Academic Policies

University Policies

Academic Integrity at USC

The university as an instrument of learning is predicated on the existence of an environment of integrity. As members of the academic community, faculty, students and administrative staff share the responsibility for maintaining this environment. Faculty have the primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining an atmosphere and attitude of academic integrity such that the enterprise may flourish in an open and honest way. Students share this responsibility for maintaining standards of academic performance and classroom behavior conducive to the learning process. Administrative staff are responsible for the establishment and maintenance of procedures to support and enforce those academic standards. Thus, the entire university community bears the responsibility for maintaining an environment of integrity and for confronting incidents of academic dishonesty.

Specific guidelines governing academic integrity are described in SCampus. Additional information can also be found on the Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards Website at usc.edu/student-affairs/SJACS.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The University of Southern California maintains the privacy of student education records and allows students the right to inspect their education records as stated in the university’s Student Education Records policy, consistent with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). The entire text of the university’s policy is located in the Office of the General Counsel, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Registrar’s Office. A summary also appears in the current edition of the student guidebook, SCampus. Additional information regarding FERPA is also available on the Registrar’s Website, usc.edu/ferpa.

Faculty and staff who request access to student academic records in order to execute their normal duties must first review the information found on the FERPA Website and complete the tutorial before access will be granted.

Students wishing to review or seeking to amend their education records should submit a written request to the university office in which the record is maintained.

At the discretion of university officials, USC may release certain information classified as directory information unless the student requests that such information not be released. A complete listing of directory information is published in SCampus in the Student Education Records section and is also found in the FERPA section of the Registrar’s Website, usc.edu/ferpa.

Students wishing to restrict release of directory information may do so by completing the appropriate form provided by the Registrar’s Office (Registration Building Lobby). Such requests remain in effect for the academic year. Students wishing only to have their information withheld from the online USC Student Directory should contact the Registrar’s Office (Registration Building).

Recognizing that many students wish to share information from their educational records with their parents and family members, USC has developed an online system that will accomplish the following:

  • allow students to grant their parents access to education and medical records in one step;
  • allow parents to view elements of the education records that are available in USC’s central student information system.

Students may log in to my.usc.edu and click on OASIS, USC’s Web-based student information system, and use the “Establish Guest Access” feature to grant others permission to education and medical records. Instructions for logging into OASIS and granting access are provided on the university’s FERPA Website at usc.edu/ferpa.

Parents who wish to gain access to information from the education records of their son or daughter will not be provided the information unless the student has granted access through OASIS or has completed the appropriate release form authorizing the university to release specific information from their education records to approved individuals.

If students grant access through OASIS, parents and family members may access education records information online through the OASIS for Guests Website. For more information regarding FERPA, including forms and instructions to log in to OASIS or OASIS for Guests, parents and students should visit the university’s FERPA Website at usc.edu/ferpa.

Policy on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The University of Southern California is committed to full compliance with the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). As part of the implementation of this law, the university will continue to provide reasonable accommodation for academically qualified students with disabilities so that they can participate fully in the university’s educational programs and activities. Although USC is not required by law to change the “fundamental nature or essential curricular components of its programs in order to accommodate the needs of disabled students,” the university will provide reasonable academic accommodation. It is the specific responsibility of the university administration and all faculty serving in a teaching capacity to ensure the university’s compliance with this policy.

The general definition of a student with a disability is any person who has “a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities,” and any person who has “a history of, or is regarded as having, such an impairment.” Reasonable academic and physical accommodations include but are not limited to: extended time on examinations; advance notice regarding booklists for visually impaired and some learning disabled students; use of academic aides in the classroom such as note-takers and sign language interpreters; accessibility for students who use wheelchairs and those with mobility impairments; and need for special classroom furniture or special equipment in the classroom.

Procedures for Obtaining Accommodations

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services and Programs (DSP) prior to or during the first week of class attendance or as early in the semester as possible. The office will work with the course instructor and his or her department, and the student to arrange for reasonable accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to provide documentation verifying disability in a timely way.

See sait.usc.edu/academicsupport/centerprograms/dsp/home_index.html for documentation guidelines, policies and procedures.

Academic Accommodations

Students seeking academic accommodations due to a disability should make the request to the course instructor prior to or during the first week of class attendance or as early in the semester as possible. Course instructors should require that a student present verification of documentation of a disability from Disability Services and Programs if academic accommodations are requested. The USC Gould School of Law has a unit-specific policy for handling requests for academic accommodations; however, all students with disabilities should register with DSP. Refer to the Law School Student Handbook.

For assistance in how to provide reasonable accommodations for a particular disability, course instructors are encouraged to consult with the staff at DSP. Students requesting academic accommodations must have verification of disability.

Grievance Procedures

Detailed information about processing a grievance is found in the Student Grievance Procedure section of SCampus, a guidebook for USC students, and in a brochure available in the Disability Services and Programs office, STU 301.