University Bulletin 2016-17

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Academic Policies & Procedures

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. Academic programs are administered through the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences.

General Information 

University Email 

Each student admitted to the University of South Alabama is assigned a free, permanent, official University e-mail address ( Most changes in University policies and official University correspondence will be transmitted via the student's official e-mail account. Instructors must also utilize this address to communicate with students. Students are responsible for regularly reading e-mail sent to this address. The official University e-mail address cannot be changed, but students may elect to have official mail forwarded to any other personal e-mail address. To activate your JagMail account, select that link on the University's PAWS web site at

Academic Terms and Credit Hours

The institutional process for assigning credit hours to courses is based on the minimum academic activity to achieve intended learning outcomes as verified by evidence of student achievement. For traditional classes, a credit hour consists of approximately one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time for semesters of other durations. For classes offered in other formats leading to the award of academic credit, the equivalent amount of academic activity is required.

The University academic terms are two semesters (Fall and Spring) and three terms: a May term and two Summer terms. Semesters normally consist of fifteen weeks of class followed by a final examination week. In some programs of study, courses may be scheduled for parts of terms different from a normal semester. Usually, one semester credit hour is awarded for each 50-minute lecture class per week or 2-3 hour laboratory or studio period.

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

Student Classification

A student's classification is determined by the number of credits earned toward the degree. A student is classified as follows: 

Freshman               0 - 29 semester hours
Sophomore            30 - 59 semester hours
Junior                     60 - 89 semester hours
Senior                    90 semester hours or more

Full-time/Part-Time Enrollment Status

Undergraduate degree seeking students carrying twelve or more credit hours of work each term are considered full-time. However, students must carry at least fifteen hours each term (for eight semesters) 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 enrolled for one to five credit hours are considered less than half-time.

Full Load of Course Work in a Semester

Permission of the student's academic dean is required to take more than 19 semester hours.


Registration (making course selections and enrolling in classes) occurs prior to the beginning of each term. All students obtain registration appointment times ("time tickets") and register utilizing USA's Personal Access Web System (PAWS) at (See the University Registration Guide 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. Enrollment status can be found in PAWS web site at

Course Numbering System

Course Number
001-099           Remedial courses which do not carry credit toward graduation
100-199           Freshman
200-299           Sophomore
300-399           Junior
400-499           Senior
500-699           Graduate/Professional
700-799           Doctoral

Attendence and Absences

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 term.

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. Work missed as a result of these excused absences may be made up.

Computer Access Requirement

All students enrolled at the University of South Alabama are required to have access to personal computer. This may be achieved by individual ownership, access to a family machine when residing at home, sharing with a roommate, or other suitable arrangements not dependent on University public computer laboratories. Student personal computer access must include a current version of word processing software appropriate to college-level work, access to the Internet, and access to the university's e-mail system. Individual degree programs and specific courses may have additional requirements appropriate to curriculum needs.

Student Academic Success

The Office of Student Academic Success supports the mission of the University by offering, supporting, and assessing programs and services designed to improve student academic success, including but not limited to retention and graduation. This includes the First Year Advising Center, freshman learning communities, the university first year experience courses, JagSuccess, JagAlert, the USA Scholars Initiative, including our Earn Back program, and our first year mentoring program for underrepresented minority students- JagRoots.

Academic Advising

Academic advising is an important component of a student’s educational experience and success. Faculty, administrators, and professional staff promote academic advising as a shared responsibility with students. Academic advising serves to develop and enrich students’ educational plans in ways that are consistent with their personal values, goals, and career plans.  Before attending an advising appointment, students should review the university website and consider academic majors that best suit their educational and career interests.  Students are assigned an advisor based on their declared major.  

All degree-seeking first-year students and transfer students who have earned less than 30 hours are required to meet with an academic advisor.  Additionally, first year students are required to meet with their academic advisor in both fall and spring semesters.   After a student completes 30 hours, they will be shifted to an academic advisor in their major College or School. Students should communicate with their major advisor at least once each academic year. 

Advisors are responsible for particular majors or programs; if a student changes their major, their academic advisor will also change.  Students should plan to meet regularly with their academic advisor throughout their enrollment period.  More frequent meetings are associated with increased academic success and progress through the curriculum.

