1997-1998 Bulletin Information

For current bulletin information see

The University of South Alabama's academic policies and procedures provide the framework for the orderly conduct of its degree programs. They are intended to ensure a thorough and complete education for each of the University's graduates. They are administered through the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Quarters normally consist of nine weeks of class followed by a final examination week. Usually, one quarter credit hour is awarded for each 50-minute lecture class per week or 2-3 hour laboratory or studio period. Semester credit hours multiplied by 1.5 yield the equivalent number of quarter credit hours.

Each hour of lecture usually requires two hours of outside preparation. Thus, a student carrying sixteen quarter hours should be prepared to spend at least 48 hours in class and study per week.

A student's classification is determined by the number of credits earned toward the degree. A student is classified as follows:
Freshman 0 - 47 quarter hours
Sophomore 48 - 95 quarter hours
Junior 96 - 143 quarter hours
Senior 144 quarter hours or more

Normal progress for full-time students enrolled at the University of South Alabama shall mean the satisfactory completion of 48 quarter hours of work in each calendar year from the date of first enrollment and the satisfactory completion of all degree requirements within 41/2 calendar years from the date of first enrollment.

Degree students carrying twelve or more credit hours of work each quarter are considered full-time. However, students must carry at least sixteen hours each quarter (twelve quarters) to meet requirements for graduation in four academic years. Co-op students who alternate full-time enrollment with employment are considered full-time students for enrollment purposes. Students carrying six to eleven credit hours are considered half-time and students one to five credit hours are considered less than half-time.

Before entering the University, students should study the curricula outlined to determine the program best suited to their interests and needs. Before registering, each student will select, tentatively at least, a curriculum. This decision will determine the academic unit in which the student will be advised. The designated academic advisor will counsel with the student regarding the proposed curriculum and choice of courses. This relationship continues as needed throughout the student's stay in the University, unless another advisor is assigned or the student selects a new program.

While the University of South Alabama will endeavor to provide timely and accurate advisement, the responsibility of the student is to know and satisfy the degree requirements of the academic program.

Minimum requirements for a bachelor's degree are listed below. The colleges and departments may have requirements which exceed these requirements. Students should consult the individual college program description for details.

A student must complete a minimum of 192 approved quarter hours, including both general education requirements and major requirements. In some colleges/degree programs a minor is required also.

A student must earn a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 2.00 (an average grade of "C") based on all course work taken at the University of South Alabama. Students enrolled in the College of Education must have a minimum grade-point average of 2.20 (2.50 grade-point average for teacher certification). Grades in pass-fail
(S/U) courses do not carry quality points.

A student must fulfill the following general education requirements consisting of a minimum of 45 quarter hours. Specific degree program requirements may exceed any or all of the minimum general education requirements. Students are advised to refer to the specific program section of the Bulletin before enrolling in courses intended to satisfy general education requirements, as well as other program requirements. In addition, students are encouraged to plan their degree program with an academic advisor. The general education requirements are:

  1. English 101 and 102 and two designated writing courses.
    (See Writing Competency Requirements)
  2. at least one course in mathematics
  3. at least one course in each of the following:
    • humanities/fine arts
    • social/behavioral services
    • natural science/mathematics
  4. six quarters hours of physical education or ROTC
  5. one course that demonstrates competency in oral communication

Credits earned in the Departments of Developmental Studies and English as a Second Language will not be acceptable toward meeting degree requirements with the University.

A candidate for graduation must complete a minimum of 48 credit hours of University of South Alabama upper-division course work (300 and 400 levels). The intention of this requirement is that candidates for graduation will have taken the majority of their upper-division course work in their major at the University of South Alabama. Upon the recommendation of the dean of the appropriate college and approval of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, credit may be substituted to meet the residency requirement. Any deviation from this policy must be approved by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Students should consult the University Bulletin for additional regulations in each academic unit.

