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: Lauren Terazawa and Zoe Ashmead, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ph.D. students: Ellecia Williams, email@example.com
Course Requirements by Major:
- M.S. Aerospace Engineering
- M.S. Mechanical Engineering
- M.S. Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering: Computational Fluid and Solid Mechanics
- M.S. Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Dynamics and Control
- M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Energy Conversion
- M.S. Product Development Engineering (Technology Track)
- M.S. Dual Degree: Aerospace Engineering/Engineering Management
- M.S. Dual Degree: Mechanical Engineering/Engineering Management
D-Clearance stands for Departmental Clearance. If a course section 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, M.S. students should contact the M.S. student advisor and Ph.D. students should 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@Viterbi 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. Additional information can be found here: DEN@Viterbi Course Registrations.
For engineering courses outside of AME, please contact the appropriate department.
Please note: BME, CE, CSCI, EE, ENE, 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.
To request a prerequisite waiver or departmental clearance for a course outside of AME, please contact the department that manages the course. For example, to request clearance for an ISE course, you will need to contact the ISE department. Prerequisite and departmental clearance information can be found by searching for the department on the schedule of classes Schedule of Classes .
Most on-campus AME courses do not require D-Clearance, but many require pre-requisite waivers. For pre-req waivers for a graduate course in AME, Ph.D. students should contact the Ph.D. student advisor.
MS students must obtain faculty permission to waive the pre-requisites for their course. If you believe you have sufficient experience in previous courses, please provide information regarding these courses to the faculty and cc firstname.lastname@example.org. To officially waive the pre-req, we need an email of approval from the professor. If you choose to do this, please note that you cannot take a pre-req later at USC, if you’ve already passed the higher-level course.
Please note: We can lift pre-reqs for ALL AME classes regardless of on-campus or DEN status. DEN@Viterbi Students must have all pre-reqs waived before requesting DEN d-clearance via D2L.
To request a pre-requisite waiver or departmental clearance for a course outside of AME, please contact the department that manages the course. For example, to request clearance for an ISE course, you will need to contact the ISE department. Pre-requisite and departmental clearance information can be found by searching for the department on the Schedule of Classes Schedule of Classes
Please note: M.S. 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, M.S. students should contact the M.S. student advisor and Ph.D. students should 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:
- Log on to http://myviterbi.usc.edu.
- On the main page of myViterbi, under Student Resources, select the Directed Research link.
- 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 (up to 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 M.S. student advisor.
- An automatic email will be sent to the professor alerting them of your request. They will log in to myViterbi to either approve or deny your request.
- You will receive a confirmation email that your professor has either approved or denied your request. If approved, the M.S. student advisor will provide you with D-Clearance for the course within 1-2 business days.
- Once your D-Clearance is processed, you will receive an email notifying you that you have been given D-Clearance for the course.
- 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 M.S. student advisor. Written approval can come in the form of an email from your professor approving the change in units.
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 within the Viterbi School of Engineering (examples: switch from M.S. Aerospace Engineering to M.S. Mechanical Engineering program or M.S. Biomedical Engineering to M.S. Mechanical Engineering), please discuss this first with the M.S. student advisor. Changes of major can only be processed after a student has completed their first semester at USC with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The change of major form can be found here: Change of Major Form.
Please note: Only fill out the top 3 lines of this form (name, USC ID and date and sign) and send to the M.S. student advisor via email indicating what major you would like to change to.
If you are interested in switching your major from AME to another department, you will need to contact the other department’s graduate advisor directly: Viterbi Graduate Advisement.
USC can accept up to 6 units of graduate transfer coursework to be applied towards our M.S. programs. USC does not conduct pre-admission transfer credit evaluations for prospective graduate applicants. The first step is to request a Transfer Credit Report from USC’s Registrar Office. Afterward, evaluation is conducted on a case-by-case basis by our faculty by reviewing syllabi; 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 a M.S. student please contact the M.S. student advisor to discuss if you are eligible for graduate transfer credit approval. To request Transfer Credit Reports from USC’s Registrar Office, please visit this website:
Domestic: Graduate Transfer Credit Information
International: The Graduate and International Admissions Office reviews course work taken at international institutions. Students must complete the International Graduate Transfer Credit Request Form and submit it to the Registrar Office.
USC can accept up to 30 units of transferred coursework to be applied to our Ph.D. programs. If you are a Ph.D student, please contact the Ph.D advisor to discuss if you are eligible for graduate transfer credit approval.
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: Leave of Absence Form (Domestic Students)
International students: Leave of Absence Form (international students)
LOA requests must be received by the add/drop deadline of each semester. Please send your completed LOA request to the M.S. student advisor if you are a domestic student. If you are an international student, please send the completed form to the VASE Office at email@example.com.
If you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement for an authorized LOA, please contact the M.S. student advisor to discuss your options.
Please note: When declaring a Leave of Absence, students are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if there are any financial implications for those with outstanding student loans, scholarships, etc.
International M.S. students: if you plan to register in less than 8 units during any fall or spring semester due to academic difficulty (only allowed in the first semester), medical emergency, or because you need less than 8 units to finish your degree in your final semester, you must file a Reduced Course Load (RCL) form with the VASE Office before the end of the third week of classes for the semester. You must submit this form in order to maintain your visa status! The RCL form and more information can be found here: VASE International Student Services
Please note: AME Academic Advisors cannot sign off on RCL paperwork. All forms must be signed by an advisor in the VASE Office.
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: OIS/VASE RCL.
Please note: AME Academic Advisors cannot sign off on CPT paperwork, all forms must be signed by an advisor in the VASE Office.
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: OIS OPT information.
Please note: AME Academic Advisors cannot sign off on OPT paperwork, all forms must be signed by an advisor in the VASE Office.
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 M.S. 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. The hold can be lifted if you met the conditions outlined when you were admitted.
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, the hold will likely be elevated to a RNR41 or ADM41 restriction which will block you from registering in the future. For information on how to resolve degree verification, see here.
ENGR 01: Advisement hold – please contact your academic advisor as soon as possible to discuss why this hold was added to your record. Most M.S. 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, and two other vaccinations prior to their ﬁrst semester of enrollment at USC. More information can be found here: Immunization Requirements.
Take care of any “holds” as soon as possible 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 includes the issuing office of the hold and their contact information 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 and only to students who are already admitted to the AME Ph.D. program.
Information about the AME Ph.D. screening exam:
Published on April 14th, 2017
Last updated on November 8th, 2023