MS Aerospace Engineering - USC Viterbi | Prospective Students (2023)

The MS degree in Aerospace Engineering is designed to give students exposure to at least two different areas of Aerospace Engineering through concentration and breadth requirements, while at the same time allowing students to pursue their interests through flexibility in the selection of technical electives.

  • This program takes 1.5 - 2 years to complete
  • This program is eligible for the OPT STEM extension
  • Chat with a USC Viterbi Graduate Student Ambassador
  • Visit our Profiles Page to learn more about our students and alumni

Please Note: Requirements for graduation, course offerings, course availability, track offerings, and any other degree requirements are subject to change. Students should consult with an academic advisor prior to registering for any classes.

  • A minimum of 27 units is required to earn the MS in Aerospace Engineering degree
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation

Detailed Program Curriculum

List of All Courses

Schedule of Classes

(Video) Spotlight Series: Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Spring 2023 September 15, 2022*
Fall 2023 December 15, 2022
Students who apply by published deadlines will be considered for scholarships if admitted

*DEN@Viterbi Application Deadline Extension for Spring 2023 is available for applicants intending to pursue their degree in its entirety as an online DEN@Viterbi student.

Visit our Ready to Applypage for more information.


Bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited institution in any engineering or engineering-related disciplines including but not limited to: aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering.

The following materials are required to be included with your online application:

  • Transcripts: UploadElectronicTranscriptsfrom all colleges and universities attended. A mailed hard copy or official e-transcript is not required for admission to our programs.
    • Submit an electronic copy of official transcripts (.pdf recommended) and other degree related documents through the online graduate application (International applicants, visit USC Graduate Admission’sCountry Requirementspage for details on required documents)
    • Unofficial transcripts from university student portals are not acceptable
    • If the transcript includes a separate grading scale, make sure it is also uploaded
    • For upload purposes, all transcript related documents for a single school must be submitted as one document
    • If you are admitted, you will be given specific instructions on submitting your hard copy transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • GRE: GRE scores are not required for 2023.
  • Personal Statement : The personal statement should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program at the Viterbi School of Engineering, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans, and other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.
  • Letters of Recommendation (optional): Letters of recommendation should be from faculty or others (supervisors, professional colleagues, etc.) qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study.

English Language Proficiency: In addition to application requirements above, international students whose first language is not English are required to take theTOEFLorIELTS. There is no minimum TOEFL or IELTS score required for admission to the Viterbi School. For possible exemption from additional language requirements, you must achieve an Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 90, with no less than 20 on each section or an IELTS score of 6.5, with no less than 6 on each band score. Please reviewUSC Graduate Admission – Proficiency in English.

IMPORTANT: USC does not accept Duolingo and TOEFL Essentials test scores.

(Video) #ViterbiClass: Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering at USC

Academic Year

Per Unit Rate

3-unit Course

4-unit Course

Fall 2022 - Summer 2023*




Fall 2021 - Summer 2022*




* Tuition is the same for on-campus and online students

ESTIMATED COST OF ATTENDANCE - 27 UNIT PROGRAMMS Aerospace Engineering - USC Viterbi | Prospective Students (1)

Fee Description

Fee Amount



Student Health Center Fee


Norman Topping Student Aid Fee


ENGR Computing Access Fee (On-Campus students)


ENGR Computing Access Fee (DEN@Viterbi students)


Exam Proctoring

$40 - $100 per course

Health Insurance (U.S.-based health insurance is required, but it does not have to be through USC)

Fall 2022: $805
Spring 2023: $1,468

Visit page for more information

Alumni Employment

  • Boeing - Aerospace Structural Engineer
  • Boeing - Guidance Navigation and Controls Engineer
  • Boeing - Senior Aerodynamics Engineer - Aero-Stability & Control Analysis
  • Boeing - Manager, Design & Integration Engineering
  • Boeing - Flight Test Engineer
  • Boeing - Mechanical Engineer
  • Boeing - Aerodynamics Engineer
  • Boeing - Spacecraft Systems Engineer
  • Boeing - Electronics Packaging Product Design Engineer
  • Boeing - Nondestructive Evaluation Engineer
  • Collins Aerospace - Product Support Engineer
  • Deloitte - Solutions Engineer
  • Frontier Aerospace - Propulsion Test Engineer
  • General Veneer Manufacturing Co. - Quality Engineer
  • Honeywell - Manufacturing Engineer
  • Lasertec U.S.A., Inc. - Field Service Engineer
  • Linquest - Cyber Security Systems Engineer
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Systems Engineer
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Mars 2020 Systems Testbed Engineer
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation - Systems Engineer
  • Relativity Space - Propulsion Engineer
  • Rivian - Aerodynamics Engineer
  • Spike Aerospace - Engineering Consultant
  • Vision Creative LLC - Engineer


(Video) Admitted Student Webinar: Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Plane View Partners

Available Online
This program is also available online through DEN@Viterbi. DEN@Viterbi students undergo the same academic requirements, curriculum, and must adhere to the same academic standards as on-campus students; therefore, the diploma issued by the University of Southern California is the same. There is no difference between remote students and on-campus students.

