General FAQs


About USC & Los Angeles

Top 5 Reasons why USC should be your first choice:

  • Distinguished faculty producing groundbreaking research that addresses critical issues facing our global society.
  • More than 400 highly regarded graduate and professional programs that prepare students for leadership positions in research, education and professional practice.
  • A strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, including productive collaborations among professional schools.
  • A “learner-centered” approach to graduate education, fostering intellectual partnerships between faculty and students. Faculty play an active role in helping students hone their skills in locating, assessing, applying and presenting information.
  • A global outlook and an urban location in a vibrant international city where more than 200 languages are spoken.
The USC Viterbi School of Engineering offers scholarship opportunities to qualified graduate students. You can get more information by visiting the following link: https://gapp.usc.edu/graduate-programs/graduate-funding/masters/scholarships/viterbi-scholarships.
Graduate programs at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering are consistently ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers visionary leadership, unique programs and a dynamic faculty, many of whom are members of the National Academy of Engineering and recipients of National Science Foundation Career awards. For a complete list of the programs offered, follow the link at http://gapp.usc.edu
MonthsSeasonWhat to wear/packTemperature range
°C/°F
November
December
January
WinterUmbrella or rain jacket with hood
Warm jacket or light coat
Long-sleeved shirts and sweaters
November:
12°C/54°F to 23°C/73°F
December:
10°C/50°F to 21°C/70°F
January:
10°C/50°F to 20°C/68°F
February
March
WinterMid-weight jacket
Long-sleeved shirts and sweaters
February:
11°C/52°F to 21°C/70°F
March:
11°C/52°F to 18.6°C/65.5°F
April
May
June
SpringMid-weight jacket
Short-sleeved shirts and light weight pants
Shorts on the warmest days
April:
11.6°C/52.9°F to 19.7°C/67.5°F
May:
13.5°C/56.3°F to 20.6°C/69.1°F
June:
15.3°C/59.5°F to 22.2°C/72.0°F
July
August
SummerShorts for daytime
Jacket or sweatshirt and long pants for evenings
July:
17.1°C/62.8°F to 24.1°C/75.4°F
August:
17.9°C/64.2°F to 24.8°C/76.6°F
September
October
FallShort-sleeved shirts and light weight pants
Shorts on the warmest days
September:
17.3°C/63.1°F to 24.8°C/76.6°F
October:
15.1°C/59.2°F to 23.6°C/74.5°F

Before You Arrive

Before you arrive

USC has an immunization and screening policy requiring all incoming students to provide proof of the following: Measles Immunity, PPD Skin Test for Tuberculosis, and other immunizations and screenings. Please go to the Health Center webpage for further instructions and current information: http://engemannshc.usc.edu/new-student-requirements/.
Prime Time Shuttle offers USC faculty, staff, students, and official guests shuttle transportation service at a 10% discount (10% off published rates). The discount applies to shuttle service to/from all Los Angeles basin airports and all USC campus locations (UPC, HSC, downtown etc.). To make reservations online, visit the link at: http://primetimeshuttle.hudsonltd.net/res?USERIDENTRY=TROJAN07&LOGON=GO
The LAX flyaway bus service provides transportation directly to/from LAX airport. To check the fees and timing schedule, visit the link at http://www.lawa.org/welcome_LAX.aspx?id=292. You can access this bus at the Union Station. For your convenience, the University provides a free tram service to the Union Station. For more information visit the link at: http://transnet.usc.edu/transit/routes.aspx.

