may be directed to the Office of the University Registrar at 803-777-5555.
Transcripts and Other Documents
All transcripts must be requested in writing from the Office of the University Registrar. A fee of $8 is charged for each transcript copy requested, unless the transcript is for use with a current application to The Graduate School.
No transcript will be issued to or for a student who is indebted to the University.
With the exception of copies made for internal University use, no copy of a student's record will be released to anyone (including the State Department of Education) without the student's written consent.
Graduate students who want copies of documents in their files to which they have not waived access should complete the Document Copy Request form (DCR) available on The Graduate School's Web site or by contacting The Graduate School. A fee of $10 will be charged for researching and copying information from a student's file.
Appeals Regarding University Records
To ensure that records are not inaccurate or misleading, an appropriate hearing board provides students the opportunity to challenge the content of University records, and a procedure for requesting correction or deletion of any inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate data contained therein. Such requests should be made through the petitions committees of individual USC campuses.
All graduate students are subject to the academic regulations of both The Graduate School and the college or department in which they are enrolled. General regulations affecting all graduate students are stated below. Details of departmental regulations and requirements may be obtained from that unit's director of graduate studies.
Changes in Degree Requirements and Academic Regulations
Graduate students may obtain degrees in accordance with the regulations set forth in the Graduate Studies Bulletin in force at the time of enrollment in a degree program or under subsequent regulations published while enrolled in a degree program. However, a student must choose only one specific bulletin. Graduate students in master's, specialist, and certificate programs have a period of six years, inclusive and continuous, in which to claim the rights of a specific bulletin. Doctoral students have a period of eight years. Any student whose admission lapses for three years loses the right to previous bulletins and comes under the bulletin in force when readmitted.
Students are advised that unforeseen circumstances may interfere with the scheduling of any given course or degree offering. Students must be prepared for such developments even if they cause the students to experience delays in fulfilling their academic goals or require them to modify some of those goals. The appropriate academic units will work closely with students facing such problems in an effort to resolve them with a minimum of difficulty.
Policy on Faculty Teaching Graduate Courses
Departments or programs appointing persons to teach graduate courses who are not members of the Graduate Faculty must obtain permission from their respective dean and the dean of The Graduate School. SACS requires that faculty teaching graduate courses have earned the terminal degree in the field. In some cases, persons having specific career experience may be authorized to teach graduate courses upon provision of written justification from the department or program chair and the academic dean.
Graduate Assistant Appointments 2007-2008
1) Must be enrolled in a degree program and in good standing;
2) Must be registered for at least 6 graduate credits each during spring and fall semesters and at least 1 credit each during summer I and summer II seessions.
$2,000 minimum for not more than 10 hours per week (per semester)
$4,000 minimum for not more than 20 hours per week (per semester)
$750 minimum for not more than 10 hours per week per summer session
$1,500 minimum for not more than 20 hours per week per summer session
Fall/spring semester--6 to 12 hours (special exceptions to enroll above 12 hours must be approved by the graduate dean);
Summer I and II sessions--1 to 6 hours each
20 hours per week maximum
1Maximum amount cannot exceed the amount paid to a first-year postdoctoral fellow in the academic unit.
A comprehensive final examination in the major field of study is required for all candidates for a master's degree.
Note: Certification of the comprehensive examination for master's students should be sent to The Graduate School. It remains valid for two years (term specific), after which it must be revalidated.
Master of Arts and Master of Science
For Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, the minimum course requirements include 30 semester hours of graduate credit; not more than 9 hours of 799 (thesis preparation) may be used on a program of study. The department may require master's students to make up any deficiencies, and some degree programs require more than the minimum number of 30 credit hours.
Candidates for the master's degree must achieve and maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.00 on all courses taken for graduate credit, including those courses not included on the student's program of study. Failure to maintain this minimum GPA on all course work will prevent the student from graduating, and inability to maintain it over two consecutive semesters (18 hours) will result in suspension from The Graduate School and loss of academic eligibility (see "Academic Suspension Policy" under "Academic Standards for Progression").
Master's students, in consultation with their advisors, must also submit a program of study that includes the minimum number of graduate hours required for the degree sought. At least half of those credit hours--exclusive of thesis credit--must be earned in courses numbered 700 and above. The remaining hours may be taken in courses numbered 500-699--when designated for graduate credit--and/or numbered 700 and above.
Foreign Language and/or Research Methods
Specific language and research methods requirements for the master's degree vary from program to program and must be approved by the unit's graduate director and the dean of The Graduate School. Satisfying the requirement may entail one or more of the following: successful completion of an intensive reading course in a language--approved by The Graduate School--while a graduate student at USC (e.g., FORL 315), successful completion of a course at the intermediate level of language proficiency within six years of award of the degree, or a passing grade on a language reading proficiency examination administered by the USC Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (students should consult the chair of the foreign language department in advance of the examination and make formal application for the exam at least one month before it is to be given). Students seeking master's degrees will have three opportunities to pass the language course or satisfy the reading proficiency examination.
In some programs a student is allowed or required to substitute competency in computer science, statistics, or another research method or competency for a reading knowledge of a foreign language. The requirement may be satisfied by the appropriate course work. The Graduate School should be apprised of a student's successful completion of this requirement. More detailed information addressing these issues may be obtained from the student's graduate director.
With approval of the dean of The Graduate School and the department concerned, English may be accepted as a foreign language for students whose native language is not English. In cases where it is relevant to a student's research, American Sign Language may be used to satisfy the language requirement.
The student should make arrangements to complete the foreign language and/or research methods requirements at the earliest opportunity. Certification of foreign language and/or research methods competency for master's students remains valid for six years, after which it must be revalidated.
A reading knowledge of one foreign language may be required for the Master of Arts or Master of Science degree by the student's department. Programs which directly involve language study may have additional language requirements.
