University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California, United States

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Aerospace and Mechanical

The Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering aims to build advanced mechatronic systems through the interaction of mechanical, optical and electronic systems to boost the capability of aerospace systems and components. The department’s faculty includes associate professors, lecturers, adjunct faculty and Emeritus faculty. Prof. Ivan Bermejo-Moreno received the prestigious 2008 GALCIT, Caltech The William F. Ballhaus Prize. In 2018, the strength of Master's students was 382 and that of Full-Time faculty was 29 the department.

The key research areas of the department include Bio-inspired engineering, combustion and heat transfer, computational engineering, design and manufacturing, dynamical systems and controls, fluid mechanics and aerodynamics, materials, solid and applied mechanics, and robotics. The department has two students’ project labs – AeroDesign and Formula SAE. 

  • The Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering offers B.S. in Aerospace Engineering (BSAE)
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (BSME)
  • M.S. in Aerospace Engineering (MSAE)
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)
  • Energy Conversion; M.S. in Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering (MSAME)
  • Computational Fluid & Solid Mechanics
  • M.S. in Product Development Engineering
  • MSAE / M.S. in Engineering Management
  • MSME / M.S. in Engineering Management
    Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Combustion physics
  • Controls and dynamical systems
  • Solid mechanics and materials
  • Computer-aided design
  • Fluid dynamics and mechanics

List of Labs (Aerospace):

  • Space Engineering Research Center (SERC)
  • Pratt & Whitney Institute for Collaborative Engineering (PWICE)

List of Labs (Mechanical):

  • TCC (Tai Chong Cheang (TCC) Institute for Emissions Reduction in Marine Diesel Engines

Chemical and Materials Science

The USC Chemical Engineering Program under the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science grants BS in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Engineering.

It also offers:

  • MS in Chemical Engineering
  • MS in Materials Science
  • MS in Materials Engineering
  • MS in Petroleum Engineering
  • MS in Petroleum Engineering (Geoscience Technologies)
  • MS in Petroleum Engineering (Smart Oilfield Technologies)
  • Dual Degree Program: M.S. Petroleum Engineering / M.S. Engineering Management.

The department received $15 million from energy entrepreneur John Mork and his family in 2005. Michael Ernest Kassner, the Choong Hoon Cho Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering, received the 2015 TMS Structural Materials Division Distinguished Scientist/Engineer Award.

The department has a grand total of 20 research laboratories.

The faculty and students conduct research in diverse fields including:

  • Energy
  • Structural and functional materials
  • Reaction engineering,
  • Nanotechnology,
  • Polymers,
  • Bioengineering,
  • Advanced computing.

The department has done some noteworthy work in the field of

  • Synthesizing novel cell phone
  • Phosphors
  • Implantable biomimetics
  • Synthetic cells
  • Constructing new human therapies.

Area of Expertise:

  • Reaction engineering & catalysis, membrane processes & separation
  • Polymer science and engineering, composite materials
  • Heterogeneous materials and porous media
  • Computational simulations, atomistic and molecular
  • Electronic/photonic nanostructures, crystal growth
  • Process optimization and control
  • Smart oilfield technologies, enhanced recovery and monitoring
  • Biochemical engineering of surfaces and interfaces, cell culture, bioreactor modeling

List of Labs (Chemical): USC-Chevron Center for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies
List of Labs (Materials): Airbus Institute for Engineering Research


Civil and Environmental

The Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers:

  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Engineering
  • Master’s of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Master’s of Science in Environmental Engineering
  • Master of Construction Management
  • Master’s of Science in Transportation Systems Management
  • Ph.D. in Civil or Environmental Engineering.

MS in Civil Engineering offers the following concentrations:

  •  General Option (Environmental Engineering, Water Resources, and Geotechnical Engineering);
  • Construction Engineering and Management;
  • Structural Engineering;
  • Transportation Engineering;
  • Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (interdisciplinary programs)
    • Transportation Systems,
    • Water and Waste Management.

Roger Georges Ghanem who is the Gordon S. Marshall Professor of Civil Engineering received the 2009 International Association for Structural Safety IASSAR Senior Research Prize.

The key research areas of the department (Civil) include:

  • Construction Engineering
  • Earthquake Engineering
  • Informatics for Intelligent Built Environments
  • Structural Engineering and Design
  • Structural Mechanics
  • Water Resources Engineering
  • Coastal Engineering

The Sonny Astani Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering aims to promote teaching and research in the discipline that is oriented towards creating solutions, structures, and spaces of the future with the sustainability goals of humanity in sight. Prof. Kelly Sanders of the Department was chosen as one of MIT Technology Review's “35 Innovators Under 35” in 2016.

The key research areas of the department in the field of Environmental Engineering are: Energy and Sustainability, Environmental Air Pollution, Environmental Chemistry, Global Warming, Transport of Environmental Contaminants: Water, Air, and Land, Water Quality Control. 

The department has around 7 laboratories and research centers. 