Arriving at USC

The first thing that you need to do is Passport Verification (PPV). International students need to visit the Office of International Services for passport verification. Otherwise, you will not be able to register for your courses because you will have a restriction hold (STU50) on your account. Please visit the Office of International Services (OIS) at STU 300 (Student Union). You can get more information by visiting the following link: http://sait.usc.edu/ois/ppv/ The CS Department does not handle Visa’s or I-20. You will need to contact the OIS office in regards to any I-20 questions, at (213) 740-2666, Fax: (213) 740-5194, or email: ois@usc.edu.
The USC campus map can be found online: www.usc.edu/maps/
All USC students are required to have a USC Id card that should be carried at all times while on campus. The card, which identifies you as a currently enrolled student, also entitles you to various other privileges and potential uses on and off campus. Your student ID entitles you to use the University Library System, the Lyon Center and other recreational facilities. It also provides you with check cashing privileges at the Cashier’s Office and access to your USC Trojan Housing complex and computer centers located around campus.

You can begin the process of applying for the USCard online at www.usc.edu/uscard. However, the USCard cannot be issued until after you arrive at USC and after completing Passport Verification. After you complete Passport Verification you will receive an USCard application. The application along with the passport, SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 will be required to pick up your card either at a PPV session or during orientation.

Viterbi Engineering Master’s Student Orientation All incoming Master’s students pursuing on-campus programs of study are encouraged to attend the Viterbi School graduate orientation. The orientation will allow students to learn about their degree programs, registration procedures, university policies, resources, and student life. It will also be a chance for new students to network with faculty, department staff and their fellow classmates at the Viterbi School of Engineering.

Housing

For more information on USC housing, follow the link at: http://housing.usc.edu. The USC housing office is located at:
USC Housing Services
620 USC McCarthy Way,
Los Angeles,
CA 90089-1332
Tel: (800) 872-4632, (213) 740-2546
Email: housing@usc.edu
One of the advantages of living on-campus is the easy access to classes, libraries, computer labs, cafeterias, etc. Most students who live in a dorm get a meal plan in order to make eating easy and convenient. Keep in mind that on-campus housing may be more expensive than off-campus housing. To get a list of the available housing options, please refer the USC Housing Website at http://housing.usc.edu/
For students who wish to live off-campus, there are a variety of options available. Off-campus housing may be less expensive than on-campus housing. A list of some of the housing options that are available around the University Park Campus can be found at http://sait.usc.edu/ois/housing/off-campus.aspx. Please be advised that if you live off-campus, commuting to school might be an issue.
The USC Housing has partnered with a non-USC group to provide a wide array of resources on searching an apartment around the campus at http://usc.offcampuslisting.com/. Another useful resource to find accommodation and other useful items is the Google group USC.forsale which is moderated by current USC students and posts about available places of accommodation are put on this group
There are several options for short-term accommodations on or near the University Park campus. Follow the link at http://housing.usc.edu/index.php/international-student-temporary-housing/ to get a complete list of short-term accommodation options.
There are various forums such as Yahoo (USC Housing), Orkut, Edulix which act as a very good resource of looking for roommates.
When searching for off-campus housing, it is very important to consider the safety and security of the apartment and the surrounding neighborhood. The USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) website provides information about safety in and around the University Park Campus and the Health Sciences Campus. Please review the DPS information for new students, located at http://dps.usc.edu/safety-tips/.
A lease is a legally enforceable contract which defines the relationship between an owner, the lessor, and a renter, the lessee. A typical lease spells out all of the terms involved in a land or merchandise rental agreement, including the length of time a lessee may use it and what condition it must be in upon return to the lessor. The amount of payments and any financial penalties for late payments may also be included in a lease contract.
If you are planning to move to a new apartment, be sure you know your rights and obligations before you sign a lease. Take into consideration the following factors:
Apartment Security Deposit: A landlord may ask for a payment upfront equal to one or more months of rent.
Sublease: Always confirm from your landlord, whether or not you are allowed to sublet your apartment in case you have to move out for any reason.
Security: Does your landlord provide security service? Is there a parking garage?
USC Transit (TRAMS/BUSES): Visit the link at http://transnet.usc.edu/transit/routes.aspx and check if your location is covered by the USC Tram/Bus service.
Bills: Discuss about the utility bills (electricity, water, internet, cable) that you would be responsible for paying.
Mailing and Material Management Services (3434 Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA-90007), a department within Business Services, operates Surplus Sales to meet several business and compliance objectives for the university in terms of properly donating, disposing, and selling items belonging to the university. Surplus Sales also provides low cost items for sale to USC students, faculty, staff, and departments. Another source of obtaining inexpensive furniture is through a yard sale where people sell their old furniture.

