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

If you are interested in studying at the USC Viterbi School, you must list one of the engineering programs as your first choice major. If you are not sure which one fits you best, please indicate Undeclared Engineering.


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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 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 effect your chances of admission.  If you are admitted to one of the majors in engineering, you are admitted to all of the engineering majors and in a flexible environment that allows you to change when 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.

Applying as a First-Year Student

First-Year Students

You are a first-year student 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.

Application Deadlines:

  • December 1: First-Year Application Deadline for Scholarship Consideration
  • January 15: First-Year Application Deadline

What We Look For

First-Year candidates are evaluated on the content and rigor of their high school course work, grades, and scores from either the SAT or ACT among other factors.  An activity summary, essay, short answer questions, and counselor/teacher recommendation also play a role in the admission decision.  When assessing your grade point average, consideration is given to your class rank, honors courses, as well as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate work.  You will be considered individually on the merits of your academic record, personal qualities, and potential for success in your field of interest.

 Recommended 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.

 Standardized Tests

Scores from the SAT or ACT are required for all first-year applicants.  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 any SAT II Subject Tests.

Activities Summary

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.

Written Elements

The written elements (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, GPA’s, and test scores.  Take your time answering the questions appropriately and letting us know more about you and your interests and passions.

Applying as a Transfer Student

Transfer Students

You are a transfer student if:

  • You have completed any college level courses since graduating high school or achieving the equivalent of a high school diploma.

Fall Application Deadline:

  • February 1: Transfer Application Deadline for Admission & Scholarship Consideration

Admission Requirements & Recommendations

To prepare to transfer to the engineering school we recommend you have the following courses complete – or in progress – by the application deadline:

  • Calculus II (required)
  • Two Semesters of a Lab-Science (strongly recommended)
    • Biology, Chemistry or Calculus Based Physics
  • USC’s Writing Requirement (required)

These recommendations are not meant to be stopping points. Applicants who have satisfied these courses are encouraged to take additional math and science courses.  Check out our transfer plans to see what courses you can take based on your major.

Find Transferable Courses

See which specific courses at your current university are transferable and recommended for a strong transfer applicant:

Get Transfer Courses

What We Look For

As a transfer applicant to an engineering program, we are most interested in you having a strong foundation in math and science as well as an interest in analytical and creative problem solving. The primary factor that drives an admission decision is your performance in college courses. Strong candidates for admission are prepared with ample higher level mathematics (calculus)  and lab-based science courses.

When To Transfer

You can transfer after one year at another school if you have taken the right courses.

Transfer Application Checklist

Submit These Items
  • Common Application
  • Official & final high school transcript with date of graduation
  • All official college transcripts
  • SAT or ACT Scores
    • Scores are only required from applicants who have completed fewer than 30 semester units of college coursework.
International students must also submit:
  • Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support:
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic Scores, if the student’s native language is not English
  • More information for international applicants is available here.
You do NOT need to submit the following documents in the Common App Recommenders and FERPA sections:
  • Academic Evaluator  (nor are you required to submit a letter of rec)
  • “Additional Forms”: Final Report, Mid-term Report, College Report
Questions About Applying?

Watch Our How To Apply Video

Review Answers to Transfer FAQs

For more information on how to transfer to Viterbi from another institution, please visit our transfer page.

Are you a current USC Student looking to change your major to engineering?  Please visit our current student pages.