Academic Regulations

By completing the registration process, the student acknowledges the academic regulations of the university, accepts them and pledges to abide by them.

Most USD graduate courses are offered during the late afternoon and early evening hours, although course schedules vary by department and school to accommodate student needs. A list of courses offered and their days and times is available on the MySanDiego portal for all terms.

Integrity of Scholarship

The University of San Diego is an academic institution, an instrument of learning. As such, the university is predicated on the principles of scholastic honesty. It is an academic community all of whose members are expected to abide by ethical standards both in their conduct and in their exercise of responsibility toward other members of the community.

Academic dishonesty is an affront to the integrity of scholarship at USD and a threat to the quality of learning. To maintain its credibility and uphold its reputation, the university has procedures to deal with academic dishonesty which are uniform and which should be understood by all. Violations of academic integrity include:

  1. unauthorized assistance on an examination;
  2. falsification or invention of data;
  3. unauthorized collaboration on an academic exercise;
  4. plagiarism;
  5. misappropriation of research materials;
  6. any unauthorized access to an instructor’s files or computer account; or
  7. any other serious violation of academic integrity as established by the instructor.

An act of dishonesty can lead to penalties in a course such as: reduction of grade; withdrawal from the course; a requirement that all or part of a course be retaken; and a requirement that additional work be undertaken in connection with the course.

Because of the seriousness of academic dishonesty, further penalties at the level of the university community may be applied.  Such penalties include but are not limited to probation, a letter of censure, suspension, or expulsion. Copies of the full policy on Academic Integrity are available at the offices of the Provost, Vice President for Student Affairs, academic deans and in the USD Policies and Procedures Manual. Instructors also explain other specific expectations regarding academic integrity in their classes.

Credit and Grading System

At the end of each semester or session, a graduate student’s grade and credit in semester-hours for each course taken is recorded on the transcript and the grade report, accessible through the MySanDiego portal. A final grade below “C-” is not acceptable and the course(s) in which the grade was earned will not count toward the graduate degree (see Repetition of Courses). Students should consult program descriptions for details regarding the minimum acceptable grade for courses and the minimum overall grade point average in their program.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The grade point average is computed by first multiplying the number of units for each course under consideration by the number of grade points assigned to the grade received for the course; the total number of grade points earned in the period is then divided by the total number of applicable units attempted. Grade points and attempted credit units for courses with a grade of Incomplete or I (unless the deadline for completion has passed), Pass, or W are not included in the GPA calculation.

Grade points are assigned as follows:

A 4.0
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.0
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
D- .67
F 0.00

Grade of Incomplete

The grade of Incomplete (I) may be recorded to indicate:

  • that the requirements of a course have been substantially completed, but, for a legitimate reason, a small fraction of the work remains to be completed;
  • that the record of the student in the course justifies the expectation that he or she will complete the work and obtain a passing grade by the deadline.

It is the student’s responsibility to explain to the instructor the reasons for non-completion of the work and to request an incomplete grade prior to the posting of final grades. The incomplete grade is not counted in the computation of the grade point average, nor is credit earned for the semester or session for which the grade was authorized.

The instructor should discuss with the student the conditions and deadline for completion, whenever possible. In addition, the instructor must document the conditions and deadline using the Petition for Grade of Incomplete. The form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office at the time final grades are submitted. Students who receive a grade of incomplete must submit all missing work no later than the end of the tenth week of the next regular semester; otherwise, the I grade will be counted as an F. This applies only to regular class work. Students completing thesis or dissertation requirements for graduation must submit proof of completion prior to petitioned degree date. Examples of acceptable proof are original bindery receipts or original final manuscript.

Students receiving financial aid should be aware that taking an incomplete grade may affect their eligibility for financial aid by their failure to earn the appropriate amount of credit within a year.

Pass/Fail Grading

Graduate students may not elect the Pass/Fail grade for regularly graded courses. A grade of Pass/Fail is assigned, however, in specifically designated courses. A grade of C- or better is required for a grade of Pass. For a Pass, credit is awarded, but units do not enter into the computation of the GPA. A Fail grade will be computed as a grade of F.

Graduate students who take a course in the USD School of Law will have the grade converted automatically to pass or fail on the graduate transcript.

Repetition of Courses

A student who has earned a grade of D or F in a course may be allowed to repeat the course. If allowed, it may be repeated one time only. The higher grade of the two earned will be calculated in the student’s cumulative grade point average, although both grades will remain on the transcript. Students may not take the repeated course at another institution without the permission of the program area dean.

Students are allowed to repeat only one course during their enrollment in a graduate program at USD (exception: two courses in the MBA and IMBA programs). Within some programs, specific required courses are not approved for repetition (see appropriate program section). A student who fails such a course will not be permitted to continue in the program.

Students who earn a grade other than D or F that is defined as unacceptable in a specific course or program may also repeat that course as outlined above.

Academic Probation and Disqualification

To be in good academic standing and to be eligible to graduate, students must maintain in their program courses the minimum semester and cumulative grade point average (GPA) that is required by their program. Students should consult program descriptions for details regarding the minimum acceptable grade for courses and the minimum overall grade point average required in their program. The following GPA minimums are calculated on a 4.0 scale:

College of Arts and Sciences
Joan B. Kroc Scholarship in Peace and Justice Studies
Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science
MS, MSN, MEPN, Credential
School of Business
School of Leadership and Education Services
PhD, EdD, MA, MEd, MAT, Credentials

Any student who has completed at least six units of coursework and whose cumulative USD GPA for graduate program courses falls below the minimum required of the program will be placed on academic probation. At the end of the term in which the probationary student has registered for his or her next six units, a review will be conducted. Students who have not raised the cumulative USD GPA for graduate program courses to the acceptable level at that time will be disqualified from the program.

Students who wish to appeal their disqualification must do so in writing to the dean of the college or school in which their program resides within 10 calendar days of receiving such notice.

Grade Grievance Procedures

The instructor’s/professor’s judgment is presumed to be correct. Therefore, the burden of qualifying a grievance rests with the student. Thus, at every level in the proposed grievance procedures this “presumption” should be understood by all participants.

It is assumed that grievances will be resolved by the instructor and student.

Grading criteria, requirements, content, etc. are established by the instructor. The presumption is that students have been given ample opportunity for clarification of class requirements at the beginning of a given course.

The procedure for a grade grievance is as follows:

  1. Initial grade/grievance must be addressed to the instructor in the course.
  2. In those rare circumstances when no agreement is reached in number 1 (above), the student may seek advice from the department chair.
  3. If the matter is not satisfactorily settled at number 2 (above), the student then may seek advice from the dean who will refer the matter to a standing faculty committee (e.g. academic affairs).
  4. The committee will hear the student’s grievance and make its recommendations to the parties involved. At every level in this grievance procedure, the instructor must be apprised of the situation.

Applicability of New Academic Requirements

Changes in academic requirements subsequent to publication of this course catalog are not applicable to graduate students already enrolled at the University of San Diego, although students who so choose may elect to fulfill new rather than previous requirements, except that the student may not intermingle previous and new requirements.

When a department or school deletes one course and substitutes a new one, only those students who have not completed the deleted course will be required to take the replacement course. If new requirements are favorable to the student, the university may make them immediately applicable, unless the student objects.