MS in Computer Science - USC Viterbi | Prospective Students (2023)

The MS in Computer Science provides intensive preparation in the concepts and techniques related to the design, programming, and application of computing systems. Students are provided a deep understanding of both fundamentals and important current issues in computer science and computer engineering so that they may either obtain productive employment or pursue advanced degrees.

The MS in Computer Science program requires the student to take a broad spectrum of courses, while simultaneously allowing for emphasis in desired areas of specialization.

International Students: This program is eligible for the OPT STEM extension.

>Interested in Computer Science but do not possess a Computer Science background? Please consider our program.

International Students: This program is eligible for the OPT STEM extension.

(Video) Day in the Life of a CS Student @ USC Viterbi

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 28 units is required for the general MS in Computer Science degree
  • Required courses: 12 units
  • Computer Science (CSCI) Elective Courses: 12 units
  • Additional Elective Course: 4 units
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduation
  • A maximum of 4 units may be taken fromapproved 400-level courses in either Electrical Engineering or Computer Science; the remaining units must be approved courses at the 500 or 600 level
  • Only one doctoral (600-level) course can be counted in the degree
  • Only one non-CSCI course can be counted in the degree

Detailed Program Curriculum and RequirementsSchedule of Classes

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 Apply page for more information.


Applicants are required to have completed or be in process of completing an undergraduate degree in computer science or its equivalent from a regionally-accredited university, and must possess substantial computing background. Please review detailedComputer Science eligibility criteria.

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

(Video) #ViterbiClass: Computer Science

  • 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
  • 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.
  • GRE: General GRE test scores are not required for 2023
  • 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.


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 2022 - Summer 2023*




Fall 2021 - Summer 2022*




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


(Video) MS in CS at USC!


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 for more information

Alumni Employment

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211 LA County; ABB; Achieve Intelligent Technologies, Inc; ACTIVE WORKING PARTNERS LLC; Activision; Adobe Inc.; ADP, LLC; Aerotek; Aibee US Corporation; Akamai Technologies; Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2); Allthenticate, Inc.; Altomni Corp.; Amazon; AMD; American Express; American Tire Distributors, Inc; Amgen; Apple Inc; Autodesk, Inc.; Automation Anywhere; Avalara; Becht Engineering Co, Inc.; Beckman Coulter, Inc.; BigCommerce; Binate LLC DBA Nuleep; BioProber; Boehringer Ingelheim; Brain Corporation; Bytedance Inc.; Calsoft Systems; CCC Information Services; CeliTech Inc; Cisco Systems, Inc.; Citrix Systems, Inc.; City National Bank; Cloudera; Cohere Health, Inc.; Coinbase; Comcast; Commvault Systems, Inc.; ConsumerTrack Inc.; Convrrt, Inc; Corto LLC; Coupang Global;Coursera; CrowdStrike Inc.;; Databricks, Inc.; DataPrime Inc.; DeepMap Inc; Deliverr ,Inc.; Dell Technologies; DigitalOcean; Doordash; Dropbox, Inc.; Druva Inc.; EA Sports; Eastridge Workforce Solutions; eBay; echoAR; Eightfold AI, Inc; Electronic Arts;;; Episource; Epsilon Data Management, LLC; Ericsson; Esri; ETSY inc; Expedia Inc.; Extron; Facebook, Inc.; Firepit Inc; Flickr(Smugmug); Frenzy Labs Inc.; GE Global Research; General Motors; Github; Goldman Sachs; Google; GotIt! Inc; GrammaTech; GrayMatter Robotics Inc.; Harmony Plus; Haystack Search LLC; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Hilal Software Corporation; Hitachi Vantara, LLC; HubSpot, Inc.; HULU; Hydrosimulatics Inc; Hylink Digital Solutions; IBM; Indi EV Inc; Infineon Technologies; Intel Corporation; Intuit; Invoca; Ismile Technologies; Jam City; JPMorgan Chase; Kaarya LLC (DBA myKaarma);

(Video) Admitted Student Webinar: Computer Science

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

DEN@VITERBI ONLINE COURSE OFFERINGS 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.

Core Requirement
1 Course Required - 4 units total.
CSCI 570 |Analysis of Algorithms(4 units)
Additional Course Work
The remaining elective units necessary to earn the degree are completed by selecting additional 500-level CSCI courses.
Note: A maximum of 2 units of CSCI 590 and a maximum of 2 units of CSCI 591 may be applied. Furthermore, up to four units may be 400-level, and up to eight units may be 600-level. Approval for enrollment in 600-level courses must come from the faculty instructor and department adviser. With adviser approval, one non-Computer Science course may be selected from the approved list.
CSCI Courses Available on DEN@Viterbi
CSCI 402x | Operating Systems(4 units)
CSCI 455x | Introduction to Programming Systems Design(4 units)
CSCI 510 | Software Management and Economics(4 units)
CSCI 530 | Security Systems(4 units)
CSCI 531 | Applied Cryptography(4 units)
CSCI 551 | Computer Networking(4 units)
CSCI 561 | Foundations of Artificial Intelligence(4 units)
CSCI 568 | Requirements Engineering(4 units)
CSCI 570 | Analysis of Algorithms(4 units)
CSCI 572 | Information Retrieval and Web Search Engines(4 units)
CSCI 576 | Multimedia Systems Design(4 units)
CSCI 577a | Software Engineering(4 units)
CSCI 577b | Software Engineering(4 units)
CSCI 578 | Software Architectures(4 units)
CSCI 585 | Database Systems(4 units)

Please complete the following form for more information.

