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2018-2019 Graduate Catalog
Section 7 - Academic Policies and Regulations

Academic Policy Information | Student Responsibilities | Student Conduct | Academic Integrity of Students | Disruption of Academic Process
Student Academic Grievance Procedure | Graduate Catalog | Assistantships | Enrollment Requirements | Academic Standards and Grades
Change of Graduate Major | Accelerated Major Guidelines | Concurrent Degrees | Off-Campus Courses and Programs

Academic Policy Information

For USF Regulations refer to

For USF Policies refer to

Student Responsibilities

The University, the Colleges, and the majors have established certain academic requirements that must be met before a degree is granted. While advisors, directors, department chairpersons, and deans are available to assist the student meet these requirements, it is ultimately the responsibility of the student to be acquainted with all policies and regulations, and be responsible for completing requirements. If requirements for graduation have not been satisfied, the degree will not be granted. The information presented here represents the University Academic Policies. Colleges and departments may have additional requirements. Check with your College Graduate Coordinator or your Department Director for more information. Courses, majors, and requirements described in the Catalog may be suspended, deleted, restricted, supplemented, or changed at any time at the sole discretion of the University and the Board of Trustees. For a list of current course descriptions, refer to the USF Course Inventory database online at:

Student Conduct

Members of the University community support high standards of individual conduct and human relations. Responsibility for one’s own conduct and respect for the rights of others are essential conditions for academic and personal freedom within the University. USF reserves the right to deny admission or refuse enrollment to students whose actions are contrary to the purposes of the University or impair the welfare or freedom of other members of the University community. Disciplinary procedures are followed when a student fails to exercise responsibility in an acceptable manner or commits an offense as outlined in the Student Conduct Code. Refer to the USF 6.0021, Student Code of Conduct at:

Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is a critical element in training for scholarship. USF has information about RCR available online at: Effective Spring 2013, the Office of Graduate Studies requires all new doctoral students to have basic RCR training by completing the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) module most relevant to the student's major of study. The CITI modules have been designed to introduce researchers to various elements of research conduct ranging from research misconduct to data management to mentoring. As this is a minimum requirement, specific doctoral programs may require training that goes beyond the basic components introduced in this module. Majors that have received Office of Graduate Studies approval for rigorous RCR training consistent with disciplinary standards and practices may exempt their students from the CITI requirement. Students must complete the module, or provide evidence of previous qualified RCR training to their Gradaute Director and Office of Graduate Studies, in the first semester enrolled in a doctoral major. Previous RCR training should have been completed within the past year. Students will be unable to register for courses in a future semester until successful fulfillment of this RCR requirement. Once the training is completed, the Registration hold will be lifted.

Intellectual and Scholarship Integrity

Shared Authorship and Research Education Policy

USF contains a broad range of academic majors in diverse disciplines, and the USF faculty recognize that the conventions on shared authorship and credit for scholarship vary among disciplines. In general, sharing in authorship implies both substantive intellectual contributions to the work and also approval of the work as it appears in public. Right to authorship credit is not automatically conveyed by being the instructor of a course, being a student's major professor, or being a research assistant working with faculty and professional researchers; neither is credit automatically prohibited because of such status.

Each college/major that includes research education shall include an explicit discussion of shared authorship issues and disciplinary conventions as part of the formal curriculum addressing research methods and ethics, including the conventions of the discipline's publications. In addition, each college or major shall have a formal statement about shared authorship made available to students (such as on a college or major website) or given to students at the same time as they are given notice about other major and college expectations.

Each college/major shall also have a written procedure for resolving questions or conflicts about shared authorship where students are involved. The college and major may use the same procedure for resolving questions for non‐student employees, but the procedure for resolving questions or conflicts involving students must address the educational needs of students (e.g., explicitly asking about the nature of the research methods and ethics education as experienced by a student involved in the case at hand).

This written procedure must be made available to students (such as on a college or major website) or given to students at the same time as they are given notice about other major and university expectations.

Academic Integrity of Students

Reference USF Regulation 3.027 - To read the entire Regulation, go to: or

Please note the sections that specifically pertain to graduate students.

Disruption of Academic Process

Reference: USF Regulation 3.025 - To read the entire Regulation, go to:

Student Academic Grievance Procedure

Reference: USF 10.002 Student Academic Grievance Procedure - To read the procedure, go to

For matters that are not academic in nature, reference USF 30-053 Student Grievance Processes and Non-Academic Grievance Policy (

Graduate Catalog

Also reference: USF Policy 10-059 University of South Florida System Catalogs

The USF Tampa Graduate Catalog, including college and major requirements, and major and course descriptions, is available on the web at Each Catalog is published and in effect for the academic term(s) noted on the title page.

