Academic Expectations

Etiquette: Attendance

Students are expected to attend all class meetings, including discussions or lab sections. Please arrive on time. Absences, regardless of reason, can result in missed assignments, quizzes or exams, and will negatively affect your final grade. Please refer to the class syllabus to find out your professor’s attendance policy.

If you are unable to attend a class meeting, it is a good idea to inform your professor or teaching assistant (TA) via email. It is not the professor’s responsibility to provide any notes, or to meet with students individually to make up for class absences. If you are absent it is your responsibility to reach out to a fellow student or the TA to find out what you missed.

Etiquette: Class Participation

During class please listen carefully to the professor and take detailed notes. When something is unclear, ask follow-up questions for clarification. The professor cannot read your mind, so if you have a concern you should voice it. There is a good chance that other students have the same question.

MA+P classes are often very small (10-15 students), so it is important that EVERYONE contributes to building a vibrant and positive learning experience. Students are expected to be awake and attentive, to ask questions when necessary, to offer insights and opinions during class discussions, and to actively engage with weekly activities. When working in groups, please be mindful of shared group participation. All students should contribute equally to the group assignments and group discussions. When offering peer feedback on a project, please be generous and constructive so your classmates may benefit from your opinion and expertise.

Etiquette: Technology in Class

As a technology-oriented program, we encourage you to bring laptops, tablets and other mobile devices to your class meetings. Many students use their laptops to take notes, or to reference certain documents that are related to the course material (websites, PDFs, etc).

If you choose to use a device during class, however, please be advised that you are entering into a silent agreement with your professor and your fellow classmates. The use of technology should enhance the learning experience, not hinder it, and students are expected to treat their learning community with dignity and respect. To that end, please do not chat with friends, send emails, check Facebook, tweet or Instagram unless it is directly related to the objectives of the class. Students who abuse their privileges may be penalized in the “Participation” portion of their grade.

Sample Syllabus

At the beginning of the semester, every professor will provide you with a complete course syllabus. This syllabus should provide you with:

  • A brief description of the course
  • Any required books or materials
  • A grading breakdown and/or rubric
  • A list of all assignments or projects
  • A complete weekly schedule with due dates marked
  • Class policies (including attendance policy and grading policy)

Please be sure to read the entire syllabus when you receive it, so you understand the professor’s expectations of what is needed to complete the course successfully. If anything is unclear please contact the professor for clarification.

Reading, Homework, and Exams

Each week, your professor may assign readings or homework assignments to be completed by the following week. It is imperative that you complete these assignments, so that you are better prepared to participate in classroom activities. If you miss a class meeting, please consult with other students to find out what is due the following week.

Homework assignments and other class projects must be turned in on time to receive full credit. If you cannot finish on time and you need an extension, you may request one from the professor. Please keep in mind, however, that the professor is under no obligation to grant you an extension. If you are unable to attend class, you should still email your assignments to the professor or TA to receive full credit. Students who do not turn in their assignments by the due date will see a significant reduction in their final grade.

Exams are scheduled far in advance, so there is no excuse for missing an exam. Many professors do not allow make-up exams unless there is a documented illness or emergency situation. If you are unable to sit for an exam, please contact the professor or teaching assistant well ahead of time to make other arrangements.


In most MA+P courses grades are based primarily on projects, presentations and weekly assignments, rather than papers and exams. These assignments must be turned in on time, and they should make proper use of citation standards whenever someone else’s intellectual property is referenced. This includes text as well as images, videos, audio and other media assets. Failure to comply with deadlines and citations procedures may result in low grading marks.

Throughout the semester students will receive periodic grade reports from the professor or TA. Each professor handles this process differently. Some professors will give weekly updates, others will only give a report at midterms. If you wish to receive a more thorough evaluation of your academic progress, you should schedule a meeting with the professor.

The only grade that is reported to the university is the final course grade. This will be posted in OASIS and your STARS report (via MyUSC) 2-3 weeks after the end of the final exam period.


To be a successful student at USC, it is very important to maintain open lines of communication with your advisors, professors and TAs. Email is often the best method. You should email professors or TAs to set up appointments, ask questions, or notify them if you are unable to attend class or unable to complete/submit assignments. Be sure to write emails in complete sentences, and use an appropriate subject line (i.e. “IML 140 Remix Project: Citation Question”) so the professor knows who you are and what your email is about. You may also approach the professor after class, but keep in mind that they may not have time to answer your question. It is best, if you have a longer question, to arrange a separate appointment with them.

All professors and TAs hold office hours - these are specified time slots that they set aside specifically to meet with students (office hours will be listed in the course syllabus). You should try and make an appointment to meet a professor or TA during their office hours. Some professors will also take walk-in appointments during office hours. These meetings can be used to discuss the class material, ask questions, get feedback on papers or projects, or to ask for career/ professional advice. (Do not use office hours to ask the professor to “catch you up” on missed class meetings. It is your responsibility to attend class, and if you cannot do so you should ask a fellow student or the TA to help you catch up on missed work.)