A thesis or research project is required of almost all graduate students seeking the Master of Arts or the Master of Science degrees. However, some programs have a nonthesis option. Selection of a topic and work on the thesis are approved and directed by a faculty committee that is approved by the department. Before beginning to work on the thesis, students should obtain and read a copy of The Graduate School’s general thesis guidelines. They should also consult The Graduate School's homepage for deadlines for submitting final copies. After a student has received final approval of a completed thesis from an approved committee, the student should submit a clean, edited original to the dean of The Graduate School for approval. Besides this original, the student should submit the thesis to the dean of The Graduate School for approval following the thesis submission guidelines of The Graduate School. For information about thesis binding fees, students should contact The Graduate School.
Any student who uses University facilities or confers with faculty on thesis work in any semester must be officially enrolled for at least one hour of thesis credit.
Guidelines for Appointment of Thesis Committees
1. Thesis committees should be composed only of faculty from the Columbia campus; only in extraordinary cases will faculty from another accredited institution or holders of the terminal degree who are not associated with the University be allowed to direct theses or to serve as committee members.
2. Tenure-track faculty at any rank who hold the doctorate or the discipline's terminal degree, whose units offer graduate programs, and tenured faculty at the rank of full professor who do not hold the terminal degree may serve on or chair thesis committees.
3. Research, clinical, and adjunct faculty at any rank, who hold the terminal degree, may serve on and chair thesis committees with approval of the unit and The Graduate School.
4. Instructors and lecturers who do not hold the terminal degree may serve as members of thesis committees with permission of the unit and The Graduate School.
5. Emeritus or emerita faculty, with permission of the unit and The Graduate School, may continue to chair theses of students under their direction at retirement and be appointed members of thesis committees.
A Second Master's Degree from USC
In general, when a student applies for a second master's degree from USC--such as Master of Arts following a Master of Science, or a Master of Arts following a Master of Education--the candidate must meet the requirements of the second degree in full. No more than 9 semester hours from the program of study of the previous USC degree or a master's degree awarded by another institution may be applied toward the second USC degree. Since departmental requirements vary considerably, students are advised to seek the department's and The Graduate School's approval before attempting work for a second master's degree.
Professional Master's Degrees
Unless specifically waived by The Graduate School upon recommendation of the college or department through which a professional master's degree is offered, the general requirements for the Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees apply to all master's degrees offered by the University. Students should be aware that additional requirements (e.g., minimum number of credits) may be set by individual programs.
Doctor of Philosophy
Admission to Program
Admission to a Ph.D. program allows a student to work toward admission to candidacy for the degree.
Admission to Candidacy for Doctor of Philosophy and Other Doctoral Degrees
The Graduate School considers doctoral students to be candidates for their respective degrees when they have 1) passed a qualifying examination; 2) been fully admitted to the doctoral degree program; and 3) filed an approved doctoral program of study with The Graduate School. While the qualifying examination is often taken early in a doctoral program, a graduate student does not become a candidate for the doctoral degree until granted admission to candidacy by the dean of The Graduate School.
The dean of The Graduate School admits the student to doctoral candidacy after completion of all three conditions. The Graduate School will notify the student and graduate director of the admission to candidacy. Completion of all three components of the admission to candidacy procedure should be at least one full academic year before granting of the degree.
The granting of a doctoral degree by the University of South Carolina presupposes a minimum of three full years of graduate study (or the equivalent) and requires a minimum of 60 graduate hours (including 12-30 hours of dissertation preparation) beyond the baccalaureate, or a minimum of 30 graduate hours, including 12 hours of dissertation preparation, beyond the master's degree. Candidates for doctoral degrees must complete at least half of their credit hours in courses numbered 700 and higher. A dissertation based on original research, with credit for a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation preparation, is required in most doctoral programs. The specific curriculum for the doctoral degree varies with the discipline, and students are referred to the appropriate section of the Graduate Studies Bulletin, the respective graduate student handbook, and the graduate director of their program for that information.
The intent of a residency requirement is to ensure that doctoral students benefit from and contribute to the full spectrum of educational and professional opportunities provided by the graduate faculty of a research university. When establishing residency, the student should interact with faculty and peers by regularly attending courses, conferences, and seminars and using the library, library services, and other resources that support excellence in graduate education.
The doctoral residency requirement may be satisfied only after admission to a doctoral degree program. It requires enrollment in at least 18 graduate credit hours within a span of three consecutive semesters (excluding summers). Enrollment in a summer term is not required to maintain continuity, but credits earned during summer terms (including May Session) will count toward the 18 hours required for residency.
Each graduate program may establish residency requirements that exceed these minimum standards. In doing so, the program may exclude certain courses and credit hours from meeting the residency requirement. All additional requirements and a list of excluded courses and credit hours must be forwarded to The Graduate School and made available to doctoral students. The student's advisory committee certifies, on the program of study, the time period in and the courses with which the student satisfied the residency requirement.
Foreign Language and/or Research Methods
Foreign language and/or research methods requirements vary from program to program. The foreign language and/or research method offered in fulfillment of doctoral degree requirements must be approved by the graduate director of the department and the dean of The Graduate School. Certification of fulfillment may include enrolling in a special language reading course, passing a reading proficiency examination, or, in some programs, substituting competency in computer science or statistics for a reading knowledge of a foreign language. More specific information on this requirement may be obtained from the graduate director of each program.
In some programs a student is allowed or required to substitute competency in computer science, statistics, or another research area for a reading knowledge of a foreign language. The requirement may be satisfied by appropriate course work. The Graduate School should be apprised of a student's successful completion of this requirement. More specific information addressing these issues may be obtained from the student's graduate director.
With approval of the dean of The Graduate School and the department concerned, English may be accepted as a foreign language for students whose native language is not English. In cases where it is relevant to a student's research, American Sign Language may be used to satisfy the language requirement.
The student should make arrangements to complete the foreign language and/or research methods requirements at the earliest opportunity. Certification of foreign language and/or research methods competency for doctoral students remains valid for eight years, after which it must be revalidated.
A reading knowledge of one foreign language may be required for the doctoral degree by the department in which the student is pursuing major studies. Programs which directly involve language study may have additional language requirements.