Student's major Degree Requirements

In order to graduate, students must meet all requirements specified in the USF Catalog of their choice, except as noted below. As the University is dynamic, changes and updates to the catalog are anticipated. In contract to major requirements, which are tied to a specific catalog, all students must comply with University policies and procedures that come into effect each catalog year.

Student/Advisor Relationship

Although it is ultimately the responsibility of the student to be acquainted with all policies and regulations, and be responsible for completing requirements, the Advisor's role is to guide students in all aspects of their academic major and to monitor and evaluate students' progress toward their degrees. He/she should be aware of any difficulties that students may be facing in their coursework or research experiences and should work with students in resolving these issues. It is recommended that the advisor and student understand each other's expectations and that effective means of communication are established. The advisor and student are encouraged to meet at appropriate intervals to critically evaluate the student's progress. These meetings may be requested by the student or the advisor. The advisor also has the obligation to express to the student any concerns he/she may have regarding the student's performance, to stipulate the level and quality of work expected, and to offer suggestions leading to student success. As such, the advisor neither gives the student excessive guidance nor allows the student to struggle needlessly. The goal of this relationship is to foster student independence, which results in successful completion of the program of study.

Student’s Program of Study

In addition to the graduate major requirements as specified in the Graduate Catalog, each student should have a written, flexible program of study that includes the student's choice of Catalog year, choice of concentration, cognate, or other options available in the degree major, and a tentative identification of other appropriate choices available to the student in the program, which may (but does not need to) include specific courses. A program of study is not a guarantee that specific courses will be available in a specific semester or that statutory and regulatory requirements will not change during the student's enrollment in the major. As required or appropriate, the program of study should be revisited and modified by the student and the student's advisor/major professor(s).

Electronic Signatures

Where procedures described in this catalog require signatures, requirements for original signatures may be satisfied by University-approved electronic signatures or other secure methods of verifying approval by advisors, major professors, committee members, or other University administrators, faculty, and staff.


Graduate Assistantships (GA), Research Assistantships (RA), and Teaching Assistantships (TA) Graduate Assistantships are intended to recruit quality students to graduate study at USF and to enhance the graduate learning experience. Graduate assistantships exist within academic departments or other university offices on campus. Graduate assistants may teach, conduct research, or perform other tasks that contribute to the student’s professional development. Graduate students may be classified as Graduate Assistants (GAs), Graduate Teaching Assistants/Associates (GTAs), Graduate Instructional Assistants (GIAs), and/or Graduate Research Assistants/Associates (GRAs). All graduate assistants at USF work under a contract negotiated by the Graduate Assistants United (GAU) and the USF Board of Trustees. The GAU is the labor union certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for graduate assistants at USF.

To receive an assistantship, the graduate student must meet the following eligibility requirements:

Graduate Assistants may be appointed up to a maximum of 0.50 FTE for a single assistantship. Majors who desire to appoint a Graduate Student, in any classification, more than 0.50 FTE up to 0.75 FTE, for single or multiple appointments, must submit justification to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval. Students hired in non-GA positions on campus must also not exceed 0.75 FTE for the combined position and assistantship appointments. It is preferred that students refrain from employment outside of the assistantship appointment. Departments may determine the maximum number of semesters for teaching assistantship appointments.

Full-time enrollment is considered nine (9) graduate credit hours in the fall semester, nine (9) graduate credit hours in the spring semester, and six (6) graduate credit hours in the summer semester. If a graduate assistant is enrolled in the last semester of his/her program of study, the number of registered semester hours may be less than the full-time requirement. Graduate assistants must comply with all Office of Graduate Studies enrollment requirements to retain their assistantship as stated in the Office of Graduate Studies Catalog. For specifics regarding Graduate Assistantship requirements, guidelines, and policies, refer to the Graduate Assistants Policies and Guidelines Handbook.

Note - Criminal History Background Checks may be required depending on the appointment - reference USF Policy 0-615 -

Enrollment Requirements

Students receiving Veterans’ Administration benefits should confirm their enrollment requirements with the Office of Veterans’ Services or Veterans’ Coordinator.

