Students should preregister each semester at the designated time using their SOAR account. Specific directions are published on the Registrar's website at www.usm.edu/registrar. Students who preregister must pay a minimum payment (if applicable) by the due date, or there will be an additional preregistration fee of $100 added to their accounts. Classes will be dropped at a later date for nonpayment.
A late registration fee of $50 will be charged to all students registering after the scheduled registration period.
A student is permitted to drop a course without academic penalty up to and including approved dates published on the Registrar's website at www.usm.edu/registrar. After the deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with permission of the instructor and department chair at which time the student will receive a grade of W. The withdraw grade ("W") will not lower the GPA but may impact financial aid and an excessive record of withdrawals may reflect poorly on student's application for employment or graduate school. Students may withdraw from a course through SOAR (with instructor and department chair permission) and may add courses with instructor and department chair permission using SOAR. Students who drop after the last day to add/drop without academic/financial penalty are financially responsible for all enrolled courses. Adding classes after the 100% refund period could result in additional tuition charges. Students bear all financial responsibility for a drop or withdrawal performed after the 100% refund date, as published in the Academic Calendar at www.usm.edu/registrar.
In some cases, and only with instructor and department chair approval, students may swap classes within a department. This rare procedure might be used if a student in an advanced course wishes to take a remedial class and the department feels the student's coursework will not suffer by swapping classes.
After the withdrawal deadline (up to and including the approved date published on the Registrar's website at www.usm.edu/registrar), students can no longer withdraw themselves from a class and must complete the course for a grade. Only students with exceptional hardship beyond their control may petition for an exception. Such students must complete the Academic Withdrawal after the Deadline form from the Registrar's website and submit evidence of their hardships. Petitions will be evaluated by the Academic Dean and Provost.
A student completely withdrawing from the University prior to the deadline for dropping classes without academic penalty will not receive any grades. His or her record will reflect the date of the withdrawal. A student withdrawing after the deadline for dropping courses without academic penalty will receive a grade of W. Any courses completed before the withdrawal is processed will be awarded grades on the official transcript (including, but not limited to, intersession, half-term, and other non-traditional course formats).
Students who have violated the Academic Integrity Policy and who have been informed that they will receive an XF grade for the semester are not eligible to withdraw from a class. Instructors will deny any request for withdrawal. (See Academic Integrity below.)
Procedures to Withdraw from the University
Students finding it necessary to withdraw from the University prior to the deadline to withdraw may begin the process via their SOAR student center with the "Drop ALL Courses" link. Within SOAR, they will view a series of panels that will explain the academic and financial impact in withdrawing from the university at that point in time. Students who withdraw during the early period in which they do not need instructor permission period are entitled to a refund as outlined in the Business Services Refund Policy. After making the requests to withdraw, appropriate University personnel including advisors, chairs and deans will review the requests and potentially discuss alternatives with the students. Upon approval of the withdrawal and final processing, students will receive an e-mail giving instructions on how to return to The University of Southern Mississippi. If students need further assistance withdrawing, they should contact the Registrar's office. Withdraw request must be submitted by the last day to withdraw found on the Academic Calendars. After this date, students will receive final grades as submitted by the instructor(s).
A University transcript is a legal document that provides an accurate account of academic performance. Therefore, transcripts should only be altered if there is a compelling rationale for doing so.
On rare occasions, academic performance is severely affected by an adverse emotional or personal tragedy beyond the control of the student. If a timely withdrawal was impossible or overlooked, a procedure known as administrative withdrawal (AW) may be an option. This policy does not apply to situations where students stopped going to classes or simply performed poorly. Administrative withdrawal is specifically intended for students who were negatively affected by some extenuating, documentable circumstances that were beyond their control (e.g. the death of an immediate family member, a severe illness or incapacitation, a debilitating accident). This policy does not apply to other situations when a student simply took on more work than he or she could handle or performed below expectations.
A student who wishes to petition for an administrative withdrawal (AW) should be aware of the following criteria:
The problem encountered by the student in a particular semester was debilitating and beyond his or her control. The student must provide documentation of the nature and extent of the problem.
The student must have been in good academic standing (GPA of 2.0 or better) the semesters before and after the semester under review (with a minimum of nine credit hours if fall or spring or a minimum of six credit hours if summer). Final grades from the subsequent semester must be posted before an administrative withdrawal can be approved.
