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Frequently Asked Questions



Q. How do I register for classes?

A. After you have chosen your classes and checked for pre-requisites and placement exams, you can obtain departmental clearance (D-clearance) by submitting your request using our Online D-Clearance System. You will need D-clearance for courses that end in “D” (Example: 34123D). For courses that end in “R” (Example: 34123R) you may register directly if you have passed the pre-requisites. Once you have D-clearance you can register through the Online Registration System or in person at the Registration Building.

Q. What is a D-Clearance?

A. D-Clearance stands for Departmental Clearance and it is required for courses at the university designated in the Schedule of Classes as “D.” You must obtain D-clearance in order to register for  any class noted with a "D". For courses outside of the EE Department, clearance can only be obtained in the home department indicated in the Schedule of Classes.

Q. I got D-clearance, but when I register it says the class is full. Why can’t I get the class?
A. D-clearance gives you permission to register, however it does NOT reserve a seat for you in the class. If the class is full, you can: 

Q. What happens after I put my name on the wait-list for a class? 
 A. We will contact you through email once a space is available in the class.

Q. What if all the courses are full?

A. For all MS and PhD students we guarantee all 400-level courses. The specific Professor or time will not be guaranteed. For 500-level courses we make every effort to accommodate our students but we recommend that students register early.

Q. If a professor gives me permission to register for a class that is already full or after classes have started, what do I need to do?

A. First you must pick up an Add/Drop Form (available in EEB 102 and the Registration Office). Once you fill out the form and indicate which course you would like to add, you must obtain the professor’s signature for that course. Then, you must bring the signed form to EEB 102 to get D-Clearance and a special stamp for the form. Next, you must register for the class in-person at the registration office. When registering for a class that is already full, you are not allowed to register online or by phone, ONLY at the Registration office. DON’T FORGET to have your form stamped, because they will send you back to the department, and it’s a long walk!

Q. Can I take classes even if I am not enrolled as a full-time student?

A. If you are a domestic student and have not been denied admission by USC, you may take classes as a limited-status student. To do this you must fill out an application with the Masters and Professional Programs Office. You can apply a maximum of 12 units taken as a limited-status student towards a degree program at the university if you are admitted in a later semester.

Placement Exams:

Q. What is a Placement Exam?

A. A placement exam is a diagnostic test designed to test your knowledge of the course material.

Q. Why do I need to take a Placement Exam?

A. Placement exams are required if the student has not taken and passed the pre-requisite at USC. You must pass the placement exam before you will be permitted to register for the 500-level course that corresponds to the exam you are taking. Even if you have taken an equivalent course at another university, you are still required to take the placement exam or take the course.

 Q. When are Placement Exams offered?

A. Placement exams are offered in the beginning of the Fall and Spring Semesters. If you fail a placement test you are allowed to take it again, but you must wait until the next semester. If you fail a placement exam two times, you must take the pre-requisite course before registering for the 500-level course. Please check the dates of the placement exam and plan your schedule accordingly.

 Q. Do I need to study for the Placement Exam?

A. Yes! Our EE faculty recommend that you review your notes thoroughly.

Q. How do I register for a Placement Exam?

A. Registration for placement exams occurs online. Please register prior to the exam date. Please remember to bring your USC ID card or Driver’s license to the exam; you will not be permitted to take the exam without a picture ID. Placement exams are generally 50 minutes each, you may take more than one placement exam during the day, the times do not overlap.

Q. When will I get the results of the Placement Exams?

A. Results will be available within two days of the exam. You may view the results by logging back on to the registration site and entering your information. Results will be posted as Pass/Fail. You will NOT be allowed to view your test or your numerical score.


Q. What is a conditional admit (ADM 20) and how do I get it removed?

A. If you received a Conditional Admit with your letter of acceptance, you must fulfill the condition within the specified time.  The condition may be, but is not limited to the following: insufficient English proficiency, GRE scores, grade point average,etc.

Q. Who is my advisor?

A. As an MS student, you are not assigned an academic advisor; however, you have 3 advisors available to assist you during university business hours via phone, e-mail or walk-ins, in EEB 102 (Monday-Friday, 9-12 p.m. or 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m.).Faculty are available for academic advisement during their office hours. Office hours are posted outside of EEB 102. We strongly encourage all students to plan their 27 unit program with faculty feedback and suggestions.

Q. How do I get Financial Aid? Who can I talk to about Financial Aid?

A. Unfortunately, we do not offer financial assist to MS students.
A. Financial aid in the department comes in the form of Fellowships, research (RA) and teaching (TA) assistantships and are reserved for PhD students. All new applicants to the PhD program will be considered for financial aid by virtue of their admission application - an additional form is not required. Continuing PhD students will be invited to apply for TAs every semester by the department through an email. RAs are chosen by faculty. We do NOT advise that you send emails to faculty asking for financial aid. A better approach is to take courses and do well in them to impress the faculty. Check for financial aid opportunities posted by faculty members and discuss it with them during technical advisement. T

Q. How do I apply for Financial Aid once I am a current student?

A. Continuing PhD students will be invited to apply for TAs every semester by the department through an email.

Q. Where do I need to go if I have questions about housing?

A. Information about University housing can be obtained at http://housing.usc.edu or at the Housing Services Office in Parking Structure X. Their phone number is (213) 740-2546. Non-University owned housing is also available, but it is the student's responsibility to find this type of housing.

Q. What is OASIS and how do I log into my OASIS account?

A. OASIS is a student information system that includes grade reports, a registered course list, financial aid reports and other important information. New students need to enter their 10-digit ID number and password (this is already pre-set as your birthday (MM/DD/YY)).

Q. Can I transfer courses from another university? How do I transfer courses?
A. Masters students may transfer a total of 4 units from another university with the approval of the Department Faculty Advisor.  All transfer course must be completed before enrolling at USC. You must first go to the Degree Progress Office and order a Tranfer Credit Evaluation (TCE). Once the Transfer Credit Evaluation has been received please submit the TCE along with a Special Request Form to our Department Faculty Advisor for approval. Once the form has been approved be sure to keep both forms in a safe place, you will need to turn them in when you apply for graduation! Without these forms, you won't be able to get credit for the transfer courses.

Q. I want to take a course but there is a pre-requisite. If I have already taken the pre-requisite course at a different university, can I get it waived?
A. You may waive a pre-requisite if you have taken an equivalent course at another university and there is no Placement Exam offered for the pre-requisite course. To get the course waived, please fill out a Special Request Form, and ask the professor of the course for approval. Take this form to the front desk in EEB 102 before requesting d-clearances. If the class has a placement exam, you MUST take the exam. NO EXCEPTIONS!

  Q. How do I get Directed Research?
A. In order to get Directed Research the student must FIRST contact a professor in the area the student wishes to conduct research. Once a professor agrees to take the student, the student must complete the online Directed Research Application. Once your request has been authorized you may submit your d-clearance request.

Q. Do non-EE courses count towards the MSEE?
A. Most math, computer science, aerospace, and physics courses count toward the MS degree, provided you have satisfied the general requirements set forth in the university catalog. However, to make sure that a specific non-EE course will count toward the degree, you must have a Special Request Form approved by our Department Faculty Advisor.  You need to keep this signed form with you and submit it with your application for graduation during your final semester. Students who do not get approval prior to taking the non-EE course run the risk of not graduating.