Minimum University Regulations

USF Full-Time Student Definition

Students taking a minimum of nine (9) hours toward their degree in the fall or spring semester, or taking a minimum of six (6) hours in the summer semester, will be classified as Full-Time students for academic purposes. Students may take a maximum of eighteen (18) hours in any given semester; exceeding eighteen (18) hours requires a signed program of study or written approval from the College. For financial aid enrollment requirements, contact the Office of Financial Aid -

Continuous Enrollment for All Graduate Students
All graduate degree-seeking students must be continuously enrolled. Continuous enrollment is defined as completing, with grades assigned, a minimum of 6 hours of graduate credit every three continuous semesters. Courses that receive a "W" grade do not fulfill continuous enrollment requirements. Colleges and majors may have additional requirements. Students on an approved leave of absence are not subject to the enrollment requirement for the time approved for the leave. Students who have been Admitted to Doctoral Candidacy must follow the Dissertation Hour Enrollment in place of the Continuous Enrollment requirement as specified here for all graduate students (not in candidacy). See also the Time Limitations Policy.

Readmission Following Non-enrollment
A graduate student who is not registered and enrolled for a minimum of six (6) credits in a 12 month period is automatically placed in non-degree seeking (i.e. inactive) status. Students must be readmitted to the degree Courses that receive a "W" grade do not fulfill continuous enrollment requirements. to continue their studies. Readmission is at the discretion of the major and is not guaranteed. Refer to the Readmission Policy in the Graduate Admissions Section for more information.

Enrollment during Comprehensive Exams and Admission to Candidacy
During the term in which students take the comprehensive exams, students must be enrolled for a minimum of two (2) hours of graduate credit. If the exam is taken between semesters, the student must enroll for a minimum of two (2) hours of graduate credit in the semester before or following the exam. Students must also be enrolled for a minimum of two (2) hours of graduate work in the semester of admission to doctoral candidacy.

Dissertation Hours
Students working on a dissertation must enroll for a minimum of two (2) hours of dissertation every semester, starting with the semester following Admission to Doctoral Candidacy, up to and including the semester the dissertation is submitted to and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies. Dissertation hours may apply to the Continuous Enrollment Requirement. Colleges and programs may have additional requirements. Students who are dropped from degree-seeking status and formally readmitted to the major must enroll in a minimum of 5 dissertation hours in the semester that the readmission is effective. Refer to the Readmission Policy in the Graduate Admissions Section for more information.

Enrollment during Semester of Thesis Submission
Students must be enrolled for a minimum of two (2) thesis hours during the semester that the thesis is submitted and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, usually the semester of graduation. Students not enrolled for the minimum requirement will not have the thesis/dissertation approved and therefore may not be certified for graduation.

Enrollment during Semester of Graduation
Students must be enrolled for a minimum of two (2) graduate hours during the semester of graduation.

Enrollment for Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants
Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants should be full-time students. Exceptions must be approved by the College Dean and the Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies.

Leaves of Absence (LOA)

Leaves of absence may be granted to students under exceptional and unavoidable circumstances. Students requesting a LOA must specify the reasons for the leave, as well as the duration. Requested LOA may be approved for up to two years. Students requiring less than three (3) consecutive terms of absence do not need an approved LOA if they meet the continuous enrollment requirement.

Students with an approved LOA must be enrolled in the first semester after the leave expires. To request an LOA, the student must complete the form available from the Office of Graduate Studies website. The LOA must be approved by the Major Professor, the Major, the College, and the Office of Graduate Studies, and is noted in the student’s record. If the LOA is granted, the time absent does not count against the student’s time limit to obtain the degree.

Students returning from an approved LOA must reactivate their status by contacting the Office of Graduate Studies for procedures. Doctoral candidates returning from a LOA must also have their candidacy status reactivated.

Academic Standards and Grades

Minimum University Requirements

In Good Standing - To be considered a student in good standing, graduate students must:

Only courses with grades of "C" (2.00) or better will be accepted toward a graduate degree; no grade of C- or below will be accepted. Students must meet the requirements to be in good standing to graduate. All "I" and "M" grades must be cleared for graduation to be certified. Students who fail to maintain good standing may be placed on probation or academically dismissed.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The GPA is computed by dividing the total number of quality points by the total number of graded (A-F) hours completed. The total quality points are figured by multiplying the number of credits assigned to each course by the quality point value of the grade given. The GPA is truncated to two decimals (3.48) and is not rounded up.

Credit hours for courses with grades of I, IU, M, MU, N, S, U, Q and grades which are preceded by T (Transfer) are subtracted from the total hours attempted before the GPA is calculated. Graduate students are not eligible for grade forgiveness. All grades earned, regardless of course level, will be posted on the transcript. If a student retakes a course, both grades will be used in the determination of the GPA. Courses taken at USF as non-degree-seeking are not computed in the GPA unless the courses are transferred in and applied to the degree requirements. The program and the college must approve such actions.

