Graduate Student Resources


Resources for all Viterbi graduate students can be found here.


AME graduate students are to contact the following graduate academic advisors for assistance with class selection and any other student related matters:

M.S. students: Brian Zimmerman,, (213)821-3105

Ph.D. students: Ken Eng,, (213)740-1735

Graduate Advising Worksheets by Major:

D-Clearance stands for Departmental Clearance. If a course name has a “D” after the 5-digit class number (such as 28700D), D-clearance is required prior to registration. To obtain D-Clearance for an on-campus section of a graduate course in AME, if you are an M.S. student please contact the MS student advisor or if you are a Ph.D. student contact the Ph.D. student advisor. We can only lift D-clearances for AME on-campus classes.

Note that it is rare that a 400 or 500 level AME on-campus class requires D-clearance, however you will find this is needed often for classes in other engineering departments.

All DEN sections of classes require D-clearance! If you are a DEN student, you must use the online D-clearance request process via the DEN Desire2Learn website/DEN@Viterbi Tools option. The DEN website is:

For engineering courses outside of AME, please contact the appropriate department.

Please note: BME, CE, CSCI, EE, ENE, INF, and ISE require students to complete D-Clearance requests via the D-Clearance Request Manager on myViterbi. Please pay special attention to the departmental announcements on the myViterbi system indicating when non-major students are eligible to request D-Clearance.

For pre-req waivers and D-clearance requests for all other departments, you should contact the department advisor directly:

ASTE: Please contact Nicole Valdez at
CE/ENE: Please contact Alexis Matthews at
CHE: Please contact Andy Chen at
CSCI/INF: Please contact the department advisor at
EE: Please contact the department advisor at
MASC: Please contact Andy Chen at
PTE: Please contact Idania Takimoto at

Most on-campus AME courses do not require D-Clearance, but many require pre-req waivers. For pre-req waivers for a graduate course in AME, if you are a M.S. student please contact the MS student advisor) or if you are a Ph.D. student contact the Ph.D. student advisor). We can lift pre-reqs for ALL AME classes regardless of on-campus or DEN status.

Please note: DEN@Viterbi Students must have all pre-requisites waived before requesting DEN d-clearance via D2L.

When submitting an AME pre-req waiver request, you must submit the following information: (1) Your USC ID number, (2) Name of course you wish to register, (3) Pre-req as listed on Web Registration, (4) Course name and number of the course you believe is an equivalent to the pre-req, and (5) When and where the course was taken. For pre-req waivers for courses outside of AME, please contact the appropriate department:

ASTE: Please contact Nicole Valdez at
CE/ENE: Please contact Alexis Matthews at
CHE: Please contact Andy Chen at
CSCI/INF: Please contact the department advisor at
EE: Please contact the department advisor at
MASC: Please contact Andy Chen at
PTE: Please contact Idania Takimoto at

Cross-listed classes are courses which appear on the USC Schedule of Classes under AME, but the course is actually offered by another engineering department. The course will qualify as an AME course and not count against the total units you may be allowed to take outside of AME for your degree. Current cross-listed courses that count as AME dept. courses include: CE 458, CE 507, CE 529a, CE 542, CE 543, EE 423, EE 543a, MASC 551, MASC 560, MASC 561, MASC 583, PTE 461, PTE 463, PTE 464, PTE 465, and SAE 549.
AME 590 and AME 790 are directed research courses for graduate students.

Please note: MS students must have at least a 3.0 GPA in order to do DR and can earn up to 3 units of AME 590 towards your M.S. degree. Ph.D. students may request up to 6 units of AME 790 per semester. DR is mainly available for on-campus full-time students only. If you have any questions regarding the directed research process, if you are an M.S. student please contact the MS student advisor or if you are a Ph.D. student contact the Ph.D. student advisor.

If you wish to enroll in directed research, you will need to first set up a meeting with an AME professor to discuss this option and commit to a topic and research plan.

Once you have gotten the preliminary approval from your professor, do the following:

  1. Log on to
  2. On the main page of myViterbi, under Student Resources, select the Directed Research link.
  3. Click AME and on the next page you will need to select a Term, Class (AME 590 for M.S. students or AME 790 for Ph.D. students), Units (3 for M.S., typically 6 for Ph.D.), and Faculty. You will also need to include a Project Description of about 3-4 sentences. If a professor you wish to work with is not listed on the dropdown faculty menu, please email the MS student advisor.
  4. An automatic email will be sent to the professor alerting him or her of your request. They will log in to myViterbi to either approve or deny your request.
  5. You will receive a confirmation email that your professor has either approved or denied your request. If approved, the MS student advisor will provide you with D-Clearance for the course within 1-2 business days.
  6. Once your D-Clearance is processed, you will receive an email notifying you that you have been given D-Clearance for the course.
  7. After receiving the email, you will need to log on to Web Registration to register for the course (either AME 590 or AME 790) and the specific units requested.

Please note: If you wish to register for more or less units than previously requested, you must submit written approval from your professor to the MS student advisor. Written approval can come in the form of an email from your professor approving the change in units.

If you are having issues registering for classes, make sure you are registering for the correct section! DEN students must select the DEN@Viterbi section while on-campus students must select the section w/ a campus building and room number location (ex: OHE 100C or RTH 109).

Use the USC Schedule of Classes ( to review what is being offered by not only the AME dept, but other Viterbi School of Engineering depts. Course descriptions are provided, and in many cases syllabi for the courses. You can also look at past semesters to see if a course has a syllabus posted or how frequently a class is offered.

If you are a continuing student or new domestic student register as soon as your Permit to Register indicates you are able to!

