Academic Resources

For Graduate Students

Below are guidelines on commonly asked academic processes. For more specific information regarding these processes or to inquire about other policies that are not listed, please contact your program advisor.

Grade Appeals Process

Marshall Graduate Programs follow USC’s Disputed Academic Evaluation Process in SCampus part C as outlined below. Students are required to first meet with the instructor of the course to resolve the dispute.

  • Level 1 Appeal: If the dispute is not resolved after meeting with the instructor, the student must appeal in writing to the Department Chair. Department chair can review personally or may choose to form an ad-hoc committee.
  • Level 2 Appeal: Appeal in writing to Vice Dean for Graduate Programs within 2 weeks after receiving the written decision in the prior level. The Vice Dean of Graduate Programs will form a school-level hearing committee.

Leave of Absence (LOA)

While an LOA is generally discouraged, Marshall Graduate Programs supports students who desire to put a pause on their studies due to a compelling reason. If a student would like to pursue an LOA, the student should meet with their program advisor to review associated deadlines and determine if an LOA is the best decision.

An LOA can be requested for a single semester or two consecutive semesters (International students must also apply for a Leave of Absence with USC’s Office of International Services and follow all University and Department of Homeland Security policy.) An approved Leave of Absence allows a student to return to the program at the conclusion of the leave and continue their progress towards completion of the degree while satisfying USC’s continuous enrollment requirement. Students who skip a semester without an approved Leave of Absence will be required to apply for Reinstatement if they desire to return. 

An LOA petition form can be found here.

Petition for Additional Units

Should a student need to take additional units in excess of those required for their degree program in order to raise their GPA to above a 3.0, a petition package is required.  A maximum of 12 units may be granted. A student should work with their respective program advisor to submit a complete petition package that includes a Marshall Petition Form among other supporting materials. The Vice Dean for Graduate Programs will review the complete petition package and provide a decision within 14 days.

Petitioning for Additional Units

A complete petition package contains the following:

  1. Marshall Petition Form 
    • Signed by Student
    • Then signed by Academic Director (recommendation from Assistant Vice Dean for Graduate Programs, Masters of Science, if applicable)
    • Then sent for Vice Dean for Graduate Programs Signature (final step of petition package)
  2. Academic Director Supporting Letter
  3. Signed Program Projection Agreement written by advisor
    • Signed by student
    • Correspondence CC: Academic Director, Vice Dean for Graduate Programs, USC Graduate School
  4. STARS Report
  5. GPA Calculation

Program Dismissal Appeal Overview (non-academic integrity violation related)

Marshall Graduate Programs follow USC’s Graduate Students who have been dismissed from an Academic Program in SCampus part C, part 2, section IV as outlined below:

  • Level 1 Appeal: Student may appeal in writing to the academic director within 30 days of the date of dismissal.
  • Level 2 Appeal: If student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the Level 1 appeal, student may appeal in writing to the Vice Dean for Graduate Programs within 30 days of the Level 1 decision.
  • Level 3 Appeal: If student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the Level 2 appeal, student may appeal in writing to the Vice Provost for Graduate Programs at the USC Graduate School within 30 days of the Level 2 decision. This is the final consideration of a student’s dismissal appeal. Appeal guidelines can be found here.


A waitlist is used for students to indicate an interest in being enrolled in a class when that class is full. Students can indicate interest for enrollment by putting their name on a waitlist and waiting for seats to open up. If another student enrolled in the class drops the course and seats open up, the class will be filled with students in order of the waitlist. Being on the waitlist does not guarantee a seat in the class. Waitlist processing will continue until the add/drop deadline.

  • To add your name to a course waitlist, fill out the Marshall Graduate Programs Waitlist Request. Your priority (place or position) on the waitlist is determined by the date and time you submitted this Waitlist Request.
  • If a seat becomes available and you are next on the wait list, you will be manually enrolled by Marshall Registration. You will receive an email to let you know that you are enrolled.
  • If you are registered for another section of the same course (duplicate class) or are enrolled in another class that meets at the same day/time as the waitlisted class (conflicting class), you will be dropped from the registered course to accommodate the waitlisted section.
  • To be removed from a waitlist, send an email to and request to be removed. Marshall Registration will send you a confirmation email once you have been removed from the waitlist.
  • You should attend the first week of class (as a waitlisted student) to keep your place on the waitlist. Instructors may drop you from the waitlist if you are not present in class.