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    Columbia Campus
  Jun 14, 2024
2009-2010 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin 
2009-2010 Undergraduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Degree Conferral and Graduation Policies


In-residence Requirement Second Major
Application Process Graduation with Honors
Graduation Requirements Indebtedness
Second Baccalaureate Degree  

In-residence Requirement

The last 30 semester hours must be completed in residence at the University, and at least half of the hours in the student’s major courses and in the student’s minor courses (if applicable) must be taken at the University. Some programs impose greater student residence and/or major requirements.

Regardless of when students enter the University, they must complete the last 30 semester hours before graduation enrolled in classes approved by the appropriate dean of the college, school, or campus from which the degree will be granted. In addition, all degree applicants are urged to confer with the deans of their respective colleges about their programs and degree requirements prior to the beginning of their last semester of residence at the University.

“In residence” means that the student was regularly enrolled at USC; took the course at Columbia or one of the other campuses of the University; was a member of a class which was supervised by a regular faculty member of USC; attended classes on a regular, pre-established schedule; and in other ways conformed to the requirements which are normally connoted by the term “in residence.” In-residence requirements may not be met by courses for which credit is earned by exemption or exam, courses taken by correspondence, or courses for which transfer credit was awarded. Courses taken under the Pass-Fail option meet in-residence requirements. If the student has not established credit for the prescribed number of hours in residence, then the student is not eligible either for graduation with honors or for graduation on the basis of having completed 30 semester hours of work during the senior year at the University.

Application Process

All candidates for degrees and certificates must file formal applications during the last academic term before graduation with the deans of their respective colleges on forms obtained at the Office of the University Registrar or the appropriate dean’s office. Applications must be filed by the third week of the fall or spring semester in which the degree is to be awarded or within the first 10 days of the first summer session. If the student is not enrolled during the first summer session, the application must be filed within the first week of the second summer session for the student to graduate at the summer commencement.

Graduation Requirements

In order to be eligible for graduation, students must meet all course requirements, be in good academic standing, meet any departmental or program requirements, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 on all work attempted at USC.

Second Baccalaureate Degree

At times the University confers a second baccalaureate degree upon candidates who have completed requirements for the second degree.

The following specifications for a second baccalaureate degree apply:

1. The student must meet admission and progression requirements for the second degree, and must have received formal approval to pursue the second degree from both deans.
2. All requirements for the second degree must be fulfilled.
3. The additional requirements for the second degree must include a minimum of 24 semester hours beyond those required for the first degree.
4. No course that satisfies a general education, major, minor, cognate, or requirement other than a free elective for the first degree may be applied to the major field of the second degree.
5. The student must file a separate degree application for the second degree with the appropriate college or school.

Under this policy a student may apply for two degrees at one time or separately. In either case, the student receives two diplomas. It should be noted that a second major does not by itself lead to the conferral of a second degree.

Students who submit two degree applications for the same degree in the same college for a double major will receive one diploma.

Second Major

In some degree programs, a student may elect a second major. Normally, second majors are possible only in degree programs with similar general education requirements. The second major option is not available in all colleges.

1. The student must meet admission and progression requirements for the second major.
2. The student must have received approval from both deans for a second major.
3. All requirements for the second major must be fulfilled.
4. All general education and special departmental requirements normally associated with the second major must be fulfilled.
5. In cases where the first major and the second major lead to different degrees, the student must designate one as the official degree of record. A second major eliminates the cognate requirement; however, special departmental requirements normally completed as part of the cognate are not waived.

Fulfillment of the requirements for a second major are indicated on the student’s official transcript upon graduation. No notation for a second major is placed on the official transcript for course work completed after graduation.

Students who submit two degree applications for the same degree in the same college for a double major will receive one diploma*.

Graduation with Honors

Graduation with honors will be based on a cumulative GPA calculated on the basis of all work for college credit, including any attempted at other institutions at any time. This calculation will include all courses attempted, not just those submitted in fulfillment of graduation requirements. Honors designators are determined at the time of graduation and may not be applied retroactively.

In addition, students with overall honors must show a GPA at USC which meets the level specified for the honors being sought.

The following designations indicate a consistently high level of academic achievement throughout the student’s entire academic career. To graduate with such honors, a student must have earned at least 60 credit hours applicable toward the degree in residence at the University, 30 credit hours for an associate degree. Courses taken by a transient student at other institutions, by correspondence, by examination, or by exemption are not considered “in residence.”

Summa Cum Laude: a cumulative GPA of 3.95-4.00

Magna Cum Laude: a cumulative GPA of 3.75-3.949

Cum Laude: a cumulative GPA of 3.50-3.749

With Honors from South Carolina Honors College: Any student who completes the requirements of the Honors College, regardless of the major or undergraduate degree, is awarded that degree “With Honors from South Carolina Honors College.”

With Distinction: Any student who earns an undergraduate degree and completes the requirements for the appropriate Departmental Undergraduate Research Track is awarded that degree “With Distinction in [that major].” For details, refer to the degree requirements of specific majors.


It is expected that students will discharge any indebtedness to the University as quickly as possible. No diploma, certificate, enrollment verification, or transcript will be issued to or for students who have not made satisfactory settlement with the Office of Financial Services for all of their indebtedness to the University.