Viterbi Fellows

An honor above the scholarships

Start research right away with a merit research award
Viterbi Fellows can do more without worry
Priority for Viterbi programs and special access
Check out our answers to frequently asked questions

Honor Without Elitism

Each year, the Viterbi School names a small number of our top students as Viterbi Undergraduate Fellows. The Viterbi Fellows are a small group of some of our brightest incoming undergraduate students, and receive guaranteed research funding, priority consideration for special opportunities, early access to our graduate degree programs and a number of other special benefits.

The program focuses on creating a unique combination of opportunities and experiences, academic and co-curricular, for a unique group of future leaders. Fellows are not separated into different classes, or live in different dorms. Fellows take advantage of the Viterbi community by building their path to leadership from day one. The staff and faculty of the Viterbi school recognize their potential and create pathways and opportunities for the Fellows to maximize their potential by engaging in what they want.

Listen while you scroll!

Viterbi Faculty Playlist

Check out some of our podcast episodes with the amazing Viterbi professors! Viterbi Fellows get special access to faculty, so they can get to know them and find out more about their research groups. Whether it’s Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering professor, Dr. Ronney, discussing his experience training as a NASA astronaut or Civil & Environmental Engineering faculty, Dr. Sanders discussing the energy-water nexus.

Viterbi Voices: The Podcast is your chance to hear stories about research, classes, student life, and more directly from our faculty, students, and other members of our engineering community. Click the link below to see the rest of our episodes!

Research Access & Funding

Viterbi Fellows can start research right away with a Viterbi School Merit Research Award

Viterbi Fellows can not only get involved in research with our faculty from their first semester, they will get paid for it as well.  Each Viterbi Fellow receives a Merit Research Award to get paid for hours worked in a lab.

The Viterbi School Merit Research Award allows you to work with faculty as early as your first semester.  The Merit Research Award allows for each student to get paid for hours worked and earn up to $3,000 during the academic year. The award is renewable for an additional three years provided the Fellow maintains at least a 3.0 average GPA overall and makes progress towards an engineering degree.

“I have published two papers in conference proceedings and received a full grant to attend the Interspeech Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, where my presentation was a finalist for Best Student Paper.”

Rachel AlexanderComputer Science '19

Fellows Research Highlights:

The Monetary Stipend

Viterbi Fellows can do more, without worry.

As a Viterbi Fellow, you will receive an additional monetary stipend of $3,000 that will be coordinated with your other scholarships or financial aid.
The award will be divided across the fall and spring semesters as one-time payments in August and January of each year. Similar to your research award, the stipend is renewable for each subsequent year of your undergraduate engineering degree program (for a total of eight semesters) provided you maintain at least a 3.0 average GPA overall and make progress toward your engineering degree. We understand that participating in all the activities you want to participate in may have expenses. Your stipend may be used to cover other academic or living expenses you incur such as housing, books and supplies, transportation, etc. Our hope is that Viterbi Fellows have less to worry about with this renewable award for your continued years as a Viterbi Undergraduate Fellow.
Stipends can be used to cover any other expenses you incur such as:

Priority & Special Access

Viterbi Fellows are positioned to take advantage of their momentum from high school and expand their horizons to great dimensions

Dinners with the Dean

Dinner with the Dean and Faculty are currently slated for once per semester where you can create closer bonds with those who teach your classes and conduct research. Each semester the Viterbi School hosts speakers from around academia and industry, where Fellows will meet and learn from these innovative leaders in their respective fields.

Dining with our faculty allows you to create closer bonds with those who teach your classes and conduct research.

Networking Opportunities

Each semester we hold special events just for fellows such as industry tours and special opportunities to meet leaders in engineering. We bring speakers from
around academia and industry to address our students and give Fellows more opportunities to meet and learn from these innovative leaders in the #eld.
In addition to our career focused events dedicated to recruiting, Viterbi Fellows will be invited to network with company recruiters. Our Industry Networking
Event teaches you how to build your network and provides a more casual atmosphere to learn about internship and employment opportunities beyond traditional recruiting activities.

Apply Early to your Master’s Degree

The Progressive Degree Program (PDP) provides continuing USC undergraduates an accelerated path to earning a BS and MS degree from USC in reduced time, typically five years.  PDP students have the option to start graduate-level classes during their senior year and reduce by up to 1/3 of the total units required for the Master’s Degree.  Viterbi Fellows receive earlier access to the program and can apply as early as their sophomore year.

Priority consideration for many Viterbi School programs, including, but not limited to:
  • Viterbi Overseas Programs                                                                              Learn MoreLearn More
  • iPodia – The International Classroom                                                             Learn MoreLearn More
  • Tsinghua Summer Research Program                                                            Learn MoreLearn More
  • Viterbi International Exchange Programs                                                      Learn MoreLearn More
  • Viterbi Student-Alumni Mentoring Program                                                 Learn MoreLearn More
  • Viterbi Industry Networking Events                                                                Learn MoreLearn More

From the Fellows

Don't take our word for it. Ask the Fellows!

Imagine yourself on campus.

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

Viterbi VoicesViterbi Voices

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have a lot of questions about the Viterbi Fellows Program. Take a look at our answers to some of your frequently asked questions (FAQs).

What is the Fellowship?

The Viterbi Undergraduate Fellows are an exclusive group of students selected from the incoming class. As an engineer, we believe you shouldn’t be limited in the number of experiences available to you in college. We want you to maximize your potential by engaging in what you want!

How do you apply for the Fellowship?

The Viterbi Undergraduate Fellows are chosen from our top scholarship finalists each year. While there is no application for the Fellows or scholarships, students must apply to USC by the merit scholarship deadline, typically December 1st of each year. There is no need to indicate interest or complete any forms. We will consider all of our top students for scholarship and fellowship awards.

Are Fellowships awarded at the same time as the University scholarships?

Yes, and no. The Viterbi Fellows are chosen from our scholarship finalists. And while the university scholarships are notified in your portal at the end of March, the Viterbi Fellows are named just a few days immediately afterward. So, if you have been awarded a scholarship, watch that mailbox as Fellow Appointments arrive in the mail a few days later. Only those who are chosen for the fellowship receive notification.

I got the Fellowship - now what?

Fellows are chosen as part of our scholarship award process. All students who applied to USC for merit scholarship consideration will have their applications carefully reviewed. Of those, some will be selected as merit scholarship finalists and required to interview during on-campus events (typically in February-Early March of each year). Once we have selected our final scholarship recipients, a small number of those students will be named a Viterbi Fellow above and beyond any scholarship they may have received.

Submit Your Deposit

Don’t miss the deadline!

Does my Fellow standing last all four years?

Yes, you will receive funding for a maximum of four years, provided you maintain at least a 3.0 average GPA overall and make progress toward an engineering degree. There is no renewal process for the Viterbi Undergraduate Fellows.

What if I don't want to start research right away?

That is completely fine. Each student adjusts and acclimates to campus life in different ways. Many students will opt not to utilize research funding during certain semesters (the first one being the most common). Know that you have the funding for the entire year and can start in your spring semester if you like. Renewal forms are required as listed above for continuing years.