Ph.D. Student

The information below is intended to assist you with the transition to graduate school at USC.

First and foremost please complete the Intent to Enroll form and submit it. It is important for you to reserve your space in the entering class.

For registration dates and deadlines, click here.

Maps and Directions

To be sure you arrive here safely and can find the important locations on the University campus. For directions to USC and campus maps, click here.


Please refer to the following link: Orientation for all information on orientations.


If you have any specific questions, you may contact your assigned advisor, Christine Hsieh (CEE Graduate Advisor) at or via phone at 213-740-0573.

International Student Test of English (ISE test)

****Required of all new international students unless formally waived. ***

For important information, please visit The American Language Institute. International students who have to take the International Student Test of English must do so before registering for classes. They can receive departmental advisement before taking the test.

Ph.D. Screening Exam

Students entering the Ph.D. program in Civil and Environmental Engineering are required to pass the Ph.D. Screening Exam:

The exam is composed of a written part, which is administered the week before classes start in each January, and an oral part that is scheduled later in January or in February.

The exam is only for those students admitted to or enrolled in the Ph.D. program and in regular graduate standing.

Ph.D. students with no prior master's degree must take the Screening Exam before the end of their fourth semester; Ph.D. students with a prior master's degree must take the Screening Exam at the beginning of the second or third semester (depending on when they started their Ph.D. studies).

The screening exam questions are written by a committee of three faculty, including the student's Ph.D. advisor, normally composed of faculty from within the CEE Department.

The result of the exam is either "pass", "conditional" (conditioned on some further outcome) or "fail".

Ph.D. Screening Exam

Frequently Asked Questions