To qualify for a baccalaureate degree a student must complete a minimum of 120 approved semester hours, meet the university's general education requirements, meet the requirements of the major, and meet any specific requirements of the college or school. Some colleges and schools also require a minor. Degree requirements in some academic programs may exceed 120 hours. Students should consult the individual college or school for more details.
I. General Education Requirements
General Education Mission
The General Education Curriculum at USA helps students succeed academically in college, be prepared for their professional careers, be equipped for life-long learning, and become responsible citizens and leaders. To meet these goals in a dynamic world, General Education provides shared experiences for students to acquire foundational skills and knowledge, along with an appreciation of diverse perspectives and a broad intellectual context in which students can situate their specialized fields of study.
General Education Competencies and Student Learning Outcomes
- The student will demonstrate effective writing skills.
- The student will demonstrate effective oral presentation skills.
Aesthetic and Critical Interpretations:
- The student will demonstrate a foundational knowledge of artistic and literary interpretations, and the student will demonstrate proficiency in basic interpretive skills.
- The student will demonstrate proficiency in scientific reasoning and foundational knowledge of the natural sciences.
- The student will demonstrate proficiency in quantitative reasoning and the use of mathematics.
Social Scientific Literacy:
- The student will demonstrate foundational knowledge of the social sciences.
- The student will demonstrate a foundational knowledge of historical perspective.
General Education Course Requirements
All students must fulfill the following general education requirements, consisting of a minimum of 41 semester hours plus two designated writing intensive or "W" courses. Specific degree program and college requirements may exceed any or all of the minimum general education requirements. Also, because specific course requirements in general education will vary from major to major, students must refer to the program section of the Bulletin for their major before enrolling in courses intended to satisfy general education requirements as well as other program requirements. In addition, students should plan their degree program with an academic advisor. The general education requirements are:
Area I. Written Composition
EH 101 and EH 102 are required of all students, unless exempted. In addition, two designated writing (W) courses are required with at least one course chosen from offerings in the students' major or minor. Courses carrying this required credit are identified in the University Bulletin by a (W) after the course title. EH 101 and EH 102 are prerequisites to writing courses.
Students must demonstrate general competence in writing by earning a "C" or better in EH 101 and a "C" or better in EH 102. Students are exempt from the EH 101 requirement with an enhanced ACT English score of 27 or above, a recentered old SAT score of 610 or above, or a new SAT Reading Test. Students scoring a minimum of 50 on the CLEP English Examination will satisfy the EH 101 and EH 102 requirement. A score of 4 or higher in the Advanced Placement Program will satisfy the EH 101 requirement. Students completing an IB degree, with an IB exam score of 5 or higher in English, will satisfy the EH 101 and EH 102 requirement. Students failing to complete IB degree, but who have an IB exam score of 5 or higher in English, may satisfy only EH 101 requirement.
Note: Credits earned in the English as a Second Language courses or Developmental Studies will not be accepted toward meeting writing competency requirements.
Area II. Humanities and Fine Arts
Requirements include at least 12 semester hours in humanities, with a minimum of three semester hours in literature and three semester hours in the arts and the remaining semester hours from the humanities and fine arts. In addition to literature, disciplines in the humanities include, but are not limited to, philosophy, religious studies, speech1, modern and classical languages and literature, art, music, and theater and dance.
Courses should be broad in scope and content rather than specific and should emphasize a global perspective. Courses in the arts should emphasize history and appreciation rather than performance. Examples in the humanities and fine arts include, but are not limited to, world literature, art history, music appreciation, comparative religions, and history or origins of dance.
Students must complete one course that demonstrates competency in oral communication. Within the Colleges of Allied Health Professions, Arts and Sciences, Education and Professional Studies, Nursing, the School of Computing, and in the Departments of Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering, students must complete CA 110 to satisfy the competency in oral communication requirement. Students majoring in the College of Business and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering must meet the specific oral communication requirements of their major (see appropriate sections of this Bulletin for details.)
Area III. Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Requirements include at least 11 semester hours with at least three semester hours in mathematics at the finite mathematics (MA 110) or precalculus algebra (MA 112) level or higher and at least eight semester hours in the natural sciences which must include laboratory experiences. See the Mathematics Placement section.
Disciplines in the natural sciences include, but are not limited to, astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, physical geography and physics.