(Video) Spotlight Series: MS in Communication Data Science


Is MS in CS at USC worth it? ›

Yes, doing an MS in CS at USC is totally worth the cost. The university is ranked as the 54th best CS school in the world by US News and World Report in the latest rankings. To get admission, you will have to apply with a strong application.

How many students are in Viterbi USC? ›

The Viterbi School of Engineering is currently ranked No. 9 in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. The school is headed by Dean Yannis Yortsos.
USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
DeanYannis C. Yortsos
Academic staff168
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Is USC Computer Science hard to get into? ›

The USC admission process is extremely competitive. Over 70,000 students applied last year, bringing the USC acceptance rate down to 12%. Over 25% of students admitted to the USC Class of 2025 had perfect grades in high school.

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.

What GPA do I need for masters at USC? ›

USC does not have a university-wide minimum GPA requirement for graduate admission eligibility.

What is the average starting salary for a USC graduate? ›

The best paying degree at University of Southern California is Doctorate, with alumni earning an average salary of $145,000. Graduates from University of Southern California who earn the lowest salaries are those with a Masters of Arts degree, earning a salary of $71,000 annually.

Is USC a Tier 1 University? ›

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, ...

Is USC a Tier 1 research school? ›

The University of South Carolina Columbia has retained its place among the most elite doctoral-granting research universities, and is classified as "R1: Doctoral University with Highest Research Activity." USC's placement in the top group is based on a set of criteria that factors in research funding, the number of non ...

How many CS students are at USC? ›

Enrollment Data
Fall 20217561402
14 Jun 2016

What major is USC most known for? ›

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 a USC degree prestigious? ›

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 the average GPA of USC students? ›

Average GPA: 3.79

The average GPA at USC is 3.79. This makes USC Strongly Competitive for GPAs. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 3.79, USC requires you to be above average in your high school class.

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.

What GRE score do I need for USC? ›

Here is a table that covers a few of the departments/programs at University of Southern California
USC Department/ProgramsGRE Score Requirements
Master of Communication ManagementVerbal–152, Quantitative– 152, Analytical Writing – 4.0
USC Sol Price School of Public PolicyVerbal – 153, Quantitative – 144
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18 Sept 2015

What is the lowest GPA to get into USC? ›

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. For a school as selective as USC, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.

How hard is it to get into University of Southern California for masters? ›

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 GRE required for MS in USC? ›

The GRE is not required for Spring 2023 and Fall 2023 applicants. Scores submitted will not be reviewed. Submit Official TOEFL/IELTS Test Scores. Full information on USC's English proficiency requirement and test score submission instructions can be found on the USC Graduate Admission English Proficiency page.

What GPA is a B+ USC? ›

A = 4.0 points. A– = 3.7 points. B+ = 3.3 points.

What percent of students get a job after graduation at USC? ›

We are pleased to report that the overall numbers are very strong: 98% of students who graduated with a BA were employed 12 months after graduation and 99% of students who graduated with a master's degree were employed within that same timeframe.

How does USC negotiate salary? ›

Negotiate Salaries
  1. Only negotiate with companies you genuinely consider accepting. You don't want to lead a company on.
  2. Discuss salary only over the phone. ...
  3. Prove your worth by highlighting your skills & experiences.
  4. Be confident, calm and flexible. ...
  5. Leverage any other offers if you have them.
5 Nov 2019

What school has the highest average salary after graduation? ›

Stanford University
RankSchoolSalary Score
1Harvard University Massachusetts99.51
2Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts99.48
3Dartmouth College New Hampshire98.89
4Yale University Connecticut98.71
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2 Jun 2022

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 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
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27 Nov 2021

Is USC a little ivy? ›

Is USC an Ivy League School? Despite its impressive profile, USC is not an Ivy League school. While the Ivies are synonymous with selectivity, illustrious histories, and academic prestige, the actual definition is narrower and more technical in its application.

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.

Why USC is a great school? ›

USC's excellent reputation stems largely from its broad array of student offerings. Its athletic programs are just as acclaimed as its academic achievements, and students have over 1,000 clubs at their fingertips in one of the most exciting cities in the United States.

What is Tier 1 US college? ›

Tier 1 is comprised of major private research universities, including MIT, UChicago, Stanford, John Hopkins, Northwestern, California Institute of Technology, Duke, Vanderbilt, and Rice (amongst many others). The campuses are likely to be quite large and include graduate schools and a medium-large student population.

