Requirements for Graduation
Degree RequirementsUndergraduate degree requirements consist of grade point averages, unit requirements, residence requirements, general education requirements, the writing requirement, the diversity requirement, pre-major and major requirements, and minor requirements. Undergraduate students may elect to follow (a) the degree requirements in the catalogue current in their first term of enrollment after admission or readmission at USC or (b) degree requirements in a subsequent catalogue as long as they were enrolled in a term in which it was in effect. However, undergraduate students may not mix catalogues.
While there are no specific time limits for completing bachelor's degrees, over the years many departments change their major requirements in accordance with developments in the field and department. Occasionally, general education requirements are changed or a degree program is discontinued.
Therefore, undergraduate students who do not complete their degrees within six consecutive years from the beginning of the semester of their first completed USC course work will not be allowed automatically to continue following their pre-major, major and minor requirements as specified above. (This time limit includes semesters during which students are not enrolled.) The pertinent department chair will decide what pre-major, major and minor requirements each student must follow and communicate the decision to the student in writing.
Students who do not complete their degrees within 10 consecutive years from the beginning of the semester of their first completed USC course work will not be allowed automatically to continue their general education requirements. (This time limit includes semesters during which students are not enrolled.) The General Education Office will decide what general education requirements each student must follow and communicate the decision to the student in writing.
An appeal of a department's decision may be made to the dean of the appropriate academic unit or the Provost's Office for academic units without departments. An appeal of a general education decision may be made to the Committee on Academic Policies and Procedures (CAPP).
Grade Point Average RequirementA grade point average of at least C (2.0) on all baccalaureate units attempted at USC, as well as on the combined USC-transfer GPA, is required for undergraduate degrees. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in all attempted upper division courses for the major is also required, regardless of the department in which the courses are taken. The university will not deviate from policies governing the calculation of the grade point average through inclusion or exclusion of course work.
Unit RequirementStudents are required to take a minimum of 128 baccalaureate units at the undergraduate level (of which not more than four units may be physical education units). A student may earn a maximum of 16 units for individual instruction in music at the 101/300/301 levels and comparable transfer courses. No more than 8 units of dance technique courses (THTR 181 through THTR 189) may be applicable toward an undergraduate degree. Of the 128 unit minimum at least 32 units must be upper division course work. Students must also complete all upper division course work in the major at USC. The university will not deviate from the minimum unit requirements stated above or the additional unit-specific requirements. Some disciplines require more than the minimum requirements. Check individual department listings for specific requirements.
Unit credit indicates the number of semester units earned in the course; these units may or may not be applicable to the degree. Degree credit indicates the units are applicable to the degree.
Pass/No Pass Graded WorkA maximum of 24 units of undergraduate course work taken on a pass/no pass basis may be used toward an undergraduate degree and a maximum of 4 of these 24 units may be applied to the general education requirements. Use of pass/no pass course work to fulfill major requirements must be approved in writing by the academic department. Course work required for a minor may not be taken on a P/NP basis. Individual academic departments may have placed further restrictions on whether a course taken on a pass/no pass basis can be used to fulfill specific requirements.
General Education RequirementsGeneral education and writing requirements for all students are provided in the General Education section. Additional specific information is included with the information on individual majors.
Diversity RequirementThe diversity requirement must be met by all students who began college at USC or elsewhere fall 1993 or later. It can be met by passing any one course carrying the designation "m" for multiculturalism. The list of courses and further details about meeting the diversity requirement are found in the General Education section.
Gateway CourseA gateway course is a lower division 3-4 unit course that introduces and showcases the minor or major curricula of an academic field of study. It is intended to be a student's first exposure to a field of study.
Upper Division Major Course WorkThe university requires that all undergraduate students successfully complete at USC all the upper division courses that are applied to their major. Substitution of a comparable upper division course for a required one may be entered in the STARS exception process by the departmental advisor with the support of the department. Substitutions and waivers of USC or transfer courses for upper division requirements for majors are to be limited to a combination of 25 percent. Substitution of courses with the same departmental prefix are exempted from this limit. Lower division courses cannot be substituted for upper division course requirements.
Minor ProgramsApplication for a minor must be made to the department or professional school and an appropriate endorsement must appear on a Change/Addition of Major or Minor Degree Objectives form.
The following guidelines apply to minor programs:
(1) Minor programs are available to students matriculated in an undergraduate degree program and must be completed simultaneously with the major degree program.
(2) Minors constituted of course work from a single department may not be earned by students majoring in that department.
(3) Students may take an interdepartmental minor in which their major unit participates as long as at least four courses (at least 16 units) required for the minor are not courses offered by the major department.
(4) Students must take at least four courses (at least 16 units) which are unique to the minor (i.e., not required to fulfill the student's major, another minor or general education requirements).
(5) All upper-division course work required for the minor must be taken at USC.
(6) Departments at their discretion may substitute no more than 25 percent of the required units defined in the catalogue for a given minor program. Substitution of courses with the same departmental prefix are exempted from this limit. Lower division courses cannot be substituted for upper division course requirements.
(7) Departments at their discretion may waive no more than 4 units for minor programs with 17 to 20 units or no more than 8 units for minor programs with more than 20 units for each student. The number of units unique to the minor after any departmental waivers or substitutions must total at least 16 units.
(8) No course work required for the minor may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.
(9) A minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA must be achieved in all courses required for the minor. A higher minimum may be required by the sponsoring department or unit.
(10) Students whose major degree programs do not include a language requirement need not satisfy that requirement to earn a minor from the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences or a professional school that has a language requirement unless the minor specifically requires the language.
(11) Completion of the minor program will be recorded on the transcript.
Departmental Honors ProgramsThe following departments have received approval from the university Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for their majors to graduate with departmental honors:
Anthropology; Art History; Biochemistry; Biological Sciences (B.A. and B.S.); Broadcast Journalism; Chemistry (B.A. and B.S.); Cinema-Television; Classics; Communication; Comparative Literature; Earth Sciences; Economics; English; French; Geological Sciences; History; International Relations; Linguistics; Mathematics (B.A. and B.S.); Neuroscience (B.A.); Philosophy, Philosophy (Ethics, Law and Value Theory); Political Science; Print Journalism; Psychology; Public Policy, Management, and Planning; Public Relations; Religion; and Spanish.
The minimal requirements for receiving departmental honors are that the student: (1) satisfactorily completes course work for an honors project and (2) achieves no less than a 3.5 GPA (A = 4.0) in the major at the time of graduation. Each program, department or school will designate what it considers the appropriate course work and honors project.
Departmental honors are noted on academic transcripts but not on the diploma.