USC Viterbi Parent Handbook 2023-2024



A New School of Advanced Computing within Viterbi


From creating the Domain Name System in the 1980s to pioneering DNA computing and socially assistive robotics in the 1990s and 2000s, USC Viterbi has been trailblazing in engineering innovation. And 2023 is no exception. We are embarking on an ambitious campaign to reimagine how computer science is deeply embedded not only across the school, but also throughout the university and beyond.

o f

School of Advanced Computing

Engineering in Society

Quantum Computing

Information Technology Program (ITP)

Information Sciences Institute (ISI)

Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT)

Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science

Data Sciences

Affinity Faculty Groups (e.g. Sustainability, Health)


Viterbi Engineering Departments

Engineering Impact on Society Communication, enabling scientific and technological discovery 04 05 Enriching Life Computing, arts, education, entertainment,

Sustainability Energy, water, climate, food, materials, ecosystems, natural resources

Our Focus

02 03 Health Bioengineering, biochemical Security Cyber, space, national security, infrastructure, electronics, supply chains engineering, health sciences, medicine

innovation, policy, grand challenges, societal impact

Engineering a Better World for all Humanity

Dear USC Parents, On behalf of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, I want to welcome you to the Trojan family. I say this as someone with a vested interest in USC Viterbi. Just like you, I am a Viterbi parent. My son Stevie and daughter Kate both earned degrees here. They graduated as confident, well-rounded young adults equipped for personal and professional success. I want nothing less for your children.

As parents, you have every reason to feel proud. Your sons and daughters comprise the strongest freshman class in USC Viterbi’s history. They are bright, ambitious and diverse, with women making up half the entering class last Fall — one of the highest percentages in the country. At USC Viterbi, they will study with some of the nation’s best faculty. Many of our professors are members of the National Academy of Engineering, the field’s highest honor. Our junior faculty routinely win awards for excellence. And our emphasis is not only on increasing knowledge and skills, but also on developing mindsets of growth for our students. Our emphasis on Engineering +, the convergence of engineering with practically every modern discipline, including the arts, will allow them to explore fields outside of engineering and intellectually flourish. We believe that as much education takes place outside of the classroom as inside. We encourage our students to take advantage of the many extracurricular activities that offer hands-on experience. They could join the USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, the world’s premier undergraduate research group for experimental rocket technologies. Or they could join the National Society of Black Engineers, which won the organization’s coveted 2018 National Chapter of the Year. The choices are limitless. More importantly, we believe that today's society expects trustworthy individuals in our times of unprecedented change. Engineers with competence and engineers with character. All built in a vibrant ecosystem of students and their classmates, of professors and, yes, even deans who will hopefully make the next four years most meaningful and most rewarding. Thank you for entrusting them to us. Welcome, and Fight On!

Dean Yannis C. Yortsos

Dear USC Viterbi Parents,

I am thrilled to welcome you to the USC Viterbi Community! You should be immensely proud of the accomplishments of your children. As a USC parent and with a daughter still in high school, I know how hard our students have worked to prepare for this next step in their academic journey. With a parent’s lens — I understand exactly your expectations when leaving your children with us. While pursuing their academic program, our new Viterbi students will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of educational and extracurricular programs. I encourage them to spend the time to learn what USC and the Viterbi School of Engineering have to offer and carve out the experiences that they find most enriching. Equally as important is for students to acknowledge and nurture the emotional, physical and social parts of their lives. My hope for all of our students is to just be themselves, find their passion and make their time here unique and purposeful. We will be here every step of the way to provide guidance and support. I hope your children will see my office, Viterbi Admission and Student Engagement (VASE), as their home away from home.

Kelly Goulis Senior Associate Dean | Admission and Student Engagement USC Viterbi School of Engineering



Academic Resources The Office of Viterbi Admission and Student Engagement (VASE) supports the education and development of undergraduate students in the Viterbi School of Engineering by providing a broad array of academic support and co-curricular programs and services. VASE works closely with academic departments to support advisors and students. Viterbi advisors foster a dynamic partnership with students as they challenge and support students in creating and refining their academic goals and plans. ADVISOR’S ROLE Listen and Guide ●  Assist students in understanding the Viterbi undergraduate curriculum requirements and learning outcomes. ● Assist with course planning as well as help clarify students’ goals and interests. ● Monitor students’ degree progress and review of their STARS report. ● Inform students about campus resources, activities, and opportunities. ● Clarify school policies and procedures. ●  Answer general advising questions, and make referrals to resources, offices, and individuals as necessary. ● Be available for scheduled appointments, drop-in hours, and emails during business hours. ●  Adhere to confidentiality guidelines as outlined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). ●  Provide support and guidance as we challenge students to develop individually and as members of the USC and global communities. STUDENT’S ROLE Learn and Grow ●  Come prepared for appointments by reviewing your STARS report and having specific questions. ● Learn the curricular requirements for your degree by reviewing the USC catalogue. ● Read and respond to USC email. ● Be aware of important dates and deadlines. ● Be open to opportunities outside the classroom. ●  Accept responsibility for your academic performance and accept the challenges that college courses provide. ● Keep open lines of communication. Share your concerns, interests, updates, and questions. ● Understand that advisors have a variety of responsibilities that impact their availability. ● Seek support and guidance as you transition into the USC community.



