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College of Nursing

Academic Policies

 Graduate Nursing Program Requirements

Individual program policies may supersede this policy due to national accreditation regulations. Check with your Program Director to determine any additional requirements.

Doctoral Program of Study

The Graduate School Doctoral Program of Study (DPOS) is a binding agreement between The Graduate School and the student that must be on file and approved prior to graduation. Students must follow courses in the order and as outlined on the program of study. Modification to the DPOS may be made only in consultation with the appropriate Program Directors. Any changes must be submitted prior to beginning any change to The Graduate School on the Program of Study Adjustment Form (GS-43 (POSA)), which is submitted by the student’s Graduate Advisor. Forms are found at Graduate School Forms Library.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Requirements

DNP Overview

The DNP program at the University of South Carolina prepares you to be an advanced practice nurse ready to assume clinical and leadership roles. APRN graduates develop skills to evaluate and assess research to improve patient care. Nurse Executive Leadership program graduates are prepared to influence health care environments through professionalism, leadership, strong communication skills and business knowledge. A detailed description of the learning outcomes and courses required is found in the USC Graduate Studies Bulletin

In developing the plan of study, the following criteria will apply for Doctor of Nursing Practice:

  • The course listing will depend on the emphasis.
  • All clinical hours within the plan of study must be completed in the role area and with the population specific to the degree or certificate sought.
  • Work hours may not be substituted for, or counted towards, the completion of required clinical hours.
  • The number of clinical hours taken at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing will be consistent with the requirements of certification in the specialty area specific to the degree or certificate sought.
  • Once the Program of Study has been developed in consultation with the student graduate advisor and program director, it will be reviewed with the applicant and guide the completion of the selected program.

Requirements for earning the DNP degree include:

  1. Doctoral residency of at least 18 graduate credit hours for three consecutive major semesters. 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. The residency requirement may be met only after admission to the D.N.P. program;
  2. Completion of an approved program of study;
  3. Comprehensive assessment through defense of project proposal;
  4. Completion of a research utilization / evidence-based practice project and oral defense.
  5. Complete program within six years. Programs are designed for completion within six to 12 semesters.
    • Master's-prepared students / Nurse Executive Leadership concentration - 36-39 hours
    • Master's-prepared students / APRN no concentration - 33 hours
    • BSN-prepared students / Nurse Executive Leadership concentration - 74 hours
    • BSN-prepared students / Clinical concentration - 73-74 hours, depending on specific track
  6. Complete a minimum 1,000 clinical hours. Credit will be given via a gap analysis for some clinical hours earned during the master’s program. Each student, after admission will be required to submit a portfolio for evaluation of clinical hours and after evaluation, the required number of hours required in the DNP program will be outlined prior to matriculation
  7. Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 and earn a 3.00 or better in all required classes and courses number 700 or higher

A maximum of six (6) calendar years, beginning with the initial graduate course following matriculation, is allowed for completion of the work for the DNP degree. The BSN prepared students is typically enrolled for 10 or 11 semesters of full-time study.  Completion time for MSN prepared students is usually 6 or 8 semesters. Additionally, when courses are taken at the University are beyond The Graduate School ten-year limit, the course must be revalidated to be applied toward the degree.  Please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin Academic Regulations section on Revalidation of Out of Date Courses for more information. Coursework taken at other institutions cannot be revalidated.

After admission to the doctoral program, the doctoral residency requirement is satisfied with 18 hours of coursework taken over three consecutive major semesters.  Enrollment in a summer term is not required to maintain continuity, but credits earned during summer terms will count toward the 18 hours required for residency. 

While program curricula offered by the University of South Carolina, College of Nursing prepare students to sit for national certification within their specialty area, Nurse Practitioner program graduates may be required to complete additional state specific requirements before being permitted to practice.

The DNP project is the culmination of students’ study in the DNP program. The project is done under the supervision of the DNP committee consisting of two graduate faculty in the College of Nursing (one serves as the Project Chair and one as the project committee member), and one outside practice mentor. Other individuals may be added if additional expertise is needed. This project is graded T/U and implemented in NURS 897. A total 6 credit hours (over at least 2 semesters) of NURS 897 must be completed for the degree and may be taken for variable credit (1-6). The College of Nursing does not allow a student to continue in the program with a grade of U in two semesters. Students must successfully prepare a project proposal, which serves as the written and oral comprehensive exam required by the Graduate School, prior to the implementation of the project. All proposals must obtain IRB approval prior to implementation. The student must successfully complete the project and will not graduate until the DNP project committee approves the project. For additional information, see DNP Project Guidelines - Effective Summer 2019 in DNP Virtual Community in Blackboard under DNP Project Information, DNP Project Proposal and Final Paper Outline Folder.

