You are More than a Number

and our admission review process doesn't treat you like one.

Our transfer students come to USC from a wide array of paths and backgrounds.

We know that people are unique and we appreciate the wide variety of paths students take to become Trojan Engineers.  There is no set formula to be admitted, you have a story to tell and we want to hear it.

Admission to the Viterbi School is determined through a comprehensive review of the entire admission application.  We strive to get to know you, your interests, and goals by reading your entire application.  While all factors are important, the most influential factor is your academic history.

There is no minimum GPA required to apply.  However, to be a competitive candidate for admission you should engage in the right courses, challenge yourself and demonstrate academic success, particularly in math, science and engineering related courses.

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Transfer Students

Transfer students are very important to us.  Over 20% of our incoming class is made up of transfer students from other universities and colleges.

Requirements and Transferable Courses

Review the courses you should be taking to transfer to the Viterbi School of Engineering.

Admission Requirements

Transfer Plans

Build a course plan to satisfy admission requirements and  maximize the number of transferable courses.

Transfer Plans

Apply as a Transfer Student

The final step: Applying. Find more information about our Transfer Application Process and submit your application to USC.

Apply

Financial Aid

Financial Aid is a separate process. Learn more about the documents and deadlines required to be considered for need based financial aid.

Financial Aid

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

 Engineering Transfer students should:
  • Take Calculus II (required)
  • Take Two Semesters of a Lab Based Science (strongly recommended)
    • Calculus Based Physics, Chemistry or Biology
  • Take USC’s Writing Requirement (required)
  • Enroll in 4 classes/semester (strongly recommended)

Be sure to review our one-year transfer plans that show you how satisfy these courses over one year.

Finding Transferable Courses from Your School

  • Articulation Histories
    If you will attend a community college or a four-year institution that is not listed in the articulation agreement database, you should review the USC Articulation Histories website for transferable courses.

Transfer Plans


You can transfer to USC Viterbi after just one year of study.  Check out these sample course plans to see how.

One year transfer plans for Engineering Majors

The transfer plan below will help you satisfy admission requirements and maximize the number of transferable courses to USC.  Review the articulation website to identify transferable courses.
If you’re majoring in any Computer Science degree program please review the CS transfer plans below.

FALL SCHEDULE FOR ENGINEERING MAJORS

Review an articulation history or agreement to see if your school offers equivalents to the USC Courses in these sample plans.

Course 1:
MATH
Depending on your math placement level, take the equivalent of:

  • MATH 125 (Calculus I) or
  • MATH 126 (Calculus II) or
  • MATH 226 (Calculus III) or
  • MATH 245* (Math for Physics & Engr)

* Industrial & Systems Engr Majors should take the equivalent to MATH 225 (Linear Algebra & Diff. EQ) instead of MATH 245.

Course 2:
SCIENCE
  • If you are taking: MATH 125 –> take the equivalent of CHEM 105a (General Chemistry)*.
    • A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam or a 6 or 7 on the Chemistry IB HL Exam satisfies CHEM 105a.  Contact us directly for further advisement.
  • For students taking MATH 126 (Calc II) or higher level –> You may take the equivalent to CHEM 105a or PHYS 151*.
    • You may need to take two physics courses to satisfy PHYS 151.  If that is the case, take one phys course this semester and the other course in the spring.
Course 3:
WRITING
Take your 1st English composition course.
Course 4:
GE COURSE
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

SPRING SCHEDULE FOR ENGINEERING MAJORS

Review an articulation history or agreement to see if your school offers equivalents to the USC Courses in these sample plans.

Course 1:
MATH
Take the next math course in your math sequence (See Fall Math Recommendations)
Course 2:
SCIENCE
Most students will take the next level of science from your fall semester.

However, if you’re majoring in Aerospace, Astronautical, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical and Industrial & Systems Engineering Majors:  USC’s CHEM 105b is not required for your major.  We recommend that you take the equivalent to PHYS 151 or 152 or 153.

Course 3:
WRITING
Take your 1st English composition course.
Course 4:
GE COURSE
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

One year transfer plans for Computer Science Majors

Select the major you’re interested in studying using the tabs on the left. The transfer plans below will help you satisfy admission requirements and maximize the number of transferable courses to USC.

If you’re interested in engineering, please review the major engineering course plans above.

FALL SCHEDULE : Computer Science

Review an articulation history or agreement to see if your school offers equivalents to the USC Courses in these sample plans.

