Guidelines, Forms & Requests

  • Forms for Qualifying Exams and Dissertation Defense
  • Forms for Master's Thesis Committees
  • Handbook for Teaching Assistants (TAs), Research Assistants (RAs), and Graduate Assistant Lecturers (ALs)
  • GRSC 596 (CPT)
  • Parental Leave for PhD Students
  • Requests & Petitions
  • Required Documents for Thesis and Dissertation Filing

Forms for Qualifying Exams and Dissertation Defense

Doctoral Students

These fillable PDF forms are best viewed using Adobe Reader. Download the free version here.

After downloading the form, obtain the signatures of the committee members and then submit the form to the department chair or program director. The form will be sent to the dean for review and approval. The original form is to be kept by the program and a signed copy provided to the student.

If changes need to be made to the Qualifying Examination or Dissertation Committee, the Appointment or Change of Qualifying Exam or Dissertation Committee form should be completed and submitted to the department chair or program director as soon as possible.

Forms for Master’s Thesis Committees

These fillable PDF forms are best viewed using Adobe Reader. Download the free version  here.

At least one semester before defending the master’s thesis, the Appointment of Master's Committee form should be completed.

Download

After downloading the form, obtain the signatures of the committee members and then submit the form to the Department Chair. The form will be sent to the dean for review and approval, and a copy will remain in the department.

If changes need to be made to the Master's Committee, a Change of Committee form should be completed and submitted to the department chair as soon as possible.

Download

Handbook for Teaching Assistants (TAs), Research Assistants (RAs), and Graduate Assistant Lecturers (ALs)

USC's Handbook for Teaching Assistants (TAs), Research Assistants (RAs), and Graduate Assistant Lecturers (ALs) is available to you as a PDF.

The handbook has been prepared for teaching assistants, research assistants, and graduate assistant lecturers, for the faculty who work with them, and for staff departmental advisors.

Download



USC Minimum Total Stipends for Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants and Graduate Assistant Lecturers for the 2017-2018 Academic Year

USC Minimum Total Stipends for Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants and Graduate Assistant Lecturers for the 2017-2018 Academic Year is available to you as a PDF.

Download

GRSC 596: Internship for Curricular Practical Training

GRSC 596: Internship for Curricular Practical Training is a course designed to allow international students to gain practical work experience in their field of study. The internship is located off-campus, but a USC faculty member in the same school or department individually supervises students in the academic component. Before applying for GRSC 596, students should confirm whether or not their school offers its own CPT course. If the school offers its own course, then it may not be necessary for the student to enroll in GRSC 596.

International graduate students who meet the following criteria are eligible to enroll in GRSC 596:

  • The student is in good academic standing and has at least a 3.0 GPA
  • The student has completed at least one academic year of graduate enrollment (F-1 status)
  • The student has completed at least one semester of full-time enrollment in the current graduate program with a cumulative 3.0 GPA

The Request for D-Clearance for GRSC 596 is available from the staff graduate advisor in the student’s department. The form requires the signatures of the student, his or her faculty supervisor, and the department chair. Along with the completed form, students submit to the staff advisor an agreement with the faculty supervisor indicating his or her approval of the internship and the terms of the bi-weekly reports and final exam. For more information, download the GRSC 596 syllabus.

Completed requests need to be received by the Graduate School at least two weeks before the first day of employment. Students who submit an application after their official start date will not receive approval for CPT and cannot be granted D-clearance in GRSC 596. International students are not permitted to work off campus until they have received approval from both the Graduate School and the Office of International Services.

GRSC 596 can be taken for a maximum of one unit per term. The GRSC 596 unit may or may not be applied toward the degree, depending on the individual department or school.

Consult the Office of International Services (213-740-2666 or ois@usc.edu) for additional information and paperwork deadlines.

Parental Leave for PhD Students

The Guidelines

PhD students who meet the following criteria are eligible for a one-semester parental leave:

  • The student is pregnant, or is the primary caregiver of her or his infant child or adopted infant child
  • The student has completed at least one semester in her or his PhD program and is in good academic standing
  • The student was admitted with an offer letter for a 4 or 5-year "package" consisting of support through any combination of teaching assistantship, research assistantship, and fellowship

Parental leave may be taken during the semester in which the child is born or adopted, or during the semester immediately following.