If you are a new international student, you will be able to register once you arrive at USC and lift your account holds related to passport verification and any other holds that may be placed on your accounts (English test w/ ALI, etc.). Though some classes may be full, you will have class options to enroll in. However note that you may need to be flexible in selecting your first semester of classes.

This website is an important tool which graduate engineering students must log into to request approval for Directed Research, Dept. D-clearances, submit grader applications if being hired, etc.

If a student wishes to change their major within AME or from within the Viterbi School of Engineering (examples: switch from MSAE to MSME program or MSBME to MSME), please discuss this first with the MS student advisor. Changes of major can only be processed after a student has completed their first semester at USC with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. The change of major form can be found here:

Please note: Only fill out the top 3 lines of this form (name, USC ID and date and sign) and send to he MS student advisor via email indicating what you would like to change your major.

If you are interested in switching your major to another department, you will need to contact the department graduate advisor directly:  Students interested in switching to CS, you will need to formally apply for their 37 unit MS in Computer Science (Scientists and Engineers) program:

M.S. students who have registered for their final class(es), must submit a graduation application in order to be cleared to graduate, have your STARs updated, and to ensure you receive your diploma at the end of completing your degree. You can complete the application process through myViterbi.
USC can accept up to 6 units of graduate transfer coursework to be applied towards our MS programs and up to 30 units to be applied towards our PhD programs. USC does not conduct pre-admission transfer credit evaluations for prospective graduate applicants. Evaluation is conducted on a case by case basis by our faculty once admitted and not all courses may be transferred for credit. For information and policies pertaining to graduate transfer credit, please refer to the University catalogue here.

If you are an M.S. student please contact the MS student advisor or if you are a Ph.D. student contact the Ph.D. student advisor to discuss if you are eligible for graduate transfer credit approval. The graduate transfer credit request forms can be found here:



Students are required to be enrolled at USC for every Fall and Spring semester until all degree requirements have been satisfied. If you will not be enrolling in classes during an upcoming Fall or Spring semester, you are required to submit a Leave of Absence Form to maintain your status in our program and allow you to return the following semester. Students must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to request an authorized LOA. The forms for LOA’s can be found here:

Domestic students:

International students:

LOA requests must be received by the add/drop deadline of each semester. Please send your completed LOA request to the MS student advisor if you are a domestic student. If you are an international student, please send the completed form to the GAPP Office, OHE 106 or

If you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement for an authorized LOA, please contact the MS student advisor to discuss your options.

Please note: Students on an approved LOA will satisfy the continuous enrollment requirement, however, there may be financial implications for those with outstanding student loans. Immediate repayment may be required as soon as your enrollment falls below 4 units.

International M.S. students who plan to register in less than 8 units during any fall or spring semester due to academic difficulty, medical emergency, or if it is you last semester and you only need 1 or 2 classes to finish your degree, must file an RCL form w/ the GAPP Office in OHE 106 no later than the end of the third week of classes for the semester. You must submit this form in order to maintain your visa status! More information and the RCL form can be found here:

Please note: AME Academic Advisors cannot sign off on RCL paperwork, all forms must be signed by an advisor in the GAPP Office in OHE 106.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization that allows F-1 international students to participate in paid off-campus academic internships during their degree program. The purpose of CPT is academic, not just for employment purposes, and the internship must be considered an integral part of a student’s degree program. Students must have a specific job/internship offer to apply. If the internship is an unpaid or volunteer position, CPT is not required. Students CANNOT accept any kind of compensation for work performed in an unpaid internship.

More information and the CPT form can be found here:

Please note: AME Academic Advisors cannot sign off on CPT paperwork, all forms must be signed by an advisor in the GAPP Office in OHE 106.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit given to F-1 international students who are completing a Bachelor’s or graduate degree in the United States. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for employment experience in a student’s field of study. OPT is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

For more information regarding the necessary paperwork and online workshop to start the application process, more info can be found here:

Please note: AME Academic Advisors cannot sign off on OPT paperwork, all forms must be signed by an advisor in the GAPP Office in OHE 106.

The most common account restrictions include:

ADM21: Condition of admission – A condition was placed on your record at the time of admission. Please contact the MS student advisor if you are a M.S. student or the Ph.D. student advisor if you are a Ph.D. student to review your holds.

ADM40 or RNR 40: Prior Degree Verification – these holds do NOT stop you from registering. They are a warning that USC still needs you to complete degree verification as part of your admission process. However, if you neglect to resolve the hold, for most students this will be elevated to an RNR41 or ADM41 restriction which will block you from registering in the future. For students from India who have a prior degree verification restriction, USC gives you 2 semesters to submit your transcripts due to the arrangements in your country with the delay in issuing final degrees. International students must complete degree verification via IERF.

ENGR 01: Advisement hold – please contact your academic advisor as soon as possible to discuss why this hold was added to your record. Most MS students will see this hold if their overall GPA is below a 3.0.

SCH10: Missing Proof of Immunizations – USC requires that all students submit proof of receiving two doses of MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine, or show proof of Measles and Mumps immunity, prior to their first semester of enrollment at USC. More information can be found here:

Take care of any “holds” ASAP if you have these or any other type of restrictions on your student account. Restrictions are clearly posted on the first page after you log into MyUSC and included is the issuing office of the hold and their contact phone number to call to resolve the issue.

The screening exam is one component of the overall screening procedure that involves each Ph.D. student’s complete academic/research record. The screening exam is offered once a year in January and only to students who are already admitted to the AME Ph.D. program.

Information about the AME Ph.D. screening exam: