Jul 14, 2024  
2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog 
2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Academic Policies

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Academic Amnesty Policy


Under certain conditions, students may apply to remove from current GPA calculations the work from prior enrollments. Students may request removal of all previous post-secondary coursework, all post-secondary coursework at a specific institution, or coursework completed at any post-secondary institution during a specified time period not to exceed one academic year (fall/spring) by applying for academic amnesty to the dean of his/her college, meeting qualifications, and following the required procedure.

Eligibility Requirements

The student must:

  1. Be an undergraduate full-time or part-time, degree-seeking student at one of the universities in the South Dakota regental system.

  2. Not have been enrolled in any post-secondary institution for a minimum of three calendar years (nine consecutive terms, including fall, spring, and summer) prior to the most recent admission to the degree-granting university. Exceptions may be granted in rare cases only by the Board of Regents Vice President of Academic Affairs upon recommendation by the home institution’s Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

  3. Have completed a minimum of 24 graded credit hours taken at any regental university with a minimum GPA of 2.0 for those 24 credit hours taken after the most recent admission to the University.

  4. Not have earned a baccalaureate degree from any university.

  5. Not have been granted any prior academic amnesty at any regental university.

  6. Submit a formal Academic Amnesty Petition to his or her degree-granting university, following the procedures established by that university.


  1.  Academic amnesty does not apply to individual courses. Academic amnesty may be requested for either (a) all previous post-secondary education courses, (b) all previous post-secondary education courses at a specific institution, or (c) a specified time period not to exceed one academic year (fall/spring).

  2. Academic amnesty, if granted, shall not be rescinded.

  3. Courses for which academic amnesty is granted will:

    1. remain on the student’s record;
    2. be recorded on the student’s undergraduate transcript with the original grade followed by an asterisk (*);
    3. not be included in the calculation of the student’s grade point average;
    4. not count for credit; and
    5. not satisfy any of the graduation requirements of the current degree program. 

  4. Academic amnesty decisions will be made by the student’s degree-granting university, will be honored by all programs within the home institution, and will be honored by all other institutions within the South Dakota regental system.

  5. Universities outside the South Dakota regental system are not bound by the academic amnesty decisions made by the regental universities.

  6. Regental graduate programs and graduate professional schools may consider all previous undergraduate course work when making admission decisions.


  1. To apply for academic amnesty, the student will submit a Petition for USD Undergraduate Academic Amnesty to the Office of the Registrar for verification of qualifications. In the event the student does not meet the qualifications, the Registrar will contact the student directly. Otherwise, the Registrar will forward the application, along with transcript copies, to the office of the dean of the student’s school or college.

  2. The dean will contact the student to schedule an interview. The purpose of the interview is to ensure that the student is fully aware of the amnesty procedure as well as alternatives to amnesty. Even though a student may meet the qualifications, it may sometimes be advisable for the student to remedy GPA problems via the repeated course policy rather than via amnesty. If the student and the dean agree to invoke the amnesty policy, both parties shall sign the petition, and the dean shall return the petition to the Registrar for appropriate adjustments to the student’s record.

Audit Policy


Individuals (both students and non-students) who wish to audit courses may do so with the approval of the instructor and the dean of the school/college in which the courses are offered, providing that there is space in the classroom after all registered students have been accommodated. Participation in class by auditors is at the discretion of the instructor. No USD credit is granted for courses that are audited. All auditors must submit a “Request for Audit” form to the Registrar’s Office before the end of the drop/add period. Regular tuition and fees are charged for audited courses. Auditors wishing to change registration from audit to credit must do so during the regular drop/add period.

Class Level


A student’s class standing is determined by the number of credit hours at or above the one-hundred level that have been successfully completed.

Class Level


Passed Credit Hours














Credit for Prior Learning/Work Experience through Portfolio


Students may earn university credit for work experience resulting in college-level learning.

The guidelines below apply to the awarding of prior learning credit at The University of South Dakota:

  1. Earning credit through portfolio is possible for non-transferable courses from Technical Institutes or other prior coursework that did not transfer to USD and employment and life experiences relevant to the USD undergraduate course being challenged. Similar to USD’s CLEP policy, credit earned through portfolio cannot be applied to coursework previously taken at USD or transferred to USD.