Choosing an Engineering Major

It’s not always easy for students to know right from the beginning which engineering discipline is the right fit for them. That’s why major exploration is so important. During their first year at Viterbi, students are encouraged to learn about different engineering fields through their courses, out-of-class activities, and the major exploration events and resources provided by Viterbi Admission and Student Engagement. If students discover that a different engineering major is the best path for them, changing their major is simple; a student admitted to one Viterbi major is admitted to all Viterbi majors.

Astronautical Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Computer Science

Industrial & Systems Engineering

Electrical & Computer Engineering



Engineering Majors

An Engineering Major includes courses in the following areas:





A student’s first year will include courses in all of the categories above. Here is an example of a student’s first semester courses in the Mechanical Engineering major.

CHEM 105AL or MASC 110L General Chemistry or Materials Science

MATH 125 (GE F)

WRIT 150

ENGR 102

AME 101L

Writing & Critical Reasoning

Intro to Mechanical Engineering & Graphics

Calculus I

Freshman Academy



Academic Support Both USC and Viterbi-specific academic resources provide assistance to students who desire further clarification of course concepts or are experiencing academic difficulty in math, science, engineering, or writing courses. THE VITERBI LEARNING PROGRAM (VLP) PROVIDES SUPPORT TO STUDENTS THROUGH ●  tutor certification ●  one-on-one peer tutoring ●  subject drop-in hours ●  tutor matching services ● online tutoring We also encourage students to take advantage of instructor office hours and supplemental instruction. VITERBI STUDENTS CAN ALSO FIND SUPPORT AT USC CENTERS ●  Kortschak Center for Learning & Creativity ● Writing Center ● Math Center Women in Engineering Our Women in Engineering (WIE) program offers professional, academic, and social opportunities for all women in Viterbi. Programs such as the WIE Mentor Program, WIE Meets Women in Industry, and the WIE Leadership Conference are just a few of the programs available for the female engineering community. In addition, there are female- oriented engineering student organizations, such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the engineering sorority Alpha Omega Epsilon (AOE), Athena Hacks, and Girls in Tech for students to get involved and meet fellow female engineers. Freshman Academy All first-year students in Viterbi are invited to become a part of Freshman Academy (ENGR 102) their first semester in Viterbi. Students starting in the spring semester can participate in Spring Academy. Freshman Academy provides a birds-eye view of the field of engineering by tackling the ethical, societal, and political impact of engineering and technology use, focusing on the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges. Each Academy section is also facilitated by upper-division, undergraduate, student coaches who, along with being student leaders in their respective majors, also serve as resources and mentors to first-year Viterbi students. 6 USC VITERBI SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING

Viterbi Career Connections Viterbi Career Connections (VCC) offers career-focused support to prepare engineering students for internships, co-ops, and full-time employment. We host a variety of companies throughout the year with job openings to fill. Our philosophy is that the more frequently students engage in co-curricular activities combined with their academic programs, the more successfully they can compete in the job market. Students are encouraged to register with Viterbi Career Connections during their first year at USC via the Viterbi Gateway portal. By doing so, they will be kept informed of all career-related events such as company information sessions, job postings, career preparedness workshops, industry luncheons, networking events, and career expos. In addition, students are able to participate in the school’s extensive on-campus recruitment activities.



