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Academic Standards & Appeals

Academic Standards

Student Responsibility

It is the responsibility of all students to be aware of USC academic standards and their current academic record. Students should check their Record of Academic Work in Self Service Carolina at the conclusion of each semester. The academic record will list any probationary status that requires attention by the student.

GPA

For purposes of academic standards, cumulative GPA is defined as the grade point average of all graduate-credit courses recorded on the official USC academic transcript. Revalidated courses are included in the cumulative GPA calculation. Grades earned on graduate credits transferred from other universities are not included in the grade point average.

GPA Calculator

Time to Degree

Doctoral students have ten years from initial term of enrollment in which to complete their degree. Master's, specialist, and graduate certificate students have six years from initial term of enrollment in which to complete their degree.

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 programs may have more stringent standards.

Graduation GPA

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 grades recorded on the Program of Study must be 3.00 and the student's GPA for courses numbered 700 or above, recorded on the Program of Study, must be at least 3.00.

Academic Probation and 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 3.0, 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 3.0 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 3.0 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 non-degree student.

Appeals for Extension of Probation, Reinstatement after Suspension, or Academic Forgiveness

Appeals should be reviewed first by the department and/or college and then forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Appeals may be referred to the Grievances, Appeals and Petitions Committee of Graduate Council. Guidelines for Appeals are listed below.

Filing an Appeal For Extension of Academic Probation Period

The current policy of The Graduate School on Academic Probation and Suspension stipulates that, when a degree-seeking graduate student's cumulative graduate grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0, the student is placed on academic probation.* The student has one calendar year from the academic probation term to increase his/her cumulative graduate GPA to at least 3.0. Failing to meet this condition will result in academic suspension from all graduate study at the University of South Carolina.

When extenuating circumstances exist that prevent a student from raising the GPA to 3.0 in the given twelve months, the student may file an appeal to extend the probationary period. The appeal must be filed in The Graduate School at least forty-five days before the end of the last term of probation. (Note: Once a student is suspended, this appeal option is not available)

Any appeal must include all of the following components before it will be considered by the Graduate Council's Grievances, Appeals and Petitions Committee:

  1. A written statement from the student explaining why his/her performance led to the academic probation and describing the extenuating circumstances that merit an extended probation.
  2. An explicit written plan by the student, endorsed by the student's academic advisor, showing how the student will overcome the extenuating circumstances (e.g., medical treatment, change of major, adjustment of work demands, etc.) and raise his/her GPA to 3.0 or better.
  3. A feasible projection of what grades will be required in what courses and which terms to yield the requisite overall GPA of 3.0.
  4. A statement of student progress from each instructor in every course during the term in which the appeal is being submitted.
  5. A letter from a department chair or graduate director to confirm that all materials for this appeal are in order and that the appeal is supported by faculty in the unit.

*In the case of conversion grades for incompletes that cause a GPA to drop below 3.0, a degree-seeking student will be placed on academic probation at the end of the semester in which the grade is posted. Only a one major semester probationary period will be granted when the student's GPA drops below 3.00, because of the conversion of an incomplete grade.

Deliver complete packet to:

The Graduate School
901 Sumter Street
Byrnes Building, Suite 304
Columbia, SC 29208

Filing an Appeal For Reinstatement after Suspension

The Graduate School's current policy on Academic Probation and Suspension stipulates that when a degree-seeking graduate student's cumulative graduate grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 the student is placed on academic probation. The student has one calendar year from the academic probation term to increase his/her cumulative graduate GPA to at least 3.0. Failing to meet this condition will result in academic suspension from all graduate study at the University of South Carolina.

Reinstatement cannot be granted for one calendar year following the term of suspension. Appeals may be initiated at any point following suspension.

To seek readmission, a student must formally reapply, and the respective department must recommend admission as part of a well-documented appeal packet.

Completed packets must be submitted to The Graduate School not less than forty-five days before the start of the term for which the student seeks readmission. Appeal packets must contain all of the following components or they will not be considered.

  1. A letter from the student that explains the factors that resulted in his/her academic suspension.
  2. An explicit plan written by the student and endorsed by the graduate director showing how the student will overcome the extenuating circumstances noted in the student's letter of appeal (e.g., medical treatment, change of major, adjustment of work demands, etc.) and raise his/her GPA.
  3. A feasible projection of what grades will be required in what courses and which semesters to yield the requisite overall GPA of 3.0.
  4. A letter from the appropriate department chair or graduate director to confirm that all materials for this appeal are in order and that the appeal is supported by faculty in the unit. The respective department must recommend readmission.

Deliver complete packet to:

The Graduate School
901 Sumter Street
Byrnes Building, Suite 304
Columbia, SC 29208

Academic Forgiveness Policy

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 last 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 student'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 3.0 and who have applied to be re-admitted 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 Graduate Studies. 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 Graduate Studies, the Registrar's Office will segment the student's academic record showing all courses and grades to be included in Academic Forgiveness and re-calculate 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.

Deliver complete packet to:

The Graduate School
901 Sumter Street
Byrnes Building, Suite 304
Columbia, SC 29208


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