  2. Portfolio credit is not available at the graduate level. A maximum of 32 undergraduate credit hours towards a B.A./B.S. degree and 16 undergraduate credits towards an A.A./A.S. degree is allowed. Generally, one portfolio is submitted for each 3 to 4 credit hour class.

  3. Portfolio evaluations are graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory and will not be included in calculation of semester or cumulative GPA. The designation on the academic record shall be EX-P to signify credit by examination of portfolio. The credit earned is not transferrable to other SD BOR Universities and may not be transferrable to other colleges and universities in general.

  4. A grade may not be raised by portfolio process.

  5. A course may not be repeated by portfolio process.

The following process is in keeping with best practices in the assessment of learning for university credit as prescribed by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL):

  1.  The student arranges a meeting with the USD Dean of Continuing and Distance Education (CDE) to discuss the student’s intent and plan for earning University Prior Learning Credit.  Prior to the meeting, the student should submit a resume and an outline of university-level learning acquired through prior experience.

  2. The CDE Dean reviews the student’s resume and previous experience and conducts an interview with the student.  If the student is approved to submit a portfolio, the CDE Dean writes a formal letter to the student describing the experiential areas which have been approved for portfolio consideration and the corresponding course number(s) and title(s).  Each student is required to purchase the book, Earn College Credit for What You Know, published by CAEL.  The text assists students in the preparation of a portfolio for college credit based on best practices.

  3. Once the student receives the formal approval letter from the CDE Dean, the student may begin preparing the portfolio per the CAEL guidelines.

  4. Completed portfolios are to be submitted to the CDE Dean along with a payment of the portfolio fee.  The fee is currently $85.00 per credit hour and may increase yearly as determined through the fee setting process.

  5. The CDE Dean hires, for a stipend, two qualified faculty reviewers for each portfolio.  The stipends are equivalent to Independent Study compensation per CDE guidelines.

  6. The faculty reviewers independently assess the portfolio, provide their analysis and comment, and a grade of Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory to the CDE Dean.

  7. The CDE Dean consults with the respective College or School Dean to make a final decision. 

  8. The CDE Dean informs the student in writing if the portfolio was judged to be satisfactory.  If deemed unsatisfactory, a second portfolio on this subject is permitted with an additional fee.  Payment for portfolio review is applicable each time a portfolio is submitted to CDE for review.  A student may only attempt two portfolios per content area.

  9. If the portfolio is satisfactory, the CDE Dean provides the CDE registration officer information for transcription.  Again, the designation of the academic credit shall be EX-P to signify credit by examination.

Drop/Add Period


The drop/add period is the time during which students may adjust their academic schedule for the term without financial or academic consequences. No refund is provided for courses dropped after that time, except by administrative action. The last day of the drop/add period for a course is designated as the census date for that course and is the official date for enrollment reporting for the course. The end of the drop/add period for standard (those that conform to the regular semester schedule) and non-standard courses offered in a semester shall be the date the first 10 percent of the term ends or the day following the first class meeting, whichever is later. Students may only add courses after the drop/add period with the approval of the student’s academic dean.

Notification of FERPA Rights


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are: 1) the right to inspect and review the student’s education records; 2) the right to request the amendment of the student’s education records to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy or other rights; 3) the right to a hearing if the request to correct an alleged inaccuracy is denied; 4) the right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent; and 5) the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Education concerning alleged failures by The University of South Dakota or any of its schools or colleges to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The complete student records policy of the University is available online at http://www.usd.edu/registrar/student-records-policy.cfm 

Grading System






Grade points





4.00 grade points



Above Average


3.00 grade points





2.00 grade points



Lowest Passing Grade


1.00 grade point





0.00 grade points





Not calculated in GPA





Not calculated in GPA



Incomplete (Remedial)


Not calculated in GPA



Satisfactory (Remedial)


Not calculated in GPA



Unsatisfactory (Remedial)


Not calculated in GPA





Not calculated in GPA





Not calculated in GPA





Not calculated in GPA



In Progress


Not calculated in GPA



Credit by Exam


Not calculated in GPA



Other Non-Course Credit


Not calculated in GPA



Note for NSE/MEDT


Not calculated in GPA


Lab Grade linked to Lecture Grade of Composite Course

  Zero credit course
NG   No Grade   Zero credit tracking course
NR   Grade Not Reported by Instructor   Not calculated in GPA
*   Indicates Academic Amnesty   Not calculated in GPA

Grade Point Average (GPA) Hours/Hours Earned

The number of GPA hours is the total number of hours for which students have enrolled and received a grade of A, B, C, D, or F, except as provided for by repeated courses or academic amnesty. The grade point average is determined by dividing the number of grade points earned by the number of GPA hours.