Limited Status
If you are interested in beginning classes as a DEN@Viterbi student next semester, explore the requirements and steps to enrolling as a Limited Status Student.

State Authorization
Prior to enrolling in classes, DEN@Viterbi (online) students need to confirm that their academic program is authorized by their state for online delivery. Please confirm by reviewing the approved program lists, by state, on the DEN@Viterbi State Authorization webpage.

If you have any questions about a specific state or academic program, please email

(Video) Admitted Student Webinar: Astronautical Engineering

Learn More About DEN@Viterbi

Detailed Program Curriculum and RequirementsSchedule of Classes


The following courses and program requirements serve as program planning for DEN@Viterbi students. Course offerings and availability are subject to change. Please consult with advisor if you have any questions.

General Requirements for Graduation Without Thesis
27 units total with 3.0 GPA overall.
AME 525 | Engineering Analysis (4 units)
15 units 500 level courses in AME department. Cross listed classes count as AME department courses.
12 units Approved 400 or 500 level elective courses. Elective courses may be from AME or other Engineering Departments.
Recommended Courses by Specialization
Note: Specializations do not appear on transcripts or diplomas.
Aerodynamics / Fluid Dynamics Specialization Track
Specialization Track Core Courses
AME 511 | Compressible Gas Dynamics (4 units)
AME 530a | Dynamics of Incompressible Fluids (4 units)
Recommended Specialization Track Electives
AME 457 | Engineering Fluid Dynamics (3 units)
AME 530b | Dynamics of Incompressible Fluids (3 units)
AME 535a | Introduction to Computational Fluid Mechanics (3 units)
Aerospace Control Specialization Track
Specialization Track Core Courses
AME 532a | Flight Vehicle Stability and Control (3 units)
AME 541 | Linear Control Systems II (4 units)
Recommended Specialization Track Electives
AME 545 | Modeling and Control of Distributed Dynamic Systems (3 units)
AME 552 | Nonlinear Control Systems (4 units)
ASTE 585 | Spacecraft Attitude Control (3 units)
ASTE 586 | Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics (3 units)
Aerospace Design Specialization Track
Specialization Track Core Courses
AME 527 | Elements of Vehicle and Energy Systems Design (3 units)
Recommended Specialization Track Electives
AME 528a | Finite Element Analysis (3 units)
ASTE 520 | Spacecraft System Design (3 units)
Aerospace Structures Specialization Track
Specialization Track Core Courses
AME 529 | Aircraft Structures Analysis (4 units)
Recommended Specialization Track Electives
AME 509 | Applied Elasticity (4 units)
AME 521 | Engineering Vibrations II (4 units)
CE 541a | Dynamics of Structures (3 units)
AME 559 | Creep (3 units)
AME 560 | Fatigue and Fracture (3 units)
CE 529a | Finite Element Analysis (3 units)
Computational Fluid Dynamics Specialization Track
Specialization Track Core Courses
AME 530a | Dynamics of Incompressible Fluids (4 units)
AME 535a | Introduction to Computational Fluid Mechanics (3 units)
Recommended Specialization Track Electives
AME 535b | Introduction to Computational Fluid Mechanics (3 units)
AME 511 | Compressible Gas Dynamics (4 units)
AME 530b | Dynamics of Incompressible Fluids
Propulsion Specialization Track
Specialization Track Core Courses
AME 511 | Compressible Gas Dynamics (4 units)
AME 513 | Fundamentals and Applications of Combustion (4 units)
Specialization Track Electives
AME 436 | Energy and Propulsion (3 units)
ASTE 470 | Spacecraft Propulsion (3 units)
CHE 530 | Thermodynamics for Chemical Engineers (3 units)

Please complete the following form for more information.

(Video) Meet the Students: Michael, Aerospace Engineering '18


Is USC good for aerospace engineering? ›

USC Aerospace Engineering Rankings

In College Factual's most recent rankings for the best schools for aerospace engineering majors, USC came in at #3. This puts it in the top 5% of the country in this field of study. It is also ranked #2 in California.