The University of South Alabama requires all undergraduate students to demonstrate their writing competency before they will be awarded a degree. A comprehensive writing program has been designed to achieve this goal. It includes the following three components:

  1. EH 101 and EH 102
    Students demonstrate basic writing skills by passing EH 101 and EH 102. Students may exempt the EH 101 requirement with an enhanced ACT English score of 27 or above; a recentered SAT score of 550 or above on the verbal portion; or a score of 3 or higher in the Advanced Placement Program.
  2. USA 010
    1. A. Students transferring to the University who have completed the course (English 1, Composition 1, etc.) in a non-remedial freshman composition sequence at another institution can satisfy this requirement by signing up for USA 010 (the competency/placement examination) within three quarters of enrollment - and passing the writing examination.
      Credit for the transferred English course will appear on the transfer credit evaluation form as "unspecified English credit."
    2. B. Students scoring a minimum of 500 on the CLEP English Examination and passing the USA 010 may satisfy the EH 101 and EH 102 requirement. Students will be allowed two opportunities to pass the 010 writing examination. A second failure will be final with no exceptions. A "no show" will count as a failure unless the absence had prior approval or documented hardship. Students who fail the examination a second time must pass EH 101 at the University of South Alabama before they will be approved for graduation. This requirement must be satisfied before students enroll in EH 102.
  3. Two designated writing credit (W) courses.
    In addition to the composition/communication requirements of the individual colleges, the University requires that a candidate for graduation must have completed two designated writing-credit courses, with at least one course chosen from offerings in the candidate's major or minor. Courses carrying this required credit are identified in the quarterly schedules by a (W) after the course title. EH 101 (or USA 010) and EH 102 are prerequisites to writing courses.

NOTE: Credits earned in the Department of English as a Second Language and Developmental Studies will not be acceptable toward meeting writing competency requirements.

Unclassified students wishing to complete the requirements for a second major after completing a bachelor's degree at the University of South Alabama must meet the following stipulations:

  1. They must complete the appropriate form in the Registrar's office prior to undertaking any course work toward the second major.
  2. They must be enrolled in the college in which the major is administered.
  3. They must meet all the requirements of the second major.
  4. At least half the total number of hours required for the second major must be satisfactorily completed in residence at the University of South Alabama.
  5. At least twelve hours of the work in the second major satisfactorily completed in residence at the University of South Alabama must be in addition to work completed as part of the bachelor's degree.
  6. The appropriate dean's office is responsible for notifying the Registrar's office of satisfactory completion of the second major.

When these requirements have been met, a notation will be entered on the student's record to indicate that the student has "completed work equivalent to a major in ." Students completing a major equivalency in this fashion may not apply the additional course work toward a second bachelor's degree.

The University Writing Committee promotes effective writing throughout the curriculum and makes recommendations concerning writing across the curriculum. The committee reviews course proposals for writing credit, conducts an annual competition to recognize student writing, and supports the yearly writing workshop for faculty.

Students seeking a second bachelor's degree, which may be earned either sequentially or simultaneously, must meet the following stipulations:

  1. They must complete the appropriate form in the Registrar's Office prior to undertaking any work toward the second/dual degree.
  2. They must be enrolled in the college(s) in which the second/dual degree is administered.
  3. They must complete a course of study, approved in advance by the appropriate dean, consisting of at least 48 credit hours in upper division course work in residence over and above the requirements for the first bachelor's degree including a recognized major program.
  4. They must satisfy all degree requirements of the college(s) awarding the second/dual degree.
  5. They must comply with all other University regulations.

Students returning for a second degree in the College of Arts and Sciences must meet the requirements for a second major and meet the University requirements for a second degree. Students seeking a second degree in the area of the minor used for their first degree must have an additional minor.

With permission of the department chair and appropriate director of graduate studies, a student who has completed 144 quarter hours with a "B" (3.0) average may register for graduate courses provided the total load does not exceed 16 hours. This policy is extended to provide an opportunity for well-prepared undergraduates who meet two Regular admission criteria: minimum GPA and sufficient undergraduate course work in the major subject to qualify for graduate study in the involved discipline.

The same course may not be counted both as undergraduate and graduate credit, and the graduate course may count toward a degree in graduate school if and when the student is admitted to the graduate school provided such course was not used to satisfy requirements for the undergraduate degree.

Students may not register for courses for which they do not have the prerequisites specified in the course descriptions. Any student who does so is subject to administrative withdrawal by either the student's dean or the dean of the college in which the course is taught.

