All new students take the English Placement Exam to determine their English level of proficiency. The exam tests your writing, listening, speaking and reading skills as well as your grammar and vocabulary. You are placed in an academic level based on your performance on the exam.
During the first few days of class, your teacher will observe your class performance and English ability very carefully to be sure that your placement is correct.
If you think one of your classes is not the right level, you should talk to your teacher(s) first and then fill out the Class/Level Change Request Form. You can get this form at the front desk in DCC.
Level changes are made for language reasons only, not for other reasons. We do not make changes to class schedules because of classroom location, teacher preference, or class time. Level changes will be made based on your performance during the first few days of class and from teacher recommendations. No class changes will be permitted after you complete the first week of the program.
Pre-Master’s and Master’s Preparation Programs:
- Reading and Vocabulary (RV)
- Writing and Grammar (WG)
- Communication Skills (Comm)
Intensive English Program:
- Reading Writing Grammar (RWG)
- Oral Skills (OS)
Focus Skills Course
Focus Skills courses run for 7 weeks. You will not be able to change your Focus Skills Course during the first 7 weeks. At the end of 7 weeks, you may change your Focus Skills course if you pass the course with a grade of “C” or higher. You may also choose to stay in the Focus Skills course to complete the second part of the course, if it is offered.
- If you are required to take the GRE, or GMAT courses you will be enrolled in these courses and may not be able to change until you achieve the required score for admissions to your department.
- All new students must take Academic Integrity and University Conduct course for 7 weeks their first semester. Also continuing students moving from Writing and Grammar Level 4 to Level 5 must take the 7-week Academic Integrity and University Conduct course.
Pre-Master’s and Master’s Preparation Programs: You must maintain a B average overall with no grades less than a B in core courses and/or C in focus courses to progress to the next semester/level.
Intensive English Program: You must receive a B or higher in core courses and/or C in focus courses to progress to the next semester/level.
If you have less than a C- grade point average at the end of the semester/session, you may be discontinued from the USC International Academy at the discretion of the Academic Director.
When a student has failing grades at the end of a term, the student may be placed on academic probation. Academic probation is a university warning system designed to alert a student that they have a GPA or grade performance that is lower than the program requirement. Students on academic probation are required to meet with their academic advisors at the International Academy. If a student is on academic probation and is not able to pass their classes in the subsequent term, the student may be asked to leave the program. Students are expected to make sufficient progress in their language studies as required by their student visa. When a student on academic probation completes a term with passing grades, the academic probation status is removed.
You are expected to attend every class every day. Students who are absent too often will be warned in writing that they must attend class or risk being dismissed from the school and being out of status with SEVIS. Students who are absent more than 20% of Academy courses are not awarded a certificate of completion.
All absences are counted, even those for reasons caused by medical, legal or family emergencies (there are no excused absences). Students with serious medical illnesses should notify their Program Advisor as soon as possible.
If you are absent more than 20% of Academy courses, you will not be awarded a certificate of completion for the program and will not be eligible for transfer. If you are absent more than 20% of any class, you will also not receive a passing effort grade.
If you are late to class or absent:
- By 5-15 minutes = you will be marked absent for half an hour (30 minutes).
- By 15-60 minutes = you will be marked absent for one hour (60 minutes).
- If later than that, you will be marked absent for the entire class.
- If the total hours of absence reach 20% of class time at any point in the semester, you will be placed on probation.
- If a student who is on probation continues to miss or be late for classes, the student will be dismissed from the USC International Academy and his/her student visa will be terminated in SEVIS.
Students who have many absences are put on “attendance probation.” Students on probation are in serious danger of losing their full-time student status.
In order to maintain full-time student status with the university, a student who is on probation must attend classes and improve attendance.
Students who meet the requirements of their probation and who finish the semester in good standing are allowed to register for the next semester. Those who fail to improve their attendance are dismissed from the program without refund, lose their full-time status, must leave USC housing, and are not allowed to register for the next semester.
Students who are absent more than 20% are automatically considered “out of status.” Students who are out of status will not be allowed to enroll again at the Academy.
Students starting any term on probation may be dropped from the program and their I-20 may be terminated if they don’t attend all scheduled classes.
Code of Conduct
You are expected to abide by the student conduct rules of the USC International Academy, USC Student Conduct Code & Policies, as well as the laws of the United States. You are expected to conduct yourself in a manner that is considerate of those around you. Inappropriate conduct includes but is not limited to disruptions to the learning environment (i.e. use of profanity, harassment); deliberate destruction, misuse, or theft of USC property or the property of fellow classmates; violence or threats of violence towards persons or property of students or USC staff; improper use of email or Internet access; and failure to comply with local copyright or criminal laws forbidding the misappropriation, copying or alteration of copyright-protected materials.