Course 1:
MATH
Depending on your math placement level, take the equivalent to one of the following courses:

  • MATH 125 (Calculus I) or
  • MATH 126 (Calculus II) or
  • MATH 226 (Calculus III) or
  • MATH 225 (Linear Algebra & Differential Equations)
Course 2:
SCIENCE
Take the equivalent to 1 of the following courses:

  • PHYS 151 or
  • CHEM 105a or
  • BISC 120

If you scored a 4 or 5 on the AP CHEM exam or a 6 or 7 on the CHEM IB HL Exam, you have satisfied the requirement of CHEM 105a.  See the spring semester science recommendation on the next page.

If you scored a 4 or 5 on the AP BIO exam or a 6 or 7 on the BIO IB HL Exam, you have satisfied the requirement of BISC 120. See the spring semester science recommendation on the next page.

Course 3:
WRITING
Take your 1st English Composition Course
Course 4:
GE Course
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

SPRING SCHEDULE : Computer Science

Review an articulation history or agreement to see if your school offers equivalents to the USC Courses in these sample plans.

Course 1:
MATH
See above for math recommendations, and take the next appropriate level of math.
Course 2:
SCIENCE
If you satisfied the equivalent to:

  • PHYS 151 in the fall, take the equivalent to PHYS 152 this semester.
  • CHEM 105a in the fall, take the equivalent to CHEM 105b this semester
  • BISC 120 in the fall, take the equivalent to BISC 220 this semester.
Course 3:
WRITING
Take the equivalent to WRIT 150.
Course 4:
GE Course
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

FALL SCHEDULE : Computer Science (Games)

Course 1:
MATH
Depending on your math placement level, take the equivalent to one of the following courses:

  • MATH 125 (Calculus I) or
  • MATH 126 (Calculus II) or
  • MATH 225 (Linear Algebra & Differential Equations)
Course 2:
SCIENCE
Take the equivalent to:

  • PHYS 151 (Mechanics & Thermodynamics)

You will likely need to take two physics courses to satisfy PHYS 151. Refer to the articulation agreement or history for your school.  If you need to courses to satisfy PHYS 151  take one of the courses this semester and the other in the spring.

Course 3:
WRITING
Take your 1st English Composition Course
Course 4:
GE Course
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

SPRING SCHEDULE : Computer Science (Games)

Course 1:
MATH
See above for math recommendations, and take the next appropriate level of math.
Course 2:
SCIENCE
Take the second physics course needed to satisfy PHYS 151.

If you have satisfied PHYS 151, contact us for a course recommendation.

Course 3:
WRITING
Take the equivalent to WRIT 150.
Course 4:
GE Course
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

FALL SCHEDULE : Computer Science/Business Administration

Course 1:
MATH
Depending on your math placement level, take the equivalent to one of the following courses:

  • MATH 125 (Calculus I) or
  • MATH 126 (Calculus II) or
  • MATH 225 (Linear Algebra & Differential Equations)
Course 2:
SCIENCE
Take the equivalent to 1 of the following courses:

  • PHYS 151 or
  • CHEM 105a
  • BISC 120

A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam or a 6 or 7 on the Chemistry IB HL Exam satisfies CHEM 105a.  Contact us l for a course recommendation.

A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Biology exam or a 6 or 7 on the Bio. IB HL Exam satisfies BISC 120.  Contact us for a course recommendation.

Course 3:
WRITING
Take your 1st English Composition Course
Course 4:
GE Course
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

SPRING SCHEDULE : Computer Science/Business Administration

Course 1:
MATH
See above for math recommendations, and take the next appropriate level of math.
Course 2:
SCIENCE
Contact the Viterbi School of Engineering for a course recommendation.
Course 3:
WRITING
Take the equivalent to WRIT 150.
Course 4:
GE Course
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

FALL SCHEDULE : Computer Engineering & Computer Science

Course 1:
MATH
Depending on your math placement level, take the equivalent to one of the following courses:

  • MATH 125 (Calculus I) or
  • MATH 126 (Calculus II) or
  • MATH 226 (Calculus III) or
  • MATH 225 (Linear Algebra & Differential Equations)
Course 2:
SCIENCE
Take the equivalent to :

  • PHYS 151

You will likely need to take two physics courses to satisfy PHYS 151. Refer to the articulation agreement or history for your school.  If you need to courses to satisfy PHYS 151  take one of the courses this semester and the other in the spring.

