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One of the common questions high schoolers (including myself at the time!) ask is, “What classes will I take in college…how many classes will I take every semester?” As I wrap up my final semester at USC, I’d like to offer some clarity on that topic by providing a list of every class I took at USC and when I took those classes. For reference, I am pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Future Cinema.

HOWEVER, know that this is simply what I did, which does NOT mean these are the courses you will take at USC! There are 30 different undergraduate majors in Viterbi alone and hundreds of different classes you can choose to take. I am sure you have very different interests than me, so I guarantee your course plan will not look the same as mine. Instead, use this as a guide to understand the breadth of courses you can take at USC, even as an engineer!

To get a better idea of what you might take at USC, I recommend consulting the USC Viterbi Undergraduate Handbook, which has detailed course plans for every major and includes course requirements that may be satisfied based on AP or IB credit. And if you are super interested in specific classes, browse the USC Course Catalogue!

A couple of notes to help categorize the classes I took…

  • Classes that count toward requirements for my major are preceded by (M).
  • Classes that count toward requirements for my minor are preceded by (N).
  • Classes that count toward general education requirements (requirements that everyone at USC must fulfil) are preceded by (G).
  • Classes that I just took for fun are not preceded by any letter.
  • Where it was necessary, I added an additional description of classes, but details on all of the courses can be found in the USC Course Catalogue.

Also note that many requirements for mechanical engineering, for example, can be fulfilled by multiple courses. Similarly, for general education requirements, there are probably hundreds of classes that can fulfil these requirements. So, even if you are studying mechanical engineering, you will not need to take all the courses that I did. I also took the maximum number of credits I could each semester, and sometimes more, so you may take fewer classes than I did each semester and still complete the degree in four years.

Freshman Year


(M) MASC-110, Materials Science

(G) GESM-120, Seminar in Humanistic Inquiry

  • Every first year student at USC takes a freshman seminar, which is a small discussion-based class. The topic for mine was “Conquest and Revolution in 20th Century Mexican Literary and Visual Texts.” There are many topics/themes to choose from!!

(M) MATH-229, Calculus III for Engineers and Scientists

PHED-140, Tennis

ENGR-102, Engineering Freshman Academy

(M) AME-101, Introduction to Mechanical Engineering and Graphics

  • An overview of major topics in mechanical engineering, including a laboratory section that teaches Solidworks CAD software


(M) ITP-168, Introduction to MATLAB

ENGR-100, Engineering Honors Colloquium

(G) WRIT-150, Writing and Critical Reasoning – Thematic Approaches

(M) PHYS-151, Fundamentals of Physics I: Mechanics and Thermodynamics

(M) MATH-245, Mathematics of Physics and Engineering I

(G) AHIS-121, Art and Society: Renaissance to Modern

Summer – Viterbi Summer Overseas Program in Florence

(M) AME-310, Engineering Thermodynamics I

HIST-195, Selected Themes and Topics in History

  • History course taught by Prof. Guido Gualandi on the history of food in the Mediterranean

Sophomore Year


(G) EALC-150, Global Chinese Cinema and Cultural Studies

(M) MASC-310, Materials Behavior and Processing

(M) ITP-365, Managing Data in C++

(M) PHYS-162, Advanced Principles of Physics II

(M) ASTE-491, Team Projects II

  • This course allows students to get credit for work in design teams, in my case USC RPL (Rocket Propulsion Laboratory).

(M) AME-201, Statics


(M) AME-204, Strength of Materials

(M) AME-301, Dynamics

(G) AMST-285, African American Popular Culture

(N) IML-365, Future Cinema

(M) PHYS-153, Fundamentals of Physics III: Optics and Modern Physics

Junior Year


(N) IML-354, Introduction to 3D Modeling

  • A class on modeling in Maya for my minor.

(M) ASTE-491, Team Projects II

  • This course allows students to get credit for work in design teams, in my case USC RPL (Rocket Propulsion Laboratory).

(G) WRIT-340, Advanced Writing

(M) AME-341a, Mechoptronics Laboratory I

(M) AME-485, Aerospace Structures I

(M) AME-404, Computational Solutions to Engineering Problems

  • Mathematical modeling of mechanical engineering problems in MATLAB

(M) AME-308, Computer-Aided Analyses for Aero-Mechanical Design

  • Modeling and simulation in the CAD software NX


(N) IML-335, Digital Narrative Design I

  • Documentary filmmaking and storytelling

(G) AMST-274, Exploring Ethnicity Through Film

(M) AME-341b, Mechoptronics Laboratory II

(M) AME-331, Heat Transfer

(M) AME-309, Dynamics of Fluids

(M) AME-302, Dynamic Systems

Senior Year


(M) AME-441a, Senior Projects Laboratory

(N) CTCS-412, Gender, Sexuality, and Media

(N) IML-475, Media Arts Research Lab

(M) ASTE-524, Human Spaceflight

(M) AME-451, Linear Control Systems I

(M) AME-415, Turbine Design and Analysis

(M) AME-410, Engineering Design Theory and Methodology

  • Kind of like a design thinking class… with a team, you use various design theories to develop a product.


ARCH-481, Furniture Design

ASTE 562, Spacecraft Life Support Systems

ART 230, Wheel Throwing

(N) IML 475, Media Arts Research Lab

PHED 160, Stress Management for Healthy Living

(N) IML 422, Information Visualization

Audrey Roberts