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 the Visual Information Processing (VIP) system (
  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 (
    • Tuition Abatement: Graduate assistants qualify to receive a tuition abatement to help reduce the cost of tuition. If a student has been given an abatement, it will be reflected in the financial section on VIP.
    • Additional Fees: Students may 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 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 subsidy. If a student is covered under another plan and does not wish to purchase the USC plan, he/she must fill out a USC Health Insurance Hard Waiver Information and Request Form. This form and other insurance information can be found on the Thomson Student Health Center page (
    • 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.
  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 fill out the necessary paperwork with the Bursar’s office. 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.
  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 VIP and have their paychecks automatically deposited into their bank accounts. Each student receiving an assistantship must see Beth Powell 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. Students are to have physics (Caprine) e-mail accounts. You may obtain your new physics address, password, and instructions from Richard Hoskins (PSC 508).
  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: Students can visit the University Housing page ( for information about on-campus graduate and family housing. Information about off-campus housing may be found in USC’s newspaper, The Gamecock (, and in Columbia’s local newspaper, The State ( Postings for housing can also be found around campus.
  9. Activities: Information about various student activities and organizations at USC can be found at

Departmental Contacts

Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Richard Creswick
PSC 509
Graduate Program Coordinator
Mandy Davis
PSC 404
Laboratory Manager
James Clawson
PSC 404