A student on approved parental leave receives the base graduate assistant stipend from the Graduate School for one semester. Individual schools are expected to top off the base stipend to the level of the stipend stipulated in the student's offer letter and to pay for the student's USC student health insurance coverage and student health center fee.

Parental leave does not constitute a break in continuous enrollment. Students should consult with their academic advisors to determine how they will maintain full-time enrollment.

Students with loans should consult with the Office of Financial Aid before beginning parental leave.

International students should discuss the parental leave with the Office of International Services to be sure there are no unforeseen issues related to their visa status.

The Process

The request for the leave should normally be submitted the semester before the leave takes place. The student should submit to the Graduate School the following:

  1. the Request for Parental Leave for PhD Students,
  2. a copy of the offer letter, and
  3. one of the following:
    • a verification of pregnancy signed by a US doctor (available at USC Student Health Center) or
    • a birth certificate for the infant child or
    • a statement of adoption from an adoption agency

The Graduate School will process the leave request and inform the student and the staff graduate advisor in the student’s home department when a decision has been made.

To begin the process, students should talk with the staff graduate advisor in their department or program.

Requests & Petitions

Below are the most common requests and petitions that require the approval of the Graduate School. To initiate a request or petition, students should see the staff graduate advisor for the department or program.

Application for Readmission

This form is required for a student who wishes to return to his or her graduate program after an unapproved leave of absence.

Extension of Time

If a student exceeds the time limit to complete his or her degree, then s/he must request permission for a time extension.

Leave of Absence

A student requests permission to take a leave of absence if s/he does not wish to be enrolled in his or her degree program in a given semester.

Request for Approval of Graduate Assistant Appointment Over 50% or Less Than 25%

Many PhD students have a 50% appointment as a graduate assistant (RA or TA). Because of the potential risk to students' timely academic progress, the Graduate School typically does not approve over-50% appointments.

Request to Exceed GRSC 800 Enrollment Limit Form

This form is necessary when a student needs to register for a fourth semester of enrollment in GRSC 800: Studies for the Qualifying Exam.

Request for Remote Participation in Master's Thesis Defense

Permission to conduct a master's thesis defense involving remote participation by faculty must be obtained by the committee chair from the Vice Provost for Graduate Programs at least two weeks prior to the date of the defense. A maximum of one out of the three thesis committee members may participate remotely. The committee chair, student, and one or more faculty members must be physically present together.

Request for Remote Participation at Qualifying Exam or Dissertation Defense

Permission to conduct a qualifying examination or dissertation defense involving remote participation by faculty must be obtained by the committee chair from the Vice Provost for Graduate Programs at least two weeks prior to the date of the exam or defense. For the qualifying examination, a maximum of two out of the five qualifying exam committee members may participate remotely. For the dissertation defense, a maximum of one out of the three dissertation committee members may participate remotely. In either case, the committee chair, student, and one or more faculty members must be physically present together.

Reserve for Graduate Credit Coursework Taken as an Undergraduate - Exceptions:

During the last semester as a senior, an undergraduate may enroll in a limited amount of coursework at the 400 and 500 levels and request that it be reserved for graduate credit. Students should speak with their advisors for more information.

USC - UCLA Cross-Enrollment

This form is for USC graduate students who are interested in taking a graduate course at UCLA. More information can be found here.

Required Documents for Thesis and Dissertation Filing

All of the documents required to submit a thesis or dissertation can be viewed or downloaded and printed. These fillable PDF forms are best viewed using Adobe Reader. Download the free version here.

Doctoral Students:

Master's Students:

  • Approval to Submit Defended and Final Copy of Doctoral Dissertation form
    • Created digitally during Thesis Center registration. Signed by committee members via email after the defense. Student must initiate email to committee for them to sign
  • Appointment/Change of Committee form