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Attending USC

The University and the School of Engineering

Founded in 1880, USC is the oldest nonsectarian private coeducational university in the western United States and has enjoyed a steady growth in research and enrollment. It offers excellence in education and is a major research university, with sixteen professional and specialized schools and the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. The faculty and the administration are dedicated to fulfilling a master plan for enterprise and excellence in education through continued basic reserach and high-quality teaching. The School of Engineering was founded in 1906. From a very modest beginning, the School has enjoyed continued growth; today, it consists of ten buildings providing classrooms, offices, and many modern laboratories and research institutes. Notable among these institutes are the Signal and Image Processing Institute, the National Center for Integrated Photonic Technology, Communications Sciences Institute, the Foundation for Cross Connection Control and Hydaulic Research, and the Information Sciences Institute located at Marina del Rey. Interdepartmental studies in biomechanics and bioengineering are possible through the full cooperation of the Orthopedic Hospital, the USC School of Medicine, the Los Angeles County Hosiptal, and Rancho Los Amigos Hospital. The Instructional Television Center enables many part-time students working in local companies to take televised courses for graduate credit without commuting frequently to campus. Some two dozen companies have television classrooms, and two regional television classrooms are operated by USC for those students who do not work for one of the subscribing companies.


The Greater Los Angeles area has an exceptional concentration of engineering research, development, and manufacturing. Seven miles southeast of Hollywood and ten miles east of Santa Monica Bay beaches, the University is situated at the heart of this activity on a 111-acre campus adjacent to Exposition Park, the Los Angeles Coliseum and three major museums. The availability of numerous cultural and recreational activities provides students with special curricular and extracurricular opportunities.

Student Group

USC's total enrollment, including part-time and full-time students, is approximately 28,082. The School of Engineering has about 1,609 undergraduate students and 1,933 graduate students enrolled.

Living and Housing Costs

While the cost of living depends upon individual tastes and living habits, an average student attending the University of Southern California needs approximately $24,675 if living on campus or $25,600 if living off campus per calendar year. This figure includes the cost of books and supplies.

Cost of Study

Estimated tuition for 12 to 18 semester hours is $12,168 per semester in the 1998-99 academic year; for those carrying fewer than 12 units per semester, the cost per unit is $676. The academic year consists of two semesters.

Financial Aid

A number of half-time teaching and research assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships are available to graduate students with a good academic record and an aptitude for either teaching or research. The stipends are adjusted frequently. Interested students should contact the department for information on current stipends and availability of scholarships.

The Assistantship & Fellowship Application for Mechanical Engineering Degree Programs is available in PDF format. To read documents in the PDF format, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering is an exciting and challenging discipline. In its early days, a Mechanical Engineer dealt primarily with the design and construction of machine parts. However, the profession has kept pace with the rapid development of technology, and today, Mechanical Engineering encompasses practically all important aspects of modern technology. In the Automotive Industry, Mechanical Engineers are involved in nearly every aspect of vehicle design and development. They have a major participation in the Aerospace Industry where they are engaged in the design and development of systems ranging from aircraft and rocket engine components to satellite control mechanisms. In the Power Industry, Mechanical Engineers are involved in areas such as Nuclear Safety, Energy Conversion, and Turbomachinery. A very large percentage of the engineers in the Petrochemical Industry are Mechanical Engineers. They usually are engaged in refinery work for the production and processing of liquid fuels. In addition, the mechanical and thermal design of modern computers and other electronic equipment is carried out by Mechanical Engineers. In the area of Automation, Mechanical Engineers apply the basic Mechanical Sciences along with their computer know-how towards Robotics and Automatic Control. In addition, there are numerous small scale Manufacturing Industries that employ Mechanical Engineers for basic design and development.

Our curricula, both undergraduate and graduate, reflect the needs of a prospective engineer in an environment of dynamic changes and rapid advancement in both science and engineering.