The DNP Master Checklist outines the requirements for the DNP program.  Close adherence to these guidelines will ensure successful completion of the DNP program in a timely manner.  View the checklist in the DNP Virtual Community in Blackboard under DNP Project Information, DNP Master Checklist. 

DNP Project Committees requires 3 members.  Two members must be College of Nursing faculty members (the Chair and another member).  The third member is an outside member- “outside” is defined as outside the USC Columbia College of Nursing.

If your outside person is a faculty member at another university or is employed at a health care agency, s/he is preferably doctorally prepared. If appropriate, the outside member may be at the agency where your scholarly project will be conducted.

View additional information and required forms in DNP Virtual Community in Blackboard under DNP Project Information, DNP Project Committee. 

ANCC and NONPF outlines the Essentials for DNP Curriculum. 1000 clinical hours are required for all students upon graduation with a DNP degree. These hours can be a combination of direct patient care hours as well as indirect hours to increase knowledge in areas such as leadership, policy, informatics or health care systems for example. 

If you are a post MSN DNP student the hours required in the MSN can count toward your DNP degree from the CON. Each post masters DNP student should seek verification of hours from their MSN. This can be sent to the CON at scnursing@sc.edu (Attention: Dr. Alicia Ribar) on the school letterhead or the form may be sent to the MSN program and sent back to the CON. Once obtained an individual plan of hours will be developed for the student. This verification is ONLY needed for Post MSN DNP student Post BSN/DNP students complete all 1000 required hours in the  program here at the CON prior to graduation. 

All students must log ALL clinical hours whether direct or indirect in the central student portal.

Academic Standing

A student in good standing is defined as a student who: 

  • Maintains the proper GPA
  • Maintains the proper course load (without incompletes)
  • Is not on academic probation
  • Does not have two consecutive semesters of non-enrollment
  • Is on an approved leave of absence
  • Is not on financial hold nor carrying past due balances
  • Has completed the immunizations, background check, and drug screening processes with no identified problems 

A student must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 to remain in good academic standing and to graduate from the College of Nursing and the University. 

A student will be placed on probation if they 

  • Has a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 (B) at the end of any semester. Student is allowed one calendar year to raise the cumulative GPA to at least 3.00.
  • Has a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 due to conversion of grades of incomplete at end of semester in which the grade is posted. Student is allowed one major semester of probation dating from the semester in which the Incomplete conversion grade is received by the Registrar to raise the cumulative GPA to 3.00 or above.
  • Has earned less than a minimum grade of 80% (B) in any graduate course work.  If a grade lower than B is earned, this course must be repeated in order to enroll in subsequent nursing courses. However, the initial below B grade remains on the student record and counts toward the “Two C Rule” (see Academic Dismissal).  
  • See Appendix A, CON Graduate Pass/Fail Spring 2020 policy (CON Graduate S+/S/U for Spring 2020 Full-Term and B Term Courses Only). 

A student will be dismissed from the College of Nursing if they: 

  • Receive two grades of 79.99% (C+) or lower in the same NURS course or in any two NURS courses.
  • Fail a required graduate course twice or withdrawing from the course on the first attempt and failing the course on the second attempt or vice versa.  A student may only attempt a specific graduate course twice in the graduate program.  An attempt is any grade or W received in a course.  
  • Have a grade of ‘U’ in two courses
  • Have a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 at end of one calendar year of academic probation.
  • Have a cumulative GPA of less than 3.00 at end of major semester of probation dating from the semester in which the Incomplete conversion grade is received by the Registrar.
  • Have a positive drug screening.
  • Are banned from a clinical agency because of unprofessional, unethical, or illegal behavior.  
  • Have a professional (RN or APRN) licensure suspension or revocation. 
  • A student in a post-license program who becomes no longer licensed or has any form of restriction/probation as a registered professional nurse by any license granting authority, no longer meet the admission criteria of the program and are no longer eligible to progress. The student will need to notify the program director immediately of the change in their licensure status.  An academic record hold will be placed on the student’s records. The hold may be released upon becoming licensed or restriction/probation removed. 
  • See Appendix A, CON Graduate Pass/Fail Spring 2020 policy (CON Graduate S+/S/U for Spring 2020 Full-Term and B Term Courses Only)

Appeals for reinstatement from students should be reviewed first by the Executive Director of Student Affairs. If the appeal is approved, then the Student Petitions Committee must forward it to the Dean of the Graduate School for action (see Student Petitions).

