University of Southern California

Price School of Public Policy

Aerospace Studies

Physical Education Building 112
(213) 740-2670


Sean C. Marler, M.Ed., Lieutenant Colonel, USAF


Professor: Sean C. Marler, M.Ed., (Lieutenant Colonel, USAF)

Assistant Professors: Casey Whitson, B.S., (Captain, USAF); Matthew Stewart, B.S., (Captain, USAF)

The Department of Aerospace Studies offers a three to four-year program of instruction leading directly to commissioning as an officer in the United States Air Force. To obtain a commission, qualified students must pass an aptitude test, physical fitness assessment and a medical examination; complete the aerospace studies program of instruction and concurrently receive an undergraduate or graduate degree. Credits earned in aerospace studies courses may be counted as electives in some degree programs. Those students who qualify for and are selected to enter Air Force pilot training will be given flight instruction upon graduation. Qualified applicants may compete for a variety of Air Force scholarships, some of which pay full tuition, books and associated fees. USC also offers a matching $4,000 scholarship per year for all AFROTC scholarship recipients. See the Tuition and Fees page for additional scholarship information.

Program Requirements

Academic Year Program

This program consists of up to eight semesters of aerospace studies courses (AEST 100ab through AEST 400ab) plus a four-week summer field training course. Students enroll in the first four semesters of aerospace studies (AEST 100ab and AEST 200ab) in the same manner as in any other course of instruction at USC. Students will be considered on a competitive basis to attend the summer field training course and enroll in the final four semesters (AEST 300ab and AEST 400ab). The program can be tailored for students who join after the beginning of their freshman year.

Summer Training Courses

Field training is offered during the summer at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Students participate in four weeks of intensive training, normally between their sophomore and junior years.

The major areas of study in the field training course include junior officer leadership training, career orientation, survival training, weapons training, physical training, base functions and the Air Force environment.

Additional summer training courses at locations around the world are available to interested students to build leadership and human relations skills, develop cultural and language proficiency, provide a general orientation in Air Force specialties and motivate cadets toward an Air Force career. The training opportunities vary each year but may include cultural and language immersion programs, engineering research and apprenticeships, and orientation programs related to other air, space and cyberspace specialties.