University of Southern California

Viterbi School of Engineering

Product Development Engineering

Olin Hall of Engineering, 430
(213) 740-5353
FAX: (213) 740-8071

Program Director: Stephen C-Y Lu, Ph.D.

Master of Science in Product Development Engineering

The Master of Science in product development engineering (MS PDE) is an interdisciplinary graduate degree program at USC jointly offered by the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and the Daniel J. Epstein Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) departments. The Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering department manages this joint degree program. Students can enter this program in either the fall or spring semesters, and it is available to full-time and part-time students.


The program has the following admission requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree in an area of engineering or science;
  • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above; and
  • Satisfactory general GRE scores of at least 400 verbal, 650 quantitative and 550 analytical.

The MS PDE 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.

The program’s prerequisite is a minimum of one 400 level course in either engineering design or engineering economy. Admitted students who do not meet this prerequisite will be assigned appropriate USC course(s) to complete the deficiencies. Deficiency courses, if taken at the 400 level, may be counted toward 27 units as general electives with adviser approval.

Depending on the academic background and career interests of students, the program offers two areas of specialization, product development technology and product development systems. The product development technology specialization will prepare students for a career as future product development engineers, while the product development systems specialization will prepare students as future product development managers. Students entering this program must declare their choice of an area of specialization and follow the requirements of each area of specialization to graduate.


The required 27 units are grouped into four categories of courses for each area of specialization as follows:

Required Courses (6 units) Units
AME 503 Advanced Mechanical Design 3
ISE 545 Technology Development and Implementation 3
Product Development Systems Required Courses (6 units) Units
ISE 515 Engineering Project Management 3
ISE 544 Management of Engineering Teams 3
Product Development Systems technical electives (6 units) Units
ISE 415 Industrial Automation 3
ISE 460 Engineering Economy 3
ISE 470 Human/Computer Interface Design 3
ISE 511L Mechatronics Systems Engineering 3
ISE 517 Modern Enterprise Systems 3
ISE 525 Design of Experiments 3
ISE 527 Quality Management for Engineers 3
ISE 528 Advanced Statistical Aspects of Engineering Reliability 3
ISE 555 Invention and Technology Development 3
ISE 561 Economic Analysis of Engineering Projects 3
ISE 567 Collaborative Engineering Principles and Practice 3
ISE 576 Industrial Ecology: Technology-Environment Interaction 3
ISE 580 Advanced Concepts in Computer Simulation 3
ISE 585 Strategic Management of Technology 3
SAE 541 Systems Engineering Theory and Practice 3
Product Development Technology required Courses (6 units) Units
AME 505 Engineering Information Modeling 3
AME 525 Engineering Analysis, or
AME 526 Engineering Analytical Methods 3
Product Development technology technical electives (6 units) Units
AME 408 Computer-Aided Design of Mechanical Systems 3
AME 410 Engineering Design Theory and Methodology 3
AME 481 Aircraft Design 3
AME 501 Spacecraft System Design 3
AME 504 Metallurgical Design 3
AME 506 Design of Low Cost Space Missions 3
AME 527 Elements of Vehicle and Energy Systems Design 3
AME 528 Elements of Composite Structure Design 3
AME 544 Computer Control of Mechanical Systems 3
AME 588 Materials Selection 3
CE 550 Computer-Aided Engineering 3
CE 551 Computer-Aided Engineering Project 3
ISE 567 Collaborative Engineering Principles and Practice 3
ISE 576 Industrial Ecology: Technology-Environment Interaction 3
SAE 549 Systems Architecting 3
General Electives (9 units) Units
Adviser-approved electives
(Must be upper-division 400- or 500-level courses; up to 4 units can be transferred from other institutions)
Total units required for degree 27