The Graduate School Academic Forgiveness Policy is outlined in the Graduate Student Bulletin in the Academic Regulations section.

Online Courses

All nursing courses in the DNP Programs are delivered online through Blackboard Course Management System which allows UofSC faculty to create a secure course web site for class communications, posting assignments, posting readings, linking to complementary web sites, administering exams, and much more.  In courses that use Blackboard, the course syllabus will provide basic information about accessing Blackboard.  Additional information about Blackboard is available at Getting Assistance.  

Students access online courses at Blackboard Access.  Courses offered in this format are constructed and conducted differently than traditional classroom courses. Below are some suggestions on how to be successful in online courses:

  • Become familiar with Blackboard (Bb), the course software
  • Learn how to access Bb using Multifactor authentication
  • Read the “How to…” guides that are found in each course. They are well worth your time
  • Participate actively in the course

 Clinical Courses have didactic component online but require direct clinical practice and other activities such as clinical conferencing or simulation. 

Academic Advising

For most graduate students, the academic advisor is the Program Director or student graduate advisor. Advisors are the principal source of assistance to students in planning an academic program, seeking advice and dealing with problems as they arise. However, it is the responsibility of the student to maintain contact with the advisor. Faculty and staff will make every effort to help students but cannot be expected to be responsible for problems not brought to their attention in a timely manner.

A mandatory online orientation is required for all new DNP students.  Each student receives advisement and is provided a Program of Study and a Plan of Study developed by the appropriate Program Director prior to initial registration.  Thereafter, all DNP students are required to participate in advisement as needed as communicated via Blackboard announcements.  Deviation from the plan of study will result in a mandatory advisement with the appropriate Program Director prior to subsequent registration.  Enrollment in clinical and other special courses is contingent upon a student fulfilling additional requirements by stated deadlines (i.e., prerequisites, immunization and other health requirements, health agency requirements).  

Course Registration

Registering for courses is an important task that all students must complete throughout their time at UofSC.  New and transfer graduate Nursing students may not register for nursing courses until they have been admitted to the program, agreed to the plan of study and completed orientation. Access our registration system at Self Service Carolina (SSC).

The University Registrar establishes the official calendars followed by the University of South Carolina system. Access the full current and upcoming semester academic calendars to find key dates and information including holidays, registration dates, payment deadlines, drop or add dates, as well as exams and commencement for each term.  Each part of term has specific drop, add, and refund dates. Review your schedule in SSC / to determine the part of term for your classes.

Step 1: Review your Plan of Study in Central.  Log in Central Student Portal - make note of the courses you are projected to take in the next term. If you have questions about your plan of study or the courses you are scheduled to take, contact your program director.

 Step 2: Check your Registration Time Ticket in SSC - see “Registration” then “Registration Notices and Holds”. Make a note of the date/time and set a reminder in your calendar. 

 What is a Registration Time Ticket? It is the time the Registrar's office has appointed a student to begin registration for the next term.

 Step 3: Check your student account for holds.  See "Registration" then "Registration Notices and Holds."  What should you do if you have a hold on your account in SSC?  Contact the office that placed the hold on your account and determine what needs to be done to have the hold removed.  Ensure your hold is removed before the time on your Registration Time Ticket.

 What is an Advisement Hold? Advisement holds are placed on student records by the College of Nursing to ensure students complete all CastleBranch requirements and that the requirements are up to date.  Advisement holds prevent registration.  Advisement holds will be removed by staff as CastleBranch compliance is confirmed.

 Step 4: Continuing students:  Confirm your CastleBranch account is up to date - Sign in to your CastleBranch account and view your "To Do List" - take care of any overdue items before the time on your Registration Time Ticket.

 Step 5: Register for the classes listed on your plan of study at your designated registration time (See Step 2 above to determine your designated time).

 Students must register only for those courses listed on their plan of study. Students who deviate from their plan of study may be removed from courses by the College of Nursing.

 Need help with the Registration Processes in SSC?  See the SSC tutorials.

Registration for a clinical nursing course is limited to students admitted to a College of Nursing graduate degree or certificate program.

