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Institutional Research, Assessment, and Analytics

Faculty Credentials FAQs

For Human Resources and Administrators

The minimum qualifications for teaching at USC are as follows:


  • Master's Degree in the Teaching Discipline
  • 18 graduate hours in the Teaching Discipline accompanied by a Master's Degree in another discipline


  • Terminal Degree in the Teaching Discipline 
  • Terminal Degree in a Related Discipline

USC requires an official transcript showing a conferred degree sent directly from the awarding institution on file for every faculty member to ensure we meet the standards outlined by SACSCOC. If the degree came from a foreign institution (anywhere outside the US), you may also need a foreign credential evaluation.

Emailed transcripts are considered official if they are delivered in an encrypted file (uneditable) and sent directly from the institution using a secure delivery method.

It depends! SACSCOC requires transcripts on file for all degrees used to demonstrate qualifications. If someone has a Master's and a PhD in the same area, you will usually only need a copy of the PhD transcript. If the Master's is in a different area, you might need a copy if the new hire plans on teaching in the area of their Master's degree.

Yes. Everyone listed as an instructor of record, regardless of their status/position, must be credentialed under the guidelines outlined in ACAF 1.20.

Alternative credentials are used to demonstrate teaching qualifications when someone does not meet the minimum qualifications for teaching. Alternative credentials are documented via the Alternative Credentials Form and may include the following:

  • Work Experience in a Related Industry 
  • Research and Publications
  • Exceptional Contributions to the Field

Be sure that any alternative credentials are backed up by objective documentation of the qualifications.

Compliance Assist is the system that USC uses to house faculty credentialing documentation. All credentials are maintained by the HR contacts for each College and School and the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Analytics.

If you are the HR contact for your college or school responsible for uploading documentation, please reach out to Alexis McCoy at to gain access to the Compliance Assist system.

If you are not the HR contact responsible for uploading documentation for your college or school, please submit the documentation to your appropriate contact for them to upload on your behalf. If you need assistance locating that person, please reach out to Alexis McCoy at the email above. 

Twice a semester, OIRAA will produce a Matching Report. This report will produce a list of instructors who are missing credentials and will provide helpful guidance on what credentials need to be uploaded in order to comply with university policy and the guidelines set forth by SACSCOC.

Every course at USC is assigned a list of requirements an instructor must have on file to be considered credentialed to teach that course. The Matching Report takes the credentials an instructor already has on file and matches those credentials to the course requirements for each course for which the instructor is listed as the Instructor of Record. If the instructor’s credentials do not match any of the course requirements, that instructor will be listed on the Matching Report.  

An example of what a Matching Report looks like and what you can expect to receive each semester can be found here.

According to the ACAF 1.20 policy, there are currently three areas for exceptions that require Provost approval: (1) Graduate Teaching Assistants teaching a graduate level course,  (2) alternative credentialing below the absolute minimum, and (3) approval for non-standard course requirements. If your request falls into any of these three areas, please submit a provost exception request to initiate the approval process.

If your situation does not fall into one of the above areas, please contact Alexis McCoy at for further information and guidance. Please note that the submission of a request does not guarantee approval.

All credentialing forms need to be signed off on by two of the faculty member's supervisors. The first signature can be signed by a Program Director, Chair, or Associate Dean. The second signature can be signed by either an Associate Dean or Dean. Please make sure to obtain two separate signatures for your college or school.

 For Instructors 

Send your transcript to the area managing your hiring. Specific addresses and recipients are typically outlined in your offer letter.

If you are being hired before your degree is officially conferred, you will need to send a copy of your transcript now and then re-send a copy showing your degree once it has been awarded. Be aware that failing to send the updated copy may result in your offer being revoked.

No. You must send an official copy of your transcript; degree verifications are not acceptable for the purposes of SACSCOC accreditation.

Along with the original documents from your institution conferring your degree, you'll also need to provide a copy of a foreign credentials evaluation from an evaluation service on the approved evaluators list. 


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