Academic Policies

Policies and procedures throughout the University including policy information, academic integrity, academic conduct, and support systems.

USC Policies can be found in various resources.

University Catalogue

The University Catalogue is the document of authority at USC. If students notice any discrepency between online or other printed documents from the University Catalogue, please contact us immediately. Students should be familiar with the following sections of the University Catalogue:

  • Graduate and Professional Education
  • Degree Requirements for their specific department and major


The SCampus is the University Student Guidebook and contains additional policies and procedures, as well and more student resources while at USC.

Other Policy Resources

Viterbi Academic Probation Policy

Effective Fall 2007

All USC students are expected to maintain satisfactory progress in their pursuit of an advanced degree. The Viterbi School of Engineering has established the following policy and procedures for those students who fail to meet the GPA requirements of their program of study:

  • If after attempting 6 or more units and if a cumulative GPA is less than 3.0, the student is on probation with a warning letter.
  • If while on probation students have improved, but not yet reached 3.0 and are allowed to continue, a letter with the required GPA needed to be maintained will be sent to the student.
  • If the GPA reaches a 3.0 or above, the student will be removed from probation.
  • If after attempting 15 or more units (and any subsequent semester) a student will be dismissed if any of the following occur:
    • GPA falls below 2.5.
    • GPA has not improved with courses counting towards their degree enough to be on track to graduate with a 3.0 or more at the end of their program.

The University Catalogue describes the following in its section on “Academic Warning and Dismissal of Graduate Students.” Faculty advisors and departments take factors other than satisfactory grades and adequate GPAs into consideration in determining a student’s qualifications for an advanced degree. A student’s overall academic performance, specific skills and aptitudes, and faculty evaluations will be considered in departmental decisions regarding a student’s continuation in a master’s or doctoral degree program. Satisfactory progress toward an advanced degree as determined by the faculty is required at all times. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress will be informed by their department or committee chair or school dean. The faculty has the right to recommend at any time after written warning that a student be dismissed from a graduate program for academic reasons or that a student be denied readmission. Procedures on disputed academic evaluations are described in SCampus.

Engineering enables and empowers our ambitions and is integral to our identities. In the Viterbi community, accountability is reflected in all our endeavors.




Think good. Do better. Be great.

These are the pillars we stand upon as we address the challenges of society and enrich lives.

Engineering is a collaborative discipline, and your engineering education is no different. USC Viterbi takes academic integrity violations seriously. Please make sure that you understand very clearly from your faculty the expectations for collaboration on any assigned work, and to understand the expected range of sanctions if you fail to meet these expectations.

Academic Conduct

Plagiarism – presenting someone else’s ideas as your own, either verbatim or recast in your own words – is a serious academic offense with serious consequences. Please familiarize yourself with the discussion of plagiarism in SCampus. Other forms of academic dishonesty are equally unacceptable. See additional information in SCampus and university policies on Scientific Misconduct for students engaged in research. 

Discrimination, sexual assault, and harassment are not tolerated by the university. You are encouraged to report any incidents to the Office of Equity and Diversity or to the Department of Public Safety. This is important for the safety whole USC community. Another member of the university community – such as a friend, classmate, advisor, or faculty member – can help initiate the report, or can initiate the report on behalf of another person. The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services (RSVP) provides immediate therapy services for situations related to gender and power-based harm (e.g., sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking). 

Support Systems

A number of USC’s schools provide support for students who need help with scholarly writing. Check with your advisor or program staff to find out more. Students whose primary language is not English should check with the American Language Institute which sponsors courses and workshops specifically for international graduate students. The Office of Disability Services and Programs provides certification for students with disabilities and helps arrange the relevant accommodations. If an officially declared emergency makes travel to campus infeasible, USC Emergency Information will provide safety and other updates, including ways in which instruction will be continued by means of blackboard, teleconferencing, and other technology.

PhD Handbook

As you begin your life as a PhD student, you will have a lot of information, policies, procedures, and criteria to navigate. To assist you, we have created our Ph.D. Student Handbook

In addition to your department and faculty advisors, the GAPP Office is a resource to assist you during your time at the Viterbi School of Engineering. Please feel free to email us, or stop by OHE 106 during our office hours from 8:30am-5:00pm Monday-Friday.

Jennifer Gerson
Director of Doctoral Programs
OHE 106
O: 213-740-6241

Tracy Charles
Doctoral Programs Coordinator
OHE 106
O: 213-740-0114

Academic Resources