Is USC Viterbi hard to get into? ›

USC Viterbi is fairly competitive for a private research institution. The USC Viterbi acceptance rate at the masters level is just 23.6%, so you'll need to ensure your application is as strong as possible.

Is it worth it to get a Masters in aerospace engineering? ›

Yes, a masters in aerospace engineering is worth it for many students. A masters degree can often help you qualify for promotions or higher wages. A masters may also qualify you to teach aerospace engineering at community colleges. You can also choose to pursue independent research positions.

Is USC a Tier 1? ›

Tier 2 schools include: USC, Washington University in St Louis, Tufts, Tulane, NYU, Boston University, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Notre Dame, Emory, University of Virginia, Wake Forest, UT Austin College of Natural Sciences, Boston College, Georgia Tech, William and Mary, UCLA, UC Berkeley, ...

What are the top 3 majors at USC? ›

The most popular majors at University of Southern California include: Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Social Sciences; Visual and Performing Arts; Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs; Engineering; Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies; Computer and Information Sciences and Support ...

Is USC or UCLA more selective? ›

In terms of selectivity, the schools rank fairly equally—UCLA has an 8.6 percent acceptance rate (getting more competitive every year) and USC's acceptance rate is 11.8 percent.

Is USC a good school as Ivy League? ›

USC, UCLA, and Stanford are among the most prestigious universities outside the Ivy League. These top universities have challenging classes, distinguished professors, competitive acceptance rates, and distinguished alumni networks like their Ivy League counterparts.

What is USC famous for academically? ›

USC's highest-ranked undergraduate programs include Game/Simulation Development (1), Real Estate (7), Accounting (9), International Business (12), and Engineering (31).

Who pays more aerospace engineers? ›

The Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are the top companies that hire Aerospace Engineers in the US. The highest-paid salary is at Maxar, where the average pay is $102,500 (per February 2022 data).

Is aerospace engineering masters hard? ›

It is a very difficult field of study and profession but that shouldn't stop you from pursuing it. First and foremost, an aerospace engineer needs an exceptional understanding of several branches of the sciences—engineering, technology, and physics.

What is the highest salary for an aerospace engineer? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $150,000 and as low as $34,500, the majority of Aerospace Engineer salaries currently range between $81,500 (25th percentile) to $130,500 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $145,500 annually across the United States.

Which country is best for MS in aerospace engineering? ›

Russia is considered to be the best country for studying masters or graduation in Aeronautics and Aerospace Engineering. As a developed country in every aspect, Russia offers many benefits to students. It is renowned for the best quality international education for decades.

Is there a high demand for aerospace engineers? ›

About 3,800 openings for aerospace engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Is aerospace engineering the hardest major? ›

Majoring in aerospace engineering is not the easiest way to earn a college degree. Besides being a part of the difficult STEM field, it's also one of the hardest of all engineering majors.

Is USC or UCLA better? ›

When it comes to ranking, the rankings clearing indicate UCLA is a better university in the UCLA vs USC race.
UCLA vs USC: Ranking.
US News 202113th51st
Qs World Universities Ranking 202240th112nd
National Universities USA20th24th
1 more row
27 Nov 2021

Is getting into USC a big deal? ›

USC is a very selective university with an acceptance rate of just under 12%—this means fewer than 1 in 8 students gets accepted. Here's how USC's official news website describes its student body: "The average unweighted GPA is 3.91, which represents a historic high.

Is USC considered prestigious? ›

University of Southern California is ranked #25 out of 443 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

Why is USC so popular? ›

Famed for its prestigious creative programs, particularly film, the University of Southern California (USC) is the oldest private research university in California. USC is highly selective and offers a wide range of top-ranked academic programs.

What majors are competitive at USC? ›

Top Ranked Majors
  • Business. 1,020 Graduates.
  • 314 Graduates.
  • Biology. 276 Graduates.
  • 247 Graduates.
  • 194 Graduates.
  • Accounting. 189 Graduates.
  • 183 Graduates.
  • Political Science and Government. 164 Graduates.

What is UCLA Top 5 majors? ›

At the University of California-Los Angeles, the most popular majors students study are Sociology, Political Science and Government, General, and Econometrics and Quantitative Economics. In fact, the University of California-Los Angeles grants 703 degrees annually to graduating Sociology students.

Is it harder to get into USC or NYU? ›

Is New York University (NYU) or University of Southern California (USC) Harder to get into? Which school is easier to get into? If you're looking at acceptance rate alone, then University of Southern California (USC) is more difficult to get into.