Course 3:
WRITING
Take your 1st English Composition Course
Course 4:
GE Course
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

SPRING SCHEDULE : Computer Engineering & Computer Science

Course 1:
MATH
See above for math recommendations, and take the next appropriate level of math.
Course 2:
SCIENCE
Take the second physics course needed to satisfy PHYS 151.

If you have satisfied PHYS 151, contact us for a course recommendation.

Course 3:
WRITING
Take the equivalent to WRIT 150.
Course 4:
GE Course
For students starting college in fall of 2015 or later: Take 1 course from GE Categories A, B, C or D.

Visit this page to see how AP/IB credit can satisfy GE requirements.

For students starting college before fall 2015: You must follow USC’s Roman Numeral GE System. Take 1 course from GE Category I, II, IV* or V. Category IV may be satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.  Pro Tip: Pull up an agreement/history for Fall 2014 to review which courses satisfy the Roman Numeral GE System.

*Category IV is satisfied by taking an additional course from Category I or II.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Is it more difficult to get into Viterbi than other majors at USC?

No.  It is no more difficult to be admitted to Viterbi than the rest of the university.  We admit our students at a similar rate as the university and the Average GPA for Engineering students is the same as the Average GPA for all USC students.

What Engineering major is the hardest/easiest to get admitted to?

All or none.  Your chances of being admitted to one engineering major are the same for all engineering majors.  The application requirements are the same for all majors.   Viterbi offers a flexible engineering program and students are able to change their major. If you are admitted to one of our programs, you are admitted to all of our programs.  However, admission to USC in general is very competitive across all majors.

What is the Average GPA for Engineering students?

3.7, but that really isn’t all that useful.  A GPA tells us only so much.  The courses that you are taking is so much more important than the number at the bottom of your transcript.  We are most concerned with a students most recent course work in the most recent semesters.  And although we do look at every course you have  taken, we also notice grade trends and pay closer attention to your math, science, and engineering related coursework.

My GPA/Scores are lower than your average. Should I even apply?

Our averages are just that…averages.  Students are admitted with higher and students are admitted with lower.  The actual numbers are less important than your overall prep.  Taking the right courses that prepare you for a degree in engineering is what you should be focusing on.

The only guarantee we can give is; If you don’t apply, you won’t be admitted.

What are the min/max number of units I need to transfer?

We have no minimum. We have no maximum.  However, if you have fewer than 30, we will take your high school academic history into consideration for admission.  And, even if you have a lot of units completed, you will still need to complete 64 units of coursework at USC to receive a degree from USC.

Do I need to finish all my GE requirements before I apply?

No.  We don’t care if you take any GE courses.  You will take GE’s to fill in your schedule (you want to make sure you are taking a full load of courses each semester), but we are much more concerned with math and science courses.  Make sure you are enrolled in those before you add any GE’s to your schedule.

Do I need to complete all the transferable courses on the Transfer Planning Guide before I apply?

No.  The Transfer Planning Guide is designed to help students figure out what courses will transfer for their intended major.  You do not need to complete all of the listed courses.  Please see our list of recommended courses on the How to Apply page.

I have taken a non traditional route. Is that going to hurt my admission?

We know that each transfer students have a different story.  While many of our students transfer after 1 or 2 years at another institution that they started right out of high school, many of our students have taken time off school to work, raise families, or have other experiences.  Whether you are continuing you education or returning after a long break, we read each application and consider students based on their merit.

I have attended more than one college/university...Is that okay?

Yes.  We review each student based on the courses that they take and not the school where they take them.  We understand that there is limited availability at some colleges and students need to go to more than one school to fill their schedule.  That is fine.

Is it better to go to a 4-year institution before transferring?

No.  We review each student based on the courses they have completed, not the school they are attending.

Can I apply for a 2nd Bachelor's Degree?

Yes.  We accept a number of 2nd bachelors degree students every year.  Just follow the same transfer recommendations as all other transfer students.  If your first degree was not in math, science, engineering or another related field, you may need to complete some courses at another institution before applying.

Can I apply for Spring?

No.  USC only accepts applications for the fall semester.  Although some of our students start at USC in the spring semester, you can not apply for it.

I do not attend a 3+2 partner school. Can I still apply to the 3+2 program

No.  The 3+2 Engineering program is a specially designed curriculum with specific, named, partner schools.  Articulation agreements have been designed, developed, and signed by the partner institutions.  Student must take very specific courses at the 3+2 partner school to be considered as part of the 3+2 program.  Student who do not attend a 3+2 partner school can apply to transfer through our regular transfer admission process.

How many years will I have left at USC after I transfer?

That depends on a lot of factors.  If you will be transferring after your 2nd year at your current institution, it does not necessarily mean that it will only take 2 years to complete your degree at USC.  You are choosing to leave the current path that you are on and the degree requirements that you started, for a new path and set of degree requirements.  Some courses may not transfer.  To find out what courses are likely to transfer from your current school, visit our Articulation Histories website.

I just finished my Junior year. Can I do my last year at USC?

Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.  Although we have no limit to the number of units you can complete before transferring to USC, you must complete at least 64 units (1/2 the normal required units for an undergraduate degree) at USC to get a degree from USC.  This will usually take 2 years.

I am a current student at USC and I would like to change my major to engineering. Do I need to go through the admission process?

No.  The change of major process and the admission process are two different processes.  If you are already a current student at USC and you want to change your major to engineering, you will need to work directly with the academic advisers in the Viterbi Admission & Student Affairs Office.  You can email them at viterbi.studentservices@usc.edu.

Application Questions

How do I complete my application to USC?

Transfer Application Checklist
Submit These Items
  • Common Application and the USC Writing Supplement
  • Official & final high school transcript with date of graduation.
  • All official college transcripts
  • SAT or ACT Scores (only from some students)
    • 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: www.usc.edu/financialstatement
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic Scores, if the student’s native language is not English.

Can transcripts be submitted after February 1st?

Yes. You have met the application deadline when you submit the Common App with the USC Writing Supplement by Feb 1st.  Supporting documents – such as official transcripts – can be submitted soon after the deadline.

That being said, please get your transcripts to us as soon as possible as we cannot review your application until we get them!

Are transfer applicants required to submit a letter of recommendation?

No. However the Common App (not USC) may require you to assign an Academic Evaluator in order to finish the application.  We will consider your application for admission complete even if whoever you assigned as your Academic Evaluator does not complete a recommendation on your behalf.

Do I need to submit the Registrar Report? How about the “Additional Forms” : the Final Report, Mid-term Report, and College Report?

No.  We do not need (or want) the Registrar Report…OR Final Report, Mid-term Report or the College Report.   Hooray! Less paperwork!

Which classes should I list as my “current” classes in Common App?

We’re asking about your current academic year  – the 2015-2016 academic year. You should list all the classes that you took in fall 2015 and the courses that you are taking/will take in the winter 2016 (if applicable) and spring 2016.

How am I supposed to answer the question about full time enrollment on the Writing Supplement?

Is this question confusing you?

“For each college or university term (excluding summer) in which you were enrolled in less than four semester-unit courses or three quarter-unit courses, please provide a brief explanation as to why you were unable to enroll full time. (250 word limit) “

Were you ever enrolled in less than 4 courses in a semester (or less than 3 classes/quarter)? If so, just provide a brief explanation that explains why you didn’t enroll in more courses.  That’s it!

And yes, taking 1 class at one school and 3 classes at another school in the same semesters means you were enrolled in four classes.

If you’ve always been a full-time student (4 or more classes/semester) you can just leave this question blank or simply write “N/A”.

Where should I send my transcripts?

If you are mailing your official transcripts  please send them to:

USC Office of Admission (UG)
Univ. Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0911

Note, you can use the address above for follow-up transcripts, application materials, and all other types of correspondence.

Do I have to send my official transcripts to the USC Office of Admission & to the USC Viterbi Admission Office?

No need to send duplicates.

When you send documents to USC they are uploaded into your file – and all offices can view your file/the documents you sent.

No need to send duplicates.

When you send documents to USC they are uploaded into your file – and all offices can view your file/the documents you sent.

How can I verify that my application is complete?

You may get an update on the status of your online application by logging in to the youSC portal.

Keep in mind, it can take 7-10 business days (after USC receives) documents  – like transcripts – to upload into your file.  Do not be alarmed if you recently sent in your transcripts and they are not yet in your file.  It takes a bit of time.

USC will contact you if you are missing any required application documentation.

No need to send duplicates.

When you send documents to USC they are uploaded into your file – and all offices can view your file/the documents you sent.

When will I hear back from USC?

USC will mail an admission decision or request for spring grades by May 31st.

Do not expect to hear back from us before May 31st.  We use the entire time allotted to review your application so that we can conduct a comprehensive review of your application. We want to know your story – and it takes us a time to read through each application.

Still have more questions?  Contact us at viterbi.admission@usc.edu.