 Registration Advisement holds are placed on student records for the following reasons:

  1. Prior to clinical course:  Each graduate Nursing student is placed on registration hold before the start of the upcoming registration term in which a clinical experience will occur. Each student must have a fully compliant CastleBranch account by end of first semester of enrollment and request registration “signoff” from the student graduate advisor for the registration hold to be lifted and to register for classes. The registration holds are lifted by student graduate advisor(s). This is an opportunity for students and the Program Director/Advisors to ensure that the Program of Study and planned course registration is correct.
  2. NURS 840/840A (independent study courses) requires completion of an independent study contract (G-ISC) by the student and faculty member that must be filed with the student’s Graduate Advisor for the student’s file and in the UofSC Registrar's Office.
  3. NURS 897 (DNP Project Preparation and Residency) requires syllabus, completion of an  independent study contract (G-ISC) by the student and faculty member that must be filed with the student’s Graduate Advisor for the student’s file and in the UofSC Registrar's Office, and approved Clinical Agreement for Student Experience (CASE) form.

The University of South Carolina Registrar’s web page SSC  enables students to register via the internet and access their personal information such as grades, financial aid, fees, and class schedule.  The most up to date information is posted online.

Students can use SSC to add, drop, or change a course or section.  Any change in enrollment must be recorded with the Registrar’s Office.  Students may check the Academic Calendar online for the last day to drop a course without a grade of “W” being recorded and for the last day to drop a course or withdraw without a grade of “WF” being recorded.  Please note a “W” does constitute an attempt of a course. Failure to complete the official course withdrawal process has serious implications for calculation of the final course grade and calculation of grade point averages.  Students should discuss any potential changes with their program director and assigned student graduate advisor prior to making the changes.

For a refund schedule, please see the Tuition Refund section below for more information. Please note that should a student fail to attend classes in a course for which they are registered, they may not be automatically dropped from the course. Students who fail to drop a course they are not taking, but are still registered for, within the drop/add period may receive a grade of FN in that course.

Applicants to the DNP program may not register for nursing courses until they are admitted to the program, agreed to the plan of study and completed orientation.

 Registration for a clinical nursing course is limited to students admitted to a College of Nursing graduate degree or certificate program.

 All health requirements to include background checks and drug screenings must be compliant by the end of the first semester of enrollment or a registration hold for subsequent semester enrollment will issued. 

 Registration for independent study courses require an independent study contract (see Independent Study Courses).

 Withdrawing from class can have both an academic and financial impact. For information regarding academic withdrawal, please review the withdrawal information provided by the University Registrar. You can also view the Parts of Term Dates and Deadlines located in the Academics section of my.sc.edu.  Each part of term has specific drop, add, and refund dates. Review your schedule in SSC to determine the part of term for your classes.

If you are withdrawing from all courses during a given semester, contact regapeal@mailbox.sc.edu to obtain the Tuition Refund Appeal packet.

There are typically three sessions offered each summer.  Accelerated courses are typically scheduled to begin after spring final exams and run through July.  Non-clinical courses are typically scheduled to begin after spring final exams and run through the first of August.  Clinical courses are typically scheduled to begin after spring final exams and run through mid-August.  Registration for summer and fall courses occurs simultaneously during the Advance Registration period in the spring semester.  . 

Most assigned textbooks are available in the University Bookstore.  The University Bookstore is located on the first floor of the Russell House.  Several other bookstores such as the South Carolina Bookstore and Addams University Bookstore, located near campus, also sell required textbook and academic supplies.   

At the end of each course, students evaluate the course and its instructor. The results of these evaluations are maintained by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Course Enrollment Status and Load

Students enrolled in full-time or part-time study are entitled to use the full services of the University.  Full-time status requires enrollment in at least nine credit hours during a regular semester and six credit hours during the summer. For the purposes of financial aid, a student must be enrolled in at least 6 hours per semester to be eligible for financial aid. Students may elect not to enroll for a summer session; however, they are not entitled to use faculty, computing or library resources during that time.  a student must be enrolled for at least 1 credit during any semester in which the DNP project progress is made and such University resources as the library, computer facilities, or faculty time are used. Graduate School requires any student who misses one or more semesters to submit an Update Request Form to renew your enrollment privileges. If three years or more lapse between enrollments, students must reapply for admission.

 UofSC will provide enrollment verification or a transcript to fulfill a verification request. Currently enrolled students can obtain a verification of enrollment through the National Student Clearinghouse at no charge through their Self Service Carolina account.

UofSC will also provide a student with an official transcript for a fee. An official transcript is a complete record of a student’s enrollment history, including all University of South Carolina campuses and can be used to verify credit hours completed by a student. A transcript can be used to verify a student’s degree awarded, enrollment history, GPA, good standing, or eligibility to return to UofSC.

