Are you a current USC student interested in changing your major to engineering?

Learn about the process and steps to apply below.

Admitted to the Incoming Class of Fall 2019 and interested in changing your major to engineering?
Click here to get started!

Pre-Engineering for Newly Admitted Freshmen

Pre-Engineering process for continuing USC students.

Step 1

Research and explore your fields of interest within Engineering by utilizing these resources:

Viterbi Undergraduate Handbook (Curriculum & Discipline Information)

American Society For Engineering Education

O*NET OnLine

Step 2

Attend a Pre-Engineering Workshop to begin the major transfer process into Viterbi:

Watch the Pre-Engineering Webinar and come prepared with questions!

Date Time Location
Week 1 Wednesday, August 28 12:30pm RTH 109
Week 1 Thursday, August 29 3:00pm RTH 115
Week 2 Wednesday, September 4 4:00pm RTH 115
Week 2 Thursday, September 5 3:00pm RTH 115
Week 3 Monday, September 9 12:30pm RTH 115
Week 3 Wednesday, September 11 4:00pm RTH 306
Week 4 Monday, September 16 12:30pm RTH 115
Week 4 Wednesday, September 18 4:00pm RTH 115
Week 5 Monday, September 23 12:30pm RTH 115
Week 5 Wednesday, September 25 4:00pm RTH 115
Week 6 Monday, September 30 12:30pm RTH 115
Week 7 Tuesday, October 8 12:30pm RTH 211
Week 8 Tuesday, October 15 4:00pm RTH 109
Week 9 Tuesday, October 22 4:00pm RTH 109
Week 10 Monday, October 28 12:30pm RTH 115
Week 11 Wednesday, November 6 12:30pm RTH 115
Week 12 Wednesday, November 13 4:00pm RTH 115
Week 12 Thursday, November 14 12:30pm RTH 105
Week 13 Monday, November 18 12:30pm RTH 115
Week 13 Wednesday, November 20 4:00pm RTH 115
Week 14 Monday, November 25 12:30pm RTH 115
Week 15 Wednesday, December 4 4:00pm RTH 115

Step 3

Meet with your current academic advisor (your Undeclared advisor or your advisor in your current major) to fill out a Pre-Engineering Course Plan based upon your Viterbi major of interest.

Step 4

Enroll in the recommended courses and your application will automatically be reviewed once you’ve completed the required courses for your Viterbi major of interest (see course requirements below).

Request d-clearance here

Watch the Pre-Engineering Webinar and come prepared with questions.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Viterbi School of Engineering is competitive.  During the application review, your entire academic history will be considered, with a focus on performance in major-related courses taken at USC.  Top consideration is given to students who take 15-18 units per term, whose cumulative and term GPA at USC is greater than 3.0, and earn “B” or better in all major-related courses.

  • Three or more specific major and major-related courses (math, science, engineering) taken at USC
    • Varies by major, typically at least one engineering course, one math course, and one science course; see bold below
    • Must include Math 126, or higher, taken at USC
    • Courses must be taken for a letter grade
  • Pursuing 15 – 18 units of academically rigorous coursework during the application semester
  • Additional major-related coursework beyond the minimum is beneficial
Major Semester One Semester Two Notes
AME
  • AME 101 or AME 105
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • CHEM 105aL or MASC 110L
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • ITP 168
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
  • PHYS 151L
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
* Students with AP/IB/A Chem scores can take ITP I68 or PHYS 151 in place of Chem 105/MASC 110.
ASTE
  • ASTE 101L
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • CHEM 105aL or MASC 110L
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • ITP 168
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
  • PHYS 151L
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
*Students with AP/IB/A Chem scores can take ITP I68 or PHYS 151 in place of Chem 105/MASC 110.
BME
  • GE: Cat A, B or C
  • WRIT 150
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • CHEM 105aL
  • BME 101*
  • GESM Cat A, B or C
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
  • CHEM 105bL
*Pre-engineers are advised to complete Math 125 or equivalent before enrolling in BME 101.
CHE
  • CHEM 105aL
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • CHE 120*
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
  • CHEM 105bL
  • GESM: Cat A, B or C** or PHYS 151L
*Pre-engineers should complete MATH 125 (or equivalent) and CHEM 105aL (or equivalent) prior to enrolling in CHE 120.

**If students took GESM in fall, they can take PHYS 151L in spring.

CE
  • CE 106*
  • CHEM 105aL or higher
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C GE
  • CE 108
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
  • PHYS 151L**
*Students interested in the Civil Engineering, Environmental emphasis may take CE 110 in place of CE 106.