Remember that your professors and TAs are busy people, and it is important to respect their time. If you need assistance, please ask them ahead of time, not the day before something is due. If you are unable to attend a scheduled appointment, please be sure to cancel via email so the professor can accommodate another student.


A full listing of MA+P courses can be found in the Media Arts + Practice section of the .

Course Clearance

Most of the MA+P courses are open to all students, and they do not require any special clearance or permission. However, there are a few classes that are reserved for specific groups of students. IML 202, 203, 441 and 444 are for MA+P majors only. IML 440 is for students in the Honors in Multimedia Scholarship program only. And IML 490 and IML 590: Directed Research are approved on a case-by-case basis (see below). On the occasion that a student must request D-clearance, they may do so by contacting Sonia Seetharaman, the Associate Director of Academic Programs, at (213) 821-5860 or by emailing

Undergraduate vs. Graduate Courses

Courses numbered up to 499 are considered undergraduate-level courses, while courses numbered 500 and above are graduate-level courses.

Undergraduate students may enroll in graduate coursework with the approval of the professor and their academic advisor. The advisor will generate a memo that the student must take to the Registration Office in person to register for the course.

Graduate students may enroll in 400-level undergraduate courses only. Students are encouraged to consult their faculty advisors or department chairs prior to enrolling in any 400-level course, as certain graduate programs may restrict 400-level enrollment.

Directed Research: IML 490 or IML 590

Directed Research is an option for students who would like to conduct their own individual research outside of the typical MA+P curriculum. Students must choose a MA+P professor to oversee their work, set deadlines, and evaluate any resulting papers or projects. The student must then write a Directed Research proposal and send it to the chosen professor - once the professor has approved it, they must send the approved proposal to Sonia Seetharaman in order to obtain D-clearance for the student.

Directed Research proposals should include the following information:

  1. Name of student, semester of proposed directed research, number of units, student's current program and degree, and student ID number
  2. Name of faculty member to conduct the directed research
  3. Summary of proposed directed research (at least 250 words)
  4. Clear articulation of the directed research deliverables
  5. A 15-week schedule that outlines the goals of each week of the semester
  6. A list of readings and media to be covered in the directed research. Please cite accordingly.
  7. Signed approval from the faculty member

Programs and Program Requirements

For a full list of programs and course requirements, please refer to the Media Arts + Practice section of the . For the most accurate information, use the catalogue which corresponds to your entrance year at USC (Example: if you entered USC in Fall 2018, please use the 2018-2019 Catalogue. If you entered in Spring 2018, please use the 2017-2018 Catalogue.)

MA+P Programs

Honors in Multimedia Scholarship (26 units)
Minor in Digital Studies (20 units)
Minor in Future Cinema (20 units)
Minor in Media and Social Change (22 units)
B.A., Media Arts + Practice (62 units)
Graduate Certificate in Digital Media and Culture (12 units)
Ph.D., Media Arts + Practice (64 units minimum)



Beginning with your summer orientation through your graduation from the university, all official USC communications will be sent to your USC email account. Please check the account regularly, or you might miss important information related to the completion of your degree. If you wish, you may forward your USC emails to another account.


Per federal regulations, university officials may only discuss your academic records with you, the student. If you wish to give your family members access to your academic records, and allow them to speak with university officials on your behalf, you must establish a USC guest account for them.

Students may authorize parents, guardians, and other parties to access their records in one of two ways:

  • by creating an OASIS guest account (this gives acces to academic records and financial records)
  • by creating an e.Pay guest account (this gives access to financial records only)

Instructions on creating these guest accounts can be found at

Undergraduate Degree Requirements for USC (and Media Arts + Practice)

In order to complete a bachelor’s degree at USC, students must complete a minimum of 128 units. These units must include completion of the following course requirements:

Sample Course plans for MA+P Major

Four year plan

Three year plan

MA+P transfer students will automatically be placed on a 3-year course plan. This means that they will enter the sophomore cohort and graduate after the completion of six semesters (starting from the semester that they are admitted to the major).

Students may submit a petition to complete the program in less than 6 semesters, but approval by the MA+P faculty committee should not be assumed and is not guaranteed. Please contact the Media Arts advisor for more information about the petition process.

Advising Appointments

Media Arts majors are required to meet with the MA+P advisor at least once during every semester, to plan for the upcoming semester’s course registration. This typically occurs in October and March, prior to the student’s registration appointment time (see Registration section below). Students will receive a reminder email from their advisor when it is time to schedule their mandatory advising session. They may also email the advisor at any time to schedule other, non-mandatory advising appointments.

Students who are pursuing a non-major program, such as the Digital Studies minor, are not required to meet with the Media Arts advisor. However, if they wish to schedule an appointment, they may do so after the mandatory advising period for MA+P majors is over. Students should email the advisor to schedule an advising appointment.

Before an advising appointment, it is recommended that students download their STARS report (available via OASIS in MyUSC) as well as a copy of their most recent course plan (available via Undergraduate Advisement in MyUSC, or in an email from your advisor). In the advisement meeting, students should refer to the STARS report and the course plan when suggesting edits: changes in minors, the addition/removal of electives, or the adjustment of your MA+P requirements.

If you are unsure of the requirements for each program, please refer to the USC Catalogue.