Areas of Expertise:

  • Structural engineering
  • Disaster and Extreme Event Analysis
  • Transportation engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Complex Systems Engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Construction management
  • Sustainable Development
  • Water Quality, Access and Distribution

List of Labs: Arid Climate and Water Research Center (AWARE)


Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science provides various programmes in Computer Science which are as follows:

  • BS in Computer Science (CSCI)
  • BS in Computer Engineering and Computer Science (CECS)
  • BS in Computer Science (Games)
  • BS in Computer Science and Business Administration (CSBA)
  • Master of Science in Computer Science (General) with specializations in Data Science
  • Game Development
  • Computer Security
  • Computer Networks
  • Software Engineering
  • Intelligent Robotics
  • Multimedia and Creative Technologies
  • High-Performance Computing and Simulation
  • Master of Science in Computer Science for Scientists and Engineers.

The Department of Computer Science is also home to the USC Viterbi Data Science Program, which offers graduate degrees such as:

  • Master of Science in Applied Data Science
  • Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering
  • Master of Science in Communication Data Science
  • Master of Science in Healthcare Data Science
  • Master of Science in Public Policy Data Science
  • Master of Science in Spatial Data Science.

An optional thesis option is also available to students pursuing the master's program.

The department faculty specializes in algorithms, computational complexity, computer viruses, cryptography, and quantum computing. Leonard M Adleman received the prestigious IEEE Kobayashi Award in 2000. The department has more than 90 faculty members, 360 Ph.D. students, 2,000 master’s students, and 1,200 undergraduates.

The key research areas of the department comprise:

  • Artificial Intelligence (Ai), Machine Learning, Privacy and Security
  • Systems, Databases, Software Engineering and Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Theory and Computation
  • Computer Vision, Graphics, Robotics, and Human-computer Interaction

The department has 10 research centers and institutes which include :

  • Information Sciences Institute (ISI)
  • Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT)
  • Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society (CAIS)

Electrical/ Electronics

The Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering provides programs such as:

  • MS Electrical Engineering (EE)
  • Computer Engineering
  • EE-Computer Architecture
  • EE-Computer Networks
  • EE-Electric Power
  • ECE-Machine Learning and Data Science
  • EE-Multimedia and Creative Technologies
  • EE-VLSI Design
  • EE-Wireless Health Technology
  • EE-Wireless Networks
  • Financial Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering/ Engineering Management (dual degree). 

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at USC allows students to pursue research in virtually all branches of EE/CE. Ph.D. candidates have the chance to work in the labs with leading researchers in fields including Communication Sciences, Controls, Electromagnetics, etc. Prof. Murali Annavaram received the prestigious NSF CAREER AWARD in 2010. 
The department has over seventy research centers and labs.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Computer engineering and networks
  • Control systems
  • Plasma and Pulsed Power
  • Photonics and Quantum Electronics
  • Communications
  • Integrated Circuits and Hybrid Systems Integration
  • Signal and Image Processing
  • Nanotechnology and Microelectromechanical Systems
  • Electromagnetics, Energy Conversion, and Management

List of labs:

  • Signal and Image Processing Institute (SIPI)
  • USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center
  • Communication Sciences Institute (CSI)

Industrial & Systems Engineering

The Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering provides

  • BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE)
  • MS in Engineering Management
  • Industrial & Systems Engineering
  • MS Industrial & Systems Engineering/MBA
  • Analytics
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Operations Research Engineering
  • Product Development Engineering
  • Systems Architecting and Engineering
  • Engineer’s degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering.

The faculty is engaged in the following areas for research: informatics, manufacturing, production, transportation, decision analysis, and systems modeling. Prof. Ali Abbas received the Decision Analysis Society of INFORMS: Decision Analysis Best Publication Award in 2010.

  • Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN)
  • Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM)
  • Center for Interdisciplinary Decisions and Ethics (DECIDE)
  • Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT)
  • Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE)
  • Center for Sustainable Cities (CSC)

Are some of the major research centers of the department.  

The faculty and students conduct research in diverse fields including energy, structural and functional materials, reaction engineering, nanotechnology, polymers, bioengineering, and advanced computing. The department has done noteworthy work in the field of synthesizing novel cell phone phosphors, implantable biomimetics, and synthetic cells and constructing new human therapies.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Health Systems
  • Manufacturing and Automation
  • Risk and Economic Analysis
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Engineering Systems Design
  • Operations Research: Models and Algorithms

List of Labs: DoT National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research (METRANS)

Is it possible for me to apply to more than one program?

For MS/PhD courses, you may apply to a maximum of three graduate programmes across the university in any one admission cycle. Regardless of the number of programmes chosen, just one set of transcripts and test scores must be submitted. To apply for a second programme, the USC Graduate Admissions office must give a unique SECOND PROGRAM APPLICATION FEE WAIVER code, which must be inserted into the online application.
What is the procedure for applying for a fellowship, scholarship, or assistantship?

USC's individual academic divisions and colleges give financial aid (such as fellowships or teaching/research assistantships) and can be contacted directly.
How can I identify if I've been awarded a fellowship, scholarship, or assistantship?

Any money that your planned programme may be able to grant will be communicated to you individually. Your admission decision will usually include this information.
Is USC a top 20 school?

USC was among the top 20 universities in all of California's educational institutions. USC is rated third overall among the 150 universities in the western U.S. In terms of engagement, which gauges how students feel their education prepares them for the real world, USC placed fourth in the top 25 universities.
Is USC hard to get into?

The application process for USC is very competitive. USC's acceptance rate is 12%. More than 25% of those accepted into USC received all A's in high school. Although it is currently optional to submit test results, the typical USC SAT score varied from 1340 to 1530. Why is USC so prestigious?