If you commit a criminal offense, violate the student conduct code or school policy, such as a poor attendance record (whether or not such attendance is in breach of any visa attendance requirements), are absent for 14 consecutive days without notification, or fail to pay the remaining program and service fee amount for your program by the deadlines provided, you may be expelled or suspended.
No refund will be given and the immigration authorities will be informed. Travel and other costs incurred as a result of expulsion must be met by you or by your guardian.
University of Southern California’s academic programs are based upon profoundly important themes of trust, honor and responsibility, for and between all students, faculty and administration. In alignment with the trust and honor necessary to support our community, it is expected that all members will embrace the responsibility to uphold the standards articulated in the Student Code of Conduct, found in SCampus, Part B (https://policy.usc.edu/scampus-part-b/ )
The following are summarized examples of Academic Integrity violations (to see a full list go to: SCampus, Part B., Section 11;.
Examples of the Academic Integrity Violations
Violations include, but are not limited to:
- Submitting material authored by another person as though it is your work.
- Acquiring work from any source and presenting it as your own work.
- Getting assistance in doing your work from another person without the instructor’s permission.
- Allowing another student to copy your work.
- Resubmitting/reusing the same work that was produced for another assignment (or class) without the knowledge and permission of the instructor.
- Possessing notes or other materials not explicitly allowed by the professor during an exam. • Talking with fellow students during exams.
- Looking at another student’s exam.
- Continuing to write after the allotted time period.
- Taking a test for someone else or permitting someone else to take a test for you.
- Working with others unless expressly permitted by the instructor.
- Providing a copy of an exam or answer key to others by any method, including mobile phone pictures. • Sharing with another student by any method a solution to homework or other assignments.
Falsifying Academic Records
- Attempting to change, alter, or being an accessory to changing a grade in a grade book, work submitted on a test or any or other university academic record.
- Submitting work which is false, invented, or does not represent work completed by you.
- Misrepresentation of official records including: academic transcripts; exam papers altered for re-grading; Dr’s notes; forged signatures; and letters of recommendation.
Reporting Academic Integrity Violations
The below described process is applicable to the USC International Academy Students.
I. Submission of a Report
- Only faculty members are permitted to report a violation. If a student/other has reason to believe an academic integrity violation has been committed, they should communicate with the faculty/designee of the course.
- Reports shall be submitted to the Academic Integrity Coordinator (“AIC”) who will inform the Academic Director.
- Reports may be submitted up to one year after the date of the alleged incident. This timeframe may be extended under special circumstances.
- Because the student may contest the allegation, they must be allowed to attend all classes and complete all assignments until the report is resolved.
II. Notice to Student
- The Academic Director will provide notice to the student of the exact allegations and subsequent process.
- The student may not withdraw from a course in which they have been accused of committing an academic integrity violation.
- Unless otherwise permitted, the student will have five calendar days from the receipt of the notice to respond to the Academic Director to set up an initial meeting. Unless otherwise permitted, the initial meeting shall take place within five calendar days of the student’s response.
- If a student does not respond, they will be notified that the decision-making process will proceed without them. A student’s failure to respond will not be assumed as an admission of guilt.
- At the initial meeting, the Academic Director shall provide the student with: an opportunity to review the report and supporting documents; information about the process; an opportunity to discuss mitigating factors; and a timeline for submitting supporting documents.
III. Review Options
- Individual Review. The student will meet with the Academic Director and the teacher to discuss the incident and potentially come to an agreement as to responsibility and sanction (if any). This may take place over the course of multiple meetings. No other parties are permitted during the process. The student has the right at any time prior to a final decision to opt out and pursue a Panel Review.
- Panel Review. Panel Reviews are required at the request of a student, or if a sanction of expulsion or suspension may be warranted. The Academic Director will convene the School’s Academic Integrity Panel to review the incident report and documentation, and meet separately with the student and teacher. The Panel shall be composed of: AIC, Academic Director, Pre-Master’s Program Director. The Panel shall make a determination as to whether the student is responsible, also recommend a sanction (if necessary).
1. The student is permitted to appeal the Individual or Panel Review within ten calendar days of receiving notice, unless otherwise permitted. Appeals shall be submitted to the AIC.
2. Appeals are permitted only on the following grounds:
- New evidence has become available which is sufficient to alter the decision, and which the student was not aware of or could not have been reasonably obtained at the time of the initial review.
- The sanction imposed is excessive or inappropriate.
- University rules or regulations applicable to the particular student’s matter while reviewing the cited behavior were not followed
3. The teacher will have five calendar days to review and respond, if they so choose.
4. The Academic Director will provide the Individual or Panel decision, the Appeal, and the Response to the Appeal (if any), to the Dean or designee. The Dean or designee will have five calendar days to provide a written final decision. This decision is final
and binding, and will be provided to student and the teacher.
Possible sanctions include:
- F for the course
- F (or zero points) for the assignment in question