Academic FAQ’s


D-Clearance stands for Departmental Clearance and it is required for courses which have a class number ending with D. To obtain clearance you will need to apply online via the Viterbi D-Clearance Request Manager at: Once granted, the D-clearance is valid for 2 days. Please note The CS department does not grant D-clearance over the phone, email or in person.

If a class number ends in “R” (ex: 000-00000R), you can register directly if you meet the pre-requisite through USC Web Registration.

If you fail to register within the two days, you will need to request a deletion through the system. Once deleted, you will need to re-submit your d-clearance request, which will put you at the bottom of the queue. No exceptions.
All “DEN@Viterbi” Computer Science course sections are given out by the DEN Office. Please log into DEN TOOLS via your DEN Portal to make your request online.

Changing Specialization / Transfers / Non-CS Major

You can change your specialization only after completing your first semester at USC. However, during your first semester you may enroll courses that will apply towards your desired specialization. Please email your advisor after your first semester grades are released on OASIS to initiate the change of specialization. Be sure to email from your USC account and include your USC ID number.
You can transfer a maximum of 7 graduate units to USC towards your MS degree in Computer Science. You first need to have your transfer courses evaluated by the Registrar’s Office. Once approved by the Registrar’s office, you will need to email the syllabus of the course(s) to your Master’s Advisor for final approval.
You are allowed to take one CS course per semester with the prior approval from your department’s academic advisor. You will need to submit your request through the Viterbi D-Clearance Request Manager at:

OASIS & Holds

OASIS is a student portal which can be accessed under MyUSC. It provides the details pertaining to Registration of courses, Book Lists, access to the STARS Report which is a detailed listing of a student’s degree requirements that have been met and those that remain to be fulfilled (if any), and any holds or restrictions that are present on the student account. It also provides services for ordering transcripts (electronic or hard copies) and also details the grades received by a student for the courses completed.
No. A list of hold/account restrictions that have been applied to a student account can be found under OASIS in the sub section Restrictions (Holds). Please be advised that we do not make any exceptions or provide extensions of d-clearances because of registration restrictions. It is important that you take care of all holds prior to requesting d-clearance for courses.
Prior Degree Verification is a hold that is controlled by the USC Registrar (REG-101). The CS department will not be able to waive this hold nor grant special requests such as extending d-clearance for students that have such a hold.


The Registration dates vary per student and may be found via your OASIS account, under permit to register. If you do not have a registration time, please contact the Registrar’s office at 213-740-8500. They will assign you an appointment. Note: Clearance to CS courses is always issued after your registration appointment.
You can register for classes online at USC’s Online Registration System (WebReg). Access the system through your MyUSC Web Portal. You can also register in person at the Registration Building (REG-101).
It depends. Pre-requisites for 400-level approved CS graduate courses can be waived as you have completed the pre-requisites in your undergraduate degree.

For certain 500 level CS courses faculty members may give you permission to enroll in the course without having taken the pre-requisite. In those instances you must provide an approval email from the instructor of the course to your MS advisor. Please note that you will not be able to take the pre-requisite course for unit credit or GPA credit in future semesters. (For example, if you received instructor approval to take CSCI 586 without taking 585 before you will not be able to take 585 in future semesters for unit and GPA credit. No Exceptions.)
For courses that have EE-450 as pre-requisites you must either pass the placement exam or have earned a “B-” or better in the course at USC to satisfy the pre-requisite requirement. No Exceptions.

Courses & Grades

An international MS student needs to be enrolled in a minimum of 8 units each semester to maintain a full time status. Requesting an RCL allows international students to enroll in a minimum of 4 units in a semester and still have a full time status.

You are allowed to take RCL only once in your Masters Program. You may qualify for a second RCL in your final semester if you need less than 8 units to finish your degree. To file for an RCL, please see the GAPP office in OHE 106.

For more information on RCL(s) visit the following website.

Once you obtain permission to register for a course, on the web registration you can select your grade option to be “Audit”. Please note that audited units do not count towards the enrollment status and will not earn you degree credit. You must pay full tuition and fees when auditing.
The University gives the opportunity for students to drop a course even after the Add/Drop deadline by securing a mark of W which stands for withdrawal. You will not receive a tuition refund and will have a mark of “W” on your transcript. “W” does not affect your GPA. You may register for the course again in a future semester. Please refer to the course catalog for more details.

A minimum grade of “C” or better is required for the course to be counted towards your graduate degree.

An overall GPA of 3.0 must be maintained for all graduate level & applied graduate 400 and 500 level courses taken at USC.

Graduate students may repeat a course in which a grade of C- or below was received, but both grades will be calculated in the grade point average.
The CS department does not offer a placement exam for CSCI 402. Please see the Prerequisite Information page for additional information about the CSCI 402 prerequisite and the EE 450 prerequisite. The EE department does offer a placement examination for EE 450.
The placement exam for EE-450 which is also a pre-requisite for a few CS courses can be taken twice.
If you are interested in working on research during your MS degree, you have an opportunity to obtain credit through CSCI-590. Students are responsible to seek Computer Science Faculty who are willing to supervise a research project. After the there is an agreement between the student a faculty member please apply online here.

Additional Directed Research information and instructions can be found here.

STARS Report / Graduation

The STARS report is a detailed listing of a student’s degree requirements that have been met and those that remain to be fulfilled (if any). It can found under OASIS. STARS reports are manually updated by your advisor. In case of any discrepancy, see your academic advisor for assistance. STARS reports are unofficial internal academic documents and are no longer accessible after a student graduates.
The request to file for graduation can be done at the start of the same semester in which you plan to graduate. You can file for graduation through the myViterbi portal. The CS department sends out an e-mail to all students providing them with the deadline to file for graduation. You must file for graduation in order to have your degree posted to your academic record!
You can request them online through OASIS or in person at the Registrar One Stop (John Hubbard Hall lobby).

Additional information about ordering transcripts is available here.

You will need to fill out a new application online and provided the following: 3 letters of recommendation, a CV and a statement of purpose. Since you are a current student or an alumnus you will not need to proved any transcripts that we have on file. The deadline to apply for the PhD program is December 1st.


If you are currently a Computer Science MS students please inform this to your MS advisor. You will be added manually to the mailing list.
You can find the application for Grader Positions online here.