Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any FBE-curriculum-related questions, please email your inquiries to our Administrative Coordinator Helen Pitts at the following address, hpitts@marshall.usc.edu. If your question can benefit others, it will be added to this FAQ list. There is a separate CFA FAQ. Thank you very much.


What are your business hours?

The Finance and Business Economics (FBE) departmental office, located in Bridge Hall Room 308, is open between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can leave us a voice mail at 213-740-6515, after normal business hours, and the staff members will get back to you as soon as they can.

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Whom can I contact for general departmental questions?

You can contact the Department's Administrative Coordinator, Helen Pitts by calling her at 213-740-6554, emailing her at hpitts@marshall.usc.edu, or seeing her personally in her office at Bridge Hall Room 308 C.

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How can I get in contact with one of FBE's professors?

You can send them an email at the address listed on the "Department-Faculty" page.  You can also leave them a message by calling the departmental office at 213-740-6515, or stop by BRI-308 to leave them a written message.  You can also visit the Contact Us page for more info.

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How can I sign up for the Wall Street Journal?

Subscribe to the WSJ at our department office in BRI-308. You will be given the preferential student rate. Be prepared to tell us in which class (i.e., instructor) you have registered. (Sign up now!).

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How can I get a discount coupon for the HP-17B and HP-19BII calculator to be used in the USC Bookstore?

USC Bookstore offers our students relatively competitive rates on the above-mentioned types of calculators for a specific time frame. You can come up to our department office, BRI-308, to get a discount coupon.

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Can I take a course and its pre-requisite concurrently in one semester?

In most cases, you cannot take a course and its pre-requisite concurrently. This is especially true for required courses. To adequately prepare you for the more advanced electives, you will not be allowed to take any required courses, including BUAD200, 215, 306, 350, 351 and 403, with their pre-requisites concurrently. You should not waste your energy on this.

However, for some electives, instructors of more advanced courses have made some rare exceptions. Should you be willing to work harder and take the course and its pre-requisite concurrently, you need your instructor?s approval. You should first obtain the pre-requisite waiver form from the undergraduate advisement office located in BRI104, once you fill out the necessary information on the form, then you can proceed to obtain the instructor?s signature. Only the faculty member teaching the course for which the pre-requisite exists can give you permission to take that course. (Note that, to grant your request, your instructor might ask for additional documentation or proof from you). Once the instructor signs your pre-requisite waiver form, you have effectively received the permission to register for both courses simultaneously. Finally, you need to bring your signed pre-requisite waiver form back to BRI104 to complete your registration.

If the instructor is new and does not have an office with us yet, you should submit your pre-requisite waiver form to our Administrative Coordinator, Helen Pitts in BRI-308 and she will help you obtain the department chair?s signature (as a substitute for the new instructor's signature) so as to not delay your registration.

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My class and official waitlist are full, how can I add myself to the unofficial waitlist?

If the class you want to take is full, you can add your name to the official wait list that is available in BRI 104. In the event that the official waitlist is closed, you can come to our department to add your name to the unofficial waitlist. We will assess the extent of the excess demand from the input from undergraduate office as well as our unofficial waitlist. Note that class offerings are based on the projected demand while taking into account historical enrollments. When feasible, a new section will be added. If you wish to know whether the same course will be offered in the subsequent semester, please consult our "Planned Class Schedule." Unofficial waitlists are almost never used to actually add students to a class section - - they serve to tell us whether we need to add another section of that course to the schedule.

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Can my instructor drop me from the class for which I have registered?

According to University Policy, your instructor can drop you from your registered class, if you have not attended the first two scheduled meetings of a class that meets twice per week or if you have not attended the first scheduled class meeting for a class that meets once per week. For a class with a long waitlist, you are most likely to be dropped if your excuse is "I could not get a seat to fly back to Los Angeles in time for my class." If you are unable to attend the first two scheduled class meetings due to extraordinary circumstances, you should contact your instructor and obtain his/her approval before you decide not to show up to the first few class meetings!

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Who are qualified to take a waiver exam and when would such a waiver exam be held?

