Enrichment Beyond Curriculum

The W.V.T. Rusch Undergraduate Engineering Honors Program (EHP) is designed to enrich the academic experience of highly motivated and talented Viterbi undergraduate students. EHP students will have the opportunity to enhance their engineering curriculum through the completion of a significant self-directed honors project in the form of either a thesis project (Research Track) or commercialization plan (Innovation Track). The vision of the Engineering Honors Program is to enhance the competitiveness of students for post-graduate opportunities. Program goals include: 

  • Developing of a deeper understanding of the research and innovation process.
  • Fostering a scholarly community among Viterbi students.
  • Preparing students to pursue top-tier graduate programs or industry opportunities upon graduation.

Program Components

  • Research or Innovation Track Curriculum including Honors Colloquium and WRIT 340 Focus Section.
  • Honors Project either as an undergraduate Bachelor's thesis (Research track) or commercialization plan (Innovation track)
  • Special Events including weekly Colloquium speaker series and senior graduation celebration
  • Honors Designation on final transcript, upon graduation and successful completion of program

Program Tracks

Each student in the program must choose one of two tracks:

Innovation Track

The Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship (TIE) track of the Honors curriculum is focused on the identification of opportunities for new technologies and alignment of technology and innovation strategies. We operate under the philosophy that innovation is fundamentally a mindset; and therefore, it is applied as the structure underlying technical content.

Students who pursue the Innovation Track will:  

  • Identify and evaluate technological innovations for viability and impact
  • Communicate effectively the value of technologies to non-engineers
  • Gain experience to pursue leadership roles at major technology companies or start their own entrepreneurial ventures

Course Plan:

  • ENGR 100 A/B: Honors Colloquium (1 unit each)
  • WRIT 340: Writing and Disciplinary Grand Challenges (4 units)
  • ENGR 494: Tech Development and Commercialization (2 units)
  • Engineering Honors Project [Commercialization Plan] (0-2 units) 
Research Track

While academic coursework is focused on training students in the fundamental knowledge of engineering, research tackles the unknown problems and challenges facing society today.  As such, the Research Track will complement rigorous academic coursework. Through immersion in a lab environment and interacting with graduate students and a faculty mentor, students will develop a professional network, while learning about the application of the scientific method and designing experiments.

Students who pursue the Research Track will:

  • Actively participate in scientific inquiry and the research process
  • Identify, approach and solve technical challenges
  • Present and explain research findings
  • Gain experience to apply for top-tier PhD programs

Course Plan

  • ENGR 100 A/B: Honors Colloquium (1 unit each)
  • WRIT 340: Writing and Disciplinary Grand Challenges (4 units)
  • Engineering Honors Project [Bachelor's Thesis] (0-2 units)

Curriculum Requirements

Admission Requirements

Student must have at least 3 semesters remaining at USC (not counting the semester of application) to allow enough time for program completion. 

Student must have a minimum 3.50 in both cumulative and major USC GPAs at the time of application. Students must also maintain the 3.50 minimum GPA upon completion of the program to receive the honors designation. 

In the application, you must explain your motivation for pursuing the Engineering Honors Program, including your reason for choosing either the Research or Innovation Track. You should also explain how the EHP experience will enrich your long-term personal, academic and professional goals. 

Application Timeline

Freshmen & Sophomores

Students with more than 3 semesters remaining at USC

Student with more than 3 semesters remaining at USC may apply for EHP during their second or fourth semester at USC (e.g. spring semester of freshman or sophomore year). 

Application Opens
Monday, January 8, 2024

Application Deadline
Friday, February 9, 2024 at 11:59 PM (PST)

APPLY HEREfor students with 3+ semesters remaining

Applicants will receive admission decisions before spring break. Admitted students are encouraged to enroll in ENGR 100A for the following fall semester.

Juniors & Transfers

Students with 3 semesters remaining at USC

Students with 3 semesters remaining at USC must apply for EHP during fall semester of junior year. This includes incoming transfer students who are junior standing and expect to graduate within 2 years.

Application Opens
Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Application Deadline
Friday, December 1, 2023 at 11:59 PM (PST)

APPLICATION CLOSEDfor students with 3 semesters remaining

Applicants will receive admission decisions before winter break. Admitted students must enroll in ENGR 100A for the following spring semester.

EHP Info Session

Thursday, November 3, 2022 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM

This general info session is for all Viterbi undergraduate students interested in applying for the W.V.T. Rusch Undergraduate Engineering Honors Program (EHP). Learn about the program structure, expectation, and application process. Attendees can join in person at RTH 115 or via Zoom.

View Recording