Grades for transfer credits accepted toward the major will not be counted in the GPA unless the coursework in question was taken as a non-degree-seeking student at USF and meets the requirements stated above (see Institution Based Credit/Transfer of Credit section).

Graduate Grading System

Plus/Minus Grading:

Effective fall semester 2000, graduate and undergraduate grades will be assigned quality points in the Grade Point Average (GPA) grading system. The +/- designation must be included in the syllabus provided at the beginning of the course. The use of the +/- grading system is at the discretion of the instructor. The syllabus policy is available in the office of the Provost.

Letter grade = number of grade points

Failure due to academic dishonesty
Cancelled Financially (Course was cancelled due to financial reasons)
Cancelled, Missing Grade that has turned to a "U"
Incomplete, grade points not applicable
Incomplete, grade points not applicable
Incomplete, grade points not applicable
Incomplete, grade points not applicable*
Missing grade/no grade reported by instructor, grade points not applicable
Audit, grade points not applicable
Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, grade points not applicable
Withdrawal or drop from course without penalty, grade points not applicable
Continuing registration in multi-semester internship or Thesis/Dissertation courses, grade points not applicable

*Incomplete grade policy change effective fall 08. IF grades earned and posted prior to fall 2008 do calculate in the GPA; IF grades earned as of fall 2008 forward do not calculate in the GPA Refer to Incomplete Grade Policy for more information.

Satisfactory (S)/ Unsatisfactory (U)

Graduate students may not take courses in the major on an S/U (satisfactory / unsatisfactory) basis unless courses are specifically designated S/U in the Catalog. Students may take courses outside of the major on a S/U basis with prior approval of the course professor, major professor or advisor, and the Dean of the College in which the student is seeking a degree. The student may apply a maximum of six (6) hours of such credit (excluding those courses for which S/U is designated in the Catalog) toward a master’s degree. Directed Research, Thesis, and Dissertation courses are designated as variable credit and are graded on an S/U basis only. Before a student begins work under Directed Research, a written agreement must be completed between the student and the professor concerned, setting forth in detail the requirements of the course.

Incomplete (I)

Definition: An Incomplete grade ("I") is exceptional and granted at the instructor’s discretion only when students are unable to complete course requirements due to illness or other circumstances beyond their control. This applies to all gradable courses, including pass/fail (S/U).

Students may only be eligible for an "I" when:

The student must request consideration for an incomplete grade and obtain an "I" Grade Contract from the instructor of record. Even though the student may meet the eligibility requirements for this grade, the course instructor retains the right to make the final decision on granting a student's request for an Incomplete. The course instructor and student must complete and sign the "I" Grade Contract Form that describes the work to be completed, the date it is due, and the grade the student would earn factoring in a zero for all incomplete assignments. The due date can be negotiated and extended by student/instructor as long as it does not exceed one semester from the original date grades were due for that course. The instructor must file a copy of the "I" Grade Contract in the department that offered the course and submitted through E-Grades by the date grades are due. The instructor must not require students to either re-register for the course or audit the course in order to complete the "I" grade. Students may register to audit the course, with the instructor's approval, but cannot re-take the course for credit until the I grade is cleared. The instructor will be required to complete the I-Grade Contract online when posting the semester grade at the end of the term, identifying the remaining coursework to be completed, the student's last day of attendance, and the percent of work accomplished to this point. This online contract will be automatically copied to the student's email and to the Registrar.

An I grade not cleared within the next academic semester (including summer semester) will revert to the grade noted on the contract. I grades are not computed in the GPA, but the grade noted on the contract will be computed in the GPA, retroactive to the semester the course was taken, if the contract is not fulfilled by the specified date. When the final grade is assigned, if applicable, the student will be placed on academic probation or academically dismissed (refer to Automated Academic Probation Procedures for information). Students cannot be admitted to doctoral candidacy or certified for graduation with an "I" grade.


•   student has a "B" in the course, not including the grade for the missing assignment, therefore is eligible for an "I"

•   student's grade, including a zero for the missed work, would be an "D"

•   student and instructor complete the "I" Grade Contract, assigning an "ID" (Incomplete +D grade)

Deadline Agreed Upon in Contract (e.g. two weeks):*

If the student completes the work as agreed upon in the Contract by the noted deadline

•   the instructor of record will submit a change of grade in egrades

•   student earns final grade comprised of all completed course work

If the student does not complete the work as agreed upon in the Contract by the noted deadline

•   "I" automatically drops off and the grade of "D" remains.

•   GPA is recalculated for the current semester and retroactively recalculated for the semester in which the "I" was granted.

*Although the instructor establishes the deadline for completion of the work, the deadline may only extend through the end of the subsequent semester.