The student must be enrolled at the time of the petition. Petitions for administrative withdrawal must be filed prior to graduation.
Administrative withdrawal can be used only once during a student's academic career.
The designation of "AW" is assigned to all courses taken during the semester in question.
In order for a petition for administrative withdrawal to be considered, the following process must be followed:
The student requesting an administrative withdrawal should consult with the director of his or her current school prior to initiating a petition.
The student prepares the petition and submits it to the director of his or her current school.
The director reviews the application and forwards it to the Dean with a recommendation for approval or denial. If the student had a different major during the semester for which administrative withdrawal is requested, the director of that school must also make a recommendation. In that case, the current director will forward the petition and recommendation to the director of the student's previous unit for review and that director will send it to the Dean of that college accompanied by the recommendations of both directors. The Dean of the college in which the student was a major during the semester for which academic withdrawal is requested must approve the petition for administrative withdrawal. If the student is currently a major in a different college, then the previous Dean will forward it to the Dean of that college who must also approve the request.
A petition approved by the Dean(s) will be forwarded to the Provost for a final determination.
The Provost will communicate the decision to the student, the director of the student's current major and, if applicable, the director of the student's former major, the appropriate Dean(s), and the Registrar.
The petition for administrative withdrawal will be acted upon within 10 working days from receipt by each of the following: the director(s), the Dean(s), and the Provost.
The petition for administrative withdrawal must contain the following documents:
A concise, but thorough, statement written by the student that details the circumstances responsible for the poor academic performance in that particular semester;
Evidence (e.g., a physician's statement) supporting the claims made in the petition;
A written statement from the campus Office Student Ombudsman Services verifying that the information in the student's statement is accurate; and
A current degree progress report.
The deadline to receive a refund is typically earlier than the deadline to withdraw from a class, so students should be aware that withdrawing from a class or the University does not mean they will necessarily get a refund. A student who officially withdraws after enrollment may or may not obtain a refund in accordance with the refund policy. Upon notification to the Registrar and Business Services offices, a review will be made on a case-by-case basis for withdrawals that did not follow official withdrawal policy.
Appeals for refunds due to extenuating circumstances may be made in writing to
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive #5133
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
Full-Time Status: The typical undergraduate student enrollment load is 12 to 19 semester hours (fall/spring/summer); 19 hours is the maximum enrollment load without Dean of college approval.
Classification of Undergraduates: A student is classified as a freshman when he or she has fewer than 30 semester hours of earned credit; a sophomore has as many as 30 semester hours but fewer than 60 semester hours; a junior has as many as 60 hours but fewer than 90 hours; and a senior has 90 or more semester hours of earned credit.
Course Numbering: Freshman courses are numbered from 100 to 199, sophomore courses from 200 to 299, upper-division courses from 300-to-499; and graduate courses 500 or above. Honors courses carry the prefix H at the end of the course number. Credit-abroad courses carry the prefix of CA at the end of the course number.
Course Sequence and Related Sequences: Certain 100-and 200-level courses may not be taken for credit by a student after he or she has completed higher-level courses in the same subject area. Also, certain sequences of courses may not be taken for credit after a student has completed parallel courses that are similar in subject matter. Specific applications of this policy are indicated in the numbered course descriptions in the Course Descriptions section of this Bulletin. Selection of the courses, as well as exceptions to the policy, is managed by the advisors in consultation with directors.
The University of Southern Mississippi reports to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) a student's enrollment status. The NSC defines undergraduate enrollment status as the following:
Full Time-Student is enrolled 12 or more hours within a semester.
Half Time-Student is enrolled 6 to 9 hours within a semester.
Less Than Half Time- Student is enrolled below 6 hours within a semester.
Students are expected to attend class each time the class meets. When it is necessary that a student be absent from a class, it is a student's responsibility to provide an explanation to the professor. A class attendance policy will be set by the professor who is expected to set a reasonable policy with respect to documented absences that are truly beyond the student's control. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to include an attendance policy in a syllabus distributed at the start of the class and to notify his or her class at the onset of each semester as to the attendance requirements. In addition, it is the responsibility of the student to comply with the policy and notify faculty members of any unavoidable absences as required by the faculty member. Students with documentation regarding absences may meet with staff in the Student Ombudsman Services office, but no guarantee is given that students will be allowed to make up missed work.
