Last updated: August 7, 2020
We are excited to welcome students back to USC for the Fall 2020 semester. While many details have yet to be fully confirmed, progress is being made weekly. This page will be updated with more information as it becomes available, so please check back frequently.
For more information about the University’s Project Restart plans, including University messages and general health and safety FAQ, please visit we-are.usc.edu. Information specifically related to COVID-19 for students, faculty and staff can be found on this site https://coronavirus.usc.edu/. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your academic advisor or program director.
- Fall classes begin: August 17, 2020
- Classes end: November 13, 2020
- Final exams/reviews: November 17-24, 2020
Graduate level courses (ARCH courses numbered 505a and above)
- Fall classes begin: August 24, 2020
- Classes end: November 20, 2020
- Final exams/reviews: November 30-December 7, 2020
Please review the FAQ to see if your question is answered below. If you have an issue or question that this FAQ does not cover, please email email@example.com.
- Q: Can I take a leave of absence to Spring 2021? What about Fall 2021?
A: Students will require a valid health, financial, or family emergency reason for a Leave of Absence (LOA). As you are aware, the degrees at the School of Architecture follow a specific sequence of requirements that are only offered in the fall or spring terms. It will not be possible to delay the start of the sequence to Spring 2021. As all courses will be accessible online, we expect all students to continue their studies in Fall 2020. You will find general information about taking a Leave of Absence at loa.usc.edu.
- Q: Will I retain my graduate program scholarship if I take a Leave of Absence?
A: According to the Terms and Conditions you received with your Architecture scholarship notification, requests to keep a USC School of Architecture award following a Leave of Absence must be made in writing to your program director. Requests are not guaranteed, but will be considered based on the availability of scholarship funding and the reason for the Leave of Absence.
- Q: If I choose not to return to campus but still plan to enroll in the fall, what courses should I take?
A: Contact your program academic advisor to discuss your options. Please note that you will still be able to complete any courses listed as in-person or hybrid courses remotely, as those courses will be both recorded and streamed asynchronously.
- Q: Will I have access to my advisor during the fall semester?
A: Yes. Though working remotely, advisors will be available via phone, email and Zoom during regular business hours.
- Q: What is the minimum number of units I must take?
A: The minimum number of units required to maintain full-time status for undergraduate students is 12 units and graduate students is 8 units per semester. However, there are other minimums that may be conditions of scholarships or degree progress that can supersede this (usually stated in the acceptance letter). Please check your curricular course plan and/or confer with your academic advisor or program director to ensure that you are making appropriate and timely progress for degree completion.
- Q: How will courses be offered during the Fall 2020 semester?
A: Per the Provost’s August 5 Fall Semester Update email, the Fall 2020 Semester will begin with fully remote instruction. This applies to all courses campus-wide. In-person courses may resume pending the initiation of USC Campus Restart Phase 3. In this case, all courses will be both recorded and streamed synchronously for those who are unable to return to campus.
The hope is students can participate synchronously as much as possible, but instructors will schedule time to check in with students live when this is not possible.
- Q: From where am I expected to take my online classes?
A: Currently, all facilities will be closed to all but essential personnel. We are in the process of evaluating protocols for facilities use by students, where critical for coursework. Students will need to take all courses remotely, at home or off campus.
- Q: What will be the process for taking attendance and/or holding students accountable for class material?
A: We are currently working on processes and procedures for attendance that will allow for asynchronous learning and access to instructors. Students are expected to follow the USC School of Architecture attendance policies.
We ask that, when possible, students have their video on when participating synchronously and students who must participate asynchronously arrange to have live time with their instructors.
- Q: How should I participate if I am living in a distant time zone?
A: All courses will be both recorded and streamed synchronously. Recordings will allow asynchronous engagement of lectures. We will encourage instructors to provide for alternate contact hours for international students, however this will be greatly dependent on the individual instructor’s schedule. As we work through the details of the semester, we will do our best to accommodate this very important student population and will consider teaching methodology, asynchronous learning, and course plans.
