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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question you would like to see answered on this page, please e-mail us at bmedept@usc.edu

What is a STARS Report?
How do I take a course Pass/No Pass?
I want to take a summer class at another school and transfer it in.  How do I do this?
I want to do research with a professor. How do I get started?
How do I enroll in BME 490: Directed Research? 
Can BME students study abroad?


What is a STARS Report?

The STudent Academic Record System report (STARS) reflects students' academic progress toward degree completion of their declared majors. This report contains all USC course work and accepted transfer work that applies toward degree requirements. For undergraduate students, the STARS report will include all requirements necessary for degree completion, to include skill level, general education, major, minor and grade point average requirements. Students may access their STARS reports on OASIS.
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How do I take a course Pass/No Pass?

There are a lot of limitations on taking a course P/NP.  It can't be for a minor requirement, and typically it can't be for a major requirement, either.  You cannot take WRIT 140 or 340 P/NP.  You can take *one* of your GE courses P/NP, and any purely elective courses (like guitar, PHED) can usually be taken P/NP.  To do it, go to Web Registration.  DO NOT drop the course!  Instead, click on "Update Grade Option on Commit" and then click on commit.  The next screen includes a drop-down menu of grade options - change to the one you want and Submit.

The registration calendar for the P/NP or Letter Grade choice can be a little confusing. You only have until the end of the third week to decide to take a course for P/NP.  However, you actually have until the end of the seventh week to change a course to letter grade. So, if you’re on the fence, you can declare it P/NP, and then have 4 more weeks to make it letter grade (or just leave it alone). . 


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I want to take a summer class at another school and transfer it in.  How do I do this?

To take a summer course somewhere else, you will need to follow two separate processes.  (1) You need to get pre-approval from USC.  Go to OASIS, then the Transfer tab at the top.  The first link on that page is the Request for Pre-approval to take a course in Summer 2016.  Click on this, then select the state, the school, and the course.  You need to find a course that is *equivalent* to the USC class you want it to replace.  If this course number is not listed, you can also submit the course number (at the bottom of the page) for review.  You can submit pre-approval requests for multiple classes and multiple schools.

Once you've confirmed that USC will accept the course, you must separately verify that the course will be offered by the other institution over the summer, and you must register for the course through the other school's process.  (This is step 2) You need to work with the other institution to figure out how to register for a course there.  This involves checking their summer schedule to make sure the class you want is offered, and figure out how to take a class.  After completing the class with a C- or better, you will need to send an official transcript to USC.

Transcripts should be provided to the USC Office of Degree Progress; more information is available here: http://www.usc.edu/dept/ARR/services/articulation/generalinfo.html .
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I want to do research with a professor. How do I get started?

In order to be a good candidate to work in a lab, you need to do some of your own research first! Determine which lab/professor you would like to work with. View the descriptions online so you have a sense of the kind of work they do. It may also be helpful to look over some of the most recently-published papers. Finally, you should be able to clearly explain your interest in the kind of research they do. You may wish to offer to work unpaid in order to get the experience.

After you’ve done this, then approach the professor; you may want to say something like, “Dr. <insert name>, I noticed on the BME website that your work involves applications of bioMEMS and microfluidics. I’ve been interested in this ever since I attended a talk you gave my sophomore year. My schedule for next semester gives me some time, and I’d love a chance to do some research. Would you consider allowing me to work in your lab?” 

You may need to email more than once, and may wish to stop by the professor's office in person if they haven't responded to your emails.
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How do I enroll in BME 490: Directed Research?

Most students who enroll in BME 490 Directed Research have already been working in a professor's lab before proposing a project for Directed Research credit.  To take a BME 490 Directed Research course, you will need to work with a BME professor to determine what your project will be, the number of hours each week, the number of units for the course, and what the ultimate results of the research will be.  Directed Research projects are relatively independent; it should not be the same as just working hourly in a lab.  Once the specifics are worked out, you and the professor will sign a directed research contract so that all the expectations are clearly laid out. Once the department receives the signed DR contract, we provide the d-clearance to register for BME 490. 
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Can BME students study abroad?

Yes!  One option is through the Viterbi School of Engineering; their programs include Summer Overseas and International Exchange Programs.  Currently, Summer Overseas takes place in Madrid, Paris or Rome and the International Exchange Programs are in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Students can also study abroad through the Office of Overseas Studies.  Recently, BME students have studied in Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.  For a list of classes students have taken through this program, click here.
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All information contained here is summarized from the USC Catalogue and is considered non-official. For all rules, regulations, procedures, and outlines, please see the current academic year USC catalogue.