Candidates must pass comprehensive examinations, both written and oral, in the chosen fields of study. These comprehensive examinations are conducted under the supervision of the department or college chiefly concerned. The committee for the oral examination must comprise no fewer than four members, at least one of whom must be from outside the candidate's major department. The comprehensive examination normally is given after the candidate has completed all course work listed on the program of study except for courses in which the student may be currently registered. The comprehensive examination may not be given less than 60 days before the student receives the degree.
Note: Certification of the comprehensive examination for doctoral students remains valid for five years (term specific), after which it must be revalidated.
No later than five years after passing the comprehensive examination, the student must present a dissertation based on research that has been approved by a committee of professors in the major field.
During the preparation of the dissertation, any student who uses University facilities or confers with faculty about dissertation work must be officially enrolled for at least one hour of academic credit. Twelve credits in 899 Dissertation Preparation are required for doctoral degrees, but 12-30 hours are allowed on the program of study.
A dissertation must be successfully defended before an examining committee appointed or approved by the chair of the college or department chiefly concerned and approved by the dean of The Graduate School. The committee must consist of no fewer than four members, at least one of whom must be from outside the candidate's major department. The examination on the dissertation should be given no fewer than 30 days before the date on which the candidate expects to receive the degree.
Final Submission of Dissertation
At least 20 days prior to the date on which the candidate expects to receive the degree, the candidate must deposit with the dean of The Graduate School three signed copies of the completed dissertation together with an abstract.
The candidate must have the dissertation reproduced by University Microfilms International/ProQuest (which will also publish the abstract). Any candidate who opts for specific publication of the dissertation must submit a copy of the candidate's contract with the publisher. For complete information about binding fees and other costs associated with submission of dissertations, students should contact The Graduate School.
A dissertation may also be submitted electronically. The Graduate School encourages students to take advantage of opportunities unique to electronic submission through www.dissertations.umi.com/sc.
Graduate School Policy on Doctoral Committee Membership
All members of a doctoral committee must be approved by the dean of The Graduate School and usually hold regular or term appointments ot The Graduate School faculty.
- Regular Membership
- Regular members of the Graduate School Faculty on the Columbia campus shall include the president, provost, associate provost and dean of The Graduate School, associate dean of The Graduate School, and chairs of academic departments offering degrees conferred by The Graduate School. Faculty members holding the Ph.D. or other terminal degrees in their respective fields of study are eligible to become regular members of the Graduate School Faculty upon appointment to a tenure-track position at the University's Columbia campus; units may establish more stringent criteria for membership. Nominations of eligible faculty for such appointments are made by the appropriate academic unit (college, department, or school) to the dean of The Graduate School.
- Term Appointments
- Temporary and renewable membership as Graduate School faculty is granted upon nomination by an academic unit to the dean of The Graduate School for a term not to exceed three years, renewable on application to the graduate dean. Academic units are expected to develop criteria for such appointments and to have formal votes concerning nominees (with the criteria and votes being forwarded as part of the file for each nominee). Term appointments are appropriate for USC faculty in the School of Law and the School of Medicine, emeriti USC professors, clinical faculty, research professors, faculty members at other institutions (including other USC campuses), and others holding an appropriate terminal degree or other credentials. Use form GS-58.
Each doctoral committee must have no more than one outside member.
- Outside Member
- The outside member 1) may be a Graduate School faculty member in another department or program at USC or a faculty member at another institution nominated by the academic unit and approved by the graduate dean, or may be a qualified professional from the private or governmental sector and approved by the graduate dean; 2) may be within or outside the student's research area and approved by the dean of The Graduate School on the basis of qualifications evidenced by credentials and relevance to the student's major field as explained in the justification submitted with the nomination; and 3) must be approved separately for each committee.
Major points that should be noted with regard to committee membership:
- A majority of the committee composition must be regular members of the Graduate School faculty.
- A doctoral committee member whose Graduate School faculty eligibility expires (e.g., emeritus faculty) while a student is still pursuing the degree may continue to serve until the student completes the program or the committee is dissolved. To continue to serve in the capacity as chair or regular member is a special exception. This request (with a valid academic justification) must have the endorsements of the unit faculty, chair of the department, graduate director, and academic dean. Once these approvals are affirmed, the petition is presented to the dean of The Graduate School for final approval. Otherwise, a change in the committee composition must be presented to the dean of The Graduate School replacing the now ineligible member.
- Oral and Comprehensive Exam Committee--administers the oral portion of the comprehensive exam.
- Dissertation Committee and Dissertation Defense Committee--directs the student in the preparation of the dissertation. Examines the student on the dissertation and informs the dean of The Graduate School whether the student passed or failed. The dissertation cannot be submitted to The Graduate School until it has been approved and signed by members of the Dissertation Defense Committee. The committee, which requires the dean's prior approval, must include at least four members, one of whom is from outside the major department.
Other Doctoral Degrees
Other doctoral degrees in The Graduate School, e.g., the Doctor of Education, the Doctor of Musical Arts, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, the Doctor of Physical Therapy, and the Doctor of Public Health, are subject to the same regulations that pertain to the Doctor of Philosophy except for authorized requirements which may vary somewhat from those listed above. Information about specific requirements in these degree programs is available from the respective graduate directors.
Certificate of Graduate Study
The Certificate of Graduate Study is a structured program of 18-27 semester hours of graduate courses. At least 9 hours of the program must consist of required courses although all hours may be prescribed; at least half the total hours in the program of study must be in courses at the 700 level or above; and candidates must maintain a B average on all USC courses taken for graduate credit while working on the certificate. No more than 6 hours of C credit may be applied toward a certificate, and 9 hours with grades of C+ or lower will render a student ineligible for a certificate. There is no residency requirement, but all courses must be completed within six years of the award of the certificate. At least half of the 18 or more credits required for completion of a Certificate of Graduate Study must be University of South Carolina courses. With the approval of the department concerned and subject to the regulations of The Graduate School, a maximum of 9 hours of transfer credit may be applied to a certificate program.
