General Information


Regular and prompt attendance at class is deemed essential for the optimal educational progress of the student, and for the orderly conduct of academic life. There is no generally specified number of allowed absences. Each instructor will publish attendance regulations at the beginning of the course and will state what penalties will be imposed for excessive absences.

Course Numbering System

Courses offered by the university are listed in alphabetical order by discipline within each school or college.

Course numbers are three digits in the following ranges:

100-299 Lower-Division Courses
300-499 Upper-Division Courses
500-599 Graduate/Master’s/Law Courses
600-699 Doctoral/Law Courses

Certain course numbers in the 90's are reserved for particular types of courses and those types of courses must use the reserved numbers. The reserved course numbers and course types are: 

x99 independent study
x98 internship
x97 techniques
x96 undergraduate research
x95 senior thesis
x94 special topics
x93 field experience

Course types are indicated by the following characters:

H Honors
L Laboratory
P Practicum
R Recitation
S Seminar

Some courses without this letter designation may still carry credit for lab, writing, diversity, etc. at the section level. Check the course notes contained in the schedule of classes for more information.

The semester in which a course is offered is indicated in parentheses at the end of the course description.

The numbers in parentheses after the title of the course indicate the number of semester units.

Class Standing

Students reach sophomore standing after satisfactory completion of 30 units. Junior class and Upper-Division Standing are reached upon completion of 60 units. For senior class standing, 90 units must be completed.


Final examinations are held in all courses at the end of each semester. Dates and schedules for the final examinations are not to be changed without the approval of the appropriate dean. Permission to take a make-up examination necessitated by serious illness or other legitimate reason may be granted by the dean.

In fall and spring semesters, examinations are limited during the week prior to final examinations. There may be no major examinations; minor quizzes are permitted as long as they are listed on syllabi at the beginning of a semester and do not count for more than 10 percent of the course grade. Laboratory practica, papers, oral reports and make-up examinations are permitted. Students are responsible for class attendance and material presented during the week before final examinations.

Students who wish to fulfill specific competency requirements for graduation by examination may petition the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for permission to take such examinations. The dates for these examinations are announced in the academic calendar (found at the beginning of this course catalog). Students should check with the dean for fees and locations for the examinations. No academic credit will be given for these examinations.

Transcripts, Academic Records and Diplomas

The transcript is the official, chronological record of the student’s credit and grades. It is maintained and distributed by the Registrar in Founders Hall, Room 117. See table of fees for transcript cost. Instructions for requesting transcripts can be found at Transcripts.

Any student may request official transcripts of his or her academic work. A fee of $10 is charged for each transcript. Applications for official transcripts should be made in writing to Student Financial Services in the Hughes Administration Center. Unofficial transcript requests may be made in person or by writing directly to the One Stop office at USD.

DegreeWorks lists the requirements for each student’s major and the courses that have been taken to meet the requirements. It is designed to keep students updated on their academic progress and to let them know if waived or transferred courses have been approved and processed. Students may access their degree audit using their email login at USD’s MySanDiego portal.

The diploma is issued by the Office of the Registrar to students who have petitioned to graduate and have been cleared for degree completion by the program, by the Registrar’s Office and by other pertinent offices on campus. The diploma will be sent after the term in which requirements are completed. Diplomas for January and August graduates will be ordered at the end of the month of their respective terms (e.g. Jan. 31 and Aug. 31) and only after final requirements have been submitted. Additionally, students must be cleared to graduate by their program directors.

Transcripts and diplomas will not be released to students who have an outstanding balance with student accounts.