Study Abroad

Media Arts + Practice students are eligible to study abroad through the USC Office of Overseas Studies. Most students will go abroad during their third year of study. Please note: transfer students who are placed on a 2-year graduation plan will be unable to study abroad.

At the moment, the only pre-approved study abroad program for MA+P majors is Studio Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence, Italy. The SACI program requires completion of Italian I prior to leaving USC. MA+P students can receive credit for their MA+P electives while in Italy.

If students are interested in attending a study abroad program other than SACI, they should discuss this with their advisor. The courses offered by other abroad programs must be pre-approved by the MA+P faculty, and by USC in general, for students to receive credit towards their degree.

Transfer Credit and Placement Tests

Students may receive transfer credit in one of two ways: by completing courses at other colleges and universities, or by completing AP, IB or A-level exams during high school.

For more information about transferring high school exam scores, click here. Students will receive elective credit for all eligible exam scores, and they may receive General Education credit for specific exam scores. Exam scores cannot be counted towards any major or minor requirement.

Students may transfer credit from any college course that was completed before their first semester at USC. Once the student has begun their USC degree, they may only take courses at other universities during the summer semester (unless the courses are part of an approved study-abroad program during the regular academic year). Students can receive USC credit by sending in their transcripts from other universities (more instructions here). Students will receive elective credit for all eligible coursework, and they may receive General Education or major/minor credit for specific coursework. Students should check with their advisor to find out what type of credit they can receive for transfer coursework.

Accessing your Transfer Credit Report

Summer Coursework

Students may enroll in summer courses at USC, or at another college or university. Students may not take courses at another university during the regular school year (fall/spring).

If you enroll in courses at another school over the summer, you must first request transfer pre-approval from the USC Registrar’s office, in order to ensure that the course you have selected will be counted towards your USC degree. For more information on summer pre-approval, click here.

Verify/Change Graduation Date

Your expected date of graduation can be found at the top of your STARS report. This date is usually determined based on a calculation of how many units remain to earn your degree. Because the input is computer-generated, it is often inaccurate.

You may change your expected graduation date at any time. To do so, contact the USC Registrar’s office.

Registration and Tuition

Registration Appointment Time

During the registration period for each semester, students will be assigned a registration appointment time that is commensurate with the number of units they have completed at USC (seniors first, then juniors, then sophomores, etc). To find your assigned time, log into MyUSC. You may begin building your schedule anytime using Web Registration, but you won't be able to officially confirm your registration until your assigned registration time.

Scheduling and Registering for Classes

Registration Calendar

  • Registration Begins: Last week of October for Spring registration; first week of March for Summer registration; last week of March for Fall registration
  • Friday before First day of Classes: Last day to register and settle without late fee. (Students can still add and drop classes, but they must be registered for at least one class to indicate that they intend to enroll.)
  • Friday of the 3rd Week of Classes: Last day to register and add new classes. Last day to drop a class without a mark of “W,” and receive a refund. Last day to change enrollment option to Pass/No Pass or Audit. Last day to purchase or waive tuition refund insurance.
  • Friday of the 7th Week of Classes: Last day to drop a course without a mark of “W” on the transcript. Last day to change a Pass/No Pass course to letter grade.
  • Friday of the 10th Week of Classes: Last day to drop a class with a mark of “W.”


At any time, the university may place a “hold” on a student account. These holds can prevent the student from making any registration-related actions (registering for a new class, dropping a class, etc.)

Holds can be implemented for many reasons: mandatory advising, academic restrictions, academic probation, student disciplinary actions, outstanding library fines, delinquent tuition payments, incomplete training modules, no proof of health insurance, etc. In order to clear the hold, students must contact the office that placed the hold. That office will assist the student to resolve the issue and remove the hold.


Course sections that have a “D” at the end of the section number require departmental clearance in order for a student to register for that section. In order to obtain departmental clearance for a course, please contact the department offering the course (if the course is a French course, contact the French department). Contact information for each department can be found on that department’s website, or on the Schedule of Classes.

Please note that, in some cases, there are both D-clearance sections and regular (R) open sections for the same course. This means that the D sections are reserved for specific student populations, while the R sections are open to any student.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time Enrollment

USC students are considered ”full-time” students if they are enrolled in 12-18 units of coursework each semester. Full-time students are charged a flat-rate tuition fee regardless of the number of enrolled units.

If a student chooses to enroll in less than 12 units, they are considered a “part-time” student and will be charged on a per-unit basis. So if a student is taking 8 units, they will be charged 8 times the cost of a single unit.

Unit prices and tuition fees can be found on the Schedule of Classes for any given semester.

Taking More than 18 Units

Students may take more than 18 units, but they will be charged on a per-unit basis for each additional unit in which they are enrolled. Permission to enroll in more than 20 units requires written approval from the student’s school or home department.

Leaves of Absence

Students may take a leave of absence from the university at any time for personal, medical, academic or other reasons. While a student is on leave, their degree progress will be placed on hold until they return to the university. They cannot participate in any courses, research or other university-related activities.

For more details, please refer to the information provided by the USC Registrar's Office.