Currently there are 16 certificate programs. The certificate in drug and addiction studies is administered by the College of Social Work. The certificates in nursing administration and advanced practice nursing are administered by the College of Nursing and are restricted to students who hold a master's degree in nursing or who are nearing completion of a master's degree in the USC College of Nursing. The certificate in higher education leadership is administered by the College of Education. The certificate in teaching English as a foreign language is administered by the Linguistics Program. The certificate in music performance is administered by the School of Music. The certificate in museum management is administered by the Department of History. The certificate in school health education is administered by the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. The certificate in library and information science is administered by the School of Library and Information Science in the College of Mass Communication and Information Studies. The certificate in applied statistics is administered by the Department of Statistics. The certificate in women's studies is administered by the Women's Studies Program. The certificate in gerontology is administered by the College of Social Work. The certificate in archaeology and cultural resource management is administered by the Department of Anthropology. The certificate in psychiatric rehabilitation is administered by the School of Medicine. The certificate in information assurance and security is administered by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
Right to an Advisor
Every graduate student admitted to a degree program is entitled to an advisor. In many programs the preliminary advisor is the director of graduate studies for the academic unit concerned. Graduate students who have not been assigned an advisor should consult their directors of graduate studies for information on advisement procedures.
Students permitted to enroll as nondegree students, i.e., those who do not seek degree admission or who have not yet met all the conditions for degree admission, are not entitled to advisors but may consult their graduate directors for both specific and general information. Their enrollment privileges are subject to limitations that may not be exceeded without approval from the department and The Graduate School.
Students are urged to consult their advisors on a regular basis.
Approval of Individual Programs of Study
Every degree student must file a program of study in The Graduate School for approval by the dean of The Graduate School. A program of study is a list of courses that satisfy degree requirements, and it must be approved by the advisor, the graduate director, and the dean of The Graduate School. This formal agreement serves a number of purposes that benefit both the student and the University. It causes the student and advisor to engage in early planning with a specific goal in mind; it provides useful information for the planning of course offerings; it facilitates subsequent advisement; and it protects the student in the event of unexpected curriculum or faculty changes. Although programs of study are binding, they can be modified when conditions warrant.
Programs of study should be filed at the earliest convenient date (normally by the end of the first year for a master's degree program and by the end of the second year for a doctoral program).
For joint or concurrent degree programs, students are required to submit an individual program of study for each degree program.
- Students pursuing a Certificate of Graduate Study must have an approved program of study on file in The Graduate School. Candidates must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 on all USC courses taken for graduate credit. No more than 6 hours of C credit can be used on the program of study.
- Students pursuing a master's, specialist, or doctoral degree must have an approved program of study on file in The Graduate School. Candidates must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 on all courses taken for graduate credit and a 3.00 on all courses numbered 700 and above. Some programs have more stringent requirements.
Concurrent Programs of Study
Students concurrently enrolled in certificate, specialist, master's, or doctoral programs may use no more than 9 semester hours that are common to all the programs of study. Departments or programs may permit fewer hours of concurrently enrolled courses.
A maximum of 6 hours of professional development graduate-level course work may be presented on a graduate student's program of study. Each academic unit must decide whether to approve the inclusion of professional development graduate-level course work on the program of study.
Reduced Tuition Rate Courses
A maximum of 6 hours of reduced tuition rate courses (standard graduate-level contract courses) may be presented on a graduate student's program of study. Each academic unit must approve the inclusion of reduced tuition rate graduate-level course work on the program of study.
Transfer Credit from Another Institution
Course work transferred from another institution for credit toward a graduate degree (including certificates of graduate study) must be relevant to the program and have course content and a level of instruction equivalent to that offered by the University's own graduate programs. Approval for acceptance of transfer credit to a student's program of study must be granted and justified by the student's academic department and submitted to the dean of The Graduate School.
Master's Degree Programs
Graduate credits that are NOT part of a completed degree or certificate program at USC or another institution, at the discretion of the academic unit, may be transferred, subject to the following restrictions:
No more than 12 semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred into a master's program that requires no more than 36 hours; no more than 15 semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred into a master's program that requires 37-45 hours; and no more than 18 semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred into a master's program that requires 46 or more semester hours. Course work transferred for credit toward a master's degree must: 1) be from an accredited institution recognized by USC; 2) carry graduate credit with a grade of B or better (or equivalent marks if different grading system is used); and 3) be dated within the six-year period for courses used in the master's program.
A maximum of 9 semester hours of graduate credit that are part of a completed degree or certificate program at USC or elsewhere may be applied to another USC master's degree program.
Doctoral Degree Programs
A limited number of credits may be transferred into a doctoral program. The exact number of transfer hours varies among programs. Course work transferred for credit toward a doctoral degree must 1) be approved by the student's academic unit; 2) be from an accredited institution recognized by USC; 3) carry graduate credit with a grade of B or better (or equivalent marks if different grading system is used); 4) be dated within the eight-year period for courses used in the doctoral program; and 5) not constitute more than 50 percent of the hours listed on a program of study (not including 899 or the equivalent).
Graduate Certificate Programs
With the approval of the department or program concerned and subject to the regulations of The Graduate School, no more than 9 semester hours of graduate credit with grades of B or better may be transferred from another institution or another USC program into a graduate certificate program. Course work transferred for credit toward a Certificate of Graduate Study must be from an accredited institution recognized by USC and must be dated within the six-year period for courses used in the graduate certificate program.
Enrollment and Course Loads
Admission to Courses
Admission to graduate courses is always subject to departmental consent. Courses numbered 700-899 are restricted to graduate students; courses numbered 500-699 are open to upper-level undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate students registered for courses numbered 500-699 receive graduate credit. The requirements for graduate credit in courses numbered 500-699 are expected to exceed those for undergraduate credit. It is the instructor's responsibility to delineate these differences clearly in the course syllabus. The instructor is responsible for assuring that all requirements for graduate credit are met. Graduate students may not enroll for undergraduate credit in courses numbered 500-699 without the express permission of the dean of The Graduate School.
