Geochemistry Field Trip 2019

Welcome to the Graduate Program at USC Earth Sciences!

Here is a brief summary of what you can expect when you arrive. Please feel free to contact Darlene Garza, the Staff Graduate Advisor, with any questions.

Mandatory International Teaching Assistant (ITA) Training

International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) Information – The American Language Institute is responsible for evaluating English proficiency, and for providing the necessary training to help ITAs obtain the language skills necessary to fulfill their responsibilities. This training may include enrollment in courses which focus on the communication skills needed for teaching. Please visit the American Language Institute for more information, or contact Darlene Garza ( with any questions.

Passport Verification for International Students

Passport verification is included in ITA training and should be done upon arrival. If you know for sure you will not be a TA this year, and can’t make it here in time for ITA training, you’ll make an appointment online to do passport verification at the Office of International Services (OIS) as soon as you arrive.

USC Graduate Student Orientation

This orientation is usually scheduled on the Monday during Registration Week. While this orientation is not mandatory, it can be very useful. All first-time students are charged a mandatory orientation fee. For more information, please see the Orientation information and registration page.

Mandatory College TA Training

The College TA Training Program, usually the Wednesday and Thursday of Registration Week, is mandatory for all new teaching assistants, including international students who have taken the (equally) mandatory ITA TA training.

At this time, you will also be given the mandatory faculty anti-harassment training online. Technology training will also be required, and will take place twice on Thursday. TAs need to attend only one of these sessions.

Department of Earth Sciences Orientation and New Grad Student Field Trip

The department has the following events planned for you starting the Friday of Registration Week:

  • Department orientation Friday morning;
  • Department welcome lunch;
  • Departure for the New Grad Student Field Trip, which will be led by our current grad students. The trip concludes on Sunday.

Lab Safety Training

General Lab Safety (GLS) training is provided by USC Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S). All new graduate students are required to take the training. You can find online self-directed training as well as Zoom training at General Lab Safety Training

Defensive Driving

Before you can drive a department vehicle, there is an online safety training session is required. Please contact Miguel Rincon ( to help you register for it.

Payroll Set-Up

Payroll set-up varies widely depending on the student. Please contact Darlene Garza ( or Karen Young ( and they will walk you through upon arrival.