Skip to main content

Undeclared Engineering

Different than Undecided (for USC)

Undeclared Engineering

Are you interested in engineering, but have no idea which major to declare? Rest assured, this is totally fine. One of the options you have is to apply as undeclared to the Viterbi School of Engineering. This tells us that you are interested in being an engineer but just need more time to figure out which one of our ten disciplines is the best fit for you. We do not expect you to have much exposure to what engineering really is beyond an interest in math and science. For that reason, undeclared is our way of offering you the chance to take the time to make the right decision for you. Being kind of interested in engineering is perfect!

If you are even just a little bit interested in studying within the Viterbi School of Engineering, you must select one of our 10 majors offered (or undeclared) as your first choice major. This means that your application will be reviewed by both the Viterbi Admission team and the USC Admission team. All of our majors begin with the prefix VSE on the USC application, including undeclared. So, just remember that unless you list one of the engineering majors as your first choice, we never see your application, and we want to make sure that if you want to be an engineer you can start in engineering classes right away.

Want more info?

Listen while you scroll!

Viterbi Majors Playlist

Check out all of our podcast episodes related to the 10 different disciplines (and 30 different undergraduate majors) that Viterbi offers. Whether it’s Dr. Soibelman discussing the Civil and Environmental Engineering department’s unique approach to research or Dr. Spedding explaining the difference between Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, this playlist was made for you.

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!

The Engineering Disciplines

Eventually you will have to limit your studies to one major, spread across eight departments, ten disciplines, and more than thirty major combinations.  Take some time to explore all of the different opportunities available to you.

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.

Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Design for Movement.

Astronautical Engineering

Build for Beyond.

Biomedical Engineering

Help Others Live Better.

Chemical Engineering

Make the Stuff of Tomorrow.

Our Philosophy

We want you to be successful here. That’s why Viterbi students are not rushed into choosing a major and are provided with the necessary resources to help them decide on a major they want to pursue.

Introduction to Engineering

If you are admitted to Viterbi as an Undeclared Engineering Major, you will have the opportunity to choose your introductory course. Your first semester will see you picking what you are most interested in learning, and determining if you would like to continue on that particular degree path. Our academic advisors will work with you during your new student orientation to help advise on the best path for you to begin.

Spotlight Series

To help you get to know what all the majors mean, we also host spotlight series throughout the year that bring in professors and industry representatives to talk about what a future in each major looks like.  This can help you decide what major will help you get to your dream career, and see what types of opportunities exist to graduates in each major.

Spotlight Series


If after taking that introductory course, you decide that major is not for you, switching to a different Viterbi major is a simple process.  If you change your major within the first three semesters, you are typically still on track to graduate in four years.  We don’t want you to feel locked into a major you don’t love, which is why if you’re admitted to one engineering major, you’re admitted to them all.

Grand Challenges

At the end of the day, we know that you want to solve problems, and there is no right formula for the best way to solve those problems, but there is a right fit major for you. Our environment of interdisciplinary studies allows you to add to your repertoire of skills outside of your direct major.

You can join clubs different than your field, do research in a lab in a different department, or take technical electives in a variety of areas. Plus, adding an emphasis to your major allows you to gain depth in a specific branch of each major.


Here we've highlighted some of the awesome research happening in various Viterbi academic departments! Check out some of the professors you could be working with:

Dr. Megan L. McCain

Laboratory for Living Systems Engineering

Her research group develops 'Organ on Chips,' which are micro-scale, engineered mimics of human tissues that have applications in drug screening and personalized medicine. She was recently named one of MIT Technology Review's Top Innovators Under 35.

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. He also teaches the Introduction course!

Dr. Nora Ayanian

Automatic Coordination of Teams

Her research group, the ACT lab, conducts research in the area of coordinated multi-robot systems, where they provide theoretically sound solutions to practically motivated problems. You may also recognize them from the drones performance at the 2017 Super Bowl Half-Time Show!

Dr. Kelly Sanders

Sanders Sustainable Systems Group

Her research focuses on the interdependent relationship of energy and water, coined the energy-water nexus. Dr. Sanders has degrees in 3 different engineering disciplines and when she's not winning awards for her research, she's advancing green initiatives on campus!

Don't stop here.

Learn more about the cool faculty and amazing research being done in USC Viterbi at the main Viterbi website:

Viterbi Research & InnovationViterbi Research & Innovation


At the Viterbi School of Engineering, our students can do it all. From start-ups to research, everything is available to them to bring their dreams to life and succeed post graduation. See what our alumni have to say about the Viterbi program.

Want More Info?

Fill out the form below and we’ll get right back to you