May 28, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]


Return to: Academic and University Policies  


Final Examinations Make-up Policy

When a final examination falls at a time that conflicts with a student’s observance of a holy day, faculty members must accommodate a request for an alternate examination date at a time that does not violate the student’s religious creed.

A student must discuss a final examination conflict with the professor no later than two weeks prior to the scheduled examination date to arrange an acceptable alternate examination date.

Administrative Examinations

The following administrative examinations are given at USC:

Placement Examinations

Placement examinations determine the student’s level of ability and appropriate placement in mathematics, chemistry and foreign languages. These exams carry no unit credit but can be used to fulfill a required or elective subject area.

Placement exams for mathematics, chemistry and foreign languages are administered by the Language Center in the USC Dornsife Office of Academic Programs.

Mathematics exams place into MATH 108 , MATH 117 MATH 118  and MATH 125 . Chemistry exams place into CHEM 050 , CHEM 102 CHEM 105a  and CHEM 105b .

Foreign language exams place into elementary and intermediate courses. Students may fulfill the foreign language requirement through a placement exam. Transfer courses in foreign languages do not fulfill the prerequisite for the next course in the sequence; students are required to take the USC placement exam to continue in language courses at USC. Transfer students may be advised to repeat, without additional credit, a semester or semesters of instruction to qualify for the next level in the sequence if their skills are judged insufficient at the time of testing.

Placement exams are administered throughout the academic year and during summer on the USC campus. 

The International Student English (ISE) Exam is administered by the American Language Institute. For exam information regarding the ISE exam, contact the American Language Institute, Royal Street Structure 106, (213) 740-0079,

All exams require a USC ID and/or proof of USC enrollment. 

For additional information concerning chemistry, foreign language or mathematics placement exams, contact the Language Center, THH 309, (213) 740-1188, and

University Writing Examination

Students who score below specified levels on certain sections of the SAT or ACT exams and students completing American Language Institute course work are required to take the University Writing Examination to determine if they must complete preparatory course work before enrolling in WRIT 150 . See The Writing Program  section.

Equivalency Examinations

Equivalency examinations are given at the discretion of the academic unit to determine whether upper division transferred course work may be applied as subject credit to the major requirements for the degree. Passing the examination does not provide additional unit credit. Contact the appropriate academic unit for specific details.

Subject Credit by Special Examination

Special examinations for subject credit establish subject credit in a subject area in which the student is sufficiently prepared but in which no previous credit has been accepted or attempted toward the USC degree.

Students who would like to request a waiver from the normal course requirements may request that the chair of the department in which the course is offered allow them to take a special examination challenging the course for subject credit only. The fee for the examination is one half of a unit per examination.

With the permission of the dean of the academic unit in which the student is a degree candidate, the student may file a Request for Credit by Special Examination form in the Grade Department (John Hubbard Hall lobby). The following rules apply:

  1. Credit by special examination is available to undergraduate students only.
  2. No more than one special examination may be taken in a given course.
  3. Special examinations will not be allowed in any course for which a student has received an unsatisfactory grade or mark on the transcript (e.g., W, UW, IN, IX, F or D) at USC or elsewhere.
  4. A special examination will not be allowed if the course is a prerequisite to or sequentially precedes a course or courses that appear on a college level transcript, unless USC allows similar courses to be taken out of sequence.
  5. Credit cannot be earned by special examination for the writing requirement, the first three semesters of any foreign language or MATH 040x .
  6. Native speakers of a foreign language may challenge only literature or linguistics courses offered through the respective language department.
  7. Results of all special examinations taken for subject credit only will appear on the USC transcript with a grade of “CR” (credit) or “NC” (no credit) and will not reflect unit value.