The following types of grade point averages are calculated within the South Dakota regental system:

Institutional GPA-based on credits earned at the degree-granting institution. Used to determine if degree requirements have been met and to determine Honors designation at graduation.

System Term GPA-based on credits earned at any of the six South Dakota regental universities within a given academic term (fall, spring, summer). Used to determine minimum progression status.

Transfer GPA-based on credits earned and officially transferred from an accredited college or university outside the South Dakota regental system. When a letter grade that normally calculates into the grade point average exists for a non-academic course (e.g., credit earned by examination), it will be included in the GPA calculation.

Cumulative GPA-based on all credits earned by the student. Used to determine minimum progression status and if degree requirements have been met. When a course is repeated for credit, all attempts are entered on the transcript but the last grade earned is used in the calculation of the cumulative GPA.

Incomplete Grades

The grade of incomplete may be assigned at the discretion of the instructor when a student experiences extenuating circumstances that prevent completion of a course. The purpose of the incomplete grade is to allow students to complete courses at a later date without repeating work already satisfactorily completed and without repeating the course. Anticipated course failure is not justification for an incomplete.

The assignment of an incomplete grade creates an obligation on the part of a student to complete the coursework in a prescribed timeframe and an obligation on the part of the instructor to evaluate the coursework and assign a grade. The instructor and the student must agree on a plan to complete the coursework which does not necessitate repeating the course. The work must be completed within one semester following the original semester of registration. Until the deadline, students do not need to re-register for the course to earn the credit. If students do not complete the coursework in the prescribed timeframe, students must re-register and pay for the course again in order to earn credit for the course.

Whenever an incomplete grade is assigned, the instructor is required to file a “Requirements for Removal of Incomplete Grade” form with the department office. This form indicates the deadline for removing the incomplete grade. In individual cases, a one-semester extension may be granted by the dean of the college or school offering the course. If the student does not complete the work within the specified time, a grade of F will be assigned; or, if the course was taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis, a grade of U or RU will be assigned.



Only the coursework for which students are registered in a given term is counted toward the student’s full-time or part-time status for that term. Therefore, for example, the work a student might need to do during a spring semester to make up an incomplete from a previous fall semester course would NOT count toward the student’s full-time/part-time status in the spring (unless the student re-registers and pays tuition and fees for the course in the spring).

Home Institution


Effective since fall 2003, all the universities governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents are in a merged environment in which credit earned by a student at any regental university, as well as all transfer work received and recorded from outside the regental system, is recorded on one “system” transcript. In this environment, students designate as their “home institution” the institution from which they seek their degree, and the home institution governs the policies affecting its students.

Plans of Study Within Degrees



An academic major or primary area of study within a degree program enables students to make an in-depth inquiry into a discipline or a professional field of study. It is organized around a specific set of goals and objectives that are accomplished through an ordered series of courses, whose connections define a structure and whose sequence advances levels of knowledge and understanding. Declaration of a major provides students with a “home department” for academic advising and the opportunity for regular contact with faculty members on an individual basis. A major that focuses on a specific discipline draws its courses predominantly from one department. A major that encompasses a professional field of study or is interdisciplinary usually obtains its courses from more than one department. All students must complete the requirements of at least one major. Majors are specified in the catalog and designated on the student’s academic transcript.


An academic minor within a degree program enables students to make an inquiry into a discipline or field of study beyond the major or to investigate a particular content theme. Minors are intended to provide limited competency in the subject area. Depending upon the particular degree program, students may be required to complete a minor. Minors are specified in the catalog and designated on the student’s academic transcript.


A specialization is a designated plan of study within an existing degree program. It may be an alternative to the primary format of the major or one of several tracks within a broad major. Specializations are specified in the catalog and designated on the student’s academic transcript.


An emphasis is a concentration within a major that is structured by individual student choices within a plan of study. An emphasis is not regarded as a separate program. It may be described in the catalog, but not detailed as a specific plan of study. It is not designated on the academic transcript.

Prior Learning Credit through Advanced Placement, Examination, CLEP, and Military Service


Prior learning credit is an opportunity for admitted, degree-seeking undergraduate students to earn credit for the skills, knowledge, and competencies acquired from work experiences, training, volunteer activities, avocations, and independent reading.