Examinations will be held as published on the Registrar's office website at www.usm.edu/registrar/exam-schedule. No final examinations are permitted prior to the scheduled examination period (see Calendar ). A student who is absent from the final examination without a valid reason approved by the Office of the Provost forfeits credit for the semester.
||indicates excellent work and carries four quality points per semester hour
||indicates good work and carries three quality points per semester hour
||indicates average work and carries two quality points per semester hour
||indicates inferior work and carries one quality point per semester hour
||indicates a course in progress. Not included in the grade point average, a grade of E shall be awarded for graduate thesis, recital and dissertation courses, and for such self-paced or skill courses as the Academic or Graduate Council may designate. An E shall be changed to a P only in the case of credit for thesis and dissertation and then only for the last recorded credit for these courses. Otherwise, the E remains on the record indicating that to receive credit the student must reregister for the undergraduate course, repeating it on a regular basis until completing it. Upon completion, the appropriate grade, whether P or valuative, shall be assigned.
||indicates failure and carries no quality points
||indicates that a student was unable to complete course requirements by the end of the term because of extraordinary circumstances beyond his or her control. Poor performance or unexplained absences are not a justification for the assignment of an I. If an I has not been removed by the end of the next semester (excluding summer term), it automatically becomes an F. Students are prohibited from enrolling in any course for which the current grade is I. Students who have filed for a degree and receive an incomplete grade will have to change their graduation term to the term ending the completion of their course work.
||Failure in a course taken on the pass-no pass basis; not included in student's grade point average
||indicates a passing grade in courses taken on a pass-fail basis (does not count in computing GPA)
||Satisfactory. Not included in GPA.
||Unsatisfactory. O quality points earned.
||Failure to drop or withdraw properly. (Calculated in GPA as an "F")
||indicates failure due to academic integrity violation and carries no quality points
||Accelerated to a higher level course because of proficiency
||indicates withdrawal from a course failing after the deadline for dropping courses. (This grade is computed in the GPA as F.) awarded prior to fall 2014
||indicates withdrawal from a course passing after the deadline for dropping courses (awarded prior to fall 2014)
||indicates administrative withdrawal
||indicates the instructor reported the student as not attending. The grade is considered as attempted, but no quality points are earned. The grade is calculated as an F in the student's grade point average prior to fall 2017. Starting fall 2017, the grade is reflected on the student's record but is not counted in the student's grade point average.
||Satisfies pre-requisite requirements. Not included in GPA. No quality points earned.
Pass/No Pass Grading Option
Students may choose to take elective courses on a pass-no pass basis. The option must be exercised at the time of registration, and the option may not be altered after the deadline for adding courses. No more than 36 semester hours earned in independent study or pass-no pass courses, with a limit of 18 semester hours of pass-no pass courses, may be applied toward a degree. No more than 12 semester hours earned from the same program by independent study or pass-no pass courses may be applied toward a degree. A student may not take a course on a pass-no pass basis to repeat a course for the purpose of improving the grade point average or to remove an incomplete. Such courses cannot be a part of a prescribed degree program, i.e., core requirements, major or minor. A failing grade in a pass-no pass course is recorded as F and is computed in the grade point average in the same manner as other failing grades prior to fall 2017. Starting fall 2017, a failing grade in a pass/no pass course is recorded as an NP grade and is not counted in the student's grade point average.
A student who takes a course for audit (noncredit) must meet the class in the same manner as a student regularly enrolled. Although no credit is awarded, a student who meets the instructor's requirements for a successful audit will receive an appropriate entry on his or her official record. The instructor has the right to remove a student from the final grade roster for nonattendance. The credit option (audit to credit or credit to audit) may not be changed after the deadline for adding courses. The fee for audit is the same as if registered for credit. Courses in which a student receives an "Audit" will not be counted as part of the total hours attempted for grade point computations. These courses will not be counted in determining eligibility for financial aid. Students must submit to the Registrar's Office approval to audit a course by the last day to add without permission. The grading scheme for the course cannot be changed after that date.
Computation of Grade Point Averages
Grade point averages are based on the number of hours undertaken rather than the number of hours passed in determining whether a student meets minimum standards. The total hours attempted, for suspension purposes, will include credit undertaken at the university and credit transferred; the grade point average will involve only credit for courses attempted at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Courses in which a student receives an E will not be counted as part of "total hours attempted" for grade point average computation. These courses will, however; be counted in determining eligibility for financial aid.
