Master of Science in Product Development Engineering

Application Deadlines

Spring: September 15

Fall: January 15

The MS in Product Development Engineering is an interdisciplinary degree program jointly offered by the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and the Daniel J. Epstein Industrial and Systems Engineering Departments. The Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department will manage this joint degree program.

Developing new products is the essence of human intelligence in general, and engineering professions in particular. The growth of our economy has been largely determined by the engineer’s performance and effectiveness in new product developments. The ever-increasing demands for product functions, coupled with low cost, high quality, and short lead-time requirements have made product development a very complex and inter-disciplinary activity. The recent high-tech revolutions and stringent environmental concerns have further contributed to the complexity of modern product development. There exists a great human resource need in the areas of new product developments.

There are three interrelated disciplines in product development: art, management, and engineering. The MS in Product Development Engineering program focuses on the engineering discipline, ranging from technology to systems. From the engineering viewpoint, product development can be seen as a process from invention, design, planning, production, to service phases. Three types of knowledge are needed for an engineer to go through these phases:

  • knowledge to generate new product ideas
  • knowledge to evaluate these ideas
  • knowledge to structure and manage the development process

This innovative degree program provides students with an integrated education experience, including modern theories and practical experiences, to acquire this knowledge systematically so that they can accomplish these phases efficiently.
The MS in Product Development Engineering program is mainly a coursework-based program; students can choose to complete the program with or without a thesis requirement. This program has two areas of specialization (AOS):

  • Product Development Systems (PDS): prepares the student to become a product development manager
  • Product Development Technology (PDT): prepares the student for a professional career as a new product development engineer

Students entering this program must declare their choice of an AOS at admission, and follow the requirements of each AOS to graduate.

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.

  • The MS in Product Development Engineering program requires a minimum of 27 units to complete
  • Although it is mainly a course work-based program, students can choose to complete the program with or without a thesis requirement
  • For the thesis option, 4 of the 27 units are to be thesis
  • At least 16 units, not including thesis, must be at the 500 level or higher, and at least 18 units must be from the AME and ISE departments
  • For the non-thesis option, 18 of the 27 units must be at the 500 level or higher from the AME and ISE departments, and/or closely related departments
  • As well, students can choose to take up to 6 units of directed research (e.g., AME 590 or ISE 590)
  • Students must maintain a minimal cumulative GPA of 3.0 in USC course work to graduate
Detailed Program Curriculum and RequirementsSchedule of Classes

Fall 2019 (Scholarship Consideration Deadline)December 15, 2018
Fall 2019 (Final Deadline)January 15, 2019
Spring 2019 (Scholarship Consideration Deadline)August 31, 2018
Spring 2019 (Final Deadline)September 15, 2018
Visit our Application Deadlines page for more information.


  • An undergraduate degree in engineering, math or hard science from a regionally-accredited university.
  • Satisfactory cumulative undergraduate GPA (grade point average)
  • Satisfactory GRE test scores. All scores must be officially reported to the university directly by ETS.
  • Satisfactory performance in previous coursework related to the intended major.


Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

GRE General Test: Satisfactory and valid test scores. Valid GRE scores must be dated within five years of the start of the intended application semester. The fall semester starts in August, and the spring semester starts in January. Official scores must be reported from ETS directly to USC using ETS school code 4852. A department code is not required.

Resume/CV (Required)

Statement of Purpose (Required): The statement of purpose should succinctly describe 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 (3 Highly Recommended): 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 the general admission criteria listed above, international students whose first language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS examination to be considered a candidate for admission. 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. For more details on English Proficiency Criteria for the University of Southern California, please visit USC Graduate Admission – Proficiency in English.

The following is an overview of the tuition & fees for graduate engineering students. Both on-campus and DEN@Viterbi students pay the same tuition.


Academic Year
Per Unit Rate
3-unit Course
4-unit Course
Fall 2017 - Summer 2018
Fall 2018 - Summer 2019



Fee Description
Fee Amount
Mandatory Fees (approximate)
Fall 2017: $450
Spring 2018: $400
Health Insurance
Fall 2017: $646
Spring 2018: $1,170
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
Detailed Information on Tuition & Fees
This program is also available online to professional engineers through DEN@Viterbi. Because the DEN@Viterbi program provides a fully equivalent academic experience, the degree a USC engineering student earns is the same whether they are on-campus or online.

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.

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.

Required Classes
Both courses required – 6 units total.
AME 503 | Advanced Mechanical Design (3 units)
ISE 545 | Technology Development and Implementation (3 units)
Depending on the academic background and career interests of students, the program offers two areas of specialization, Product Development Technology and Product Development Systems.  Students will choose one area of specialization (track):
Product Development Systems Required Courses
Both courses required for Product Development Systems Track – 6 units total.
ISE 515 | Engineering Project Management (3 units)
ISE 544 | Management of Engineering Teams (3 units)
Product Development Systems Technical Electives
Two courses are required for Product Development Systems Track – 6 units total.
ISE 460 | Engineering Economy (3 units)
ISE 470 | Human/Computer Interface Design (3 units)
ISE 517 | Modern Enterprise Systems (3 units)
ISE 525 | Design of Experiments (3 units)
ISE 527 | Quality Management for Engineers (3 units)
ISE 528 | Advanced Statistical Aspects of Engineering Reliability (3 units)
ISE 561 | Economic Analysis of Engineering Projects (3 units)
ISE 567 | Collaborative Engineering Principles and Practice (3 units)
ISE 580 | Performance Modeling with Simulation (3 units)
ISE 585 | Strategic Management of Technology (3 units)
SAE 541 | Systems Engineering Theory and Practice (3 units)
Product Development Technology Required Courses
AME 505 and AME 525 or AME 526 are required for the Product Development Technology Track – 6 units total.
AME 505 | Engineering Information Modeling (3 units)
AME 525 | Engineering Analysis OR AME 526 (3 units)
AME 526 | Engineering Analytical Methods OR AME 525 (3 units)
Product Development Technology Technical Electives
Two courses are required for the Product Development Technology Track – 6 units total.
AME 501 | Spacecraft System Design (3 units)
AME 506 | Design of Low Cost Space Missions (3 units)
AME 527 | Elements of Vehicle and Energy Systems Design (3 units)
AME 588 | Materials Selection (3 units)
SAE 549 | Systems Architecting (3 units)
Engineering Electives
Approved (by advisement) 400-, 500-, or 600-level engineering courses – 9 units total.
Deficiency Courses
Depending on the student’s educational background some deficiency courses may be required to complete the degree.
AME 420 | Engineering Vibrations (3 units)
AME 451 | Linear Control Systems I (3 units)
Please complete the following form for more information.