- Q: What will online courses be like?
A: While details of how online courses will be taught will vary by instructor, our transition to Zoom-based courses was very successful last semester. They included options for chat, screen sharing, questions, real-time sketching (by instructors and students), shared media, pin-up spaces (via Miro), and recorded videos, as well as transcriptions. Methods for learning are still being refined, but we hope to make significant improvements on last year’s methods.
- Q: Will there be reviews this fall?
A: Yes. All interim and final reviews will be online regardless of whether in-person classes commence.
- Q: What will happen to courses originally slated to be hybrid, such as those involving fabrication? Will they be cancelled?
A: We are working on how, or if, instruction and equipment use will be possible. As of this time we do not have approval for student use of facilities. In person use of facilities is anticipated to be possible if Phase 3 is approved and implemented.
Studios and media courses may still have hand/physical modelling components, especially for first-year students, but all instructors are aware of the inability to access fabrication facilities.
- Q: What is the plan for the spring semester?
A: The University is currently proceeding with plans for an in-person spring semester while, in parallel, preparing plans for a number of possible contingencies. Ultimately, any decisions about the spring will be guided by the spread of the pandemic, and made in consultation with local and state authorities.
- Q: Will there be study abroad programs available to students next year who were unable to participate in 2020-2021 because of USC’s pause to student travel programs?
A: We have canceled all study abroad programs for fall 2020 and spring 2021. Assuming the University will approve travel for next year’s study abroad programs (fall 2021-spring 2022), we have already made changes to the curriculum to allow current fourth-year undergraduate students to participate in our study abroad programs in the fall of 2021. Please look for more information on deadlines in the coming months.
- Q: What is the Basic Needs Department?
A: USC Student Basic Needs is committed to assisting students in getting the appropriate resources and support to help them thrive during their time at USC. For information about food, housing, financial or technology assistance, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support is available to both undergraduate and graduate students who may need assistance with hardship caused by COVID-19.
- Q: Will students, faculty and staff be required to complete health and safety training before returning to campus?
A: Before returning to campus, every student, faculty and staff member must complete the 'Health, Hygiene and Safety Training' module on TrojanLearn (requires flash-compatible browser), which covers topics such as proper handwashing, physical distancing, mandatory use of facial coverings, and sanitation protocols, as well as illness reporting and actions for individuals at higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
As part of the training, each person will sign an attestation committing to follow the protocols the University is putting in place. Every person who returns to campus is responsible not only for their own health, but in caring for the health and well-being of everyone around them. The training and attestation underscore the need for a commitment by all to adhere to USC’s physical distancing, hand hygiene, and facial covering requirements.
- Q: Will students be able to work in studio spaces?
A: During Phase 2 of Project Restart, which we are currently in, studios will NOT be available for use. If LA County and the University deem it safe for students to return to campus as a part of hybrid/flex classes (a component of Project Restart Phase 3), then limited studio use will resume. If first-year students are invited back on campus, they will have studio access 24/7. For graduate students, it will be likely to be only one day per week. Second through fifth-year undergraduate courses will all be online for the fall semester. All studio desks will be assigned and not shared.
- Q: Will students have access to fabrication facilities such as laser cutters and the wood shop?
A: As long as LA County and the University are prohibiting or strongly discouraging anyone besides essential staff from returning to campus, students will not have access to fabrication facilities. When restrictions ease, limited access to fabrication will be arranged through an appointment system.
- Q: Can students return to campus to retrieve materials left from last semester?
A: Yes. Students wishing to retrieve their materials should use the following link to set up an appointment to be let into their old studio:
Before visiting campus on the day of their appointment, students are required to complete Trojan Check, a brief wellness assessment that also must be completed any other day they enter campus. Upon completion of the assessment, the system generates a pass which will be required to access campus and select buildings.
Access to training on Trojan Learn: trojanlearn.usc.edu
Access to Trojan Check: https://trojancheck.usc.edu/#/consent
- Q: What is the protocol if a member of the USC School of Architecture community is exposed to COVID-19?