Missing (M)

The University policy is to issue an M grade automatically when the instructor does not submit any grade for a graduate student. Until it is removed, the M is not computed in the GPA. To resolve the missing grade, students receiving an M grade must contact their instructor. If the instructor is not available, the student must contact the instructor’s department chair. Courses with an M grade may not be applied to the major requirements. Students with an M grade will not be admitted to doctoral candidacy until the M grade is resolved.

Continuing Registration Grades (Z)

The Z grade shall be used to indicate continuing registration in multi-semester internship or thesis/dissertation courses where the final grade to be assigned will indicate the complete sequence of courses or satisfactory completion of the thesis/dissertation. Upon satisfactory completion of a multi-semester internship or thesis/dissertation, the final grade assigned will be an S. The Office of Graduate Studies submits the change of grade for the last registration of thesis/dissertation courses once the thesis/dissertation has been accepted for publication.

Note: Graduation will not be certified until all courses have been satisfactorily completed. No grade changes will be processed after the student has graduated except in the case of university error. Procedures requiring petitions are processed through the Office of Graduate Studies.


Any student who is not in good standing at the end of a semester shall be considered on probation as of the following semester. The college or major may also place students on probation for other reasons as designated by the college or major. Notification of probation shall be made to the student in writing by the department, with a copy to the College Dean. At the end of each probationary semester, the department shall recommend, in writing, to the College Dean one of the following:

1.   Removal of probation

2.   Continued probation; OR

3.   Dismissal from the major

Students on probation may only enroll in graduate courses (5000-7000 level) that are part of the approved major requirements as specified in the Graduate Catalog. Students with a GPA below 3.00 for two consecutive semesters will be prevented from registering for courses without the permission of the College Dean. The College Dean will notify the Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies in cases of academic dismissal. To be readmitted, the student will need to reapply for admission, meeting the admission criteria in place at the time. For information on the Automated Probation Process go to

Voluntary Withdrawal

A student may withdraw from the university without grade penalty by the University deadline. Information on the different types of withdrawal (i.e., withdrawing from a single class – see the Drop section, an entire semester, or from the major itself) can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office. Appropriate alternative calendar dates may apply. Students who withdraw may not continue to attend classes.

Transfer of Credit (From Institutions External to USF Tampa)

Students may transfer graduate-level structured coursework into their graduate major taken at regionally accredited institutions, including USF System Institutions (USF St. Petersburg, USF Sarasota-Manatee), with the approval of the graduate major, college, and Office of Graduate Studies.

Approval Process and deadlines: Acceptance of transfer of credit requires submission of the Transfer of Credit Form and approval of the:

The Major / Department will be responsible for evaluating, approving, and initiating the transfer using established criteria to ensure academic integrity of the coursework. This must be completed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies no later than the end of the first semester the student is enrolled in the graduate major.

Application of USF Credit

Up to 50% of graduate-level (5000-7999) structured coursework with a grade of B (3.00) or better, taken as a non-degree seeking student at USF may be applied toward their graduate degree provided the courses are required for the major.

• The 50% is calculated based on the total minimum hours of the major as reflected in the individual major listings in the USF Graduate Catalog in effect at the time of initial enrollment for that major. For doctoral majors, this percentage is based on the post-baccalaureate minimums.
• Courses must not have been used for a completed degree. For students with coursework from a completed degree, the specific course requirements in common across both majors may be waived with the substitution of other approved coursework at the discretion of the major.
• Unstructured courses and courses with Pass/Fail grades are not eligible for application of credit. Grades from courses taken at USF are calculated in the USF GPA and are noted on the transcript.
• Courses must not be older than ten years at the time of graduation or course currency is required.


All non-degree seeking coursework that is applicable to the major, taken from USF will be applied in the following situations, pending approval of the graduate major, College, and Office of Graduate Studies.

Courses taken as

• an undergraduate student that were not used as part of the undergraduate degree requirements, except in cases of an Accelerated Degree Program approved through Undergraduate Council, Graduate Council and SACSCOC.
• a Graduate Certificate student
• a degree-seeking student, where the student is approved for a Change of Major to another graduate major

Approval Process and Deadlines for Application of Internal Credit:
Acceptance requires completion of the Application of Credit Form and approval of the
• Graduate Director
• College Dean or designee
• Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies or designee

The Graduate Major / Department will be responsible for evaluating, approving, and initiating the application of credit using established criteria to ensure academic integrity of the coursework. This must be completed and submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies no later than the end of the first semester the student is enrolled in the graduate major.

Approval Process and deadlines:

Acceptance requires completion of the Application of Credit Form and approval of the