Student Policies

All the policies for the Primary Care Physician Assistant Program are listed in the Student Handbook and are subject to revision each year, the following are included therein, however please refer to the Student Handbook for a complete listing.

Student Employment Policy

The Primary Care Physician Assistant Program at USC is a full-time Program. It is strongly recommended that students not accept or continue outside employment while enrolled in the Program. Students are not permitted to work for the Program.

Program schedules will not be adapted to the employment schedule of the student. If a student is not attending course activities and/or is not completing academic requirements because of employment, the student will not be eligible for tutorial services, she/he will be subject to referral to the Student Progress Committee (SPC), and may be dismissed from the Program.

Student Deferment Policy

Each year, conditionally accepted applicants have experienced sudden medical or life experiences that will interfere with their ability to engage in a rigorous academic program. In these circumstances, the individual may request a one-year deferment. Deferments may be granted for extenuating circumstances only and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Deferments are only offered once and must occur prior to matriculating into the program. All deferment requests must be submitted in writing to the Program Director and a note from the student’s health provider should accompany the request. This policy is stated again in the conditional admission offer granted to candidates. Deferment is only available to applicants prior to the start of orientation. Once the applicant attends orientation, they are considered students in the PA program and may not request a deferment. If you wish to request or discuss a deferment, you must contact the program immediately.

Harassment Policy

The University of Southern California is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment; the University expects that all members of the University community—faculty, staff, and students—should be able to pursue their work and education in such an environment.

The University is committed to complying with all applicable laws and government regulations which prohibit discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), and retaliation. University employees (and students covered by this policy) who violate this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including termination or dismissal for cause in accordance with University policies.

The Title IX Office is responsible for responding to reports of student harassment and student organization discrimination when the harassment or discrimination is based on a protected characteristic. The university prohibits discrimination or harassment based on the following protected characteristics: race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, medical condition, mental disability, marital status, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information, and any other characteristic which may be specified in applicable laws and governmental regulations. For more information be see http://titleix.usc.edu/

The Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) The Office of Equity and Diversity investigates complaints by faculty, staff, students and applicants (for both employment and student admissions) who believe themselves to be harmed by sexual harassment. The office represents the university to government agencies on those same matters. Our office also investigates Title IX complaints against the university, as well as complaints of retaliation related to Title IX complaints.

Discrimination—refers to the unfair treatment of a person or group because of that person’s or group’s protected category status, as defined in the University’s Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Non-Discrimination policy.

Harassment—Physical or verbal hostility, or any unwelcome or offensive conduct or communication, directed toward someone or toward a group of individuals, because of their protected category status.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when any of the following apply:

_submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s employment, appointment, admission, or academic evaluation

_submission to such conduct is used as a basis for evaluation in personnel decisions or academic evaluations affecting an individual

_such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment

_such conduct has the effect of interfering with a student’s academic performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or otherwise adverse learning environment

For more information regarding sexual harassment please visit https://equity.usc.edu/sexual-harassment/

Retaliation—The law, University policy and the Student Conduct Code all prohibit threatened, attempted, or actual retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, brings a complaint of discrimination or harassment as they are defined in this policy; participates in a discrimination or harassment investigation; or protests the alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

For more information please visit the Office of Equity and Diversity (OEM) at http://equity.usc.edu/ or USC Policy webpage https://policy.usc.edu/discrimination/.

Complaints are handled through the Office of Equity and Diversity (OEM) and the Title IX Office.

Reporting Procedures

Anyone within the USC community (faculty, staff, and students) can bring forward a complaint. If you feel someone has sexually harassed you, or has discriminated against or harassed you because of your membership in a protected class (such as race, gender, sexual identity, military status, marital status, age, national origin or religion), call the Office of Equity and Diversity at (213) 740-5086. We will arrange for an investigator to interview you. Although we encourage you to make an appointment, complaint investigators are frequently available for walk-in appointments as well.

For information on how to file a complaint please see http://equity.usc.edu/filing-a-complaint/.

Student Grievances

A grievance arises when a student believes he or she has been subjected to inappropriate behavior by a department or University representative (faculty or staff) acting within their role and duty or has been the subject of inappropriate behavior outside of the employee’s role and duties within the University.

Please note, grade disputes or issues of sexual harassment or discrimination are addressed through different processes. Please see Academic Appeals/Disputes or Harassment and Discrimination Polices in this handbook or through SCAMPUS at https://policy.usc.edu/student/scampus/

Informal Grievance Resolution

Prior to bringing a grievance forward against a University office or representative acting within their role or duty, students are encouraged to attempt a good-faith resolution of the grievance.

This attempt may be made with the party directly involved with the disputed matter, or with the head of the department or unit in which the grievance arises. Please note that there are cases when it is appropriate to go directly to the formal grievance resolution process.

Attempts at information resolution should be initiated within 30 days of the incident in dispute.

Formal Grievance Resolution

Should a situation arise in which a student is unable to resolve his or her grievance informally, the University’s formal grievance process may be employed. This process, outlined below, should also be initiated within 30 days of the failed informal resolution if applicable.

Step I

A formal grievance is presented in writing to the Program Director. This written grievance must include the following:

  • Name, address and phone number of the person making the grievance
  • Identification of the office or individual against whom the grievance is brought
  • A description of the specific University action or individual behavior resulting in this grievance
  • The date or period of time in which the behavior occurred and the location of the incident
  • A listing of all individuals who witnessed any part of the incident in dispute.

Step II

Upon receipt of the formal grievance, the Program Director or his/her designee will investigate the dispute.

The grievance involves a University office or representative acting within their role or duty, the investigator determines the involvement of pertinent supervisors, department chairs and deans in the investigation. Depending upon the grievance, pertinent data (interviews, etc.) will be gathered by the investigator or the University office involved in the grievance. This data is then presented to the department for resolution. If the complainant and the respondent do not agree through informal resolution, a formal hearing becomes necessary. In a formal hearing, the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs will be consulted to determine if a panel or administrator should be appointed for further investigation and/or recommendations to the appropriate parties.

If the grievance is based on personal misconduct by a faculty member or other University employee, the investigator gathers pertinent information and presents it to either the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs (faculty complaint) or the Office of Human Resources at KSOM (staff complaint).

If the grievance is with the Program Director, the grievance should be presented in writing to the Chair of the Department of Family Medicine. The Chair or his/her designee will investigate the grievance.

Advanced Placement Policy

Required curriculum in the program can be not waived based on previous coursework. The PA program does not offer any advanced standing, and the entire 33-month program must be completed in full.

Refund/Fee Policies

Tuition and fees are refundable only by processing a cancellation of enrollment or change of Program application through the Office of Academic Records and Registrar and are entirely at the option of the University. Informing your academic department or your instructor does not constitute withdrawal from the course. All withdrawals must be processed by Web Registration or through the Office of Academic Records and Registrar. Please refer to the following webpages for more information:

  • PA Program tuition fees and costs

Orientation Policy

Attendance at the program Orientation Week is MANDATORY and transitions an accepted applicant formally to student status within the USC PA program. If there are unmitigated circumstances that may prevent you from attending the mandatory orientation (usually held the week before classes begin), and/or the first week of class, you must notify the Program immediately. The Program may exercise its right to rescind its admission offer to you. The Admissions Committee evaluates a large number of candidates (about 850) for a relative few interviews (about 190). Each year there are many more qualified candidates than we can possible admit and, therefore, we are not able to offer admission to all of the competitive candidates who interview. In fairness to all the qualified candidates, we attempt to seat the class in a timely manner.

In addition to these policies and the Student Handbook, please refer to SCampus website for more information. https://policy.usc.edu/student/scampus/