Registration (making course selections and enrolling in classes) occurs prior to the beginning of each quarter. Continuing students, former students returning and new graduate students register via the telephone utilizing USA's V.I.P.S. (Voice Interactive Phone System) and new undergraduate students attend campus registration. (See the quarterly Schedule of Classes for additional information.)

Registration is not complete until all fees have been paid and all admissions documents and examinations furnished. Failure to satisfy any of the admission or registration requirements is sufficient cause for dropping a student from all classes.

All changes in schedules, including changes to audit, must be made by the second day of classes, properly approved and processed by the Registrar and the Bursar. Students may drop courses without penalty provided the withdrawal occurs within the time limits listed in the official calendar. The grade of "F" or "U" is recorded for a course abandoned without an official withdrawal. Students who drop courses after the last day for refunds may continue to attend class.

An individual student is responsible for attending the classes in which the student is officially enrolled. The quality of work will ordinarily suffer from excessive absences. At the beginning of classes, instructors must define their policy on absences, and all cases of illness and emergency shall be promptly reported and verified to the instructor. For excessive absences (two or three consecutive class meetings) due to illness, death in family, or family emergency, the Dean of Students' office should be advised. Absence notices will be sent to each instructor notifying him of the reason for and the approximate length of the absence. This notification does not constitute an excused absence.

Students receiving veterans' benefits are required to attend classes according to the regulations of the Veterans Administration.

All international students on F-1 visas must comply with attendance regulations as dictated by the Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Services. They must remain students in good standing with at least twelve (12) hours per quarter.

Students attending authorized off-campus functions or required activities shall be excused by the responsible University official through the Office of Academic Affairs. In case of doubt, instructors may consult these lists in that office. Students who are confined to the University's Health Center shall be excused from absences incurred during that period. Work missed as a result of these excused absences may be made up.

Official withdrawal from the University is initiated in the student's academic dean's office. Clearance must be secured from the University Library, the Office of Financial Aid, the Bursar, the University Registrar and the Veterans Affairs Office, if applicable. The symbol WD is recorded for all courses when the student completes the withdrawal form within the time limits listed in the official calendar. A grade of "F" or "U" is recorded when a currently enrolled student leaves the University without initiating and completing the withdrawal form.

A student may repeat a course which has been failed. Total grade-points are computed on the basis of all attempts. A student who has a passing grade may repeat the course with the approval of the appropriate academic dean. A repeated course may be counted only once toward graduation, but all grades are recorded on the student's transcript and are counted in determining quality points.

Final examinations are held at the end of each quarter. Students are graded on the basis of the following guidelines:
A-4 grade-points per quarter hour Excellent
B-3 grade-points per quarter hour Good
C-2 grade-points per quarter hour Satisfactory
D-1 grade-point per quarter hour Minimum Passing
F-Failure, no grade-points
E-Excellent, no grade-points
S-Satisfactory, no grade-points
U-Unsatisfactory, no grade-points
The following symbols are substitutes for grades. They are not grades:
I-Incomplete (see below)
X-Absence from Final Examination (see below)
WD-Withdrawal in good standing
P-Course in progress (see below)
UA-Unsatisfactory Audit (did not meet attendance requirements)
N-No grade or invalid grade (assigned only by the Registrar)

The symbol "I" (Incomplete) is assigned when, for reasons beyond the student's control, the student is unable to fulfill all the normal course requirements. The situation warranting an "I" must be a medical condition, an equipment problem, or other mitigating circumstance that is patently demonstrable to be beyond the student's control. This symbol is not used to provide time for completion of extra work beyond the normal course requirements for improving the student's grade, nor is it assigned to permit the student to avoid probation, suspension, or dismissal. The symbol "X" (Absence from Final Examination) is assigned only in cases where illness or an unforeseen emergency precludes the student's appearance at the scheduled examination. All records of the symbols "I" or "X" must be cleared by the mid-term of the next quarter; if they are not, grades of "F" will be recorded by the Registrar.

The symbol "P" (In Progress) is assigned only in a limited number of approved courses which require more than one quarter for completion. Unless the P is removed by the end of the second succeeding quarter, a grade of "F" will be recorded.

A student whose work is unsatisfactory for any reason shall receive a final grade of "F" for the course.

Plagiarism and other forms of cheating are academic matters; accordingly, no credit will be given for work in which they are involved. In addition, incidents of this nature may be reported to other appropriate authorities for further disciplinary action. (See Student Academic Conduct Policy)

USA students may receive credit by special examination upon approval of the appropriate academic personnel (statement of application procedures may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar). A fee of $30.00 will be charged for each examination. In addition, the student will be charged the current course fee per hour of credit. Hours attempted will be included in determining the student's grade-point average.

The University of South Alabama is a participant in the College Level Examination Program. Transfer credits earned through the College Level Examination Program will be evaluated according to standards established by this University. To pass the CLEP English Examination, student must also pass the University's 010 Writing Placement Examination. Prospective or enrolled students may seek information from the Office of Admissions or Office of the Registrar.

No more than a combined total of 48 quarter hours of credit will be allowed for credit received through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement Program (AP), credit by examination, correspondence courses, military service school courses, and other approved non-collegiate-sponsored programs as recommended by the American Council on Education.

Final grades are mailed to all students at the completion of each quarter and are available through the V.I.P.S. telephone registration system.

Grades reported by instructors to the Registrar may not be changed except in case of error in recording or in evaluation. Grade changes require the approval of the instructor, the department chair, and the dean of the college in which the course is taught. Grades on record for one calendar year may not be changed for any reason.

A student may initiate an inquiry under procedures set forth by the Undergraduate Final Course Grade Grievance Policy. A copy of this policy is available in the dean's office of each college and is published in The Lowdown (Student Handbook) and in the Faculty Handbook.

Candidates for all honor lists must be undergraduate degree-seeking students with a clear academic status. Graduates, unclassified, auditors, transients, non-degree, or other special categories are excluded.

The President's Scholars include all full-time students earning a 4.0 quarter grade-point average.
The Dean's List includes all full-time students earning a 3.50 quarter grade-point average.

The Dean's Honor List includes all full-time students who have completed a minimum of 48.0 hours at the University of South Alabama, earned a cumulative grade-point average of 3.40 or greater, and met all requirements of the regular Dean's List as shown above.

The Dean's List for part-time students (students taking fewer than twelve hours) includes all students who are enrolled in at least six quarter hours and have earned a quarter grade-point average of 3.50 or greater.

All the above lists are compiled upon completion of the processing of a particular quarter's grades. Removal of I's, X's or other such symbols at a later date will not qualify the student for recognition. Grades recorded in error will be considered if properly removed and the Dean's office is notified before publication of the lists.

Required Grade-Point Balance
All undergraduate students must meet the established standards designating appropriate academic progress. To stay in good academic standing with a Clear status, a student must maintain a grade-point balance of zero or greater than zero on University of South Alabama course work. Should the GPB be less than zero, i.e., a negative number, the status will be Probation, and the student will potentially be subject to Suspension or Dismissal. The method of calculating the GPB and the details of its application are presented next.

Calculating Grade-Point Balance
The GPB is a relationship between the cumulative number of grade-points earned and the total number of credit hours attempted. The GPB is calculated as follows:

GPB (+ or -) = Cumulative Grade Points Earned Minus
2xTotal Hours* Attempted
*Excludes "S" and "U" grades

For example, a student has taken a total of 48 hours of course work and has earned 120 grade points for a GPA of 2.5. The GPB calculation looks like this:

GPB = 120 - (2 x 48)
GPB = 120 - 96
GPB = +24

For another example, a student has taken the same total of 48 hours of course work but has earned only 72 grade-points for a GPA of 1.5. The GPB calculation looks like this:

GPB = 72 - (2 x 48)
GPB = 72 - 96
GPB = -24

Suppose further that this second student takes an additional 16 hours and earns an additional 24 grade-points. While the GPA remains constant at 1.5, the new GPB looks like this:

GPB = 96 - (2 x 64)
GPB = 96 - 128
GPB = -32

Obviously, the student's academic situation is worsening, and the change in GPB reflects this fact.

