General Academic Policies

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 Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for Medical Affairs

General Information

University E-mail

Each student admitted to the University of South Alabama is assigned a free, 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 website 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 Calendar is 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:

Student Classification Number of Credits
Freshman 0 - 29 semester hours
Sophomore 30 - 59 semester hours
Junior 60 - 89 semester hours
Senior 90 semester hours or more

Policy for Declaring an Academic Major

Declaring an Academic Major, Non-Transfer Students

Students who enter the university as undeclared or who intend to complete a degree at the university must declare a degree granting major by the time they complete 60 credit hours.

There are two exceptions: Students classified as Business Administration students need to declare their major in the College of Business by 75 credit hours. Students majoring in programs leading to teacher certification in the College of Education and Professional Studies need to enter candidacy, which leads to a degree granting major, by 75 credit hours.

Policy will not apply to second degree seeking or graduate students.

Full-time/Part-Time Enrollment Status

Undergraduate degree seeking students carrying twelve or more credit hours of coursework each semester are considered full- time. However, students must carry at least fifteen hours each semester (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 nine to eleven credit hours are considered three-quarter time, students carrying six to eight 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 semester or term. All students obtain registration appointment times ("time tickets") and register utilizing USA's Personal Access Web System (PAWS) at

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 will prevent registration for subsequent semesters and terms. Enrollment status can be found in PAWS website at

Course Numbering System

Course Number Classification
001-099 Remedial courses which do not carry credit toward graduation
100-199 Freshman
200-299 Sophomore
300-399 Junior
400-499 Senior
500-599 Graduate/Professional
600-799 Doctoral

Attendance 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 semester.

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 a personal computer. This may be achieved by individual ownership, access to a family computer 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.

Students will be permitted to enroll in mathematics classes based on their prerequisite course grade(s), Math-ACT score, Math-SAT score, or the Mathematics Placement test score as described on the following website:

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 Mathematics Placement Exam. Nevertheless, they are encouraged to take the exam to help evaluate their level of preparation. If a student chooses to take the Mathematics Placement test, it must be completed before enrolling in any mathematics course other ST 210.

Students who transfer credit for MA 110 or higher and who do not plan to enroll for any other mathematics courses are not required to take the Mathematics Placement Exam. Note that MA 110 does not fulfill prerequisite requirements for most mathematics courses.

The Mathematics Placement test is a computer-based test administered in a computer lab. A Texas Instruments TI-30XIIs calculator is allowed during this exam. No other resources are permitted during this exam. Students should complete the exam at least 48 hours prior to coming to campus for orientation. Students without any transfer credit for pre-requisite course(s) will be blocked from registering for most mathematics and some statistics courses. Questions concerning the Math Placement Exam should be directed to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics (MSPB 325, (251) 460-6264). Dates when the Math Placement Exam is given and information on how to sign up for it can be found on the webpage: