Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME) students conduct basic and applied research within and across the usual disciplinary boundaries. AME students develop core and valuable problem-solving skills in the areas of aerodynamics, mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, materials and design. Our graduates are at the leading edge of academia and industry, tackling innovative, important and exciting challenges.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles- design technology that moves and machines that move us
Aerospace and Mechanical Engineers design complex mechanical, thermal, fluid, acoustic, optical, and electronic systems, with characteristic sizes ranging from microns to tens of kilometers. Such systems are used everywhere, from the depths of the ocean and far underground, to near-earth, planetary, interplanetary, and galactic space.
Curriculum and Emphases
A degree in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering prepares students to work in a variety of fields involving things that move. There are three degree options in the department- check them out here!
Students who choose to study aerospace engineering will gain a deeper understanding of how things move through the air and fly. They take all the courses that form a foundation in mechanical principles with a focus on making things fly.Course Plan
While studying mechanical engineering, students learn how things move, and how to leverage this phenomenon to create the future of moving objects. Whether interested in cars, machines, materials, waves, or energy, this program lays the foundation in mechanical principles.Course Plan
Mechanical Engineering (Petroleum)
A mechanical engineering degree with an emphasis in petroleum allows students to gain the foundation in mechanics while also honing a specialty in areas related to the petroleum industry by taking classes within the petroleum department.Course Plan
When you graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering, here are just a few of the future career paths that might lay before you.
- Design and build new on land vehicles like cars
- Develop new devices including satellites, aircraft, and rocket components
- Improve the safety of existing products
- Develop control systems for robots and automated machinery
- Create new models for airplanes
- Build underwater vehicles like submarines and emergency response vehicles
Time it takes for the USC Racing Formula 1 car to go from 0-60 mph
USC Racing designs and builds a formula 1 style race car to take to competition each summer. They spend the whole year building every element and also working with industry sponsors to gather materials and expertise.
AME students have the opportunity to work with the world-renowned faculty on research projects including turbulence control, emerging fuel cell technologies, computational fluid mechanics, combustion, heat transfer, automatic control systems, biomechanics, robotics, and nonlinear dynamics. Recent undergraduate research and student projects include the design of fixed and flapping wing systems for small unmanned aircraft, the search for low drag solutions for the global cargo shipping industry, sports injury and helmet design for shock reduction, and optimal control of wheelchairs for humans and hovering flight for animals.
We advance and define research frontiers that shape the future of our life in the air, on the ground, and in space. We push forward the understanding of environments both natural (oceans, atmosphere) and engineered (internal combustion, pulsed ignition). Other efforts advance our understanding of control and dynamics of autonomous systems and robotics, advanced manufacturing technology, aircraft design and flight mechanics of very small and very fast flying machines, and biodynamical systems in medical devices, natural propulsion, and evolutionary system dynamics.
We have a balance of programs – theoretical, computational, and experimental – which exemplify the Viterbi School’s approach to intensive and collaborative research.
Companies Hiring Aerospace and Mechanical Engineers
- Aerospace Corporation
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Virgin Galactic
- Lockheed Martin
- Scaled Composites
- US National Labs (Livermore, Sandia)
- Northrop Grumman
- US Government Agencies
- And More!
Don’t Just Take Our Word for It
Find out what the faculty and students have to say
Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Faculty Spotlight
Meet Dr. Spedding, the Chair of the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department. Dr. Spedding has a background in zoology, and has an interest in utilizing how animals move to improve our own technologies. His research focuses on improved airplane design and he teaches undergraduate classes including the introduction to aerospace class, mechoptronics, and senior design. Check out his video made by the Viterbi Student Ambassadors!