Courses in the natural sciences should be broad in scope and content rather than specific to an aspect of a discipline and may include interdisciplinary science courses. Courses in the natural sciences must include laboratory experiences which emphasize the scientific method.
Area IV. History, Social, and Behavioral Sciences
Requirements include twelve semester hours in history, social and behavioral sciences with at least six semester hours from among other disciplines in the social and behavioral science. Other disciplines include, but are not limited to, anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology, and sociology.
Courses should be broad in scope and content, include global or international perspectives, and must emphasize the methods of inquiry in the social sciences.
Students must complete a six semester hour sequence in literature or history.1 Note that some majors specify the sequence and the requirements of the major should be referred to before deciding upon either a literature or history sequence. If the sequence selected is in literature, an additional three hours must be taken in any of the history, social science or behavioral science disciplines above.
Students preparing to complete the BS degree in engineering are required to complete nine rather than 12 semester hours in the humanities and fine arts. Rather than the six hour sequence in history or literature, they must demonstrate in-depth study in the humanities and fine arts, history, and the social and behavioral sciences as indicated in the General Education Requirements of the College of Engineering.
II. Major Requirements
(Refer to the Program Section of the Bulletin)
Technology Use Requirement
All undergraduate students must have access to and training in the use of technology to enhance learning and appropriate to meeting the objectives of individual degree programs. Each degree program will specify how its students will meet this requirement.
Students may not register for courses for which they do not have the prerequisites specified in the course descriptions. Any student who does so will be withdrawn by the Registrar, the student's dean, or the dean of the college in which the course is taught.
Minimum Grade-Point Average
A student must earn a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 2.00 (an average grade of "C") based on all course work taken at the University of South Alabama. Students enrolled in the College of Education and Professional Studies in majors with candidacy requirements must have a minimum grade-point average of 2.20 (2.75 grade-point average for teacher certification). Grades in pass-fail (S/U) courses do not carry quality points and are not used in determining the grade-point average.
Hours in Residence/Residency Requirement
A candidate for graduation must complete a minimum of 25 percent of the credit hours required for the degree through instruction offered by the University of South Alabama in upper-division course work (300 and 400 levels). Upon the recommendation of the dean of the appropriate college and approval of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs or Vice President for Medical Affairs, other credit earned at USA may be substituted to meet the residency requirement. Up to 15 credit hours of study abroad courses may be used to satisfy USA upper-division course requirement. In such cases, up to 15 credit hours of lower-division courses may be used to help meet the requirement that a minimum of 25 percent of the credit hours required for the degree are accomplished through courses offered by USA.
There is also a minimum number of semester hours that must be completed in the major and minor at the University of South Alabama: A minimum of 15 credit hours of courses at the 300/400 level in the major discipline must be completed at the University of South Alabama. If a minor is required in the particular degree program, 9 credit hours of courses in the minor must also be completed at the University of South Alabama.
Any deviation from these residency policies must be approved by the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs or Vice President for Medical Affairs. Students should consult the University Bulletin for additional regulations in each academic unit.
Dual Bachelor's Degree
Students currently enrolled in a degree program may pursue a dual degree. A dual degree differs from a double major in that the dual degree has additional requirements beyond those of a second major's as specified below. To earn a dual degree, students must fulfill the following requirements:
- They must complete the appropriate form(s) in the Registrar's Office.
- They must be enrolled in the college(s) in which both degrees are administered.
- They must complete at least 150 total semester hours.
- They must complete a course of study, approved by the appropriate dean, consisting of at least 30 credit hours in upper division course work in residence over and above the requirements for the first bachelor's degree including a recognized major program.
- They must satisfy all degree requirements of the college(s) awarding each degree.
- They must comply with all other University regulations.
Second Bachelor's Degree
Students who have been awarded a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, based on at least 120 semester hours of fully accredited work, may seek a second bachelor's degree at the University of South Alabama. To earn a second bachelor's degree, students must fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete the appropriate form(s) in the Admissions Office or Registrar's Office.
- Complete a course of study, with a grade point average of 2.0 or higher, consisting of at least 30 credit hours in upper division course work in residence over and above the requirements for the first bachelor's degree, including a recognized major program.
- Students must select a major different from that of the first degree.
- Certain majors may require students to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the minimum 30 hours in upper division coursework.
- The general education requirements earned during the first baccalaureate degree will be honored by the University as fulfillment of the general education curriculum.