While the relationship between GPA and GPB will almost invariably change as students take additional course work, it will remain constant at one particular GPA and one only: a GPA of 2.0 will always equate with a GPB of zero. Since students must have at least a 2.0 GPA for graduation, it is this identity that makes the GPB calculation a meaningful and valuable indicator of academic success or lack of it.

Academic Probation
Students with a cumulative grade-point average below 2.0 and thus a GPB below zero are having academic difficulties and are alerted to this fact by being placed on academic probation. Students on academic probation are restricted to taking not more than 16 credit hours per quarter, unless exempted from this regulation by the dean of their college.

Undetermined Status
Students on probation will not be permitted to remain in the University for two consecutive quarters with an undetermined status to avoid suspension or dismissal. At the end of the second quarter in an undetermined category, the status will be determined (Clear, Probation, Suspension, or Dismissal).

Academic Suspension and Dismissal
Determination for academic suspension or dismissal, as well as probation, is based on students incurring a deficit in their overall grade-point balance.

Academic suspension for one year results if at any time a student accrues a negative GPB in excess of -36. Academic dismissal results when the deficit exceeds a -36 a second time.

Reinstatement Following Academic Suspension
Students reinstated following one calendar year of academic suspension are readmitted on academic probation and will be subject to academic dismissal from the University if, after attempting 28 quarter hours for average following reinstatement, the GPB deficit is not reduced to at least -36.

If the GPB deficit is restored to the minimal acceptable level but becomes in excess of -36 a second time, the student will be dismissed.

Students intending to seek readmission after suspension must first file a Readmission Form by the official deadline with the Registrar's Office.

Students academically dismissed from USA may be considered for readmission on academic probation after a period of three or more calendar years has passed. Readmission requires dean's office approval. Students readmitted after dismissal are subject to a second dismissal if, after attempting 28 quarter hours for average following reinstatement, the GPB deficit is not reduced to at least -36.

Students intending to seek readmission after dismissal must first file a Readmission Form with the Registrar's Office by the official deadline and consult with their academic dean.

Students readmitted after an absence of at least one or more calendar years (in the case of dismissal - three calendar years) may choose to count all or none of their University of South Alabama credits toward completion of degree requirements and the computation of their GPB. Should the student elect to count none of the prior work, i.e., declare academic bankruptcy, the student is, in effect, allowed to start academic work at the University of South Alabama over with a GPB of zero; however, all course work will remain on the student's academic record. This determination must be made by the student at the time of application for readmission and requires dean's office approval. This election may be made only once during a student's USA career and is irrevocable. Such election also carries with it the stipulation that the student's choice of catalog is limited to those in effect from the time in which the student declares academic bankruptcy onward.

In determining academic honors at the University of South Alabama, only the course work taken after academic bankruptcy has been declared counts in the calculation of GPA.

The option of academic bankruptcy is not available to a student who has received a bachelor's degree.

Students who have been previously enrolled in the University of South Alabama, and who have failed to attend for one quarter should comply with the instructions below.

How To Apply For Readmission
An applicant should request the appropriate forms from the Office of the Registrar. The readmission form, including all required credentials, should be filed with the Registrar's Office by one of the following deadlines: Fall Quarter - August 15, Winter Quarter - November 15, Spring Quarter - February 15 or Summer Quarter - May 15; Fall 1998 Semester - July 15.

Requirements For Readmission
An applicant must be eligible to return to the University of South Alabama on the basis of a previous academic record at this institution. If the student has attended any college or university subsequent to last enrollment at the University of South Alabama, the student must also have the required transfer average or higher (as computed by the University of South Alabama) on work attempted, and must be in good standing and eligible to return to the last institution attended.

A student in the University of South Alabama is not permitted to take credit work as a transient student at another institution to be applied toward a degree without prior permission from the dean of the college. The permission should be in writing, specifying which courses are acceptable and their equivalents at the University of South Alabama. A copy of this permission should be filed with the University Registrar. Students who have been admitted but have not yet enrolled in the University of South Alabama should comply with these instructions. No credit is given for course work in which the grade is below a "C." Students do not need transient approval if they have not been enrolled at the University for three or more consecutive quarters.