Course prerequisites are listed to inform students about the academic background recommended for satisfactory course completion. The instructor may approve the enrollment of students who have acquired the equivalent knowledge or skills through other courses or experiences. Special permission to enroll should be requested from the instructor prior to registration.
A graduate student may enroll for a semester load not to exceed 15 graduate hours. Some programs limit their students to a 12-hour maximum semester load. A student with a load of 9 or more hours during a fall or spring term is classified as full-time for academic purposes. The maximum course load in each of the two summer sessions is 6 hours. May Session enrollment is part of the 6-hour limit for Summer I.
A student must be enrolled for at least 1 credit during any semester in which thesis or dissertation progress is made and such University resources as the library, computer facilities, or faculty time are used.
Course Load for Graduate Assistants
Graduate assistants carrying 6 or more hours for graduate credit are classified as full-time students. Graduate assistants are required to carry a minimum of 6 hours of graduate credit during the fall and spring terms.
Through special arrangement, The Graduate School offers dual degree programs in certain areas to permit students to work on degrees concurrently.
Students wishing to concurrently enroll in two degree programs not formally approved as dual degree programs may do so with special approval by the respective graduate directors and the dean of The Graduate School.
The Graduate School does not allow enrollment in more than two degree programs at one time. For enrollment purposes, a dual degree program is considered two degree programs, and concurrent enrollment in degree programs of the same academic major (i.e., M.A./Ph.D.) is considered one degree program. Degree programs are certificate, specialist, master's, or doctoral.
Courses Outside Major Area
Students wishing to enroll in courses outside the area to which they have been admitted should do so only with the permission of their advisors and should consult the department offering the course regarding eligibility and prerequisites. An individual who has been declined admission to a program may not continue to enroll in or audit courses in that area without special permission of that department, even if the student has subsequently been admitted to another program.
The University neither offers correspondence courses for graduate credit nor accepts correspondence work as applicable toward any graduate degree.
Credit by Examination
No graduate credit is offered by examination only.
A student must be eligible to register as a graduate student and go through the regular registration process to be eligible to audit a graduate-level course. Some departments do not permit auditing at the graduate level, and if space in the class is limited, degree-seeking students always are given priority over students who are auditing if space in the class is limited. Students wishing to audit graduate courses are advised to obtain permission from the appropriate department chair or graduate director. No credit may be earned for an audited course by examination or any other means, and no audited course may be repeated for credit at a later date. No record of audit shall appear on a transcript unless a student attends 75 percent of the classes.
Students who have registered for a course on an audit basis and who wish to change their registration to take the course for credit (or who wish to change from credit to audit) must do so no later than the last day to change course schedule or drop without a grade of W being recorded, as published in the Master Schedule of Classes.
Retroactive Graduate Credit
The Graduate School does not retroactively award graduate credit for graduate-level (course number 500 and above) USC courses previously taken for undergraduate, continuing education, or audit credit. The Graduate School also stipulates that no graduate-level USC course taken for undergraduate or continuing education credit or as an audit may be repeated for graduate credit at a later date.
Dropping a Course
A graduate student may drop a course via the Internet (https://vip.sc.edu).
Courses dropped during the second through the sixth week of a regular semester are recorded with a nonpenalty grade of W. After the first six weeks of the semester, any courses dropped will appear on the permanent record with a grade of WF. A WF is treated as an F in the evaluation of the students eligibility to continue and in computing the students grade point average. Graduate students who stop attending a class without officially dropping it remain on the final grade roll and must be assigned a grade by the professor of record. A grade of F is appropriate, unless a higher grade has been earned, and that grade is included in all calculations and totals. In summer sessions and other shortened terms, the period for withdrawal with a grade of W will be 43 percent of the total number of class days. Students should consult the session calendar for each course in which they are enrolled for the applicable dates.
A course cannot be dropped after the last day of classes specified for the session in which the course is scheduled.
Students should consult their advisors and graduate directors regarding their future status in their respective graduate programs if they withdraw.
Dropping Courses for Extenuating Circumstances
A student who wishes to drop courses for medical reasons or other acceptable cause after the session penalty date (last day to receive a W), may petition for assignment of W by submitting a Request for Assignment of W for Extenuating Circumstances form (AS-122A) with the appropriate documentation of circumstances. The petition requires the approval of the student's graduate director, the instructor of each course, and the dean of The Graduate School. A request for partial reduction (rather than complete) withdrawal for extenuating circumstances must include evidence (i.e., a written statement from a physician, counselor, or other qualified professional; or other documentation of extenuating circumstances) that a reduction in, rather than termination of, student course work is appropriate.
Withdrawal from All Courses
Graduate students wishing to withdraw from all courses should be aware of the ramifications of that action with respect to grades assigned, status in their programs, liability for repayment of student loans, and financial obligations to the University. The date of withdrawal affects the grades assigned (W or WF), as do valid claims of extenuating circumstances (see previous section). Form AS-122A must be approved by the graduate director and a student's instructors prior to withdrawal. Grades assigned to students who withdraw from all courses are determined in the manner described in the previous section.
Financial Obligations to the University
Any student withdrawing within the scheduled refund period (see Master Schedule of Classes and the refund procedures section of this bulletin) can expect to receive a refund through the mail in approximately four to six weeks. If, at the time of withdrawal, the student has any financial obligations to the University, these amounts will be deducted from any refund due. Refunds for students who received and used financial aid to pay academic fees may be applied toward repayment of financial aid.
Students who have received long-term loans through the University must contact the Student Loan Accounting Office for an exit interview. Failure to participate in this exit interview may result in a hold being placed on transcripts.
Grades and Credit
The credit value of each course is usually equal to the number of hours the class meets each week for one regular term (fall or spring). Two or three laboratory or recitation hours (one period) are equivalent to one class meeting.