A student may attempt a specific graduate course twice in the graduate program.  An attempt is any grade, W, or WF received in a course.  Each DNP course may only be attempted twice. 
The Graduate School definition for normal full-time enrollment status for graduate students is 9 hours for graduate students or 6 hours for students serving as graduate assistants.
  • Degree Verification
  • Enrollment Verification for Current Students
  • Enrollment Verification for Current Students for Past Academic Terms
  • Enrollment Verification for Alumni for Past Academic Terms
  • Enrollment Verifications for Third Parties
  • Academic Good Standing/Eligible to Return to UofSC
  • Good Standing Auto Insurance
  • Insurance Forms
  • Loan Deferements 

The dean of The Graduate School, under certain circumstances, may certify that a student’s full time enrollment is less than the normal requirement of 9 hours for graduate students or 6 hours for students serving as graduate assistants. This is known as Z-Status. Students seeking an exception to minimum enrollment requirements (Z-Status) should submit a written request to the dean of The Graduate School with acceptable justification from the student’s academic advisor or the graduate director of the academic program. International students must also submit the approved Exemption from Full-time Enrollment form from International Programs for Students. 

Students nearing completion of a doctoral degree requiring a DNP project may be granted special enrollment status and certified as half-time or full-time if the student has completed course work required for the degree except DNP project preparation (897). Eligibility requires verification of three conditions by the student’s academic advisor or program graduate director. The memo requesting Z-status must indicate that:

  1. all course work on the program of study has been completed except for DNP project preparation (897);
  2. the student is working on the DNP project full-time, or if applicable, at least half-time; and
  3. the student is not employed outside their graduate assistantship or, if applicable, employed no more than half-time if not on a graduate assistantship.

A Z-status request for under-enrollment privilege must be term-specific and is limited to two terms. Z-status for under-enrollment privilege may be extended beyond two terms with the approval of and justification from the academic unit and with the approval of the dean of The Graduate School.

Students who request exemption from full-time enrollment for financial aid purposes must submit the Special Academic Enrollment Release form (F 6.2) from the Office of Financial Aid.

A student taking one or more semesters off from coursework will require submission of an Update Request Form. The Admission Committee will review the URF and determine the semester of return based on the student’s revised Program of Study. A new background check and drug screen will be required upon re-enrollment. 

DNP students must contact their program director and/or graduate advisor if taking one or more semesters off from coursework.  

A student may attempt a specific graduate course twice in the graduate program.  An attempt is any grade or W received in a course.  Each DNP course may only be attempted twice. 

Students can drop a course or withdraw with a grade of W or WF via SSC.  Deadlines for dropping a course without receiving a W and WF, as well as refund dates, are determined by the part of term to which a course is attached.  Every part of term during a semester has a drop/add deadline.

Withdrawals are defined by the time in the semester you wish to withdraw. There are both academic and financial implications associated with the date you drop your course(s). Should you wish to withdraw from a course with a grade of W or WF, a grade of W or WF will be recorded on your transcript. A grade of W will not be calculated in your GPA, but will be recorded on your permanent record.  Courses dropped after the WF deadline will be recorded as a WF on your permanent record. The grade of WF is treated as an F in the calculation of your GPA. The WF deadline will vary based on the part of term for your class found in SSC. Prior to withdrawing, you are encouraged to view your Concise Student Schedule located on the Registration tab of the Student section found in SSC to identify your part of term, speak with a counselor at the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for questions regarding how dropping some or all your courses will impact your aid (e.g. federal and private loans, grants, scholarships, special status, etc.).

A student who wishes to drop a course for medical reasons or other acceptable cause after the session penalty date specified on the Academic Calendar for that term (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) available from the Executive Director of Student Affairs with the appropriate documentation of circumstances, (e.g., a letter from a physician or health care provider). 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 complete withdrawal from, student course work is appropriate. Students must be aware that liability for repayment of student loans and other financial obligations may apply. Note:  W or WF does count as an attempt of the course.  Only two attempts per course are permitted.

For information about tuition refunds, please contact the Bursar’s Office.

Course work not part of a completed certificate program or graduate degree from USC or another institution may be transferred for credit toward a doctoral degree. A limited amount of course work may be transferred from another institution for credit toward a doctoral degree.