The University of South Alabama maintains records and data relative to the individual student to facilitate the educational process of the student and to assist in the administration of student needs by the University. The University of South Alabama complies with the rights of privacy and access to the educational records of the student as set forth in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

The University of South Alabama has formulated the following policy in accordance with the Act:

No information from records, files, or data directly related to a student other than that defined as "directory information" shall be disclosed or released to any individual or agency outside the University without the prior written consent of the student, except according to lawful subpoena or court orders, or except in the case of need by other educational agencies or governmental agencies. Such information will be available to personnel and faculty for legitimate educational purposes. The student shall have the right of access to and to review of all such information with those exceptions that are defined within this policy statement.

To request non-disclosure of directory information, students must complete a "Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information" form in the Registrar's Office. This request is valid for one academic year only and must be filed each fall quarter.

Upon the written request of the student, transcripts are normally issued by the Registrar within three days. The fee is $4.00 per transcript. All outstanding obligations to the University must be cleared prior to the release of transcripts. The University does not release copies of transcripts from other institutions.

The Registrar's Office provides official enrollment verification upon the written request of the student. The University of South Alabama is a participant in the National Student Loan Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is a repository for enrollment status information and was established to simplify, standardize and automate the status verification and deferment process. The Clearinghouse, the University's agent, will provide student enrollment information directly to the guaranty agencies, lenders, and other servicers.

Application For Graduation
Students planning to graduate must make application according to the dates specified in the University Calendar. Failure to make application will result in a delay in scheduled graduation dates.

A student must file an application for graduation with the Registrar's Office two quarters before expected degree completion (see University Calendar for deadlines). The degree audit/official check sheet must be approved by the chair of the major department and the academic dean.

Choice of Catalog Under Which A Student Graduates
A candidate for the bachelor's degree must fulfill the requirements of a degree program as specified in the catalog in effect during the academic year of the student's first matriculation as a degree student. Students may select a subsequent catalog during their matriculation with the approval of the appropriate academic dean. If a student does not attend the University for a period of one (1) calendar year or longer, the student will be required to fulfill the requirements of the degree program as specified by the catalog in effect during the year of the student's return as a degree student.

If a student prolongs the completion of a degree program, curricular or programmatic changes may occur to such an extent that the requirements for the degree program as outlined in a catalog for which the student would otherwise be eligible can no longer be fulfilled. If in the judgement of the appropriate academic dean, this has occurred, such catalogs cannot be used for meeting degree requirements. In these cases, the academic dean would designate the appropriate catalog for determination of degree requirements.

If a student changes degree programs, the college or division may require the student to fulfill the requirements of the catalog in effect when the change of degree program is approved.

Evaluation of Degree Requirements
Each senior will have one official check of remaining degree requirements following filing of the degree application for graduation which includes the payment of the $25.00 application fee. This evaluation will be available from the student's dean. A fee of $10.00 will be charged for any additional degree check necessitated by a student's subsequent change of catalog, program of studies, or failure to complete degree requirements by the prescribed quarter.

Graduation With Honors
Student who have at least 90 credit hours attempted in residence at the University of South Alabama and have a grade-point average of 3.50 or better at the University of South Alabama are graduated with distinction. Transfer credit hours are not included in the determination of academic honors.

Students earning a grade-point average of 3.90 or higher are graduated summa cum laude.

Students earning a grade-point average of 3.70 but less that 3.90 are graduated magna cum laude.

Students earning a grade-point average of 3.50 but less than 3.70 are graduated cum laude.

The University has a Spring and Fall commencement. Students graduating winter and spring quarters are eligible to participate in the Spring Commencement. Students graduating summer and fall quarters are eligible to participate in Fall Commencement.

Diplomas are issued quarterly; however, degrees are conferred at commencement. Unclaimed diplomas become the property of the University one calendar year thereafter.

Awarding of Posthumous Degree
If a deceased student has satisfactorily completed approximately 90 percent of the degree requirements, the Dean of the College may recommend the waiving of the remaining requirements for the appropriate academic degree. The Dean's recommendation will be submitted to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for review. If approved, the recommendation will be forwarded to the Office of the President for final approval.