Academic Catalog


Official enrollment in the University occurs after the first day of class and requires that students be academically eligible, complete the registration process, and have made payment of current academic fees.

Students are expected to complete registration (including the payment of all required fees and having an ID card made) on the dates prescribed in the University calendar. Failure to pay fees by the published deadlines may result in cancellation of the student's class schedule.  To receive credit for a course at the end of the semester, students must be officially enrolled prior to the last day of late registration.

Academic Advisement

The purpose of academic advising is to facilitate students' progression in meeting educational goals. Students are assigned an advisor in their first semester of attendance.

Academic advising is a joint venture between the advisor and the student. The advisor's responsibilities include knowledge of the curriculum, of institutional policies, and of services available on campus. Advisors assist students in developing an educational plan including selection of courses, scheduling classes and evaluating progress toward the degree.

Students are responsible for making educational decisions, scheduling advisement appointments and initiating discussions concerning academic difficulty or changes in their plan of study. Students should read all university communication, both print and online, and meet published deadlines.

A scheduled advisement period is held during fall and spring semester before priority registration. Students are required to meet with an advisor prior to their registration appointment time. After advisement, a "hold" is lifted allowing the student to register through Self Service.

Individual courses may be offered by distance learning. Please check the semester schedule for listings.

Advisement Testing

New first-year students must take advisement tests in mathematics and English language and composition. Advisement into first-year English courses is based on the online writing placement test, which is administered at orientation. Students who demonstrate the need for additional instruction in English will be recommended to take ENGL U101L in the same term as ENGL U101. Students who score exceptionally high on the placement test may be considered for English U101 Honors. Those who have not completed the math requirement for their USC Upstate major must take a placement test in math. Refer to the foreign language placement policy under the Academic Programs section.

Credit Hour

In line with the U.S. Department of Education's definition of a credit hour, one credit earned for lecture courses (face-to-face, hybrid, or online) at USC Upstate is equivalent to at least 45 hours of work. This includes student preparation (studying, homework, etc.) and, if applicable, time spent in class. The total amount of time spent per credit varies by the type of course (lecture, laboratory, internship, or practice). For example, a three-credit face-to-face lecture course may meet for a total of 45 hours and require at least 90 hours of study and homework. A four-credit laboratory course will require at least 180 hours of work (typically 180 to 225 or more) including 45 hours of class time, between 45 and 90 hours of laboratory time, and 90 hours of student preparation. One credit of internship or practice (clinical, visual or performing arts studio, student teaching, field work, etc.) requires at least 45, but typically 45 to 60 (or more), hours of work. Some disciplines and courses may require more than a minimum of 45 hours per credit depending on learning outcomes, delivery methods, and degree type. Graduate level courses may require additional time.

Type of course Credits Minimum number of hours
Lecture 3 135
Laboratory 4 180 (typically 180 to 225+)
Internship or Practice 1 45 (typically 45 to 60+)

It is recommended that students carefully consider course load and selection with the amount of extra-curricular activities such as employment, social and family obligations. A course load of five 3-credit courses requires at least 675 hours throughout the semester, which equates to at least 45 hours per week over 15 weeks. A 15-credit course load that includes laboratory, practice, and/or internships will require more. A full-time 12-credit course load may only require 540 hours (36 per week), but it could exceed 750 hours (50 per week).

Although not all courses meet for 15 weeks, the total amount of hours of work required remains the same. The table below shows four examples of a typical 3-credit lecture course.

Lecture Course Length of Semester Hours per week
3-credit lecture course 15 weeks 9+
3-credit lecture course 8 weeks 17+
3-credit lecture course 5 weeks 27+
3-credit lecture course 4 weeks 34+

Course Load

Graduation from USC Upstate in four years assumes completing 30 semester hours of course work per year that can be applied to the degree program. Changing majors, repeating courses, or enrolling in fewer hours will delay graduation past four years.

A student may enroll in no more than 18 hours during a fall, spring or summer semester, without permission of his or her dean. Permission will not be granted for enrollment in more than 21 hours in fall, spring or summer. Forms to request permission for an overload are available on the University's website.

Semester Hours Enrollment

Fall, Spring and Summer Semesters

Semester Hours

Hours Status
1-11 Part-time status
12 Full-time status/graduate in 5 years
15-18 Full-time status/possible to graduate in 4 years
19-21 Must have permission to overload
Over 21 Not Permitted*
*If spring semester hours include hours from winter term, the winter term hours will not be included in the 21-hour maximum.

Independent Study

A student who wishes to enroll in an independent study course may do so by engaging a supervising faculty member, completing a contract in association with that faculty member, securing approval of the dean, and registering through the Records Office. Independent study forms should be completed no later than the first week of the semester.