**PHYS 151L is a critical course to stay on track with CE 215.

CSCI
  • CSCI 102
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or CGE
  • Basic Science or GE (no GESM) or course toward back-up major
  • CSCI 109
  • CSCI 103
  • MATH 126/129 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
* Students who have earned a 4 or 5 on AP Computer Science or at least a 5 on IB Computer Science can waive out of CSCI 102.
CSBA
  • CSCI 102
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • BUAD 304 or ECON 351
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • GE (no GESM) or course toward back-up major
  • CSCI 109
  • CSCI 103
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • BUAD 304 or ECON 351
* Students who have earned a 4 or 5 on AP Computer Science or at least a 5 on IB Computer Science can waive out of CSCI 102.
CSGM
  • CSCI 102
  • CTIN 190 or CSCI 281
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A,B or C GE (no GESM) or course toward back-up major
  • CSCI 109
  • CSCI 103
  • CTIN 190 or CSCI 281
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
* Students who have earned a 4 or 5 on AP Computer Science or at least a 5 on IB Computer Science can waive out of CSCI 102.
CECS
  • CSCI 102
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • GE (no GESM) or course toward back-up major
  • EE 109
  • CSCI 103
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
* Students who have earned a 4 or 5 on AP Computer Science or at least a 5 on IB Computer Science can waive out of CSCI 102.
EE
  • EE 105
  • EE 141
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • EE 155
  • PHYS 171L
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
*CSCI 103 can substitute for EE 155 and can be taken in the Fall or Spring semesters.
*PHYS 151 or 161 is acceptable for pre-engineers.
ENE
  • CE 110
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • CHEM 105aL or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C GE
  • CE 108
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C GE
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher
  • PHYS 151L
ISE
  • ISE 105
  • CHEM 105aL or MASC 110
  • MATH 125 or higher
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • WRIT 150 or GESM: Cat A, B or C
  • MATH 126 or 129 or higher                                                                 

F.A.Q.

What factors are considered in the admission decision?

Your overall academic performance and demonstrated preparation for your intended major in engineering are the primary factors considered.  In addition, you must be enrolled in 15 to 18 units (except if CSCI is your intended major, 14 units is allowed for CSCI majors) and enrolled in the courses recommended by a Viterbi advisor.

After I submit my application, can I change my intended engineering major?

Yes, you may change your intended engineering major.

Can I submit a letter of recommendation or personal statement with my application?

Letters of recommendation or written statements are not required. However, if you feel a letter from a professor or teaching assistant would shed light on a poor grade or other challenging situation, you may submit a letter of recommendation. Letters of recommendation must be submitted to your Viterbi advisor in RTH 110 or viterbi.studentservices@usc.edu no later than one week after the application deadline. Additionally, if you feel a personal statement would help explain any extenuating circumstances that affected your academic performance, then you may submit a typed statement (recommended no more than 1 page). You should also consider submitting a personal statement if you have withdrawals or repeated coursework in your academic record.

Which math, science, and engineering courses are considered?

Your entire academic history is considered, with a focus on any courses that are engineering major requirements. Typically, this includes:

MATH 126 or higher

BISC 120 or BISC 220 or higher

CHEM 105a or higher

PHYS 151 or higher

Any course offered by an engineering department that is a required for your intended engineering degree.

I have AP/IB/GCE exam scores that can place me out of some courses; are these exam scores considered as part of the admission decision?

You cannot be admitted to Viterbi based solely on exam scores. The Admission Committee will need to review your academic performance in at least one semester of typical engineering coursework at USC.

Are grades earned in courses taken at other schools considered as part of the admission decision?

You cannot be admitted to Viterbi based solely on courses taken at other schools.  The Admission Committee will need to review your academic performance in at least one semester of typical engineering coursework at USC. However, taking courses over the summer at other schools may be necessary for you to make timely progress towards your degree if you are admitted to engineering. Please be sure to discuss this with your engineering advisor.

I don’t think I am going to earn good grades in my courses this semester; can I withdraw my application and re-apply another semester?

Once you have met the application requirements and you want to major in engineering, your application will be reviewed. We want to ensure that you have an admission decision as early in your time at USC as possible so you can make timely progress towards your degree.

If I do not want to major in engineering anymore, can I withdraw my application?

If you no longer wish to pursue engineering major, you may withdraw your application by contacting Viterbi Academic Services in RTH 110 at viterbi.studentservces@usc.edu.

If I am denied, can I appeal the decision?

Yes, you may appeal the decision if your application is denied. Appeal requests must be typed and emailed to your Viterbi Advisor in no later than two weeks following the date your admission decision is emailed. In your appeal request, it is very important to discuss any extenuating circumstances that negatively impacted your academics. Simply requesting another semester to improve your grades is not a sufficient basis for an appeal. The review committee will evaluate appeal requests on a case by case basis.

If I am denied, can I apply again in a future semester?

No. Once you are denied admission to Viterbi, you may not re-apply. We want to ensure you remain in good academic standing at USC and are making progress towards a degree. Repeatedly taking engineering courses and re-applying to Viterbi without being successful decrease your chances of remaining in good academic standing or graduating on time. We advise all students who apply to change their major to Viterbi have a back-up plan to graduate in another major from USC. There are many other majors and minors at USC that may fit your interest in math, science, and technology.

Additional Questions?

We recommend you first meet with your current academic advisor to discuss your pre-engineering courses. Declared pre-engineering students are welcome to contact viterbi.studentservices@usc.edu with questions, come to drop in hours at RTH 110 Monday – Thursday from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM or to schedule an appointment.