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Frequently Asked Questions

ISE Department Teaching Assistant Job Description

Teaching assistants are responsible for assisting their assigned professors in student instruction. Exact duties can vary from class to class but may include:

  • Creating solution sets for homework and examinations
  • Assisting students outside of class in understanding course material and assignments
  • Grading homework assignments
  • Attending the assigned class
  • Providing tutorial sessions outside of normal class hours
  • Instructing students during scheduled laboratory sessions (if applicable)

All teaching assistants are expected to hold a minimum of 2 office hours per week for 25% appointments or 4 office hours per week for 50% appointments. Office hours must be held in the assigned room, according to a schedule determined with the instructor and the ISE Department.

On occasion (no more than twice per semester unless approved by the Chair), teaching assistants may act as a substitute instructor for their assigned professor.

Teaching assistants are not allowed to proctor final examinations.

The normal workload for a 25% appointment is 10 hours per week. The normal workload for a 50% appointment is 20 hours per week.

Only PhD students are eligible for TA assignments.

ISE Department Course Producer Job Description

Course Producers are responsible for assisting their assigned professors in student instruction.   The normal workload may vary from week to week, but on average, this workload is expected to be 10-15 hours per week.

  • Creating solution sets for homework and examinations
  • Grading homework assignments
  • Attending the assigned class

Course Producers are not allowed to proctor final examinations.

ISE Department Grader Job Description

Graders are responsible for assisting their assigned professors and/or teaching assistants in grading problem sets and non-essay homework assignments. Graders are expected to meet with professors and/or TAs as needed to discuss assignment grading. Graders may also assist the professors in creating answer sheets and handouts, under direction from the course professor or TA. Graders are not responsible for grading tests, providing classroom instruction or tutorials, or holding office hours.

Workload and compensation varies from course to course depending on the number of students.

D-Clearance Information

Undergraduate D-Clearance

  • ISE undergraduate students will receive their course clearances during their advising appointment.
  • Non-ISE undergraduate students can request d-clearance by emailing the department at

Ph.D. D-Clearance

  • ISE Ph.D. students should apply through the Online D-Clearance Request System. See below.
  • Non-ISE PhD students should apply through the Online D-Clearance Request System after the designated date.  See below.

M.S. D-Clearance

Continuing M.S. students must apply for d-clearance for on-campus ISE courses using the online myViterbi ISE D-Clearance Request system.

In order to ensure you receive all emails from myViterbi, be sure to whitelist the USC.EDU domain in your university Gmail account: Whitelisting the USC.EDU Domain

For DEN sections, students should use the DEN D-clearance portal on myViterbi.

Important: Advisors will not process d-clearance via email, phone, or in person.  M.S. students must use this system to request courses. 

  Graduate Course D Clearance - Important Dates

Fall 2024:

March 20

Current ISE students can begin to request 3 courses for  d-clearance in the myViterbi D-clearance system for fall registration.

March 27 

Fall registration opens and d-clearance requests for current ISE students are processed daily. This will be an ongoing process.


Non-ISE Students and Limited Status on-campus and DEN students will be allowed to request 1 D-clearance. (requests made before this date will be deleted). DEN petitions for non-DEN students, will be processed by the DEN staff.

Current ISE students and Non-ISE Students may submit d-clearance requests for additional ISE courses.

August 26 

First Day of Fall Classes – D-Clearance granted now will be issued in the morning, and expire in the same evening.  D-clearance will be granted through the 2nd week of the fall or spring semester, and through the 3rd week only with professor approval.  Please note that some professors may choose to close their class after the 1st week of classes regardless of whether or not there are empty seats. 

 July 1  DEN students – DEN Registration begins for all new students
 July 29 International students – Registration begins

Graduate Course D-Clearance Request Instructions:

  1. Sign up for the online d-clearance system at Create your myViterbi profile.
  2. DEN students should use DEN tools for DEN sections and not this system.
  3. Priority will be given to ISE students for ISE courses. Some ISE programs have a higher level of priority for certain ISE courses. We cannot guarantee that non-ISE students will get into a course of their choice unless it is a required course in their program.
  4. You will receive an email if granted d-clearance. D-Clearance always expires, so please pay close attention to the expiration date in the email.  If you fail to register by the expiration date, you will need to request a deletion through the system. Once that is approved, you will need to re-submit your d-clearance request, which will put you in the bottom of the queue. To avoid such problems, we recommend that you register within the two days.
  5. We will only issue d-clearance request through the d-clearance system. We will not accept any requests through emails, phone calls, or in person.
  6. Course instructors do not issue d-clearance. Do not contact instructors requesting d-clearance.
  7. ISE Advisors and staff cannot predict your chances of getting in to a course if you are in a waiting pool. It is your choice whether to wait or remove your request and choose a different course.
  8. If a course's waiting pool becomes too long, it may be removed from the selection list.

ISE Graduate Course Availability & D-Clearance Policies

  1. The ISE department will offer the courses necessary for all of our M.S. students to complete the degree program within 4 semesters. However, every elective course offering may not be available to every student. Additionally, we cannot guarantee you will finish in less than 4 semesters.
  2. ISE Students may enroll in a maximum of three courses or 9 units to start. Additional courses may be requested. See above.
  3. It is not within the purview of the ISE department to guarantee students will be able to enroll in a course with a specific professor or at a specific day/time.
  4. Instructors, course timings, and locations may be subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.

Updated Policy for Non-ISE Graduate Students

  1. Priority for all ISE courses will be given to new and continuing ISE students.
  2. While we do our best to accommodate all requests, we may not be able to get you into the course of your choice.
  3. Non-ISE students should have a back-up course in mind in case they are unable to obtain a seat in an ISE course.
  4. Non-ISE students should meet with their home department advisor regarding their course options. Our advisors will not be available to discuss d-clearance issues or course selection non-ISE students.

Department Job Postings

Published on March 2nd, 2017

Last updated on June 20th, 2024