number of internships posted


number of employer info sessions


number of on-campus interviews scheduled


number of employers registered for Career & Internship Expo



Helpful Tips for Parents

● DISCUSS YOUR STUDENT’S ACADEMIC GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS AHEAD OF TIME. A student’s first semester of college can be challenging. In comparison to their previous institution or school, courses might be taught at a different pace, and, often times, at an advanced rigor. Ask your student what they hope to accomplish during their first year. It is important for your student to take ownership of their education. ● BE A COACH INSTEAD OF SOLVING YOUR STUDENT’S PROBLEMS YOURSELF. Encourage your student to utilize the on-campus resources provided by USC. This is a crucial time for students to learn independence, which they will utilize for the rest of their personal and professional lives. ● COMMUNICATE. Attending college is a new transition for you and your student. Listen carefully and provide reassurance for your student when things are not going well, and celebrate the small and exciting milestones. Additionally, keep your student informed about any changes happening at home. ● ENCOURAGE YOUR STUDENT TO GET INVOLVED. With so many diverse activities happening at USC, it can be overwhelming for new students to know where to start. Encourage your student to get involved by joining organizations and meeting new people so that they can maximize their USC experience. While students may want to become involved in multiple activities, they should develop strategies to maintain a healthy balance between their academics, extracurricular activities and their well being. ●  HELP YOUR STUDENT REMAIN CALM WHEN COURSES SEEM DIFFICULT AND/OR YOUR STUDENT IS NOT GETTING A 4.0. Viterbi is known for having rigorous coursework, and as a parent, you may see your student experiencing stress or anxiety due to not receiving the grades they expect. Be a support system, while also referring them to the appropriate resources, such as their Academic Advisor, a Career Advisor, academic resources, the Math Center, and the Writing Center (see back cover for a complete list of resources). You should also encourage students to always speak to their professors if they are facing academic difficulty in a particular course.



Key Academic Terms

CO-REQUISITES Courses that must be taken either before OR in the same semester as a particular course in a prescribed sequence of courses. CURRICULUM The prescribed classes in a program of study needed to complete a degree at a given institution. FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA) A federal law that requires the university to maintain the privacy of student educational records and allow students the right to inspect their educational records. FULL-TIME A student enrolled in 12-18 semester units. GENERAL EDUCATION (GE) COURSES A core set of courses required for all USC students that is designed to provide a breadth of knowledge. LEAVE OF ABSENCE Procedure to allow a student to take a temporary leave from their academic career at the university. MAJOR The academic area in which a student chooses to study/pursue a degree. MANDATORY ADVISEMENT All students are required to meet with their assigned Academic Advisor each semester prior to registering for courses for the next semester. MINOR An optional, secondary academic area of study. A minor typically requires the completion of 4-7 courses. OASIS Stands for “On-line Academic Student Information System.” OASIS provides students with access to their academic reports, information about any holds on their accounts, and the date and time they can begin registering for courses for the next semester. OASIS FOR GUESTS Students can provide guest access to their academic records through their own OASIS accounts. PART-TIME A student enrolled in fewer than 12 semester units. PASS/NO PASS (P/NP) A grading option available to students for courses. Students may not apply this grading option to their major and minor courses, but may apply this grading option to a limited number of General Education (GE) requirements. PRE-REQUISITES Courses required of students prior to advancing to the next course in a prescribed sequence of courses. PROBATION A student on Academic Probation has an overall GPA that falls below 2.0. Continued enrollment requires clearance from an Academic Review Counselor and Academic Advisor. STARS REPORT A report that contains all USC course work and accepted transfer work that applies toward degree requirements. TRANSFER CREDIT REPORT A report that contains all transferable course work applicable toward the USC degree.



Where can I direct my student for information about...? All general Viterbi-related inquiries can be directed to the Viterbi Admission & Student Engagement (VASE) Office at 213.740.8411 or viterbi.studentservices @ Bill Payment Student Financial Services, 213.740.4077 Changing Major See Your Academic Advisor Student ID USCard Services, 213.740.8709

International Student Services Office of International Services, 213.740.2666 Math Center (Tutoring) Department of Mathematics, 213.740.2400 Registration One Stop Center, 213.740.8500 Residential Concerns Office of Residential Education, 213.740.2080 Research for an Assignment USC Libraries, 213.740.2543 Roommate Concerns See your Resident Assistant (RA). Safety

Student Organizations Campus Activities Office, 213.740.5693 Textbooks USC Bookstore, 213.740.0066 Transcripts Transcript Department, 213.740.9230 USC Career Center , 213.740.9111 Viterbi Career Connections , 213.740.9677 Withdraw from a Class Consult your Professor and Academic Advisor Writing Center (Tutoring) The Writing Program 213.740.3691

Changing Meal Plan Housing, 213.740.2546 Counseling Counseling Center, 213.740.7711 Disability Services Disability Services and Programs, 213.740.0776 Health Issues Student Health Center, 213.740.9355 Financial Aid Financial Aid Office, 213.740.4444 Immunizations Student Health Center, 213.740.9355

Department of Public Safety, 213.740.6000 (non-emergency) 213.740.4321 (emergency)

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