Transportation

The USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) sells impounded bikes for as low as $25.00. The DPS bike sale normally takes place before the start of the semester.

You can also purchase new & used bikes from the following places:
L.A. Bicycles
University Village
3219 S. Hoover St
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 741-1090

Lions Bike Shop
1387 W, 29th St
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(323) 733-2791

Base fare for buses or trains is $1.50 each way. Day passes are available for $5. You can also apply for a reduced student monthly pass. You can obtain an application for college student monthly pass online at http://metro.net/around/fares/ or from the USC Transportation campus.

Getting Acquainted With the USC Campus

You can open a bank account in any one of the following banks which are located in and around Campus.

USC Credit Union (on-campus)
University Park Campus
3601 Trousdale Pkwy, STU-106
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Bank of America (temporarily located on-campus, moving to USC Village in Fall 2017)
3400 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90007

CHASE (located across the Felix Chevy dealership)
3335 South Figueroa St, Suite N
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Citibank (Located across the Gate 6 entrance, on Vermont)
3615 South Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90007-3945

USC provides state of the art labs and computing facilities on-campus. A total of 4 computer centers are open for student use and they have classrooms that can be reserved for hands on instruction. Given below is the list of computer labs available on-campus:
King Olympic Hall (KOH)
Leavey Information Commons (LVL)
Henry Salvatori Computer Science Center (SAL)
Waite Phillips Hall of Education (WPH)
Check for the lab timings at http://itservices.usc.edu/spaces/computingcenters/
USC ITS freely distributes software for academic purposes. For more information visit, https://software.usc.edu/ Students who are enrolled in Computer Science (CS) courses are given access to MSDNAA downloads. For more information, click here.
No, you do not require a new ID to access the computer labs. The login name and password is the same as your USC e-mail account. If you have trouble logging in to any of the labs, contact ITS at http://itservices.usc.edu/
Students can purchase their textbooks and other stationery supplies from the USC Bookstore located on campus or you may buy them online.
USC provides a wide array of eating places for its students. A complete list with the directions to reach them can be found at http://www.usc.edu/maps/.
All USC Students can access the Campus Cruiser Services free of cost. If you are one of the many individuals who work, study or take classes at night, you don’t have to walk to your home alone. The USC Campus Cruiser Service offers either a walking or vehicle escort to your destination. Visit the link at http://transnet.usc.edu/index.php/campus-cruiser-program/ to know more about the policies and the boundaries covered by the Campus Cruiser.
The Sports and Recreational facilities are located at the Lyon Center in USC. If a student is currently enrolled, they have access to the sports & recreational facility at the Lyon Center. Visit http://sait.usc.edu/recsports/ for more information.

Miscellaneous Questions

I-94 card is an arrival/departure record for a person entering the United States. It is issued at the port of entry into the United States and is attached to a person’s VISA. Prior to landing, the flight attendant will distribute customs declaration forms and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) forms. One important form is the I-94 arrival/departure document.
Important reminders when filling out I-94 document:
• Print clearly, with one letter in each space
• Date of Birth is in order of MONTH, DAY, YEAR
• Any mistakes will result in a correction procedure that is quite time consuming. Minor mistakes can cause major delays with certain applications that may be filed upon arriving on campus so please be attentive and careful when filling out the I-94 document.
Yes, you need to get a signature on your I-20 and a Letter of Standing from the Office of International services located at Student Union 300. More information and the forms and procedures to request the signature can be found at http://sait.usc.edu/ois/about-ois/advising.aspx