The letter grades A, B, C, D, and F are employed to designate excellent, good, fair, poor, and failing work, respectively. The grades B+, C+, and D+ also may be recorded. Courses graded D+ or lower cannot be applied to degree programs. The letter grades S (satisfactory) and U (unsatisfactory) are assigned only in courses that have been approved for Pass-Fail grading or in a standard graded course where the student, with the approval of the dean of The Graduate School, has elected an individual Pass-Fail Option (see "Pass-Fail Option"). Courses completed with an S may be counted in total credits earned. Graduate-level courses completed with the grade of U are calculated as an F for grade point average purposes. Retaking a course does not delete the original grade.
Grades of "I" and "NR"
The grade of I, for incomplete, is assigned at the discretion of the instructor when, in the instructor's judgment, a student is prevented from completing a portion of the assigned work in a course because of an unanticipated work-related responsibility, family hardship, illness, accident, or verified disability. The student should notify the instructor without delay that one of these conditions exists or has arisen. In any case, notification must be given before the end of the term. The instructor will determine, according to the nature of the interruption and the uncompleted requirements, how much additional time will be allowed for completing the work before a permanent grade is assigned. An Assignment of Incomplete Grade form (AS-5) must be completed by the instructor (with copy to student) and submitted to the Office of the University Registrar. This form must specify the justification for the I, conditions for make-up, and a deadline for completion. Re-enrolling in a course will not make up an incomplete grade. A grade of I is not computed in the calculation of a student's grade point average.
There is no automatic time period for an incomplete grade. The instructor should give the student a deadline that is reasonable--up to one year after the scheduled end of the course. After 12 months an I that still has not been replaced with a letter grade is changed permanently to a grade of F, unless the I was erroneously recorded, or to the backup grade if one was indicated by the faculty member on the Assignment of Incomplete Grade form. If the professor believes there is academic justification for an extension beyond the one-year limit, a request for extension should be submitted to the dean of The Graduate School before the expiration of the year, specifying the justification and specific duration of extension requested (GS-47 form Extension of Incomplete Time Period Authorization). The Graduate School does not approve the make-up of I grades in courses which are already out of date for use on a students program.
The mark of NR, no record, is assigned by the Office of the University Registrar if a grade has not been submitted at the proper time or if any grade not approved for a particular course has been submitted. It is a temporary mark on the transcript and must be replaced by a grade. If replacement does not occur before the last week of the spring or fall semester following the term for which the grade was recorded, a grade of F will be assigned.
Under certain circumstances, a graduate student may elect Pass-Fail grading in a course if the content is outside the major area. This option permits enrichment of the student's experience and a grade of either satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U) will be awarded. Those courses completed with a satisfactory grade may be counted toward total credit hours earned. A grade of U received under the individual Pass-Fail Option in a letter-graded course will be counted as an F for grade point average purposes. Students interested in this option should consult their faculty advisor and the dean of The Graduate School for approval prior to registration.
Special make-up work, extra work, or examination to change a grade already recorded is not permitted.
Once a permanent grade for a graduate course has been recorded, any change requires the approval of the Graduate Council. If a mark of I converts to a grade of F, the instructor should submit to The Graduate School a Request for a Course Grade Change (GS-24) form with a valid justification for the change. If the mark of NR converts to the grade of F, the instructor should submit a valid end-of-term grade for the student to the Office of the University Registrar before submitting a request for a course grade change.
Grade changes based on ordinary errors (transcription, computation, etc.) do not require Graduate Council review if submitted to the graduate dean within 12 months of the original grade assignment. Requests for a grade change submitted more than a year after the assignment of a grade must be accompanied by a justification and will be considered only in exceptional circumstances. These requests may be referred, at the graduate dean's discretion, to the Petitions and Appeals Committee of the Graduate Council for examination and recommendation to the full Graduate Council for its disposition.
Thesis and Dissertation Courses
Courses numbered 799 or 899 in all departments are restricted to thesis preparation (variable credit, 1-9 hours) and dissertation preparation (variable credit, 1-12 hours). All doctoral candidates are required to successfully complete a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation preparation. Completion or satisfactory progress in thesis preparation or dissertation preparation will be indicated by the grade of T; unsatisfactory progress in thesis preparation or dissertation preparation will be indicated by the grade of U. These grades will not be used to calculate the student's grade point average. Programs may establish policies regarding eligibility for continued enrollment.
Independent Study (Courses Requiring Independent Study Contract GS 56)
The purpose of the independent study option is to allow the student to pursue an area of academic interest not adequately covered by the regular course structure. Therefore, an independent study course cannot be used to fulfill a core requirement.
Prior to enrolling in a graduate independent study course, a student must complete an Independent Study Contract (GS 56). The approval of the instructor, advisor, department chair, and student's dean is required. Students then must present their approved copy to the Office of the University Registrar before registering for the course.
As a general rule, not more than 6 hours of independent study may be used on a master's program of study, and not more than 9 hours on a doctoral program of study, unless justified by the department and approved by the dean of The Graduate School.
A transcript of a student's record carries the following information: current status; a detailed statement of the scholastic record showing courses pursued with semester hours carried, semester hours earned, grades, grade points, grade point average, and system of grading; a permanent record of all failures, Incomplete grades, and penalties (such as suspension); cumulative USC grade totals; and references to other college or universities attended, dates attended, and the total transfer credits accepted by the University of South Carolina.
Any student who needs a transcript or a certified copy of the end-of-semester grade report may complete a transcript request form (AS-25) at the Office of the University Registrar or send a signed and dated letter containing all pertinent identifying information to the Office of the University Registrar. Official transcripts may also be requested online through Visual Information Processing (VIP) at https://vip.sc.edu. With the exception of copies made for internal use, no copy of a student's permanent record (transcript) will be released to anyone without the student's written consent. In addition to the written consent, each transcript request should include full name or names used, student number, current mailing address, dates of attendance, location of attendance, and date of birth to assure proper identification of the record requested.
No transcript will be issued to a student who is indebted to the University. No partial transcript will be issued.
The nonrefundable transcript processing fee is $8.
For purposes of academic standards, cumulative GPA is defined as the grade point average of all graduate-credit courses recorded on the official USC transcript. In-date courses are less than eight years old for doctoral students and less than six years old for master's, specialist, graduate certificate, and nondegree students. Revalidated courses are also included in the cumulative GPA calculation. Grades earned on graduate credits transferred from other universities are not included in the grade point average.