No more than 32 semester credit hours towards a baccalaureate or 16 semester credit hours towards an associate degree may be awarded for prior learning including the following:

Advanced Placement

New first-year undergraduate students who are placed in advanced classes in the modern languages or mathematics may receive a limited amount of credit by examination for a prerequisite course if they meet certain grade requirements. The departments should be consulted for questions about policy.

Credit by Examination

Undergraduate students enrolled with the University may, under special circumstances, receive credit by examination subject to the following regulations:

  1. Permission to take an examination must be obtained from the dean of the student’s college or school and the relevant departmental chair.

  2. In addition to written examinations, students may be required to successfully complete oral examinations before committees who are chosen by the deans to represent the disciplines. A course fee is charged for all such examinations and is subject to change each year.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Undergraduate students enrolled at The University of South Dakota may receive credit for select courses by earning satisfactory scores on the appropriate CLEP subject examinations. USD does not permit credit for CLEP general examinations. Only subject examinations are used for CLEP credit. When credit is earned, it is recorded on the student’s USD academic record as credit by examination and indicates the course for which credit has been earned with the grade of “EX” (credit by exam, no grade). Approved CLEP subject examinations may be used to fulfill major, minor, or general education requirements for graduation with the baccalaureate degree.

In order to receive CLEP credit while enrolled at USD, students should have an official score report submitted to the Registrar’s Office. CLEP tests may be taken at the Continuing Education Testing Center in Vermillion or at any approved CLEP testing center. USD students enrolled at University Center in Sioux Falls may take the CLEP test through the CLEP Testing Center at University Center. There is a charge per subject examination which may change based on the national CLEP policy guidelines.

The list of all approved CLEP subject exams and scores is available from the Continuing Education Testing Center in Vermillion (605-677-6240) or online through the myU. Portal at http://link.usd.edu/310. Per national CLEP policy guidelines, exams may not be retaken within a six-month period.

Credit for college-level courses granted through nationally recognized examinations such as CLEP, AP, DANTES, etc., will be evaluated and accepted if the subjects are equivalent to regental courses and the scores are consistent with regental policies. Such credit will appear as transfer credit on the student’s transcript.

Military Service

Students may receive up to 6 semester hours for honorable discharge from military service with an official copy of the DD 214. The USD Department of Military Science determines the amount of credit granted.

Military credits are evaluated according to guidelines set forth by the American Council on Education (ACE) and published in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services. The credit must be acceptable to the departments.

There is no charge for transcription of credit for military service.

Repeated Courses


For most courses listed in this catalog, students will not be given credit more than once for each course. Exceptions to this general rule are noted in the course descriptions, and typically include such courses as independent study, readings, research, topics seminars, individual instruction in music, music ensembles, and physical education activities courses. Students may, however, choose to repeat courses for which credit may be granted only once in order to improve a grade. Students wishing to repeat such courses more than three times must obtain permission from the student’s academic dean.

When students repeat such courses, the grade received for the most recent registration is calculated in the grade point average; the earlier grade(s) received are indicated on the official record, but notation is made that the course has been repeated. Students may not use any kind of credit by examination to repeat courses for the purpose of raising the grade point average.

If students repeat such courses and elect a satisfactory/unsatisfactory option, the original grades and courses will not be calculated in the GPA. However, students should consult the satisfactory/unsatisfactory policy for their schools or colleges and recognize that this option is generally restricted to courses that are electives and not University or major requirements.

If a student takes a course that is normally repeatable for credit (such as PE 100) and receives a low grade, and the student then takes the course again intending to improve the grade, the student must report this to the Registrar’s Office. If the student does not do so, the student records system will automatically include both courses in the student’s GPA.

Students should contact the Registrar’s Office if any situation on their transcripts does not conform to the repeated course policy as described above.

Requirements for Continued Enrollment


The basic policy of the University regarding student academic status and academic progression standards is described in this section. The schools and colleges may have additional scholastic requirements for their students. Academic status will be evaluated at the end of each term (fall, spring, summer) that a student is enrolled.

Academic Progression Standards

Minimum progression standards and related actions are based on the student’s cumulative grade point average and system term grade point average. In order to remain in good standing and meet minimum progression standards, students must maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average.