Eligible courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Taken at the graduate level
    Taken at an accredited, four-year institution
  • Meet the requirements for NURS 717, NURS 720 , NURS 790, NURS 805, NURS 808, NURS 781 – cannot transfer any of the 3 P’s, NURS 718 courses that contribute to the DNP project, or any clinical course. 
    Final grade of B or higher (no pass/fail or audit)
    All transfer credit decisions are at the discretion of the course faculty.  The appropriate content faculty member reviews the syllabus to determine equivalency and to make a formal recommendation to the appropriate program director. The Program Director routes their recommendation along with faculty member’s recommendation to the Associate Dean for Academics for final CON approval.  Outdated transfer courses (courses completed outside the ten-year period preceding graduation date) cannot be revalidated. Approval for acceptance of transfer credit to a student’s program of study must be approved and justified by the student’s academic program and submitted to the dean of the Graduate School for final approval on the Request for Transfer of Academic Credit (G-RTC) form Please refer to the Graduate Studies Bulletin Academic Regulations section on Transfer Credit before contacting the graduate advisor for more information about transfer credit. 

Students enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of South Carolina may, with permission of the academic program, request revalidation of USC graduate courses over ten years old for inclusion on the doctoral program of study. Each academic unit will determine whether a course is appropriate for revalidation. All instructions for revalidation must be followed and the Permit for Revalidation Examination (PRE) form must be completed and submitted to the dean of The Graduate School for approval prior to revalidation. Proof of payment of revalidation fees must be submitted with the Permit for Revalidation Examination form.

Note: Coursework taken at other institutions may not be revalidated.

  •  Revalidation of a course requires that the student demonstrate current knowledge of the course content by a faculty member who currently is teaching or has taught the course. 
  • Core, foundation, and Clinical Courses leading to nurse practitioner preparation cannot be re-validated. These courses must be repeated. 

 The College of Nursing Program Director recommends approval to the Associate Dean for Academics, who then sends the request to The Graduate School for approval.  A per credit hour fee must be paid to the Bursar’s Office before revalidation can occur and a receipt must accompany the Permit for Revalidation Examination form for approvals. It is the student’s responsibility to track the Permit for Revalidation Examination form through the approval process, and to obtain the faculty member’s signature upon completion of revalidation requirements.  The completed form must then be submitted to the appropriate College of Nursing graduate advisor for filing and forwarding to The Graduate School.  

The purpose of an independent study is to allow the student to pursue an area of academic interest not adequately covered by the regular course structure. Students seeking to enroll in an independent study course should work with a faculty member willing to serve as Instructor of Record. Prior to enrolling in the course, the student and faculty member will meet to develop the learning objectives and course outcomes. A syllabus is required to be completed and approved. 

 A limited number of credits from NURS 840/840A, Independent Study in Nursing may be applied toward DNP degree program completion. Students enrolled in the DNP programs may not enroll for nursing independent study courses on a pass/fail basis. 

Registration for Independent Study

The Graduate School Independent Study Contract form (G-ISC) is required for any graded, for-credit course in which the student is doing independent academic work. This contract is to contain the following information:

  • Course Description should give insight into the content to be covered within one semester or part of the semester
  • List of Tasks should include 1) a brief description of each task and how it will be assessed, 2) an estimated of when it will be due or accomplished, and 3) the weighted contribution toward a final grade, preferably expressed as a percentage.  The total of all of the tasks should be 100 percent.
  • Grading Scale should indicate the percentage ranges for each grade and must include an A and
    an F. Indicating the full range of grade possibilities is most desirable. For example: A = 90–
    100%; B+ = 85-89%; B = 80–84%; C+ = 75-79%; C = 70–74%; D+ = 65–69%; D = 60–64%; F = 0–59%.

 This form must be approved by course faculty and Graduate Director. The G-ISC form and syllabus should be first submitted to the graduate advisor prior to registration.  The original G-ISC should be forwarded to the Office of the Registrar before registering for the course.  

Attendance Policies 

Students are expected to attend all regular class meetings.  Unsatisfactory class attendance may be considered adequate reason by the instructor for requesting the student to withdraw from a course.  Any special circumstances (including but not limited to religious holidays) must be discussed with the course faculty prior to the start of the semester.

Students are expected to log into the course at least 2 times weekly to read announcements, access course content in Course Weekly Guides, participate in interactive online learning activities. Unsatisfactory class attendance may be considered adequate reason by the instructor for requesting the student to withdraw from the course.

On-site Simulation Experience is mandatory. Failure to attend the On-Site Simulation Experience will receive a grade of F for the course, regardless of grades earned, and will be dismissed from the program.

Skills Immersion Experience is mandatory. Failure to attend the Skills Immersion Experience or any portion of, will receive a grade of F for the course, regardless of grades earned, and will be dismissed from the program.

Students are expected to complete all scheduled clinical practice hours as required for successful completion of the course.  Schedules are planned with the preceptor with input from the course faculty and clinical faculty.  Faculty may require withdrawal or failure of any student who has missed sufficient practice hours or has not completed clinical objectives for the course. 