Courses with a remedial grading basis will not be calculated in a student's grade point average. These courses will, however; be counted in determining eligibility for financial aid.
An undergraduate student will be permitted to repeat courses for a total of twelve semester hours in order to improve his or her grade point average. The first twelve hours used shall stand. The grade for the second attempt will be used in grade point average calculations. This policy does not apply to courses for which an XF grade was assigned for reasons of academic dishonesty. Courses must be retaken at The University of Southern Mississippi. Students are free to retake additional courses, but all attempts will be included in the calculation of the GPA. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Provost. Prior to graduation, a request for an excessive repeat must be made by the student and recommended by the department and college dean before being considered by the Provost. Excessive repeats will not be considered after graduation.
A request for repeats on a The University of Southern Mississippi grade must be made in writing to the Registrar's office. Marking repeats on transcripts will not constitute recalculation of Dean's and President's Lists or graduation ranking.
Undergraduate students may repeat a course to improve their grade. When a class is repeated, the lower grade remains on the transcript but is marked as "Repeated" and is not used to calculate the student's grade point average. Students are allowed to take up to twelve (12) credit hours of repeated coursework during their undergraduate career. Students may only repeat a course by taking the same course and cannot take a course at another institution to replace a grade earned at The University of Southern Mississippi. Once a course grade is marked as "Repeated", it becomes part of the official academic record and cannot be reassigned to another course. Students have used one of their opportunities to repeat a class and cannot reassign that repeat opportunity later in their academic career.
Grade replacement is not automatic. Some departments and majors have degree progression requirements that prevent students from taking a course multiple times and students may not replace an XF grade awarded for academic dishonesty. Students who have retaken a class must submit a request to the Registrar's office to have a grade marked as "Repeated." A successful request does not result in the recalculation of previously issued Dean's and President's Lists.
Courses taken beginning fall 2004 that can only be used one time for credit toward a degree will be blocked from counting multiple times in the degree requirements. Unless the course is specifically designated as an exception, courses taken since the fall of 2004 cannot be retaken for additional credit toward a degree. At the end of the term, courses that are being retaken will be marked on the transcript with a statement "Notes: Retaken Course-included in GPA/no credit earned."
If both instances of the courses were taken prior to the fall 2004 term, a manual audit will determine that these courses will be marked as "retaken."
Grade Review Policy
The instructor, defined as one who has the responsibility for a class, special problem or thesis, has the authority in his or her class over all matters affecting the conduct of the class, including the assignment of grades. Student performance should be evaluated according to academic criteria made available to all students within the first two weeks of each semester. Grades should not be determined in an arbitrary or capricious manner.
When a student disagrees with the final grade given by an instructor, fair play requires the opportunity for an orderly appellate procedure. Students have the right to register a complaint to the Director regarding a faculty member's course. In cases where a student believes his or her grade was given in an inconsistent unfair, and/or arbitrary way, a formal grade appeal is an option. A student must initiate this appeal procedure within 30 school days, excluding Saturday, Sunday and official student holidays, of the beginning of the semester subsequent to the one in which the grade was awarded, or 120 calendar days after the issuance of spring semester grades, should the student not be enrolled during the summer term. The procedure assures due process for both the instructor and student. For policies and procedures governing grade review, see the website for the Office of the Provost.
Students will be placed on the Dean's List if they have earned a grade point average of 3.5 or above on a minimum academic load of 12 semester hours or more during fall or spring, nine or more during summer, provided they have no grade of D or below for the term (includes F or I). Courses taken for pass-no pass credit will not be used in computing the minimum academic load.
Grade changes made after end of term processes will not result in recalculation of Dean's and President's Lists or graduation ranking.
Students will be placed on the President's List if they have earned a grade point average of 4.0 (all As) on a load of 12 semester hours or more during fall or spring or nine or more during summer, provided they have no grade of I for the term. Courses taken for pass-no pass credit will not be used in computing the minimum academic load.
Grade changes made after end of term processes will not result in recalculation of Dean's and President's Lists or graduation ranking.
An undergraduate student will be allowed to continue in the University as long as the cumulative grade point average (GPA) indicated in the following scale is maintained. A higher minimum allowable GPA is sometimes specified by specific colleges within the university. In such cases, the more stringent requirements supersede those that follow.
|Total Hours Attempted
||Minimum Cumulative GPA Required
|(Including transfer credit)
||(USM work only)
|0 - 14
|15 - 29
|30 and above
Total hours attempted will include credit taken at the University and approved transfer credits. Courses in which a student received grades of I, E or P will not earn quality points that contribute to the USM GPA.
