Satisfactory completion of at least 60 units of approved graduate-level course work beyond the baccalaureate, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 is required of all PhD students in engineering. The 60 units minimum include research courses (590, 690, 790) and 4 units of 794a and 794b Doctoral Dissertation. PhD students must also complete the core requirement for their major as listed below. The core courses make a part of the 60 units requirement. The number of units taken at USC can be reduced by transferring graduate credits from another institution. Transfer/Waiver units are subject to approval by the Degree Progress Department (for course work taken at institutions in the United States) or by International Admission (for course work taken at institutions outside the United States), by the faculty adviser, and by each degree's respective department directors. Faculty advisers may also request students to take additional courses outside of the core requirements including specific elective courses.
The PhD program in Material Science requires several foundational courses in materials science and enrollment in the seminar course MASC 598 each semester for two semesters or until passing the qualifying exam, whichever is earlier.