A: The University has established a very robust program for handling cases of exposure to COVID-19 and confirmed cases of the infection when they are identified. For students living in USC Housing, USC will provide isolation accommodations for students who test positive for COVID-19 and quarantine accommodations for those who are exposed to COVID-19. USC also will offer space to those students living off-campus who cannot isolate and/or quarantine safely in their living situation. To notify the University about a positive case of COVID-19, call 213-740-6291. To arrange for testing due to exposure or symptoms, call USC Student Health at 213-740-9355 (WELL).
Everyone is expected to follow health provider and LA Department of Public Health instructions for isolation and/or quarantine, and to provide information needed by contact tracing teams in order to limit the spread of illness.
- Q: What do I do if I see someone not wearing a mask at school or not following proper protocol?
A: Contact the School of Architecture’s safety coordinators, Ben White and Raul Lopez, if someone is not following proper health and safety protocols.
- Q: Where do I find out more information on University protocol?
A: Please refer to the We Are USC page for all University protocols: https://we-are.usc.edu/faqs/health-and-safety-faqs/
- Q: How do I use Trojan Check?
A: All students, faculty, and staff members returning to campus will be required to complete Trojan Check, a brief wellness assessment that must be completed each day before entering campus. Trojan Check is available online. View an overview video of Trojan Check along with step-by-step videos for how to log in, create reservations and complete your wellness assessment.
Upon completion of the assessment, the system generates a pass that will be required to access campus and select buildings.
Employees: If you are unable to complete Trojan Check online due to lack of access to a personal computing or mobile device, please contact your supervisors, department chairs, HR partners or deans of faculty.
- Q: Will USC School of Architecture employ student workers this fall?
A: If student workers complete required training as outlined by the University, student work should be able to continue remotely. However, with modified operations in place, the nature and frequency of this work will be different. USC School of Architecture is committed to developing plans and methods to employ student workers in the fall.
- Q: Are USC School of Architecture students guaranteed USC housing?
A: The University has not received permission from Los Angeles County to resume residential life as of August 5. We are currently working to support students who are at risk should they be unable to reside on campus. If you have a current contract or application for USC Housing and believe you are in such a situation, we ask that you contact our Residential Education team as soon as possible through this form. Please summarize your situation in two to three paragraphs, and our teams will do everything they reasonably can to work out a solution within two business days.
For all others, we ask that you delay your return to campus until the county has given permission for residential housing. We will continue to refund any and all fees for those who wish to cancel their fall housing contracts or applications and will provide more information when it is available. We are also continuing to seek permission to accommodate students with housing contracts who have in-person classes. Please note that current residents in USC student housing are not affected and may remain in place.
- Q: Will there be organized student activities this semester?
A: Our student organizations are very active and have planned many events online for this fall. Other events, such as our School-wide lecture series with multiple luminaries from around the world, will be presented online as well. Please check https://arch.usc.edu/events for the current programming schedule.
- Q: How much tuition do I need to pay now? Do I need to pay full-year tuition or just fall semester?
A: Tuition is paid by the semester. According to https://sfs.usc.edu/deadlines/:
To avoid late fees, you must register and have your tuition and fees paid or deferred, or enroll in a payment plan, by 5:00 PM Pacific time on the following dates:
Fall 2020 term—August 21, 2020
Spring 2021 term—January 08, 2021
- Q: As an incoming student, should I still purchase all the materials requested for studio if everything will be online?
A: Yes. Because the studios are designed to accommodate students who are taking the courses online or in-person, incoming students should purchase all materials on the list provided.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the enrollment of our international students especially challenging and unpredictable. All international students are strongly encouraged to consult with the USC Office of International Services about travel restrictions, visa processing and other guidance from the School of Architecture related to their status as international students. Contact your Student Services advisor to discuss your registration options for the fall semester.
Q: Can I still study in the U.S. given that all classes are now online? If so, what are the requirements for entering or remaining in the U.S.?
