Guidelines and Forms

Guidelines and Forms​

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 form should be completed and submitted to the department chair or program director as soon as possible.

Remote Participation at Qualifying Exam or Dissertation Defense

For the PhD Qualifying Examination, a maximum of two committee members may participate remotely. Remote participation of a committee member should be indicated in writing on the Report on Qualifying Examination form. For the dissertation defense, one committee member may participate remotely. The committee chair and the student must be present, unless the relevant dean and the Vice Provost for Academic Programs provide express written permission for remote participation. Members who participate remotely will be noted on the dissertation Approval to Submit forms.

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.

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.

Remote Participation at Master's Thesis Defense

For the Master’s Thesis Defense, a maximum of two committee members may participate remotely. Remote participation of a committee member should be indicated in writing on the Appointment of Master’s Committee or Change of Master’s Committee form.

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 handbook

Accessibility Training for Teaching Assistants at USC

View accessibility training and resources for teaching assistants on the USC Libraries Research Guide page

Parental Leave for PhD Students

The Guidelines

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

  • If they are pregnant or are the primary caregiver of their newborn child or adopted child under six years of age
  • The student has completed at least one semester in their PhD program and is making good progress
  • 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 cover the cost of the student's USC student health insurance and student health center fee. Students should enroll in GRSC 804 to ensure continued access to health insurance and the monthly stipend. While on parental leave, students are not eligible for federal financial aid. 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

A leave request should be submitted the semester before the leave will take 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, 
  3. primary caregiver statement, and
  4. 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 their graduate program if the cumulative GPA is below 3.0, or if readmission is sought after more than two years of an unapproved absence.

Extension of Time

If a student exceeds the time limit to complete their degree, then the student must request permission for a time extension.

Leave of Absence

A student requests permission to take a leave of absence if the student does not wish to be enrolled in their 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 will consider an average of five additional hours per week in a second appointment.

Request to Exceed GRSC 800 Enrollment Limit Form

After enrolling in GRSC 800A and GRSC 800B, this form is necessary when a student needs to register for  GRSC 800Z: Studies for the Qualifying Exam.

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. View the USC-UCLA Cross Enrollment Rules 2018

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

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

Minimum Total Stipends for USC Graduate Students

Revised minimum stipend for graduate students has been announced for AY 2022.  View the memo of April 6, 2022: <Minimum Stipend Memo 4-6-2022> that supersedes the previous memo of November 11, 2021.

The Provost has approved increases to the USC minimum total stipend for graduate students for AY 2022.  Learn about the details in the November 2021 memo. View the memo: Minimum Stipend Memo 11-11-2021