Any student who has not met the cumulative GPA requirement of 2.00 and whose most recent academic status was “good standing” shall be placed on academic probation by the student’s academic dean. Once on academic probation, a student may only achieve good standing by meeting the 2.00 cumulative GPA standard. While on academic probation, a student must earn a system term grade point average of 2.00 or better. Students on probation whose system term GPA meets or exceeds the GPA standard and whose cumulative GPA remains below 2.00 will be continued on academic probation.

Transfer students seeking admission who have a cumulative GPA of less than 2.00 may only be admitted subject to the approval of the dean of the school or college concerned. Students seeking readmission who have a cumulative GPA less than 2.00 may only be admitted subject to the approval of the dean of the school or college concerned. If admitted or readmitted, their initial academic status will be “academic probation.” Students thus admitted on probation, whose system term GPA meets or exceeds the GPA standard and whose cumulative GPA remains below the standard will be continued on academic probation.

Although the successful repetition of a course may raise a student’s term GPA for a prior term, that will not invalidate the academic status originally determined for that prior term.

Students on academic probation will be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities within the regulations imposed by the organization conducting the activity.

Academic Suspension

A student on academic probation who fails to maintain a system term GPA of 2.00 or better is placed on academic suspension for a minimum of two academic terms. Academic suspension will be noted on the student’s transcript.

Students on academic suspension will not be allowed to register for coursework at any South Dakota regental university except when an appeal has been approved by the regental university from which the student is pursuing a degree. An appeal approved by the degree-granting university will be honored by all regental universities. Petitions for continuation of studies must be directed to the appropriate academic dean before classes begin for the next term. Petitions for readmission must be directed to the appropriate academic dean at least 30 days before classes begin for the next term.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grade Option


With the exception of first-year students (students with less than 32 hours), undergraduate students may enroll in courses on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis subject to the regulations of the colleges or schools in which the students are enrolled. Courses offered solely on the satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis are not affected by this policy. Students choosing this option must file with the Registrar’s Office before the end of the drop/add period the required forms indicating their dean’s approval.

College of Arts and Sciences

Only students who are sophomores, juniors, or seniors may elect the satisfactory/unsatisfactory option. Students may sign up for one satisfactory/unsatisfactory option per semester, and the course may be used for elective credit only. Students may take the second year of a foreign language with a satisfactory/unsatisfactory option to complete the B.A. degree language requirement.

Beacom School of Business

Students in the Beacom School of Business may elect the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading option only for free electives (including advanced free electives), provided that only one course per semester is taken on this basis. School of Business majors may allocate a maximum of six (6) credit hours of School of Business classes offered on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis to satisfy BBA major requirements.

School of Education

Students may elect for one satisfactory/unsatisfactory option per semester and the courses must not be required in the major, minor, or University general requirements. Students will receive a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade for their student teaching course (ELED/SEED/SPED 488) and for TET 435 Internet in the Classroom.

College of Fine Arts

Students of sophomore standing or above may elect to take one course under the satisfactory/unsatisfactory option per semester with a maximum of six courses in total taken on this basis. Such courses may include only open electives or non-required courses beyond the minimum hours required in the major or minor fields.

Undergraduates Taking Graduate Courses


Undergraduate students who are within nine credit hours of completing the requirements for their baccalaureate degree at The University of South Dakota and whose undergraduate record is such that he/she could qualify for admission to the Graduate School may register for a limited number of courses for graduate credit. The total undergraduate and graduate course registration may not exceed the normal limit of graduate registration of twelve credit hours. Permission for an undergraduate to take graduate course work must be approved by the Graduate Dean. Such permission does not constitute admission to The Graduate School. Forms for petitioning to enroll in graduate courses before completion of the requirements for the Bachelor’s degree are available in the myU. Portal at http://link.usd.edu/198. Undergraduate students taking graduate coursework are still considered to have undergraduate status, although their graduate coursework is not credited toward their undergraduate degree.

Withdrawal from the University


Students who find it necessary to withdraw from the University (i.e., drop their only course or all courses in which they are enrolled in a term) may obtain the form for this purpose from the Office of the Registrar, Belbas Center 223. After completing the form, students must file it with the Registrar’s or Financial Aid Office in the Belbas building in order to withdraw officially. Tuition and refundable fees are assessed or refunded as appropriate within the guidelines of the Board of Regents policy, according to the date of official withdrawal. (See Financial Information Section for further information.)