A: Continuing students in the U.S. or abroad can continue to take online classes from either location for the Fall 2020 semester. As long as students enroll in a full course load and maintain their immigration status, USC will continue to keep their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record in active status.
New incoming students for the Fall 2020 semester who are outside the U.S. should not travel to the U.S. Current DHS-SEVP guidance states new international students are not eligible to enter the U.S. on a student visa for 100% online instruction.
For the latest Project Restart updates from the University of Southern California, please visit we-are.usc.edu.
- Q: Where can I download Zoom?
- Q: Where can I get help for using Zoom?
- Q: Where can I get help with Blackboard?
- Q: I want to plan an event using Zoom. Where can I get help?
A: Contact ITS at: email@example.com or (213) 740-5555
- Q: I ordered something to be delivered to me at USC. Where will I find it?
A: Regular mail will be picked up on Friday, March 27 and every Friday after until the staff is back on campus. It will be distributed to your mailbox on Mondays. If you are expecting orders via UPS, FedEx or other carriers you can have them rerouted to your home, office or to Mailing Services:
Mailing and Material Services
3434 South Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089-7777
If you elect to deliver to MMS, and cannot wait until our regular Friday mail pickup, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the carrier, tracking number, and information needed to schedule final delivery, pickup, or hold of the package.
- Q: Where can I find information about what’s open on campus?
- Q: Are the USC Libraries accessible at this time?
A: Yes! Although the physical library locations are currently closed, the USC Libraries resources to support remote teaching and learning include:
- Expanded hours for Ask-a-Librarian virtual reference service
- USC Libraries subject specialists
- Online databases
- Electronic journals
- USC Digital Library collections
- Course reserves
- Scan and deliver services
- Information literacy and library virtual instruction
For more information, please visit the USC Libraries’ COVID-19 updates page: https://libraries.usc.edu/covid-19-updates-support-online-teaching-and-research
- Q: Can I still access my office or research lab?
A: USC is focused on ensuring as many employees work from home as possible while maintaining critical services, such as health care, for our community. Given our concern for your health and the health of all in our community, the only employees who should be working on site at this time are those who have express clearance from their managers to be on site to perform critical functions.
- Q: Can I access my mailbox, copier, printers?
A: While urgent, exceptional access to the Faculty Lounge and Workroom may be available on a case-by-case basis, we emphasize the need to exercise social distancing during this statewide “safer-at-home” order. Please email Ben White email@example.com if you need emergency access to the facilities. Requests will be reviewed on an individual basis.
- Q: Where can I find Zoom Virtual Backgrounds?
A: The virtual background feature allows you to display an image or video as your background during a Zoom Meeting. USC Architecture backgrounds can be downloaded here.
- Fall Semester Update
Dear USC Architecture students, faculty and staff,
As a follow-up to the Fall Semester Update email shared this week by the provost, USC Architecture, in compliance with University guidance, will start the fall 2020 semester completely online in a remote-learning mode.
USC Architecture will welcome first-year undergraduate students back to campus if the University receives approval from state and county health officials for in-person instruction on or before Sept. 1, 2020. Otherwise, all undergraduate instruction at USC Architecture will take place in remote-learning mode for the duration of the fall semester. Undergraduate courses will still begin on Aug. 17 as planned with all final exams taking place prior to Thanksgiving.
For graduate students only, USC Architecture will proceed with opening access to the School's on-campus facilities and initiating hybrid/flex instruction as soon as the University approves our ability to do so safely. Graduate School of Architecture courses will still begin online on Aug. 24 as planned.
At this time, all facilities, including fabrication facilities, will continue to remain closed to all but essential personnel. We are in the process of evaluating protocols for facilities use by students where critical for coursework. When restrictions ease, limited access to fabrication will be arranged through an appointment system. Please continue to monitor your USC email for additional information as it becomes available.
As previously announced, students who require additional resources to successfully participate in classes, such as a laptop or internet hotspot, may be eligible for the University’s equipment rental program. You can apply for that support here.
