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Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

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.

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.

Hear From our Faculty

Check out our recent faculty roundtable discussion  that was held with three of our Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME) Faculty members – Dr. Mathew Gilpin, Dr. Geoff Spedding, Dr. Paul Ronney and Cavalier. This roundtable will discuss what the major is, the courses each faculty teach, research they conduct and the discipline of  join us to discuss the courses they teach, the research they conduct, and the discipline of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at USC Viterbi

AME On The Podcast

AME Student Blog

Learn more about Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME) at USC through our student blog. These posts were written by USC Viterbi AME students during their time at USC to help you better understand the discipline and their life.


A Look Into Mechanical Engineering – Victoria’s Favorite Classes

As a high school student, I had no idea what I wanted to major in. Everything was pointing me toward…
Victoria PinkettVictoria Pinkett

Mechanical Engineering in the Eyes of Jeet

As I entered my junior year, I believed I had a solid grasp of what mechanical engineering entailed and what…
Jeet MadnaniJeet Madnani

A Senior’s Reflection on Mechanical Engineering

With 91 days until I graduate from USC with my degree in Mechanical Engineering, the nostalgia is really kicking in,…
Peyton EricksonPeyton Erickson

Why Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering is truly one of the broadest engineering disciplines, serving as the foundation for many of the other engineering…
Grace SampsonGrace Sampson

Unlocking Opportunities 

Internships area huge stepping stone in anyone's career. Yet, the process of finding one is long, stressful and simply exhausting.…
Jeet MadnaniJeet Madnani

What I Did This Summer!

What I did Over the Summer! Hello all! My name is Sejal Sharma, and I am a sophomore studying Environmental…
Sejal SharmaSejal Sharma

“Everybody In” for a FUN Summer

Trading my cool Los Angeles evenings for hot, sticky Nashville nights felt like returning to my cozy home back in…
Grace SampsonGrace Sampson

Curriculum and Emphases

A degree in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering (AME) prepares students to work in a variety of fields involving things that move. There are two degree options in the department – check them out here!

Aerospace Engineering

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

Mechanical Engineering

Students who choose to study mechanical engineering will gain a deeper understanding of how things move and the design of those object.  They take all the courses that form a foundation in mechanical principles.

Course Plan


We have a balance of programs – theoretical, computational, and experimental – which exemplify the Viterbi School’s approach to intensive and collaborative research.

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.


Faculty will be teaching all of your classes and leading research projects as well. Your opportunities to build relationships with your faculty will begin immediately in your first year, both in the classroom and the lab.

Check out a few highlighted professors with whom you may work in the future:

Dr. Paul Ronney

Combustion, Fuels, and Engine Labs

He researches combustion problems but also more generally what he calls “chemically reacting flows” such as autocatalytic chemical reactions, frontal polymerization and even studies of bacterial growth and electrical power production.

Dr. Eva Kanso

Biodynamics Lab

Her team developed an algorithm to mimic an aquatic sensory intelligence with regards to the patterns created in water. It is one of the first instances in which machine learning was applied to characterizing patterns in fluid flows.

Dr. S.K. Gupta

Center for Advanced Manufacturing

His research focuses on 1) making advances in robotics to enable deployment of robots on non-repetitive tasks in manufacturing and 2) exploiting advances in manufacturing processes to design and manufacture novel robots.

Dr. Ivan Bermejo - Moreno

Computational Aerospace Lab

He investigates turbulent fluid flows interacting with multiple physical phenomena such as shock waves, combustion and solid structures, by means of numerical simulation and diagnostic tools.

Don't stop here.

AME Dept. Website


Your engineering undergraduate degree will prepare you for many career and academic opportunities.

Your future with a degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering can see you pursue a number of future career paths at companies serving a variety of industries.

Whether you have always known “what you want to do when you grow up” or are hoping to find out, we are here to help you plan for your future beyond USC. We provide dedicated career services starting in your first year to help you find internships, co-ops, and full-time positions post graduation.

Imagine/Design and build piloted or autonomous craft for land, air, sea, and space

Join the exciting world of modern engineering where the power of smart technology is harnessed and focused to improve the human condition

Develop entirely new devices including satellites, robots, micro-scale measurement and monitoring platforms

Develop control and planning systems for robots, automated machinery and fleets of devices

Student Life

We want students who like to work hard – both in and out of the classroom. Our students know that going to college is more than attending class and completing assignments. College is about making connections and joining a community of dedicated students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Our students want to work and play with people as interesting as they are, and we have a number of ways for you to do the same.

Your life can be designed how you like it. Join a design team like SC Racing. Continue your passion for volunteering with the Society of Women Engineers. Keep making art with Corpus Callosum. On this page, we have a few student organizations we think you might be interested in, but there are so many more you can get involved in!

AeroDesign Team

AIAA Design/Build/Fly

Students design, build, and fly remote-controlled (RC) airplanes. ADT is USC's entrant in the annual AIAA Design Build Fly competition every year against other university across the U.S.

SC Racing

Formula SAE

SC Racing is USC's chapter of FSAE that designs, constructs, tests, and races high performance autocross racecars. Every year they compete against universities worldwide to test their car's abilities.

USC Hyperloop

SpaceX Hyperloop Pod

Students design a sub-scale Hyperloop pod and build a prototype throughout the semester with the goal of winning the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.

Imagine yourself on campus.

Learn more about life at USC as an engineering student at Viterbi Voices:

Viterbi Voices


As students, these alumni worked hard in class and didn’t stop there. From start-ups to research, they took advantage of all corners of campus in order to bring their dreams to life and succeed post-graduation.  See what some of our alumni are doing now and how they reflect on their time at USC Viterbi.

More Engineering Disciplines

This area of the Viterbi School is just one of the many areas of Engineering & Computer Science.  Beyond this area of study, we have ten academic disciplines spread across eight departments to make up more than thirty majors and areas of emphasis. Take some time to explore all of your interests before you apply by clicking on any area below.

Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Design for Movement.

Astronautical Engineering

Build for Beyond.

Biomedical Engineering

Help Others Live Better.

Chemical Engineering

Make the Stuff of Tomorrow.

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Design. Build. Improve.

Computer Science

It’s Way More Than Coding.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Power Up.

Industrial & Systems Engineering

Engineering Better Businesses.

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