Welcome to Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering!

New PhDs - review this page to learn tips on getting registered for your first semester.  There's a lot of information that we'll go over at orientation on July 18th so be sure to attend (or watch the recording later - link to come).

The Viterbi Admission and Student Engagement Office sends out orientation information - keep an eye on your email for more details as the date approaches.

You can visit the VASE Student Engagement page's Next Steps Page which includes a link to rsvp for the VASE Orientation under the additional resources section.



Your Next Steps

  • Contact your faculty advisor to discuss what courses you should take your first semester at USC
  • Stay on the lookout for an email from  VASE regarding TA training
    • All students are expected to take TA training even if they will not TA in the fall
  • Review the Viterbi New Student Page

Special note for international students

  • You cannot register for classes until you enter the country and complete Immigration Status Verification (ISV).
  • You must take the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Exam even if you will not be a Teaching Assistant in the fall.  This is Astani Department Policy.
    • Schedule an exam as soon as possible by emailing itatest@usc.edu. The ITA team will provide you with all the necessary information once you are scheduled. More information can be found via ali.usc.edu/ita/

your department/academic advisor

In addition to having a faculty advisor you also have an academic/department advisor.


Full-Time Enrollment Status
  • A PhD student is considered to be enrolled full-time when registered for six (6) or more units.
    • CEE PhD students typically enroll in 6-8 units/semester

Special note for international students

  • You may be required to take ALI courses based on your ITA exam results.  These courses count toward your fulltime enrollment minimum but do not count toward the minimum number of units needed to graduate with your doctoral degree. 


  • The minimum number of units for a doctoral degree is 60
  • Two-Thirds Rule: At least two-thirds of the units applied toward the degree (including transfer work and not including 794 (Dissertation Classes)) must be at the 500 level or higher. 
    • 100, 200, and 300-level courses are considered undergraduate courses and do not count toward a graduate degree.   
    • 400-level courses are undergraduate courses but count toward a doctoral degree provided it conforms with the two-thirds rule

Course Selection and REgistration
Course Selection 

In the CEE Department PhDs work directly with the faculty advisor to identify courses they ought to enroll in.  Consult your faculty advisor to discuss your fall enrollment. All courses must be approved by your faculty advisor each term.  You will work with your faculty advisor to discuss your course enrollment every semester. The student/faculty advisor relationship is vital to ensuring that you are taking appropriate courses each term and making progress toward your PhD goals and milestones.

Web Registration

Most students register for their courses through an online tool called Web Registration. For more support on registration, please visit the Registrar's website.

Fall 2024 Semester: The deadline to register for classes and settle your bill without accruing a late fee is August 23, 2024. But it is possible to change your schedule after August 23rd. We will talk about this more at orientation.

For more information about deadlines, review the Registration Calendar.

Registration Tips

What is D-Clearance

Some classes require that you obtain D-Clearance (Departmental Clearance) before you are allowed to register. 

Do you need D-Clearance?
  • If a course section number ends in "R" (ex: 00000R)  → No. For all courses that end in “R” you may register directly without departmental approval.
  • If a course section number ends in “D” (ex: 00000D)  → Yes. All courses that end in D require need D-Clearance. See section below for D-Clearance Request Instructions. 

How to Request D-Clearance

D-Clearance for CE/ENE Courses

The Astani CEE Department can only grant D-Clearance for CE (Civil Engineering) or ENE (Environmental Engineering) Classes.

D-Clearance requests will be reviewed, and decisions will be emailed to your USC email account. D-Clearance permits you to register; however, it does not reserve a seat for you in the class.

D-Clearance for Directed Research (CE/ENE 790)

If you need D-Clearance for CE/ENE 790 be sure to use the Directed Research link in MyViterbi. 

D-Clearance for Courses Outside of Viterbi

Contact the department offering the class.

Look up department contact information via classes.usc.edu.  Search for the department offering the course and then pull up that department page - the top section of the department page will list D-Clearance instructions. 

How to Request Pre-Requisite Waivers

To request a Pre-Requisite waiver for a Viterbi Course:

  • Login to MyViterbi (https://myviterbi.usc.edu/)
  • Select Pre-Requisite Waiver Request Manager
  • Justify your pre-requisite request - provide the course number, title, and term during which you took the course you believe satisfies the pre-requisite.
    • Example: I completed ENE 431, Air Pollution Management, Spring 2021 at Example University
    • Stating that you wan to take the course is not a justification. The department needs to understand if you have the academic background to waive the pre-req.

The Department has access to your transcripts from other schools that you submitted.  Your transcript and the information you provide in the request will be used to determine if a pre-requisite waiver can be granted.

A decision will be emailed to your USC email account. 


You can check if you have a hold on your record via myusc.usc.edu – click OASIS – then click RESTRICTIONS.

The following lists common holds that students may have on their student account and the removal procedure:





Restricts registration and USCard application

(prevents registration)

Complete Immigration Status Verification (ISV) with OIS upon arrival in the U.S.


Degree Verification

(note - allows registration)

Verify previous degree(s) with USC Office of Degree Progress


Conditional Admission
(note - allows registration)

See your Admission Letter for any specific conditions.

You should contact Astani Student Services (cee.advise@usc.edu) once you have your fall grades to determine if you met the conditions of your admission.


Degree Verification

(prevents registration)

Verify previous degree(s) with USC Office of Degree Progress


Conditional Admission
(prevents registration)

See your Admission Letter for any specific conditions.

Your academic advisor/student services cannot lift any collection/financial holds. Please contact USC Financial Services if you have a collection or financial hold.

Prior Degree Verification

Graduate transfer credit

Deadline for all degree verifications is by the end of your first semester.

See the Degree Progress website for more instructions.

If you have coursework you wish to be evaluated for transfer credit review the see the Degree Progress website for more instructions.

It's recommended you complete this process during the first year at USC.