The Legacy W.V.T. Rusch Undergraduate Engineering Honors Program is a great way for students to enrich their experience in the Viterbi School of Engineering.

The program provides a unique opportunity for talented students to participate in dynamic academic and social activities.

The program is open to qualified students in any year of undergraduate study. Incoming students who have demonstrated exceptional academic abilities are invited to join the Honors Program during the admission process. Current USC students may also apply to join the Honors Program. Honors students must show and maintain exceptional performance in their cumulative USC GPA.

Please note that the W.V.T. Rusch Undergraduate Engineering Honors Program has been redesigned. Beginning Fall 2018, any incoming new or continuing students interested in the program may email Monica De Los Santos at for more information.


Program Policies


  • Fall Retreat
  • Weekly lunch with the speakers
  • The Honors Colloquium
  • Special events such as the End of Semester BBQ and the Senior Brunch
  • Students who successfully complete the Honors Program will receive special recognition at commencement

Who was Professor Rusch?

W.V.T Rusch is the founding faculty member of the Engineering Honors Program at the University of Southern California.

Here is some information about Dr. Rusch, his life and accomplishments:

More Info

Application for new W.V.T Rusch Honors Program – Coming Soon

Current Students

Continuing undergraduate Viterbi students with a cumulative USC GPA of 3.700 or above are invited to apply for the W.V.T. Rusch Engineering Honors Program by following the steps below:
  1. Request a letter from a Viterbi faculty member recommending you for membership of the Engineering Honors Program. Address the letter to:

Dr. Aluizio Prata, Jr., Faculty Director
Engineering Honors Program

  1. Complete the Engineering Honors Program Profile Form.
  2. Submit both the letter of recommendation and profile form together to
    Engineering Honors Program
    RTH 110

Deadlines vary by semester and are listed below.  Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Incoming Students

There is NO application to join the Honors Pogram as an incoming student.  Students are evaluated on their merits of the Application for Undergraduate Admission.
Admission to the Honors Program is highly competitive and based entirely on academic merit.  Students in the top 10% of their respective incoming class are typically invited to join the program following admission to the University.  Specific criteria is adjusted from year to year to reflect changes on the freshmen and transfer applicant pools, respectively.
For incoming freshmen, admission to the program is based on the combination of the student’s grade point average and SAT or ACT total score.  Incoming transfer students will be selected for admission based on their grade point average in engineering-related courses at their previous institution.
All Honors Program admission questions should be directed to the Viterbi Admission Staff.

Semester Deadlines

Fall Admission
Application materials must be received by August 1st** to be considered for admission to the Engineering Honors Program for the fall semester.  You will be notified of your acceptance to the program before the start of fall classes.  Fall applicants will not be able to attend the retreat occurring in the fall semester to which they are admitted.  You must apply for spring or summer admission to attend the retreat that occurs the fall after you are admitted to the Honors Program.
Spring Admission
Application materials must be received by the end of the second week of classes for the spring semester (see the University Academic Calendar for the specific date).  If you are interested in taking the Honors Colloquium (ENGR 100a) course during the spring semester for which you are applying, you are strongly encouraged to attend ENGR 100a (and sign in) starting with the first class session of the semester, even though you are not yet admitted to the program. It is important that you get credit for attending the class if you are admitted to the program.
Summer Admission
Application materials must be received by June 15th to be considered for admission to the Engineering Honors Program during the summer term.  Students admitted to the Engineering Honors Program for the summer term will be notified of their admission to the program in time to register for the fall retreat in that particular year if they would like to do so.

The Fall Retreat

Fall 2018 Retreat With Los Angeles Maritime Institute

 Enjoy a weekend learning the basic skills of sailing a tall ship, the history of navigation, marine ecology, and more!

Friday, August 17 – Sunday, August 19, 2018

Please note: due to low participation numbers, the fall 2018 retreat has been cancelled.