Students who have earned less than a 2.0 cumulative GPA are required to meet with an academic advisor each semester until in good standing with the University.

First Year Advising Center

Students begin their relationship with their first year advisor during orientation. They are required to meet with their advisor each term and are encouraged to meet as often as needed. When students reach 30 earned credit hours, they generally will transition to an academic advisor in their major College/School.  Some Colleges/Schools may require students to remain with FYAC for an additional semester.

Learning Communities

Freshman learning communities at South are focused on academic courses. A learning community usually includes two or three classes that you will share with other students enrolled in that community. Learning communities typically enroll about 25 first year students; generally, all students share their first year experience course. In most communities, students will share one or two additional classes with the same group of 25 students. Learning communities are designed to provide students with the opportunity to meet other students in the same major, to offer the best schedule for the first semester, and to maximize the applicability of courses should a student decide to change majors.

First Year Experience Courses

First year experience courses are offered at universities around the world. At USA, this course was constructed by faculty and designed to address areas where first year students need additional development. The course ranges from 2 to 3 academic credit hours (depending on College/School) and includes a peer academic leader called a JagPAL.  Currently, first year experience (FYE) courses are offered in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the Mitchell College of Business, the Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions, the College of Nursing, and the School of Continuing Education and Special Programs.


JagSuccess is our student focused academic success center.  It is located at 111 Jaguar Drive, in the Academic Services Center. JagSuccess is staffed with peer academic leaders (or coaches) called JagPALs and is open Monday-Thursday from 12:00pm – 6:00pm, and on Friday from 12:00-3:00pm. During these times, any student is welcome to drop by and talk with a JagPal about course material, receive additional problem sets for practice, or discuss study skills specific to a class or test. JagSuccess also hosts Homework Help in New Hall, Monday-Thursday from 6:00pm-8:00pm, and Workshop Wednesdays, featuring academic success workshops. Workshops are also available on demand to support the needs of faculty and staff. Resources may be found online at

USA Scholars Initiative

At USA, we want our scholarship students to retain their award. The USA Scholars Initiative focuses additional attention on USA scholarship students who may be academically at risk. First year students whose fall GPA is below 3.0 may be contacted about additional resources designed specifically to increase academic insight. Included in this program is our Earn Back opportunity. Students who have lost their Presidential Scholarship may be able to earn it back by participating in this program.

University Writing Center

The University Writing Center, located in Academic Services Center, Marx Library, and Alpha Hall South, provides assistance with writing to students of any discipline, both face-to-face and online. The University Writing Center is an instructional facility that focuses on helping students improve their writing skills, rather than simply editing papers. Students may receive help with any type of writing task at any stage of the writing process, including understanding assignments, brainstorming, organization, development, and revision. 

For more information, please call (251) 460-6480 or visit the Writing Center's webpage at


Student Responsibility

The University of South Alabama will endeavor to provide timely and accurate advisement. However, students are ultimately responsible for selecting and registering for courses, meeting course pre-requisites and graduation requirements, and adhering to University policies and procedures.

DS and ESL Courses

Credits earned in the Developmental Studies Program or the Department of English as a Second Language cannot be used to satisfy University degree requirements.

Placement and Proficiency Exams

Computer Skills and Mathematics

Students will be permitted to enroll in mathematics classes based on either a prerequisite course, their Math-ACT score, their Math-SAT score, or the Mathematics Placement test as defined on the following web site:

Mathematics Placement Exam
The only exceptions to this policy are:

Students who transfer credit for MA 112 or higher with a grade C or better and who plan to take subsequent mathematics courses are not required to take the Math Placement Exam. Nevertheless, they are encouraged to take the exam to help evaluate their level of preparation.

Students who transfer credit for MA 110 or higher and who DO NOT plan to take any other mathematics courses are exempt from taking the Math Placement Exam. Note that MA 110 does not fulfill prerequisite requirements for any other mathematics or statistics course.

For students not subject to the two exceptions listed above, the Math Placement Exam and instructions are available online at . Calculators and other outside resources are not permitted during this exam. Students should complete the exam at least 48 hours prior to coming to campus for orientation. If the exam is not taken, students will be blocked from registering for all mathematics courses. Questions concerning the Math Placement Exam should be directed to the Math/Statistics Department (ILB 325, (251) 460-6264).