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College of Nursing

Courses and Registration

Online Courses

All nursing courses in the MSN and CGS Programs are delivered online through Blackboard Course Management System which allows USC 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 MSN and CGS 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 MSN and CGS 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 USC. 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 769/769A (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 USC Registrar's Office.

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 s/he is registered, s/he 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 MSN or CGS 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).

Course Load

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.

Enrollment Status

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. Graduate School requires any student who misses one or more semesters to submit an Update Request Form to renew your enrollment privileges. In some cases, if a planned term away is pre-arranged and approved prior to the term, this requirement may be waived. If three years or more lapse between enrollments, students must reapply for admission.

A student will be certified as half time for academic purposes with an enrollment of six graduate credits during a fall or spring term or three graduate credits during a summer session. This verification typically is for postponement of loan repayment and is routinely done on request by the Registrar’s Office. Certification of half-time status with enrollment less than that specified above can be approved only after the following conditions have been satisfied:

  1. The student has completed coursework on his/her program of study excluding NURS 799.
  2. The student verifies in writing that he/she is not employed full-time and that he/she is in fact working full-time on completion of the thesis, project, or dissertation.

Upon confirmation of the above conditions, a verification of half-time status with minimal enrollment will be authorized on a semester basis for a maximum of two semesters provided cumulative enrollment in NURS 799 does not exceed 18 credits. Enrollment status for scholarship purposes may vary from that for academic purposes.

Special Enrollment (Z Status))

Students whose need for under-enrollment results from an internship, practicum or field experience required by the graduate program can seek an exception to minimum enrollment requirements (Z-Status.) A written request to the dean of The Graduate School with acceptable justification and the nature of the experience from the student’s academic advisor or the graduate director of the academic program should be submitted.

Independent Study Courses

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 limited number of credits from NURS 769/769A, Independent Study in Nursing or NURS 840/840A may be applied toward MSN degree program completion. Students enrolled in the MSN programs may not enroll for nursing independent study courses on a pass/fail basis.

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

This form must be approved by course faculty and Graduate Director. See additional required approval below. Students send an approved copy of the G-ISC to the Office of the University Registrar before registering for the course.

Summer Sessions

There are typically three sessions offered each summer. Accelereated courses are typically scheduled to begin after spring final exams and run through July. Non-clinocal 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-Augst. Registration for summer and fall courses occurs simultaneously during the Advance Registration period in the spring semester. Unlike fall and spring registration, summer registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Class Attendance & Absences

Policies regarding absence from classes are determined by the instructor(s) responsible for the course. Any special circumstances (including but not limited to religious holidays) must be discussed with the course director prior to the start of the semester.

Students are required to attend all clinical components of their course work. Absences from the clinical portion of a nursing course will not be excused except for a documented illness (of the student), family death or critical illness. Students with excessive excused absences from clinical may be asked to share the cost of the make-up clinical hours with the School of Nursing. Excessive absences for any reason may necessitate repetition of the entire course.

Unexcused absences from clinical may result in a failing grade for the course based on the discretion of the course director. If the course director allows a student to make up an unexcused absence from clinical, and faculty coverage is needed, the student must pay the current rate per day missed.

Transfer Credit

Graduate credit earned as part of a completed graduate degree or certificate program at USC or elsewhere may or may not be applied to a second USC master’s degree program. A limited number of graduate coursework not part of a completed certificate program or graduate degree from USC or another institution may be transferred for credit toward a Master’s degree.

Eligible courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Taken at the graduate level
    Taken at an accredited, four-year institution
    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 his/her recommendation along with faculty member’s recommendation to the ADGS 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. 

Revalidation of Outdated Courses

Students enrolled in a Master’s program at the University of South Carolina may, with permission of the academic program, request revalidation of USC graduate courses over six years old for inclusion on the Master’s 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 ADGS, 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.

Leave of Absence or Inactive Status 

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.

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

Tuition Refund

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.

Withdrawal deadlines should not be used in determining how to receive a 100% refund on tuition. For more details, please review the withdrawal information provided by the University Registrar, or view the Parts of Term Dates and Deadlines located in the Academics section of SSC.

Withdrawal from Course and/or from University

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 MSN or CGS 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). Hardship Withdrawals (defined as medical, mental health, or special circumstance) are only considered for past semesters or the current semester’s WF period.

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. 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.).

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.

Students who have a serious and compelling extenuating circumstance may petition the Graduate School to grant a late withdrawal (AS-122A) for a course. Approval must be obtained from the Assistant Dean. Students petitioning for an exception must contact the Executive Director for Student Affairs to begin this process. Form AS-122A must be approved by the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies (ADGS), student’s instructor and the Graduate School prior to withdrawal. 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.

 Grades, Grade Reports and Transcripts

Incomplete (I) grades may be assigned in certain cases when, due to extenuating circumstances, the student is unable to complete required course assignments within the term time frame. Incomplete (I) grades convert to (F) or to the default grade assigned by faculty if the (I) is not removed within the time specified. When the incomplete course work is completed, the faculty member must file a special form to change the (I) grade. This form is filed in the appropriate graduate program office and forwarded to the Registrar's Office. After 12 months an (I) (incomplete) grade that has not been replaced with a letter grade is changed permanently to a grade of (F) or to the backup grade indicated by the faculty member on the Assignment of Incomplete Grade form if additional time for course work completion is not officially authorized.

NR (no record) is a temporary mark on the transcript assigned by the Office of the University Registrar if a grade has not been submitted by the instructor at the proper time or if any grade not approved for a particular course has been submitted. As a temporary mark on the transcript, the NR must be replaced by a grade. If the NR is not resolved or replaced by the instructor with a valid end-of-term grade before the end of the major (Fall or Spring) term following the term for which the grade of NR was recorded, a grade of F will be assigned. No Report (NR) grades are administratively converted to (F) grades at the end of the next major semester if a grade is not assigned by faculty.

Graduate students in any nursing graduate program with two temporary grades of Incomplete (I) or No Record (NR) cannot register for additional coursework. Students will not be permitted to register for further coursework until both temporary grades have been replaced with a satisfactory permanent grade or if the Incomplete (I) was assigned to a course that is considered a pre-requisite for a subsequent course. Students enrolled in graduate study may not graduate with a temporary grade of I or NR on their record, even if the course is not listed on the Program of Study.

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, as noted above, the College of Nursing does not allow a student to continue in the program with a grade of ‘U’ in two courses.

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.

At any point in the semester, it’s easy to view your USC GPA. Just log in to SSC to view your academic record. If you need an official copy of your grades, order a transcript. Transcripts are maintained by the Office of the Registrar, not by the College of Nursing.

The role of the ADGS 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.

Course Materials

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.

Course / Faculty Evaluations

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.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.