How to Apply

Requirements and Recommendations

Apply to USC as an engineering student by completing the Common Application and Writing Supplement.

We Don’t Want Anything Extra

There are no additional applications, test scores, or extra materials you need to submit in order to apply to engineering.  Simply follow the instructions for applying to USC, and list an engineering major as your first choice major. That’s it! (Seriously!)

You Aren’t Locked In To A Major

We ask you to list an engineering major on your application, but that doesn’t affect your chances of admission.  If you are admitted to one of the engineering majors, you are admitted to all of the engineering majors. After you are admitted, you have the flexibility to switch majors if you want.

Test Scores and GPA Are Only a Small Part of Your Story

There are no absolute “cutoffs” for grades, rank in class, or test scores.  We are interested in each of these elements as well as your personal accomplishments to better understand you and how you may contribute to our incoming class.

Application Deadlines:

In order to be considered for scholarships, all first-year applicants must submit their application by December 1st. The final first-year application deadline is January 15th.

Requirements

 

  • Common Application
  • USC Writing Supplement
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended (including college transcripts, if you have taken college courses prior to your high school graduation). Please mail official transcripts to:

USC Office of Admission
Undergraduate
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0911

  • SAT or ACT scores.  For students who take the SAT more than once, USC records the highest score achieved in each section, even if achieved in different sittings.  For students who take the ACT, USC will record the highest composite score. USC does not require or ask for any SAT Subject Tests.
  • One letter of recommendation, also known as the counselor report, is required from either your school counselor or a teacher from your school. Additional LORs from teachers, coaches, and supervisors are optional. We request you submit no more than three in total.
  • At least one calculus course (the course can be in-progress when you apply).
  • You must list one of the engineering programs as your first choice major.  If you are not sure which one fits you best, please choose “Undeclared Engineering.”

*Note: If you are an international, home-schooled, DACA, or transfer applicant, please review our Notes and Requirements for Certain Populations section.

What We Look For

Courses:

Strong candidates for admission are prepared with the highest level of rigor available to them at their high school. It is expected that each first-year student entering USC will have completed a combination of higher level courses in English, social studies, foreign language, and the arts, with exhibited success in challenging math and science courses.  At least one year of Calculus is important preparation for all engineering majors.

Activities:

We are particularly interested in learning about our applicants’ activities outside the classroom. The Activities Summary gives you the opportunity to highlight special skills or talents, interesting experiences, and personal accomplishments.  When reviewing activities, the admission committee is looking for those experiences that might suggest your potential for leadership and involvement at USC. We are interested in learning more about your passions, potential, and what you spend your time pursuing. Your application will paint a picture of you and how you might contribute to the community, tradition and spirit of USC.

Writing:

The written elements of the application (Essay, Short Answers and Quick Takes) give you the opportunity to speak directly to the admission committee in your own voice.  USC carefully reads and considers everything submitted, so make sure to use a style and vocabulary with which you are comfortable.  This is your chance to tell us more about yourself, outside of numbers, GPAs, and test scores.  Take your time answering the questions appropriately and letting us know more about you and your interests and passions.

Notes and Requirements for Certain Populations

International Applicants

Every year, USC Viterbi admits students from all over the world to study engineering at USC. To review the requirements of international applicants, please follow the instructions on the USC Admission page.

Home-Schooled Applicants

Home-Schooled applicants must also submit: 1) Results from three SAT Subject tests, including one in mathematics; and 2) answers to the home-school questions on the Common Application Secondary School Report. Be sure to include information about your home-schooling philosophy, curricular choices, and textbooks used.

DACA Applicants

USC admission, enrollment, and tuition policies are not based on your immigration or DACA status. Your admission and enrollment will not be affected if you do not have, or if you lose your immigration or DACA status. Financial assistance is available for undocumented students who meet certain criteria.  California residents may qualify for additional assistance under AB540 (the “California Dream Act”). For more information, please visit dream.csac.ca.gov.

For help navigating the admission and financial aid process, please refer to the Undergraduate Student Government’s Undocumented Student Guide, which includes a link to contact the USC Office of Financial Aid.

Transfer Applicants

All of the above information is relevant to first-year applicants. If you are a transfer student, you must follow the transfer application process. If you are not sure which type of applicant you are, please follow the guide below:

  • You are a transfer applicant if you have completed any college level courses since you graduated high school or achieved the equivalent of a high school diploma.
  • You are a first-year applicant if you are currently enrolled in high school, even if you have completed college credits OR you have graduated from high school and have never attended college.

Got Questions?

Send ’em over, and we will get right back to you.

Ask a Viterbi Admission staff member!
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