Is it harder to get into USC or UCSD? ›

On the flipside, University of California-San Diego (UC San Diego) is easier to get into based on acceptance rate alone.
University of Southern California (USC)University of California-San Diego (UC San Diego)
Average SAT Scores1270 - 15001220 - 1450
Acceptance Rate1834
6 more rows
6 Mar 2019

Is USC an elite University? ›

The University of Southern California is one of the most prestigious universities in the entire world. Its alumni have made notable contributions spanning every significant field. Thanks to its location near Hollywood, many famous alumni include actors, actresses, and filmmakers.

Is USC or Berkeley more prestigious? ›

Both the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) have outstanding reputations—they're both ranked as top 25 national universities by U.S. News. Most high school students would be ecstatic if they were accepted into either of them.

Is USC a wealthy school? ›

Being located new Los Angeles also means having available opportunities outside of campus for internships or post-graduate jobs. Extremely strong alumni connections - USC is a very rich and wealthy school, mainly due to alumni donations. Some notable USC alumni include Rick Caruso, Will Ferrell, O.J. Simpson, and more.

Is USC or UC Berkeley a better school? ›

The short answer is that UC Berkeley is more rigorous and prestigious, whereas USC offers a better social life and alumni network in Southern California. Both are excellent schools, and equally expensive for an out of state student.

Is USC a top 25 school? ›

University of Southern California is ranked #25 out of 443 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence. Read more about how we rank schools.

Which school is bigger USC or UCLA? ›

While both schools have a total student population around 46,000, USC enrolls 19,500 undergraduates in comparison to an undergraduate enrollment of 31,543 at UCLA. The student-faculty ratio at USC is 8:1, in comparison to a student-faculty ratio of 18:1 at UCLA.

What kind of students does USC want? ›

We also consider personal qualities, as revealed in community involvement, leadership and achievements. USC students pursue ambitious intellectual and professional goals by studying across disciplines and taking advantage of the diversity of programs available.

Do aerospace engineers make 6 figures? ›

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the national median salary for aerospace engineers is $122,270 per year . The range of salaries can vary significantly, with the lowest 10% of earners making less than $77,440 per year and the highest 10% making above $168,370 per year.

How much are SpaceX aerospace engineers paid? ›

$166,403. The estimated total pay for a Aerospace Engineer at SpaceX is $166,403 per year. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users.

Is aerospace engineering a stressful job? ›

They usually have their own workspaces located close to other aerospace engineers and personnel responsible for designing and building aircraft, space vehicles, weapons, and their components. While the working environment of an aerospace engineer is not usually stressful, they may face pressure when meeting deadlines.

Is aerospace harder than mechanical engineering? ›

The entrance requirements for both fields are pretty much the same. And to answer this question simply, aerospace engineering isn't harder than mechanical engineering since they both require more or less the same skills.

Do aerospace engineers have good worklife balance? ›

About 46% of the employees at The Aerospace Corporation work eight hours or less, while 8% of them have a very long day - longer than twelve hours. The Majority of The Aerospace Corporation employees are satisfied with their work life balance.

How much does a NASA aerospace engineer? ›

$128,243. The estimated total pay for a Aerospace Engineer at NASA is $128,243 per year.

Is it hard to get a job as an aerospace engineer? ›

Aerospace engineering is very demanding, so you may not earn employment immediately. However, a related job such as that of an aerospace technician can help you build your experience and contacts in the industry. After a few years of valuable experience, you may qualify for an aerospace engineering position.

How much does an aerospace engineer at NASA? ›

Average NASA Aeronautical Engineer yearly pay in the United States is approximately $116,266, which is 24% above the national average.

Which Ivy is best for aerospace engineering? ›

Cornell University

It is widely regarded as the best Ivy League school for engineering and is ranked seventh for engineering in the United States according to the QS World University Rankings.

What state pays the most for aerospace engineers? ›

Geographic profile for Aerospace Engineers:
StateEmployment (1)Annual mean wage (2)
California7,860$ 134,120
Texas5,510$ 120,010
Florida4,640$ 107,070
Washington4,110$ 133,970
1 more row

Which Ivy League is best for aerospace engineering? ›

Cornell University is often considered the best Ivy League school for engineering, and it's also the easiest to get into. However, any Ivy League school is a great place to earn your undergraduate degree.

Do aerospace engineers make more than pilots? ›

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports there were 61,400 aerospace engineers and 74,700 pilots employed in 2021. Aerospace engineers earned a median annual salary of ​$122,270​. By comparison, airline pilots and commerical pilots earned ​$202,180​ and ​$99,640​, respectively.