Waiver exams are administered in the following undergraduate required courses: BUAD 306, 350, and 351. (403 is no longer offered.) The exams are administered twice per academic year, one in the Fall semester (October) and the other in the Spring semester (March). In principle, the waiver exams for all three courses are administered in our Conference room (BRI-206) from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on the last Friday. This date is two weeks before the registration for the upcoming semester begins. For example, if registration for Spring, 2008 begins on October 26, all waiver exams will be administered on October 9. You can call our Administrative Budget Assistant, Marilyn Johnson, at 213-740-6515 for the exact date. Similarly, if you are taking more than one waiver exam per semester, you should contact Marilyn Johnson for permission to take other waiver exams at another time. Once the time is set, you cannot ask for a later time simply because you need more preparation time.

You must have approval from the Undergraduate Office in BRI 104 to take a waiver exam. You can only take the waiver exam for a specific course ONCE.

Once you have the appropriate form with the necessary signatures, present it to our Administrative Budget Assistant, Marilyn Johnson, in BRI-308 at least one week before the waiver exam will take place. Your test result will be available to you five business days after you have taken your exam.

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What do I do if I am unable to take the scheduled examination?

If you are unable to take a scheduled exam, you must first secure permission from your instructor prior to the exam. In case of an emergency, you must, at a minimum, leave a voice mail on your instructor?s office phone. (In addition, you can also contact the FBE main office at 213-740-6515.) If you miss a scheduled exam and do not secure prior approval from your instructor, you will be given a grade of "zero" for that exam.

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Where is my final exam being held?

Unless otherwise specified by your instructor, your final exam will be held in your course classroom. If your final exam room is different than your regular classroom, your instructor will announce this in class and post the new room in both the instructor?s office and the department office, BRI-308.

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What can I do if I have more than two final exams scheduled on the same day?

The University schedules final exams. Your instructor cannot change the date and time unless your class unanimously agrees to the change. (This means it is practically impossible for your instructor to change the final exam date just because you and a few of your classmates have more than two final exams on the same date.) You are, therefore, expected to take your final exam as scheduled. (At the time that you register, the final exam schedules are published. We recommend that you take this into account when you are ready to register.) If you have more than two exams scheduled on the same day, you can contact our University Testing Bureau at 213-740-7166 on what action to take.

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What can I do if I have question about my final course grade?

The only person that can change your grade is your instructor. Your instructor can only change your grade if he/she has made a calculation error in adding up the total scores for your course work. The grade will be determined upon your performance in your required course work only. Should you have any questions about your final course grade, contact your instructor immediately and directly. If you need assistance to contact your instructor for grade inquiries, you can contact our Administrative Coordinator, Helen Pitts at 213-740-6554 and she will help you.

If your instructor decides to change your grade after careful re-evaluation of your grade, he/she will request the appropriate form from the University Grade Department via our Administrative Budget Assistant, Marilyn Johnson. You can check back with her to see if your instructor?s request of grade change for you has been done or not. We recommend you also check with the University Grade Department regarding the status of your grade change request.

Following your discussion/review with your instructor regarding the grade you have received in the course, if you are still not satisfied with the result and have strong reason to take it to the next level, you can submit a written appeal letter to our Chairman, Fernando Zapatero. (c/o the department?s Administrative Coordinator, Helen Pitts in BRI-308). Professor Zapatero will review your case and determine the proper course of action within two business weeks during regular semesters and four weeks during summer.

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What can I do if I have a "MG" on my transcript?

A "MG" represents a missing grade for that particular course. The only person that can change this "MG" to another letter grade is your instructor. You should contact your instructor as soon as you find out that you have received such a grade.

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How can I change the "IN" to a letter grade on my transcript?

An incomplete grade is assigned if you have not finished all of your required work for a given course. Once you have completed all of the required work, for example, by taking your final exam and/or turning in your final project, then your instructor will be able to assign a final course grade for you. This typically happens in the semester after you have taken the course. You need to initiate the process of getting your grade change, by requesting a completion of an incomplete form with the University Grade department (Their address and phone no. is RHH-106, 740-5586). The Grade department will then send a form to the instructor for a conversion to a course grade. You can check with the department Administrative Budget Assistant, Marilyn Johnson, at 213-740-6515 for the progress of your request. Note that, according to University Policy, undergraduates and graduates are given two semesters to finish and remove an incomplete. If you fail to complete the course within the specified time, your course grade will automatically be changed to "IX," which is equivalent to "F."

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