Grading Policies

Student grade report is viewable within SSC in the Grades section.  Final grades are due 72 hours after the exams.  If your grade is not posted, contact your instructor.  For letter grade definitions, see 2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin, Grading Policies

The College of Nursing uses a 10-point grading scale with no grade rounding.  

A   = 90-100
B+ = 87-89.99 
B   = 80-86.99 
C+ = 77-79.99
C   = 70-76.99
D+ = 67-69.99 
D   = 60-66.99 
F   = 59.99 or lower 
The Grade Point Average (GPA) is tabulated at the end of each semester.  The University of South Carolina grades on a standard 4.00 grading system.  

Completion or satisfactory progress in these courses will be indicated by the grade of "T"; unsatisfactory progress will be indicated by a grade of "U".  No other grading options (i.e., Incomplete) are available.  These grades will not be used to calculate the student's GPA.  However, the College of Nursing does not allow a student to continue in the program with a grade of "U" in two courses. 

The role of the Associate Dean of Academics  in matters of grade disagreement is to investigate the processes used by faculty in determining the grade and advise the faculty member in handling any perceived problems with applying grading processes outlined in the syllabus or any other apparent violations of fairness.  The faculty member ultimately determines the grade that is awarded.

If a required course is failed, it must be repeated at the next available offering and a satisfactory grade must be achieved. The repeated course may not be taken with the Pass/Fail Option. Any courses for which the failed course is a prerequisite may not be taken until a satisfactory grade in the prerequisite course has been achieved. However, the failing grade remains on the transcript even though the student has repeated the course and obtained a passing grade or above. The failing grade is still calculated into the cumulative GPA. 
Failure to earn a satisfactory evaluation in the clinical component inclusive of the faculty evaluation will result in a course failure regardless of other grades earned in the course. Clinical failure may occur at any time during the semester. Students will receive an “D+”, "D" or F” in a clinical course if they fail to meet objectives or if they are removed from the clinical setting for unsafe practice or unprofessional activities at any point during the course. Violation(s) of the Nurse Practice Act will be reported to the Board of Nursing. 
Failure to achieve a B or greater will result in repeating the entire course including clinical hours. A student who is failing a clinical course for unsafe practice may not withdraw from the course. In the event of a failure for unsafe clinical practice, the Associate Dean for Academics will define the conditions under which the student may repeat the course.

Graduate students may also require guidance on professional behavior or clinical remediation. A graduate learning contract may be developed by the course faculty in conjunction with the program director or graduate director. The learning contract will outline the behavior or clinical skills in need of improvement, an action plan and timeline for improvement as well as consequences if improvements are not achieved.

Incomplete Policy

A student who fails to complete a course within the prescribed period and does not withdraw from the course will receive, at the instructor's discretion, either a grade of I (incomplete) or F (failure).  If an I grade is granted but not completed in the time period outlined the grade will revert to a F or faculty determined grade. 

A grade of incomplete in a non-clinical course is assigned by the instructor only under the following conditions: 

  1. The student has academic good standing in the course with a passing grade average.
  2. The student has no more than two outstanding course requirements unmet in the course.
  3. The student and instructor have completed an Assignment of Incomplete Grade Form (AS-5).
  4. The student and instructor have an agreed date of submission for all outstanding course requirements. The student has up to 12 months to complete the work unless the instructor has given an earlier deadline.  

Any grade of incomplete which remains after one calendar year from date of assignment automatically converts to either an “F” or the backup grade assigned by the instructor.

A grade of incomplete in a clinical (theory and practice) course is assigned by the instructor only under the following conditions: 

  • The student has academic good standing in the course with a passing grade average.
  • The student has clinical good standing in the course with no record of clinical practice errors risking patient safety in the course.
  • The student has no more than two outstanding course requirements unmet in the course.
  • The student has completed the majority of any required clinical hours (e.g. more than 50% of clinical hours are completed) in the course.
  • The student and instructor have completed an Assignment of Incomplete Grade Form (AS-5).
  • The student and instructor have an agreed date of submission for all outstanding course requirements. The student has up to 12 months to complete the work unless the instructor has given an earlier deadline.  

Carrying this grade may hold severe implications of failure to progress to next term with delay in the student’s academic and clinical progression of an academic term or full academic year.  Any grade of incomplete which remains after one calendar year from date of assignment automatically converts to either an “F” or the backup grade assigned by the instructor. 

