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College of Arts & Sciences
Physics and Astronomy

Student Resources

Useful Links

 General information

1     Registration: After following the advisement procedure as outlined in the Graduate Student Handbook, students are ready to register for classes. Students should register using Self Service Carolina

2     Tuition and Fees: All graduate assistants are charged the in-state tuition rate. A list of the most current tuition rates and fees can be found on the Bursar’s page 

3     Payroll Deduction: Graduate assistants may elect to have their tuition automatically deducted from their paychecks over several months (only during the academic year). To arrange for this, students must go to the Payment Gateway on For detailed instructions go to the Bursar's site. Please note that before students are able to take advantage of payroll deduction, they must be registered for courses, and their assistantships must have already been processed. 

  • Tuition Abatement: All PhD candidates receive a tuition abatement that covers the total cost of tuition. If a student has been given an abatement, it will be reflected in the financial section on VIP. 
  • Additional Fees: Students will have to pay a lab fee ($17 per credit hour) and a health center fee ($174-$116). One time fees include a matriculation fee ($80) and an international student fee ($750). Students may also wish to pay the university activity fee. Paying this fee entitles students to tickets to various athletic events held each semester. The university also offers on-campus meal plans and/or meal cash cards. For more information about this option, students should visit the Dining Services page. 
  • Health Insurance: All full-time graduate students (enrolled in 9 or more hours), all graduate assistants, and all international students are required to purchase USC’s mandatory health insurance plan or provide evidence of coverage on another comparable health insurance plan. Graduate assistants who are covered under USC’s plan will receive a small subsidy. For mor information and current semester prices you can visit the Student Heath Services site.
  • Financial Aid: If students need help covering the costs of their education at USC, they should be aware that financial aid is available. Students may visit the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships page and/or the Graduate School’s page for more information. 

4     Paychecks: Paychecks are usually issued on the 15th and the last day of each month. When these dates are on a weekend, paychecks are issued on Friday. Students must sign up for direct deposit on Self Service and have their paychecks automatically deposited into their bank accounts. Each student receiving an assistantship must see Kelly Gibson as soon as possible to fill out an I-9 form. This form certifies the eligibility of each student to work in the United States. In order to complete the I-9, students must have proof of identification. [For example, international students may use their passport and I-94 card, and U.S. citizens may use a US passport or a driver’s license and social security card.] 

5     E-Mail: E-mail is the primary method of communication in our department, so please be sure to check it often.

6     Mailboxes: Each graduate student has a mailbox in the Rogers Room (PSC 409). Please be sure to check your mailbox on a regular basis. 

7     Banking: There are many banks in Columbia that are able to provide banking services for students. Students should be careful when choosing a bank because some charge monthly fees, per check charges, ATM usage fees and/or impose minimum balance restrictions. Graduate assistants should note that, as university employees, they are eligible to use Carolina Collegiate Federal Credit Union. CCFCU is USC’s own credit union. 

8     Housing: On campus housing is only availale for Undergraduate students. For information about off-campus housing visit the housing page of USC’s newspaper, The Gamecock. Postings for housing can also be found around campus. 

9     Activities: Information about various student activities and organizations at USC can be found at Student Life.

Department Contacts

Vacant Position                                     Beth Powell
Student Services Coordinator            Administrative Coordinator
JONES 404                                              JONES 404
777-4121                                                777-8104
James Clawson                                      Richard Creswick      
Lab Manager                                         Director of Graduate Studies  
JONES 404                                              JONES 509
777-8994                                                777-3766