The University expects all students, regardless of whether they are enrolled part-time or full-time, to meet certain academic standards. Students must assume personal responsibility for their own intellectual growth and personal development and should take advantage of the opportunities for academic support that the University provides. If a student fails to maintain the quality of work necessary to make reasonable progress toward graduation, then the student will be placed on academic probation or suspension. The purpose of this policy is to help students re-establish an acceptable level of academic performance.
If a student does not attain the minimum cumulative GPA as indicated above, he or she is placed on academic probation at the end of the semester. Academic probation will be removed when the student attains an acceptable cumulative GPA. If the cumulative GPA at the end of the semester the student was on academic probation is lower than the minimum specified above or the semester GPA was at least a 2.00, the student will be placed on academic probation continued. A student may remain on academic probation continued for as long as he or she earns a semester GPA of at least a 2.00. A student placed on academic probation continued may not enroll in a subsequent semester without the prior written approval of the director of the student's current school and the Dean of his or her college. A student placed on academic probation continued who fulfills the conditions of his or her contract may not enroll in a subsequent semester without the prior written approval of the director of the student's current school. Gulf Coast students should contact the Department of Student Services.
Attaining the required minimum cumulative GPA will clear all probation categories.
A student will be suspended from the University the first semester he or she does not earn at least a 2.00 semester GPA while on academic probation continued. Also, regardless of hours attempted or probation status, any student earning a semester GPA of 0.00 (excluding Audit and P grades) will be suspended from the university, unless the cumulative GPA at the end of that semester meets the minimum listed above. The student may appeal suspension through a formal appeals process initiated with the director of his or her school. Any exception to the suspension policy must then be approved by the Dean of the respective college with final approval for denied appeals only granted by the Provost.
A student placed on academic suspension may not enroll at The University of Southern Mississippi until one full semester (fall, spring or summer) has passed. However, the student may choose to take courses at another regionally accredited institution of higher education and may transfer credits earned at that university or college assuming the courses meet USM criteria for transfer credits. Students on suspension should contact their academic advisor in advance of taking courses at another institution to ensure that those courses are eligible for transfer credit at USM and will advance the student's progress toward a degree. Courses taken at another institution while a student is on academic suspension will not affect the cumulative USM GPA.
After one semester on suspension, a student may be readmitted with prior written approval of the director of the student's current school and the Dean of his or her college. A student readmitted following academic suspension must earn a minimum semester GPA of at least 2.25 or attain the required cumulative GPA. A student readmitted after academic suspension but who fails to attain the required semester GPA will be suspended for two semesters (fall, spring or summer).
Readmission after the required suspension period requires reinstatement to the University through "the change of academic status" process initiated with the director of the student's current school and the Dean of the college in which the student was enrolled as a major.
Students who are suspended may appeal the suspension through their college process. If readmitted under a suspension appeal contract, a minimum term GPA will be required by the college. Students meeting the term GPA will be able to have continued enrollment each subsequent term. The contract will be re-evaluated each term against the student's term GPA until the overall GPA is obtained.
Students who were suspended as the result of repeated violations of the Academic Integrity Policy are required to complete an academic integrity remediation process as specified by the Academic Integrity Officer. With permission from the Academic Integrity Officer, the student may complete the remediation during the semester following a suspension. Failure to complete work will result in re‐suspension the next semester.
Undergraduate students who leave The University of Southern Mississippi without completing their degree and who wish to return with a 'clean slate' may apply for grade forgiveness under the Academic Restart policy. In order to qualify, the student must be out of school for at least 24 consecutive months (two full academic years) and have not taken classes at The University of Southern Mississippi or any other institution of higher education during that time. Grade forgiveness does not remove courses from the student's transcript, but excludes those grades earned prior to returning to USM from use in calculating the student's USM cumulative grade point average.
Students who opt for grade forgiveness will have all previous credits earned at USM voided; no classes are exempt. The transcript will be marked to indicate the grades and semesters covered under the Academic Restart policy and students will have to retake any classes they passed that are necessary to meet general education and major requirements for degree completion. Grade repeat opportunities for courses taken after the restart will be available to the student for future use based on the institution's current grade repeat policy.