A student who wishes to enroll in an internship may do so by engaging a supervising faculty member, completing a contract in association with that faculty member, securing approval of the dean, and registering through the Records Office. Internship forms should be completed no later than the first week of the semester in which the student is interning.


Auditing a course means attending classes and listening without actively participating in the class. Students must meet course prerequisites.  The auditor is not responsible for class assignments or examinations. No academic credit is earned for a course which is audited nor may it be earned later through examination.  A student who has audited a course is not prohibited from taking the course later for credit.

A student who wishes to audit a course must be admitted to the University and enroll in the course as an auditor. However, students taking the class for credit are given preference over auditors where enrollment limits are a concern.

A student who is auditing a course, but who wishes to take the course for credit, may change his or her registration by the end of the late registration period.

Students wishing to audit a course or to change from credit to audit may do so only with permission of the instructor.  Each instructor may set attendance conditions for the audit. Students not meeting those conditions will be withdrawn from the audit at the end of the semester when the faculty submit grades, with the withdrawal date listed on their transcript.

  1. Students who wish to audit or change from credit to audit should get an audit form from the website.
  2. The form must be signed by the professor with any limiting attendance conditions specified. The form is then signed by the student's advisor and turned into the Records Office.
  3. The last day to change credit to audit is the same day as the last day to change course schedule or drop without a grade of W being recorded.

Pass-Fail Option

A student who has an overall GPA of at least 2.0 and who wishes to investigate fields of study other than those required by his or her degree program may choose the pass-fail option. The pass-fail option applies only to elective courses. No more than eight courses may be taken on a pass-fail basis during a student’s academic career (excluded are credits granted for AP, CLEP, or ACT PEP). The option is offered on all courses at the undergraduate level, and normal prerequisites may be waived on these courses.

Enrollment for a course under the pass-fail option requires approval of the dean in the student’s major. The option must be elected or revoked no later than the last day to withdraw without academic penalty.

Courses taken on a pass-fail basis do not count in the student’s GPA nor toward the hours required for the Chancellor’s or Dean’s honor lists.

Repetition of Courses

Grades earned in a repeated course appear on the transcript and are calculated in the GPA (see Grade Forgiveness Policy).  Students may receive transient credit for courses previously attempted at USC Upstate. (See transient credit policy).

Undergraduate Enrollment in Graduate Courses (Senior Privilege)

An undergraduate senior in his or her final semester may enroll in graduate courses under the following conditions:

  1. The student has an overall GPA of 3.0.
  2. The graduate course(s) do not create an overload.
  3. Courses for graduate credit are not to be used to meet undergraduate degree requirements.

Summer Semester

Summer semester consists of a three-week term (Session A) and two four and one-half-week terms (Sessions B & C). Students regularly enrolled in the University may take work applicable to the degree during the summer semester.

The maximum course load permitted in the summer is 18 semester hours.  

The University reserves the right to cancel any course in the case of inadequate enrollment. Registration in any course may be closed when the maximum enrollment for effective learning is reached.

Changes in Registration

A change in registration involves adding a course, dropping a course, withdrawing from a course, changing from one course section to another, changing the number of credits in a variable credit course, or changing course registration from audit to credit.

Any change involving adding a course, dropping a course, changing a section, changing the number of credits in a variable credit course, or changing from audit to credit must be completed by the end of late registration as published in the university calendar. Students may elect or revoke the pass-fail option no later than the last day to withdraw without penalty. Students are urged to consult with the academic unit in which they are enrolled concerning any change of registration.

With the permission of both instructors, students may make the following schedule changes during the first few weeks of the semester (assuming the availability of the course to which the student desires to move):

  • French, German, and Spanish 101 to/from 102; 102 to/from 201; 201 to/from 202 or 210; (French or German); 202 or 210 (French or German) to/from 310;

Adding a Course, Dropping a Course, and Section Changes

Students may add a course, drop a course or make a section change through the last day of late registration through the Self Service Carolina. Courses dropped through this period are not recorded on the permanent record and are not entered into the computation of hours attempted, grade point hours or any other totals.

Course Withdrawal After Late Registration

Course withdrawal is allowed after late registration until the last day to drop without penalty (the last day of the tenth week of the regular semester) through Self Service Carolina, with a grade of W recorded on the permanent record; the semester hours will not enter into the computation of hours attempted, grade point average or any other totals. In summer sessions or other shortened terms the time allowed to withdraw from a course is 72 percent of the total number of class days.