Which engineering is closest to aerospace engineering? ›

in aerospace engineering or a closely related field to be an aerospace engineer. Mechanical engineering is one of these closely-related fields and many aerospace engineers have an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.

Is NASA looking for aerospace engineers? ›

To tackle our diverse missions, NASA hires 20 different types of engineers; the most common fields are aerospace, general, and computer engineers. And we place an emphasis on engineers who can take a holistic, systems view to solve complex challenges. Learn more!

What are the top 3 hardest engineering majors? ›

What Is the Hardest Engineering Major?
Top 3 Hardest Engineering MajorsTop 3 Easiest Engineering Majors
1. Chemical engineering (19.66 hours)1. Industrial engineering (15.68 hours)
2. Aero and astronautical engineering (19.24 hours)2. Computer engineering and technology (16.46 hours)
1 more row

Is aerospace engineering math heavy? ›

Aerospace engineering courses will be heavy in math and sciences, such as physics, thermodynamics, mechanics, and aerodynamics. You must be able to understand and use the concepts from these courses and more in your day to day tasks. Many aerospace engineers spend a lot of their time in a professional office setting.

What is the best university for aerospace engineering in the US? ›

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • #1. in Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical Engineering.
  • #1. in Best Engineering Schools.

What is USC engineering known for? ›

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering is innovative, elite and internationally recognized for creating new models of education, research and commercialization that are firmly rooted in real-world needs.

What is USC best known for? ›

USC is also well known for its Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and its highly esteemed School of Cinematic Arts, which has graduated students such as directors Judd Apatow and George Lucas. Films including "The Graduate," "Legally Blonde" and "Forrest Gump" all filmed scenes on USC's campus.

Which is better academically USC or UCLA? ›

According to U.S. News and World Report, UCLA and USC rank 20th and 25th in their list of best national universities, respectively.

Is USC like an Ivy League? ›

USC, UCLA, and Stanford are among the most prestigious universities outside the Ivy League. These top universities have challenging classes, distinguished professors, competitive acceptance rates, and distinguished alumni networks like their Ivy League counterparts.

Why is USC so prestigious? ›

Famed for its prestigious creative programs, particularly film, the University of Southern California (USC) is the oldest private research university in California. USC is highly selective and offers a wide range of top-ranked academic programs.

Is UCLA or USC more popular? ›

This includes 31,543 undergraduates and 14,199 graduate and professional students. When it comes to total student population, UCLA and USC are extremely close in size. The difference is that UCLA has a significantly larger undergraduate population, while USC enrolls more graduate and professional students.

Is USC Viterbi Ivy League? ›

USC, UCLA, and Stanford are among the most prestigious universities outside the Ivy League. These top universities have challenging classes, distinguished professors, competitive acceptance rates, and distinguished alumni networks like their Ivy League counterparts.

How much do USC engineers make? ›

Software Engineer salaries at USC can range from $52,000 - $138,000. The Engineering Department at USC earns $2,798 more on average than the Product Department. Last updated 19 days ago.

Is USC Viterbi a good engineering school? ›

University of Southern California (Viterbi) 2023 Rankings

University of Southern California (Viterbi) is ranked No. 15 in Best Engineering Schools. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

Is USC an elite university? ›

Among all California institutions — public and private — only USC, Caltech and Stanford University ranked within the top 20. Of the 150 universities surveyed in the western U.S., USC ranks No. 3 overall. Among the top 25 schools, USC ranked No.

What is a good GPA to get into USC? ›

To have the best shot of getting in, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 1530 SAT or a 34 ACT. You should also have a 3.79 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score.

Is USC easier than UCLA? ›

UCLA – Rankings, Acceptance Rates, and More. Although USC slightly edges out UCLA in acceptance rate, both schools are considered highly selective. In 2020, 108,877 people applied to UCLA, and 15,602 were admitted, for an acceptance rate of 14%. For the 2021 academic year, USC had an acceptance rate of 12%.

Is Clemson or USC a better school? ›

Clemson University was ranked 77th overall among all national universities, down two places from last year. The University of South Carolina climbed two spots, to 115th. Among public universities, Clemson was 31st and USC was 53rd.


1. Meet the Students: Ramiro, Aerospace Engineering, '19
(Viterbi Student)
2. USC Viterbi Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering Faculty Roundtable - Fall 2020
(Viterbi Admission)
3. MS in Engineering Management Webinar
(USC Viterbi)
4. Discover Viterbi: Astronautical Engineering with Prof. Mike Gruntman
(USC Viterbi)
5. Meet the Students: Betty, Aerospace Engineering, '17
(Viterbi Student)
6. Discover Viterbi: Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
(USC Viterbi)
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