Academic Standards for Progression
Graduate courses may be passed for degree credit with a grade as low as C, but a degree-seeking student's cumulative grade point average must be at least B (3.00 on a 4.00 scale).
Academic Standards for Graduation
At the time of graduation, the student's cumulative grade point average must be at least 3.00. Additionally, the student's average on all in-date grades recorded on the program of study for courses numbered 700 or above must be at least 3.00.
Academic Suspension Policy ("3.00 Rule")
Graduate degree-seeking students whose cumulative grade point average drops below 3.00 (B) will be placed on academic probation and allowed one calendar year in which to raise the grade point average to at least 3.00. In the case of conversion of grades of incomplete that cause a cumulative GPA to drop below 3.00, a degree-seeking student will be placed on academic probation at the end of the semester in which the grade is posted. Students whose cumulative GPA falls below the required minimum of 3.00 by receiving a grade for a course in which they received an Incomplete will, instead of a one-year probationary period, be granted only one major semester of probation dating from the semester in which the grade is received by the registrar in which to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.00 or above. Students who do not reach a cumulative 3.00 grade point average during the probationary period will not be permitted to enroll for further graduate course work as a degree or nondegree student.
Colleges and departments may impose more stringent requirements than The Graduate School's academic suspension policy. Students should consult their advisors to ensure familiarity with departmental regulations.
Appeals for Reinstatement
Appeals for reinstatement from students who have been suspended should be reviewed first by the department and/or college and then forwarded to the dean of The Graduate School for review by the Graduate Council.
Academic Forgiveness Policy for Former USC Graduate Students with Less than a 3.00 Cumulative GPA
The Academic Forgiveness Policy applies to any former USC graduate student who has not been enrolled in The Graduate School at the University for at least 24 consecutive months. Academic forgiveness refers to the opportunity for graduate students returning to the University to complete a degree program by setting aside all former grades earned as a USC graduate student so that they will not be calculated into the studnt's graduate GPA. The request for academic forgiveness must include the term in which the student wishes the policy to take effect.
This policy is intended to assist former University of South Carolina graduate students whose cumulative USC graduate grade point average is below 3.00 and who have applied to be readmitted along with the prospective academic unit's endorsement (graduate director or chair).
A student who seeks academic forgiveness must submit a written request to the dean of The Graduate School. That request must include: a) what precipitated the academic suspension; and b) why the applicant should receive academic forgiveness and be readmitted. The written request must be accompanied by a letter of support from the prospective academic unit. Each appeal for academic forgiveness will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
With notification from the dean of The Graduate School, the registrar's office will segment the student's academic record showing all courses and grades to be included in academic forgiveness and recalculate the USC graduate GPA accordingly. The courses and grades will remain a part of the student's academic record. A notation will appear on the transcript indicating the student was approved for academic forgiveness. Once academic forgiveness is granted, courses taken during and prior to the term elected cannot be revalidated or count toward the completion of a graduate degree.
Senior Privilege Enrollment in Graduate Courses
Special provision to earn up to 6 hours of graduate credit is available to undergraduate seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.00 who need less than a full load of courses (15 hours) in their final semester to complete baccalaureate requirements. Overload enrollment that includes one or more courses taken for graduate credit under senior privilege is not allowed. Such courses cannot be used for undergraduate degree requirements (unless the student is in an accelerated bachelor's/master's program). Receiving graduate credit for courses taken under this privilege does not mean acceptance into The Graduate School or into a specific degree program.
A "Senior Privilege Course Work Authorization" with the necessary endorsements must be approved by The Graduate School before the student registers for the course.
Bachelor's/Master's Degrees Accelerated Program
Under this plan, students reduce the time necessary to earn bachelor's and master's degrees by applying up to 9 hours of graduate credits to both undergraduate and graduate program requirements. Students accepted into this program must have at least 90 hours of undergraduate credit, a minimum overall GPA of 3.40, and at least 3.40 in the course work taken in their major field of study.
Students applying to this program must submit to The Graduate School a completed "Application for Admission to a Combined Bachelor's/Master's Education Plan" (GS59) with endorsements. A "Bachelor's/Master's Accelerated Plan Course Work Authorization" (GS59A) must be submitted for each semester in which students take one or more of these courses.
Participation in the accelerated program does not require nor does it guarantee acceptance into The Graduate School or into a specific degree program. Students wishing to continue toward the master's degree at USC must apply formally to The Graduate School by submitting the appropriate form and required supporting documents. Not all units have accelerated programs; students should consult individual academic units for requirements.
Plan M (College of Engineering and Computing)
Note: Undergraduate students participating in senior privilege, the Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Plan, or Plan M, may opt for only one program. If a student has been approved to participate in one of the aforementioned programs, he or she is prohibited from applying for either of the others.
Students are expected to attend all regular class meetings. Unsatisfactory class attendance may be considered adequate reason for the instructor to request that the student withdraw from the course.
A graduate student registered for courses numbered 500-699, or for any undergraduate course for credit, is required to satisfy undergraduate attendance regulations.
Students who are auditing are expected to conform to the same attendance requirements as students registered for credit, but, in any case, must attend at least 75 percent of scheduled class meetings to receive audit credit.
Applications for Graduation
During their final academic term, all candidates for graduate degrees and certificates must file formal applications for graduation with The Graduate School. Applications must be filed by the third week of the fall or spring semester in which the degree is to be awarded, or within the first 10 days of Summer Session I if the degree is to be awarded at the end of the summer--even if the student does not plan to take courses until the second summer session. Applications submitted after the announced filing deadline will be accepted if supported by a letter from the student's graduate director and accompanied by a late fee of $25, which increases by $25 each additional month after the deadline. Deadlines are indicated in the Master Schedule of Classes for each term. Any late application that lacks the supporting letter or late fee will be regarded as having been submitted for the following term.
Diplomas cannot be awarded retroactively.
