Academic Policies

Exception Procedures

Exceptions to particular university regulations and degree requirements will be considered only if there is no prohibition stated in this catalogue. Where exceptions are specifically prohibited, none will be granted. A student who wants an individual exception must follow the procedure specified in this catalogue for the particular regulation or requirement. If no procedure is specified, it may still be possible to request an exception. Such exceptions, however, are rarely granted.

Requests for exception to established university academic regulations or procedures are generally heard by: (1) the Committee on Academic Policies and Procedures (CAPP); (2) the dean of the academic unit in which the student is seeking a degree; or (3) the dean or director of the office responsible for administering the policy. Requests for credit for courses taken out of sequence are heard by the dean of the academic unit offering the course that was taken out of sequence. Students who wish to request an exception should first consult an academic adviser about the appropriate process to follow.

While the university is sensitive to the educational advantages of a flexible curriculum, it is also conscious of a responsibility to ensure equity for all students. Permission to deviate from published regulations is neither automatic nor pro forma; each request is considered on its own merits and in light of the petitioner’s complete academic record.

USC Committee on Academic Policies and Procedures

The Committee on Academic Policies and Procedures (CAPP), a representative group of faculty, students and administrators, reviews or delegates the review of most general petitions. CAPP studies the effects of university academic requirements, regulations and policies; recommends improved student academic policies and procedures; and regularizes policies and procedures so that the number of petitions can be reduced. As part of this charge, CAPP has specific responsibility for oversight and review of the University Policy on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities. CAPP also rules through Academic Petitions Committees on requests for exceptions to academic regulations and requirements printed in the University Catalogue. In most instances, the Academic Petitions Committee acts as the body with original jurisdiction, but in some cases delegates authority for approvals to another.

The assumptions and procedures which guide Academic Petition Committee actions are the following:

  • The student is responsible for complying with deadlines established in the academic calendar.
  • All academic work should be accurately reflected in the student’s record. The record is to be faithful to the actual experience. Cosmetic corrections or adjustments are not sanctioned.
  • Care must be taken not to establish the petition process as an alternative to being held to the adopted academic requirements.
  • Decisions should be focused on the academic basis for petition, rather than the consequences (real or imagined) that may face the student.
  • Registration and enrollment related petitions are presented by the registrar’s staff.
  • Academic petitions are presented by a representative of the student’s school.
  • The Committee on Academic Policies and Procedures receives reports from the degree progress department, the Office of Academic Review and retention and the Academic Petitions Committee.
  • The committee reports to the office of the president through the provost.
Registration-related Exceptions

Requests for exception to published registration procedures and enrollment deadlines are heard by the Dean of Academic Records and Registrar. Such requests are generated in the Academic Review Department, Trojan Hall 101. Requests that are not approved by the dean are referred to a CAPP panel for review.

Any request to change the official registration for a semester retroactively must be submitted within 24 months of the end of the semester in question. The 24-month period starts with the last day of final examinations for the semester in question. If appropriate, the time limit can be waived by the dean of the academic unit in which the student is seeking a degree for a period not to exceed a total of five years. Deans may not request waivers of the two-year time limit rule if the course(s) in question occurred longer than five years previously.

General Education Petitions

Students may petition to waive individual general education requirements or apply one or more courses not listed in the USC Catalogue toward general education requirements. If the course or courses to be substituted was or will be taken at USC, a General Petition may be initiated in the student’s home department; if the course was taken at another institution, an Articulation Petition may be initiated at usc.edu/OASIS. See Transfer Credit.

Degree Requirement-related Exceptions

Requests for exception to specific degree requirements are generated in the academic unit. Most requests will be forwarded by the adviser to CAPP for review. Some exceptions are made by the dean of the academic unit and are recorded on the Student Academic Record System (STARS) report by the academic department, using the exception process.

The Graduate School

Requests for an exception to the policies and procedures governing Graduate School degree programs will be considered upon submission of a general petition to the Graduate School stating the specific request, supported by adequate reasons and information. The signatures and recommendations of the faculty adviser or committee chair and department chair are required.

Graduate and Professional Programs

Requests for exception to the policies and procedures governing graduate degree programs that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School should be directed to the dean of the degree-conferring unit.