Course Withdrawal After Last Day to Drop Without Academic Penalty

Students who wish to drop a course after the last day to drop without penalty do so through Self Service Carolina.  A grade of WF is recorded.  A WF is treated as an F in the computing of a student’s grade point average. Exceptions to the assignment of a grade of WF are possible for verifiable, documented reasons. If a student must either drop a course for medical reasons or other acceptable cause after the last day to withdraw without penalty, the grade of W may still be assigned. A Request of W Grade for Extenuating Circumstances form originates with the dean of the student’s academic major and if approved, must have a grade assignment by the course instructors, prior to being returned to the records office.  Students return the completed form to the records office no later than the last day of class for the semester (before final exams begin).

Withdrawal from Course or University

Students wishing to withdraw officially from the University may withdraw on Self Service Carolina. Students withdrawing from the University prior to the last day to withdraw without penalty have the withdrawal date and the courses posted on their transcript with a grade of W. Students withdrawing after the last day to withdraw without penalty, but not later than the last day of class, receive a grade of WF for each course in which they were enrolled. Students may petition to receive a grade of W rather than WF by carrying out the procedures outlined under the section entitled "Course Withdrawal: Following the Last Day to Withdraw Without Penalty." 

Withdrawal for Medical Reasons. A student may apply for a Withdrawal for Medical Reasons due to physical and/or psychological illness. A “W” recorded on the student’s transcript that is connected to a Withdrawal for Medical Reasons will not be counted as one of two allowed course attempts.  Students approved for Withdrawal for Medical Reasons must either:

  1. in the period beginning with first day of a grade of “W” is assigned and before the Last Day to Withdraw from Courses without Academic Penalty, students may request a Withdrawal for Medical Reasons. The student will independently drop their class(es) online via Self Service Carolina, and if the request is approved, the Dean of Student’s Office will make a note that the dropped classes will not count as one of the two allowed course attempts; or
  2. in the period after the Last Day to Withdraw from Courses without Academic Penalty drop one or all classes. An appeal to change a final grade is to be initiated within one year after the final grade is assigned. Exceptions to the one-year deadline are made through petition to the dean of the college of the student's major, through the Registrar.  

Students may initiate requests for a medical Withdrawal for Medical Reasons individually or with the assistance of the Dean of Students Office where the necessary procedures and required documentation is explained.  The Dean of Students Office will present the Director of counseling Services or the Director of Health Services the required documentation, after consultation with the Dean of Students and the Academic Dean.  If the student is granted a Withdrawal for Medical Reasons after review by Counseling or Health Services, the Dean of Students Office will assist the student in completing the relevant form (“Request to have WF’s change to W’s due to Extenuating Circumstances Form” or the “Post Semester (Retroactive) Extenuating Circumstances Withdrawal Form”). If a student is denied a Withdrawal for Medical Reasons, they may consult with their Academic Advisor and Dean regarding withdrawal but will not have the assistance of the Dean of Student’s office in completing all necessary paperwork.

Post-Semester Withdrawal (Retroactive). A student who ceases attending classes due to medical or other extenuating circumstances so serious that the student was neither able to attend classes nor initiate withdrawal procedures, may request to have each final grade changed to a W to indicate that there was satisfactory performance before being forced to stop attending classes. An appeal to change a final grade is to be initiated within three years after the final grade is assigned. Exceptions to the three-year deadline are made through petition to the dean of the student's major. Withdrawal is typically from all courses.

Requests for post-semester withdrawal are initiated in the Records Office, where the necessary procedures are explained and the student is supplied with the form entitled Request for Withdrawal After the Penalty Date for Medical Reason or Extenuating Circumstances. This form and supporting documentation concerning the extenuating circumstances are presented to the dean of the student’s major, who will make a determination as to the nature of the circumstances and the dates during which the student was unable to participate in classes. The dean makes a recommendation as to whether the student should be permitted a post-semester withdrawal from the University based on the findings of an investigation of the facts. The recommendation of the dean will be taken by the student to faculty members for assignment of a final grade of W or WF. The final grade will be based upon the student’s academic standing at the time of the initiation of the extenuating circumstances. If the instructor is no longer at USC Upstate the dean shall consider the request and assign a W or WF.

The decision of the dean of the student’s major concerning being allowed a post-semester withdrawal from the University or the assignment of a final grade by the faculty member(s) may be appealed as follows:

  1. To appeal the decision of the dean of the student’s major, the student requests that the Provost reviews the facts of the case. The decision of the Provost will be final.
  2. To appeal the assignment of a grade of WF, the student will follow the procedure described in the catalog section entitled "Academic Grievances."

Students who stop attending class(es) and fail to carry out the procedures for dropping or withdrawing from their course(s) and are assigned a grade of FN will be administratively withdrawn from the class(es) and assigned a grade of W. These W semester hours will enter into the computation of hours attempted, but not grade point average.