Advising Frequently Asked Questions

▼   What is a full-time course load?
Undergraduate students taking 12 or more semester hours are full-time. Graduate students enrolled in 6 or more semester hours are full-time. Students may need to be full-time to receive financial aid and/or to be covered by insurance. Note that students receiving scholarship funds may need to take 15 semester hours each term; consult the terms of your scholarship for details.
▼   How many hours should one normally take each semester?

Usually an undergraduate student will take 15 to 16 hours each semester in order to complete a bachelor's degree in 4 years. However, there may be times when a small course load is appropriate, for example, if you are a freshman, or are taking a number of difficult courses in a single semester. Talk with your academic advisor about the best course load for you.

Graduate students typically have somewhat smaller loads but additional assignments, such as research or teaching duties.

▼   What should I do if I want to take more than 19 semester hours?
This requires Dean's approval. You must go to the Advising Center in Alpha Hall South Room 345.
▼   What is Academic Probation, Academic Suspension, and Academic Dismissal?

If your cumulative GPA falls below 2.0, you will be placed on Academic Probation. This means that you will not be allowed to take more than 13 hours per semester, unless you receive special approval from the appropriate dean of the college.

If your cumulative GPA falls significantly below 2.0, you may be placed on Academic Suspension or Academic Dismissal. Suspension lasts for one semester, dismissal for one calendar year. The GPA required for Academic Suspension varies with the number of credit hours attempted -- consult the Bulletin for a table with the exact GPA requirements.

After academic suspension, you may be readmitted on academic probation, but must make satisfactory progress toward your degree. Readmission after academic dismissal requires the approval of the appropriate college dean.

▼   Do I need to take the courses in the curriculum for my major exactly the way they are listed?
No, it is just a suggested model. Note the prerequisites for the required courses. Many of the general core curriculum courses do not require any prerequisites and may be taken at any time. Students also should consider other factors when scheduling their classes, such as sequencing courses to avoid having too many difficult courses in one semester, taking prerequisites in the proper order, the number of work hours each week, family responsibilities, the possible need for developmental studies classes to be better prepared for college-level work, etc. These issues can be discussed with your advisor.
▼   What is a prerequisite?
A prerequisite is a course that must be taken prior to another course in order to be prepared for it. Normally, PAWS will not allow you to register for a course if you do not satisfy the prerequisites for that course (note that not all courses have prerequisites). If a student registers for a course without having taken the prerequisite(s), he or she may be administratively withdrawn from the class.
▼   What is the core curriculum?
Core curriculum courses are general required courses for your degree that may vary from major to major. These required courses are found in the model curriculum sheet for your major, if you have one, and in the Bulletin (make sure to use the correct Bulletin year for you, which is normally the Bulletin for the year you entered USA). Also check with your advisor if you have questions about options that may be available. The core curriculum comprises four areas of coursework in the General Education Requirements.
▼   How can I be exempt from EH 101?
If you have a score of 27 or higher on the English section of the ACT (SAT Verbal of 550 or higher), you will be exempt from EH 101 and may register for EH 102. Students must replace the 3 semester hours for EH 101 with another course if the minimum 120 hours for a bachelor's degree are not met. Advanced Placement (AP) credit for EH course (101) will be awarded with a score of "4" or higher. Six semester hours of credit will be granted. Official AP scores mailed from the College Entrance Examination Board are required. College Level Examination (CLEP) credit for EH 101 and 102 will be awarded if a student scores "50" or higher on the Freshman College Composition Exam. Six semester hours of credit will be granted. Official CLEP scores mailed from the Educational Testing Service are required. See Counseling and Testing for more details.
▼   Do I have to take a mathematics course? Which one?
All USA students need at least one course in math, and some majors require more. The math course that is best for you depends on a number of factors, including your ACT score on the math subsection, your major, any AP or dual-enrollment credit you have, your results on placement tests (in some cases), and other factors. To avoid taking the wrong math course, it is vital to discuss this with your academic advisor.
▼   What is a double major?

You are a double major if you choose to fulfill the requirements for two majors at the same time, and declare a primary and secondary major on the Declaration of Major form available in the Registrar's Office. If you double-major, you do not have to take a minor.

Note that double majors still receive one diploma. If you double-major in two different colleges (such as Arts and Sciences and Mitchell College of Business), you must fulfill all requirements for each college.

▼   I got a "D" in a course. Will it still count toward my degree?

In most cases, a grade of "D" will still apply toward your degree, however there are some exceptions. For example, some majors require that their students receive at least a "C" in certain important courses for the major -- speak with your academic advisor if you are unsure about this. Also, you cannot receive transfer credit for some courses (such as EH 101) with a "D" or lower.

▼   Should I take a course as Pass/Fail instead of for a grade?

Do not take a course as Pass/Fail if you need it to apply to your major, minor, or general education requirements. Most students should take courses for a letter grade.

▼   What is the "Hours In Residence/Residency Requirement"?

The university requires that a candidate for graduation complete at least 25 percent of the credit hours required for their degree at USA in upper-division course work (300 or 400 level courses). Deviation from this requirement for Arts and Sciences majors requires approval of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The university requires that a candidate for graduation complete at least 25 percent of the credit hours required for their degree at USA in upper-division course work (300 or 400 level courses). Deviation from this requirement for Arts and Sciences majors requires approval of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.