All 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, for a complete listing please refer to the

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/they 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. 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 Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX) 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

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

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 for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX) or the USC Policy webpage.

Complaints are handled through the Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX.

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 for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX (EEO-TIX) 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

Student Grievances

A grievance arises when a student believes they have 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 Policies in this handbook or through the USC Student Handbook at

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 their 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 their 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 their 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:

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 1,200) for a relatively few interviews (about 190). Each year there are many more qualified candidates than we can possibly 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 USC Policy website for more information.

Withdrawal Policy

Withdrawal requires action by the student. A student may withdraw from the Program whenever they no longer wish to be a student in the Program. To withdraw from the Program at any time, a student must make a formal written request and secure written permission from the Program Director. All withdrawals must be processed by Web Registration or through the Office of Academic Records and Registrar. Students are responsible for notifying the appropriate USC authorities (i.e. registrar, financial aid, etc.) of their withdrawal.

Procedure for withdrawal:

  1. Written requests for withdrawal from the Program must be submitted to the Program Director.
  2. Appropriate forms must be completed and submitted to the USC Registrar’s office.
  3. Students who withdraw from the Program either of their own volition or by the administrative process must apply for readmission.
  4. Before withdrawing from the Program, a student should carefully consider the alternative of taking a personal or health leave of absence. The guidelines for withdrawal are part of the University’s Leave of Absence website at

Program Progression and Completion Requirements

Students must complete and pass all semester courses to progress to the next semester of the Program. Students must maintain a semester and cumulative GPA of 3.0 at all times and earn a “Credit” in all Credit/No Credit courses.

Remediation and Deceleration

When a student does not pass a course assessment or examination, the student will meet with the course director and be given a remediation plan with LSS support. Clinical phase students who do not successfully pass their end of rotation requirements (e.g., End of rotation exams) must complete a remediation activity provided by the course director and demonstrate proficiency by retaking the failed assessment as outlined in Section V.

Students who are not meeting academic milestones may be delayed in their progress and maybe required to repeat an academic year or semester, at the discretion of the Student Progress Committee. Students who are required to repeat an academic year are placed on academic probation until removed by the Student Progress Committee.

Dismissal Policy

The Program reserves the right to require the dismissal of any student at any time before graduation if circumstances of a legal, moral, behavioral, ethical, patient safety concerns, health or academic nature justify such an action. Students may be dismissed from the Program without first having been placed on probation. Unprofessional conduct may constitute the sole reason for dismissal from the Program. Conditions that may result in dismissal, include but are not limited to:

  • Students who fail to attain a semester and/or cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Students who fail one or more didactic or clinical assignment courses Students who fail a didactic or clinical assignment course for the second time
  • Professional or behavioral misconduct or academic dishonesty

Students dismissed from the University for failure to maintain registration may request to return to the program through a letter to the Admissions Selections Committee. This letter must be submitted no later than February 1st of the year prior to planned re-enrollment. The committee will be charged with reviewing the letter and the student’s file to determine if they should be allowed to return. If the committee determines that the student should be allowed to return, they will notify the student and Program Director of their decision within 30 days of receipt of the letter. In the event the committee denies the request, the student has the right to appeal to the Program Director who will have 30 days to review the submitted materials to ensure compliance with the policies and procedures. The Program Director will render an independent decision. Dismissed students may appeal the Program Director’s decision to the Dean of Keck School of Medicine and thereafter to the Dean of the Graduate School, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the USC Student Handbook regarding dismissal of graduate students.