The Academic Restart policy may be used only once during a student's undergraduate academic career and the decision to do so should not be taken lightly. Grade forgiveness is not automatic. Students must apply to the Registrar's Office and sign an affidavit certifying that they have not taken courses at any institution of higher education since leaving The University of Southern Mississippi. This policy applies only to USM courses and does not affect transfer credit. It may adversely impact student financial aid eligibility and may not be honored at other educational institutions. Students should also note that some departments and majors have degree progression requirements that prevent students from taking a course multiple times and, as a result, students who are granted an academic restart may not be eligible to pursue some majors. Student must petition for Academic Restart within their first semester of readmission to the University, following 24 consecutive months of non-enrollment at any post-secondary institution.
Academic Integrity Policy
All students at the University of Southern Mississippi are expected to demonstrate the highest levels of academic integrity in all that they do as stated in the University's Academic Integrity Honor Code:
As a member of the Southern Miss community, I will act with honor and integrity at all times. I will not engage in any act of academic misconduct, and I understand that such acts violate the Academic Integrity Policy and Student Honor Code and undermine the community of trust so important to the integrity of the University.
Forms of academic dishonesty include (but are not limited to):
- Cheating (to include copying from others' work)
- Plagiarizing, which includes representing another person's words or ideas as your own and failure to properly cite the source of your information, argument, or concepts
- Falsifying documents
- Disclosing test or other assignment content to another student
- Submitting the same paper or other assignment to more than one class without the explicit approval of all faculty members
- Collaborating with others on work without authorization
Engaging in any of these behaviors or supporting others who do so will result in academic penalties. If a faculty member determines that a student has violated our Academic Integrity Policy, sanctions range from being required to resubmit the work to receiving an "XF" grade for the course. The XF grade will appear on the student's transcript with the notation "Failure due to academic misconduct." Repeated acts of academic misconduct will lead to suspension and expulsion.
Students may petition to remove up to one XF grade from their transcript. Students who disagree with the faculty member's determination that the Academic Integrity Policy was violated, may appeal the grade. An appeal process that balances the rights of students with the University's commitment to maintaining high academic standards has been established. To learn more about the University's Academic Integrity Policy, including the appeals process, see https://www.usm.edu/institutional-policies/policy-acaf-pro-012
Students who have questions about how to adhere to the University's Academic Integrity Policy are encouraged to discuss the policy with their instructors and can find more information online at https://www.usm.edu/success
Professional Licensure Disclosure
The University of Southern Mississippi offers several programs leading to professional licensure within the State of Mississippi. USM is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA) which allows us to provide online programs and coursework to residents of states other than Mississippi. However, NC-SARA membership does not grant reciprocity or exempt us from state professional licensing requirements. As a result, licensing requirements in Mississippi may not be recognized as sufficient to obtain a license in any other state.
The University of Southern Mississippi cannot determine the applicability of program coursework to satisfy licensing requirements outside of Mississippi. Our programs and coursework are designed to meet the licensure requirements of licensing entities within Mississippi. We highly recommend that students contact the applicable licensure board(s) in their state of residence or in the state where they intend to obtain a license before beginning an academic program that results in licensure. Many licensure boards require more than successful degree completion to obtain a license.
Please be advised that state laws, regulations, and policies may change at any time. It is the responsibility of the student completing the licensure program to check with the licensing board(s) in their state of residence or in the state in which they intend to obtain a license for the most recent information and requirements.
Students may contact email@example.com for assistance in identifying contact information for licensing boards in their state.
An official transcript is the reproduction of a complete, unabridged permanent academic record validated with the University seal, facsimile signature of the Registrar and date of issue. A transcript key containing a full statement of pertinent definitions is included. Currently enrolled as well as former undergraduate and graduate students may obtain an official transcript by visiting the Registrar's website at www.usm.edu/registrar. The cumulative GPA on a student's transcript only reflects hours attempted at The University of Southern Mississippi. Hours transferred to the University are posted to the transcript but not included in the cumulative GPA. Transcripts are not released when there is indebtedness to the University.
Change of Major
Any student wishing to change his or her major within a college must secure the approval of the school director. A student wishing to transfer from one college of the University to another must make application to, and be approved by, the Dean of the college he or she wishes to enter. The University of Southern Mississippi does not require students to have a 2.0 grade point average in order to change majors. Individual disciplines, however, may create their own standards regarding grade point averages and changes of majors. Should such policies prevent a student from declaring a major, that student can elect to change to undeclared status until they are academically in a position to declare a major.