Is the CS field oversaturated? ›

So, Is Computer Science Oversaturated? The final definitive answer is no. There's every reason to believe that existing skills gaps and talent shortages will grow as organizations become more reliant on technology—and companies in and out of technology will continue hiring MSCS graduates in abundance.

What is the dropout rate for CS? ›

Computer Science Tops the Dropout Charts

A recent survey from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), revealed that among universities, Computer Science has the highest dropout rate – 9.8%.

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.

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.

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.

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 a top 20 university? ›

University of Southern California's 2022-2023 Rankings

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.

What percent of USC is white? ›

Student Demographics (Fall 2022)
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How can I increase my chances of getting into USC? ›

#1 Obtain a high GPA.

Your chances of getting into USC will probably be lower if your GPA is below 3.75. It is therefore ideal to strive as high as you can, preferably at least around a 3.85, so that you will be significantly above average but won't suffer too much if you receive a B in one or two classes.

Is USC hard academically? ›

USC is a great school with stellar academics. Business and Accounting classes and students are extremely competitive. All business and accounting classes are curved, based on the scores and average GPA of the students in each section.

Whats the Harvard of the West? ›

Chico State: The Harvard of the West.

What makes USC Viterbi special? ›

USC Viterbi is a pioneer in restoring sight to the blind; restoring memory to sufferers of Alzheimer's; and socially assistive robots to aid seniors with stroke or children with autism. It is the home of the first operational quantum computing center in academia.

Is USC known as a party school? ›

USC is one of the premiere party schools in the nation. The Trojans have regularly been ranked in the top ten party school lists for years. Greek life is at the epicenter of USC social happenings.

Is USC waiving GRE? ›

GRE Requirement Waived for 2021 & 2022 Admissions Cycles.

Does GRE score matter for MS? ›

Ans. Yes, a GRE score matters for pursuing MS in the USA. Moreover, a GRE score < 310 (and Quant score < 155) might be a serious obstacle and make you consider retaking the test. In order to remain competitive at top schools, students need a GRE score of at least 320.

What GRE score do I need for UCLA? ›

There is no minimum GRE score for UCLA, but what is considered a good score if you hope to get into the school? As you saw in the chart above, average UCLA GRE scores depend on which program you're applying to. The average scores range from 156 to 163 for Verbal and 155 to 168 for Quant.

What GPA do you need for UC Berkeley? ›

GPA Minimum

Although there is no minimum GPA requirement for applying to the major, the most successful applicants have a prerequisite GPA above 2.75. If you have further questions, contact our Berkeley Public Health undergraduate academic advisor.

Can I get into USC with a 32? ›

On average, the students accepted to USC earn a composite score somewhere between 32 and 35. If we look at the individual sections of the ACT, USC-accepted students score between 32 and 36 on the Math section and between 32 and 34 in English.

Does USC care about GPA? ›

When assessing your grade point average, we also consider class rank (if available) and the rigor of your curriculum, including the number of advanced courses taken (if offered by your school). Naturally, we are interested in consistently strong academic performance throughout your four-year high school record.

What is special about USC CS? ›

Our department has a record of innovation that includes the Domain Name System and the TCP/IP protocols, the invention of DNA computing, and historic interdisciplinary studies relating brains, machines and mathematics.

How good is MS CS at UT Austin? ›

Master of Computer Science (Coursework) is one of the best courses to choose from that offers in-depth learning in a Computer Science. An MS Degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin has consistently made its place among the top global universities.

How much does USC MS CS cost? ›

Application Deadlines
Academic YearPer Unit Rate4-unit Course
Fall 2022 - Summer 2023*$2,309$9,236
Fall 2021 - Summer 2022*$2,199$8,796
* Tuition is the same for on-campus and online students
10 Jul 2017

Is USC a Tier 1 school? ›

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 considered an elite school? ›

It is also a member of the Association of American Universities, which it joined in 1969. USC is ranked as one of the top universities in the United States and admission to its programs is considered highly selective.

Is UT Austin a Tier 1? ›

A UTSA statement explained that the school met its Tier One benchmarks by employing five tenured or tenure-track faculty who are members of National Academies, the honorary societies for science, engineering and medicine professors.

Is UT a Tier 1? ›

The University of Texas at San Antonio is the latest public university to achieve the distinctive statewide Tier One status, which qualifies the school for access to $6 million in state funding annually to help attract prominent scholars and improve university research initiatives.

What are the least competitive majors at UT Austin? ›

Some majors will always be less competitive: Liberal Arts, Undergraduate Studies, Social Work, and Education. The latter two because they have the least amount of applicants. All admits to these colleges and schools have lower test scores than the typical admit. Some, like Architecture, will always be competitive.

Is HBO free for USC students? ›

HBO Max — Free Access

Students can obtain free access to HBO Max by using their USC email credentials. Select “sign in”, then “sign in through tv or mobile provider.” Select “view all providers” and scroll down to “Univ. of Southern California.” You will be prompted to sign in using your USC login.

Is it harder to get into USC or UCLA? ›

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.


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