Examination Policies 

  1. All exams must be completed by the due date/time. Failure to complete any exam by the due date/time will result in a grade of 0 for that assignment. In case of emergencies and/or extenuating circumstances, please notify the faculty in advance.
  2. Point deductions will be incurred for failure to complete the exams in the designated time frame.  If you exceed the time limits for the exams, 2 points per minute will be subtracted from the grade.
  3. Discussion or reproduction of any online assessment (e.g. exams or quizzes) in any form is a violation of academic integrity and, if it happens, will be reported.

 There are 3 options for taking proctored exams: 

  • Attend test proctored sessions in person at the Distributed Learning office on the UofSC Columbia campus, at 1716 College Street.  No fee.  
  • Attend test proctored sessions at testing centers on UofSC regional campuses.  No fee, Use this link to see the list of U of SC testing centers.
  • Test at a location of choice (anywhere) using online test proctoring through ProctorU.  This option comes with a fee of $10 for taking a 2-hour exam. You will need to pay this fee each time you take an exam.

 Prescriptive Authority and APRNs 

The South Carolina Board of Nursing accepts the USC College of Nursing curricula and pharmacology hours as meeting the minimum of 45 contact hours of education for prescriptive authority licensure designation.   

  • The 45 didactic hours taken in NURS 702 are also sufficient for initial approval of prescriptive authority in accordance with the Laws Governing Nursing in South Carolina, section 40-33-34, if the application is made within two years of graduation from either the MSN degree program or a Certificate of Graduate Study in Advanced Practice Nursing degree program.
  • Students must maintain continuous enrollment in their program of study or must repeat Nursing 702 Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics to meet the Board of Nursing application requirements for prescriptive authority. The University defines continuous enrollment as 2 or 3 major semesters per academic year Fall, Spring and Summer.  
  • If students do not remain continuously enrolled or do not apply for their license within 2 years of graduation, they will have to meet the Board of Nursing requirements for additional continuing education in pharmacology.
  • Any student who will be looking to be certified outside of SC should check with their intended state Board of Nursing to determine the specific requirements.   

Degree Completion and Graduation

The graduation application is the first step you will need to take in order to graduate from your academic program. To be eligible for graduation a student must meet all University and College of Nursing standards for receiving a degree.  Candidates for degrees must file a formal application during the last semester before graduation prior to the deadline set by the Registrar’s Office.  Deadlines are posted for each term on the official academic calendar of the University Registrar.  Applications filed after the deadline result will not be accepted and will delay receipt of diploma.  At the time of graduation, the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be at least 3.00. Additionally, the student’s average on all grades recorded on the program of study for courses numbered 700 or above must be at least 3.00 and all courses listed on the program of study must be at least 3.00. 

Review the application and award processes on the  Registrar's website to better understand what happens once you submit your application.

All degree requirements are expected to be completed within six years. Programs are designed for completion within six to 12 semesters.  Candidates who are unable to meet this requirement must petition for an extension to the Associate Dean for Academics. Any additional requirements in effect at the time of re-evaluation must be completed.

All failing (“F”) and Incomplete grades must be cleared or completed by graduation day or the student’s name will be removed from the graduation list. A cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required. All University balances must be paid in full.  At the time of graduation, the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be at least 3.00. Additionally, the student’s average on all grades recorded on the program of study for courses numbered 700 or above must be at least 3.00 and all courses listed on the program of study must be at least 3.00.

Commencement exercises are held for degree candidates in both Fall and Spring each year. The President of the University of South Carolina presides over commencement. To honor their commitment, each degree candidate is recognized by name and congratulated by the dean of the graduate’s college or school.  Visit the Registrar's website for additional information regarding commencement.

In addition, the College of Nursing celebrates the accomplishments of the graduating class with a special Convocation ceremony in both fall and Spring each year. 

Students with outstanding University balances, incompletes, “NR” or uncleared “F” grades at the time of graduation will not be able to obtain their diplomas nor will they be able to obtain any official transcripts or other University information until the balances are paid in full.

Have a question about your degree or diploma? Review frequently asked questions to find answers  at  https://www.sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/registrar/graduation/degree_diploma_faq/index.php

Students are encouraged to nominate themselves or others for the College of Nursing Student Awards.  More information about the nomination process will be disseminated to students during the academic year.

Alumni

Upon graduation, students of the College become alumni of the University of South Carolina.  The College's alumni family is a major support system for the College and alumni donors help to support several scholarships annually.  Alumni are electronically sent copies of USC College of Nursing Gamecock CONnection and invited to attend annual alumni events and celebrations.  All graduates are encouraged to notify th alumni office or the My Carolina Alumni Association of address changes.  Contact us at sc.edu/nursing/alumni.  


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