Students wishing to retrieve their materials on campus should use the following link to set up an appointment to be let into their old studio: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0f44adaa2da4fd0-studio. Before visiting campus for the first time, the “Health, Hygiene and Safety Training” module on TrojanLearn must be completed. Following that, students are required to complete Trojan Check, a brief wellness assessment each day before they enter campus.
Access to TrojanLearn training: http://trojanlearn.usc.edu/
Access to Trojan Check: https://trojancheck.usc.edu/#/consent
Please refer to our updated FAQ page on the USC Architecture website with more information about our various programs, advisement, facilities access and more. For more information about the University’s Project Restart plans, including University messages and general health and safety FAQ, please visit we-are.usc.edu. Information specifically related to COVID-19 details for students, faculty and staff can be found on this site https://coronavirus.usc.edu/. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your academic advisor or program director.
While we understand the frequent changes have been stressful and frustrating, we are committed to continuing to provide an excellent learning and working environment this fall while prioritizing the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. We look forward to seeing you again in person as soon as it is safe to do so. Thank you for your continued patience and fight on.
Milton S. F. Curry
Dean / Della & Harry MacDonald Dean’s Chair in Architecture, USC School of Architecture
- A Message to the USC Architecture Community
Friends of USC Architecture,
I hope this message finds you and your family safe and healthy, and observing your local protocols on social distancing and stay-at-home measures.
As we all try to find our rhythm in this new normal, I am thankful for our dedicated staff and faculty, who are simultaneously working hard to maintain the educational mission of our school and university and dealing with the disruptions in their own lives and households. Our students are showing their immense creativity and patience as they and their faculty navigate the movement of all courses to online platforms.
We are all navigating through an unprecedented time as our common humanity is challenged. In spite of our remote contacts, we can still find ways to connect socially through digital and telephonic communication, and I encourage all of you to do so—particularly with friends and family.
The mission and purpose of our school hasn’t changed. We are collectively responsible for elevating creative work and research on the world’s most pressing challenges, even when those challenges threaten to impede our normal working methodologies. We will continue to look for ways to improve our remote courses and research opportunities to accomplish these collective goals, and view this as an opportunity to create successful new methods of instruction to help compensate for in-person experiences. While we don’t yet know how long the current disruption will last, what we learn in this moment and how we respond—in our own way and in our own creative work and scholarship—may shape our future thinking in ways not yet imagined. Be experimental now more than ever!
Remain courageous, committed and connected—values that symbolize the Citizen Architect ethos of our school. Despite our physical distance, let us now, more than ever, work to foster a supportive and caring community. We are making every effort to continue to provide guidance and assistance to our students, many of whom are facing incredibly unique challenges caused by these sudden changes.
We have moved several of our upcoming events online in lieu of canceling them, and we hope you can join us virtually for our Generation NEXT webinar on March 25 and our final Technology Conversation of the semester on April 1, both of which are free and open to the public.
We invite you to monitor our website for school-specific updates, as well as the university’s website dedicated to updates regarding COVID-19. If there is anything we can do for you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly.
Very best regards,
Milton S. F. Curry
Dean / Della & Harry MacDonald Dean’s Chair in Architecture, USC School of Architecture
- An Update on USC School of Architecture's Spring 2020 Public Programs & Events
Due to the evolving global health concerns related to COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the wellbeing of our community, the USC School of Architecture regretfully has canceled or virtualized the remainder of our spring 2020 public programming. The following events will be affected:
Wed., March 25 – Generation NEXT
This event will now be held virtually. The scheduled reception following the lecture has been canceled.
Wed., April 1 – Technology Conversation: “Technology is the answer…but what was the question?”
This event will now be held virtually.
Wed., April 8 – Lecture: Paola Antonelli
This event has been canceled.
Fri., April 17 – Conversation: “Reconstructions” (in partnership with The Museum of Modern Art)
This event has been canceled.
Please continue to check our website calendar for updates on events that will now be held virtually as well as any future events. We will continue to update this page with information as it becomes available.
Thank you for your understanding and flexibility as we navigate this difficult and evolving situation.