To pursue further graduate study after completion of a graduate degree, a student must submit a new application to The Graduate School, since the previous admission was specifically for the degree program from which the student was graduated.
Foreign Language Proficiency Examinations
Foreign language faculty schedule the administration of any foreign language examinations required of graduate students. For the specific dates of language examinations during the fall/spring semesters and summer sessions, students should consult the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.
Students must file an application for these tests no later than 24 hours before the examination.
Intensive reading courses in several languages are offered to prepare the student to meet the foreign language requirement. See the appropriate department section of this bulletin for specific course offerings.
The policies and regulations of The Graduate School and the graduate departments generally serve as purposeful guidelines and standards for graduate students as they pursue their degree objectives. Occasionally, individual students may feel they have grounds to seek exception from the uniform application of such regulations and policies. These students may file petitions with the academic area responsible for those standards.
The Graduate School accepts petitions for exception to regulations and policies that concern academic matters only. Petitions must carry the endorsement of the student's program director or department chair. A petition accepted by The Graduate School is reviewed by the graduate dean, who may act on the request or refer the matter to the Graduate Council. Students may contact The Graduate School for guidelines on the appropriate form and content of petitions.
Appeals of Academic Decisions
Appeals seeking to reverse or modify decisions made at a lower level of authority should be filed with, and pursued according to the established procedures of, the student's academic unit. Students should file appeals with the graduate dean only after the internal processes for appeals and grievances have been exhausted. The Graduate School will accept appeals on academic matters only. Disagreement with a grade assigned in a course is not a basis for appeal to The Graduate School, but should be directed to the instructor. Appeals must be submitted in writing and must bear the name, student number, and signature of the appellant. Student appeals for reversal of departmental decisions are only accepted for consideration when questions such as inequitable application of regulations, bias, conflict with regulations, or extenuating circumstances are cited as grounds for appeal. Students may contact The Graduate School for guidelines on the appropriate form and content of appeals.
The graduate dean will attempt to resolve the appeals filed with The Graduate School and will refer unresolved issues to the Graduate Council, whose decisions are the final actions taken within The Graduate School. Any further appeal must be directed to the Office of the Provost.
Graduate student appeals of disciplinary decisions reached under the Rule of Academic Responsibility procedures must be made to the University Committee on Academic Responsibility.
Candidates for graduate degrees at the University of South Carolina may revalidate out-of-date USC graduate courses over six years old for certificate, master's, and specialist programs (over eight years old for doctoral programs). Each academic unit will determine which of its graduate courses are appropriate for the revalidation process. The Graduate School's GS 04 form (Permit for Revalidation Examination) must be completed for the revalidation process.
Courses transferred from other institutions may not be revalidated.
The Extended Campus office facilitates registration in graduate classes at many locations throughout South Carolina. A variety of academic units, including the College of Education, the School of Library and Information Science, the College of Social Work, and the Departments of Psychology, English, and History, offer courses through the Extended Campus.
Individuals interested in enrolling for graduate credit in courses on a regional or four-year campus must first apply to and be admitted to a degree program or granted nondegree enrollment privileges by The Graduate School. Admitted students should seek advisement from the appropriate graduate director on the Columbia campus. An Extended Campus director at each regional or four-year campus can provide information concerning course offerings and schedules.
Graduate students attending courses on other campuses are subject to the same academic regulations and requirements as students on the Columbia campus.
Courses Offered via Telecommunications
The Office of University Instructional Services coordinates the offering of courses by television, videocassette, and the Internet. Courses designed for independent study are delivered over local S.C. ETV channels and by video/audio cassette. Live classes are transmitted through the state's ITFS system to viewing sites statewide and include audio interaction.
Courses are offered during fall, spring, and summer terms. The course offerings are available from the Office of University Instructional Services and Instructional Support.
The colleges and schools using telecommunications to deliver portions of their graduate degree programs include the Moore School of Business; the Colleges of Education, Engineering and Information Technology, Social Work, and Nursing; the Arnold School of Public Health; and the School of Library and Information Science in the College of Mass Communication and Information Studies. The College of Arts and Sciences and College of Education offer graduate courses designed specifically for educators and other professionals who do not have a degree objective but who want courses for certification or licensure purposes. Graduate programs leading to master's degrees in business and in engineering are offered via telecommunications. For more information, students should refer to the respective sections for those colleges in this bulletin.
Students interested in enrolling in television-assisted instruction for graduate credit must be admitted through The Graduate School of the University. All courses offered through telecommunications meet the same University standards of prerequisites, sequence, etc., that are required in residence work and are subject to the same academic regulations.
For further information, contact the Office of University Instructional Services, 803-777-7210.
The Graduate School (GRAD) course
- 800 -- The Graduate Student as Instructor. (1) Workshop in teaching skills, sponsored by The Graduate School, to enhance teaching experiences for graduate students who are involved in formal or informal teaching. Pass/Fail grading. Not for degree credit.
- 801 -- Graduate Student as Scholar. (1) (Prereq: research project and permission of instructor) Seminar examining scholarly growth and professional productivity. Not for degree credit. Pass/Fail grading.
International Courses (INTL)/Study Abroad
- 501 -- Study Abroad--USC Exchange. (1-16) This course keeps a USC student active while on a pre-approved USC exchange program.
- 502 -- Study Abroad--Non-USC Program. (1-16) This course keeps a USC student active while on a pre-approved non-USC study abroad program.
- 503 -- Study Abroad--Through Another U.S. Institution. (1-16) This course keeps a USC student active while on a pre-approved non-USC study abroad program through another U.S. institution of higher education.
Dual Degree Programs
Through special arrangement, the University offers dual degree programs in certain areas to permit a student to work on two degrees concurrently by combining credits, resulting in the student's taking fewer courses than the total required if each degree were pursued independently. Accepted dual degree programs include:
Public History/Library and Information Science
Criminology and Criminal Justice/Law
English/Library and Information Science
Public Administration/Social Work
Public Health/Social Work
Further information about dual degree programs can be found in the respective entries of participating academic units in this bulletin.
Graduate Degrees Offered