Credit by Examination
The University of Southern Mississippi will allow students to earn credit by examination under one or more of the following programs.
Credit earned through the use of examination will be included in the 50 percent of the hours applied to a degree "Limitation of Transfer Credits" rule and may not be used to meet the 25 percent of the hours applied to a degree from The University of Southern Mississippi.
College-Level Examination Program: The University of Southern Mississippi will allow credit by examination to those students who have participated in the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and have achieved a level acceptable to the University.
A student of any age who has not earned college-level credit in the subject area in which he or she seeks credit can take a CLEP subject-area examination for advanced placement and college credit.
CLEP credit cannot be used to remove an F grade. Credit will be awarded for a scaled score of 50 or above.* The essay is required for all English examinations. CLEP examinations in English can, with required scores, be substituted for ENG 101 or ENG 102 . The appropriate school at The University of Southern Mississippi will have final determination in the amount of credit to be awarded, based on the essay.
Under this credit by examination program, students are restricted to a maximum of 30 semester hours, with not more than eight hours or two courses in one subject-matter area.* It is understood that the 30-hour total includes all credit earned by examination. The Office of Admissions will be charged with the responsibility of determining a student's eligibility to earn credit through these examinations. Credit appearing on another institution's transcript will be accepted as transfer credit only if it meets the above cited standards.
*Credit for all foreign languages will vary within a range score of 40-80 and may allow up to 12 semester hours credit.
Prior to June 2001, the following policies apply for the General Examination of the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Credit for the General Examination will be restricted to students who have been out of high school for at least three years. A student who has earned more than 30 semester hours of college credit may not earn additional credit through the use of the General Examination. Credit will be awarded for each area in which the student receives a scale score of 500 or above. All English General Examinations taken between January 1978 and April 1986 require a score of 610 for credit. It will be the responsibility of the Office of Admissions to determine a person's eligibility to receive credit.
Additional information, applications and CLEP brochures may be secured from the Office of Admissions, room 212, Kennard-Washington Hall, or by writing 118 College Drive #5166, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001.
Advanced Placement Program: All Advanced Placement examinations taken during, or prior to, 1986 will receive three semester hours credit for scores of 3 or 4 and six semester hours of credit for a score of 5. All Advanced Placement examinations taken between 1987 and fall 2004 will receive three semester hours of credit for scores of 2 or 3 and six semester hours of credit for a score of 4 or 5. All Advanced Placement examinations taken in or after fall 2004, unless otherwise noted, will receive three semester hours of credit for a score of 3 and six semester hours of credit for scores of 4 or 5. A student can earn no more than eight semester hours of credit in any one subject area through testing credit (to include AP, CLEP, IB or Challenge examinations), with the exception of foreign languages in which a student may earn up to 12 semester credit hours.
International Baccalaureate: Students receiving the IB diploma may receive up to 30 semester hours of credit for scores of 4 or better on both higher-level and standard-level examinations. Specific policies are determined by the academic unit for which credit is awarded. A student can earn no more than eight semester hours of credit in any one subject area through testing credit (to include AP, CLEP, IB or Challenge examinations), with the exception of foreign languages in which a student may earn up to 12 semester credit hours.
Contact the Office of Admissions for specific information:
Office of Admissions
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive #5166
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
Challenge Examination: Under the following policy, schools may grant credit by examination in lieu of class enrollment for courses where no CLEP subject area examination is offered. A student can earn no more than eight semester hours of credit in any one subject area through testing credit (to include AP, CLEP, IB or Challenge examinations):
- The student must be currently enrolled or must be a former student of the University;
- The examination must be given by the school through which the course is offered;
- The student must make application to the director of the school, who should be assured that the student has had some formal or informal learning experience that has prepared the student for the examination;
- If approval is granted, the director sends a memorandum by the student to the Office of the University Registrar giving the student permission to register for the course(s) on an arranged basis. The memorandum should include the student's name and employee ID, the course number(s), semester and year, semester hours of credit, and the name of the instructor;
- The student should complete registration procedures and present the registration invoice to the director. NOTE: The $10 per semester hour fee is assessed above and beyond any additional course-related fees paid for the Term; and
- The instructor of record will receive a regular grade roster at the end of the term for recording the final grade.
Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education: (British and Singapore) As and A-level AICE examinations may be considered for advanced credit. Credit approval is at the discretion of the academic school. International Admissions will prepare A-level subject syllabi for program and school review. A standalone AS-level subject represents one year of advanced high school work and may be evaluated for up to 4 credits (one year of advanced high school work is generally equivalent to one semester of college level work). An A-level subject represents two years of advanced high school work and may be evaluated for up to 8 credits. If AS and A-level exams were taken in the same subject, each exam only receives a maximum of 4 credits each (for a total of up to 8 credits). Credit may be awarded for grades A-E.
Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam: Only 1 and 2 unit CAPE courses may be considered for advanced standing credit (each unit is representative of one year of advanced high school work). Credit approval is at the discretion of the academic school. International Admissions will prepare syllabi for program and school review. Each 1 unit CAPE course represents completion of one undergraduate freshman level course (one year of advanced high school work is generally equivalent to one semester of college level work). Each 2 unit CAPE course represents the completion of the introductory sequence of that subject. Up to 4 credits may be awarded for each unit. Credit may be awarded for grades I-IV.
Validation of Previously Earned Credit (Nursing)
Under the following policy, and with approval of the Office of the Provost, certain academic schools may allow a student to revalidate credit acquired through previous study in order to apply the credit to a current degree program.
- The student must be currently enrolled or must be a former student of the University;
- NCLEX RN Licensure Exam will be used to validate previously earned nursing credit; and
- The student will register for the courses on an arranged basis after the successful completion of the first semester of the nursing program.
Summary of Types and Limitations of Credit Usage
The following is a summary of the limitations placed on maximum credit usage towards a degree at USM:
- 50 percent of the hours applied to a degree through a combination of credit by examination, independent study and Armed Forces experiences;
- 25 percent of the hours applied to a degree by independent study (including USAFI); nine semester hours in any one field;
- 30 semester hours credit by examination (including CLEP);
- 18 semester hours of pass-fail credit;
- 12 semester hours in the same program through a combination of independent study and pass-no pass;
- 50 percent of the hours applied to a degree in a senior college are required for a baccalaureate degree. Of this total, 45 must be in course numbers 300-level or above, and 25 percent of the hours applied to a degree must be earned at The University of Southern Mississippi;
- The types of credit considered as senior college work are (1) USM Hattiesburg, (2) USM Gulf Coast, (3) independent study, (4) USAFI* and (5) armed forces experiences.*
- Types of credit not considered senior college work: (1) junior college transfer work, (2) CLEP, (3) USAFI** and (4) armed forces experience**
*If course number evaluations are 300-level or above
**If course number evaluations are below 300-level
Some programs have established course prerequisites to guide students in their planning and progress toward a degree. Prerequisites are listed in the course descriptions in this document. For complete details, see the school requiring the course prerequisite. The University reserves the right to drop students from courses where the prerequisite has not been fulfilled.
Office of Online Learning
118 College Drive #9649
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
The University of Southern Mississippi offers fully online and hybrid courses and degrees. There is no designation on student transcripts to distinguish between courses taken in a traditional face-to-face setting and those taken through online learning. Workloads for online courses will be the same as those courses taken in traditional on-campus format; students should not expect online courses to be easier, less demanding or less challenging than traditionally delivered courses. Students should consider their time management and computer skills in deciding whether to take courses online. If you are interested in learning more about our online degrees, please feel free to visit online.usm.edu for more information.
Online Courses: Online courses are delivered fully within our learning management system online and do not require students to come to campus. Online courses are available to any student who has access to a computer and Internet service provider. Components in online courses will vary, depending on the tools and services the individual instructors wish to use and provide. Faculty will choose how to assess student learning; exams may be online, given face-to-face in a group setting as arranged by the instructor, or given in a proctored environment as arranged by the student. These are issues that will be addressed in the course syllabus. For a list of online courses, please refer to www.usm.edu/registrar/class-schedule-guide for the appropriate semester list.
Senior Citizen Scholarship Program
The University of Southern Mississippi provides a Senior Citizen Tuition Scholarship Program for Mississippi residents age 62 or older for classes offered on the Gulf Park or Hattiesburg campuses. Legal residents of the State of Mississippi age 62 or older may enroll tuition-free in a maximum of six (6) semester hours for the fall or spring term. Courses on both campuses are available to senior citizens on a space available, first come first serve basis. For more information on the program contact the Registrar's Office in Hattiesburg or Student Services One Stop at the Gulf Park campus.