Registration Information

  1. Eligible incoming and continuing students will receive the exclusive Fall Retreat invitation via email at the end of July or early August.
  2. The deadline to RSVP online is Friday, August 13, 2018 to let us know that you are interested in attending the Fall Retreat. The spaces are extremely limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
  3. During the week of August 13th, we will email the students who responded by the deadline to notify students of their acceptance for the Fall Retreat.
  4. Please note that your reservation is finalized only after you have completed the two required liability forms, for USC and for Maritime, and submitted them via email by Tuesday, August 14th. You are also required to send in a refundable deposit check* for $75 made payable to “USC” and mailed to the address below:

EHP – Retreat Registration
Viterbi Admission & Student Affairs
3710 S. McClintock Ave., RTH 110
Los Angeles, CA  90089-2900

*The deposit check will be returned you in full after you attend the retreat. 

For additional questions regarding the retreat, please contact:

EHP Program Coordinator

Monica De Los Santos at

Past Retreat Photo Albums

Fall 2015 – Middle Fork of The American River


Fall 2014 – Catalina Island


Weekly Honors Colloquium

The Honors Colloquium is a credit/no-credit seminar class (ENGR 100abcd) that provides students with the opportunity to attend weekly lectures, and have lunch and network with leaders in the field of engineering.

Honors students are expected to complete the colloquium a varying number of times based on when they are admitted to the program. The Honors Program Policies section contains specific information on how many semesters of the Colloquium a student is expected to take.

Every week the students enrolled in the Honors Colloquium are invited, by email to have lunch with the speaker. The lunch is free and the students interested need to promptly reply to this email. Although space constraints limit the number of students that can be accommodated each week, preference is given to earlier responders and students that have not yet had lunch in any given semester.

Considering that about eight students can be accommodated each week, and each colloquium series has about fourteen speakers, each student can reasonably expect to be able to attend lunch at least once per semester. However, since not all students have either the interest or the availability to have lunch with the speaker, past experience has indicated that very interested students can expect to be able to attend lunch multiple times.

Fall 2018 Colloquium Schedule

August 24 –  The New Space Ecosystem, Joe Laurienti, Founder and CEO, Ursa Major Technologies

August 31 – Engineering is a Team Sport, Lisa Thomas, Project manager, Exploration Technologies Group, Honeybee Robotics

September 07 –  Print-a-Rocket: Getting to Space for Cheap, Jordan Noone, Founder and Executive Director, Relativity Space

September 14 – The Intersection of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Richard Mackson, Eastman Kodak Company (retired)

September 21-  Roadmap of a Startup: from Venture Capital to IPO, Liz Griggs, Managing Partner & CEO, Grantchester Group

September 28 –  Brain-Machine Interfaces, Prof. Maryam Shanechi, USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, Neural Systems Engineering & Information Processing Lab

October 05 – Contemplative Science: Empirical Approaches to Understanding the Mind, Jim Cahill, Developer of Mindfulness-Based Biofeedback Training, Medicine Mind, Inc., Silvergate Medical Center

October 12 –  Reach for a Star: Modeling a Successful STEM Career, Dr. Yutao He, Senior Research Technologist, Flight Systems and Electronics, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

October 19 –  Exploring the Solar System and Beyond, Dr. Jakob van Zyl, Director for Solar System Exploration, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

October 26 – Using the Brain of a Modern Fly to Reconstruct the Behaviors of an Ancient World, Prof. Michael H. Dickinson, California Institute of Technology, Division of Biology and Biological Engineering

November 02 – Towards the Robots of Science Fiction, Prof. Aaron D. Ames, California Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical and Civil Engineering

November 09 – Technical Medicine: The Future of Surgical Robotics, Dr. Yanghee Woo and Dr. Lily Lai, Associate Clinical Professors of Surgery, City of Hope

November 16- Human Spaceflight–Recent Past and Near Future, Dr. Garrett Reisman, USC Professor of Astronautical Engineering, former NASA astronaut, former SpaceX Director of Space Operations

November 23 – Thanksgiving Break

November 30 –  End of Semester BBQ

Past Colloquium Schedules

Spring 2017

Fall 2016 – Spring 2016 – Fall 2015 – Spring 2015 – Fall 2014 – Spring 2014 – Fall 2013 – Spring 2013 – Fall 2012 – Spring 2012 – Fall 2011 – Spring 2011