Master of Science in Computer Engineering

Application Deadlines

Spring 2018: September 15, 2017

Fall 2018: January 15, 2018

Computer Engineering is the creative application of engineering principles and methods to the design and development of hardware and software systems. The MS in Computer Engineering encompasses the design, development, testing, and evaluation of components, systems, and networks.

Research in Computer Engineering strives to achieve higher performance in the systems and components that are built as well as in the design process. At USC, research is focused in three main areas: Computer Architecture and Parallel Processing, Design and Analysis of Computer Networks and their Protocols, and VLSI Design and Computer Aided Design and Verification of VLSI. This degree program is administered by the Department of Electrical Engineering.

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 27 units is required for the MS in Computer Engineering degree
  • 4 Required fundamental Courses: 14-15 Units
  • 2 Required Core Courses: 6 Units
  • A minimum of 2 Elective Courses: 6 Units
  • A maximum of three 400 level courses (12 units maximum) may be taken
  • At least 18 units must be taken at the 500-level or above
  • At least 18 units must be taken in electrical engineering 15 of which must be taken at USC
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required for graduation
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
*Applicants Interested in Online Delivery: Please contact to request an application extension for Fall 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)
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.
Statement of Purpose (Optional): 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.


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

TUITION & SAMPLE COURSE PLAN (Residential Students Only)


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.

Fundamental Coursework
All courses are required with either EE 450 or EE 503 – 14-15 units total.
CSCI 402 | Operating Systems (4 units)
EE 450 | Introduction to Computer Networks (or EE 503) (3 units)
EE 457 | Computer Systems Organization (4 units)
EE 477 | MOS VLSI Circuit Design (4 units)
EE 503 | Probability for Electrical and Computer Engineers (or EE 450) (4 units)
A fundamental course may be waived by taking a placement exam. In case a placement exam is not offered, a fundamental course may be waived by a designated faculty member.
Core Courses
Two courses are required – one course may be either EE 550 or EE 555 – 9 units total.
EE 550 | Design and Analysis of Computer Communication Networks (or EE 555) (3 units)
EE 555 | Broadband Network Architectures (or EE 550) (3 units)
EE 557 | Computer Systems Architecture (3 units)
EE 577a | VLSI System Design (3 units)
Suggested Elective Courses
At least 6 units required – elective courses cannot overlap with core courses.
CSCI 551 | Computer Communications (4 units)
CSCI 555 | Advanced Operating Systems (4 units)
CSCI 561 | Foundations of Artificial Intelligence (4 units)
CSCI 565 | Compiler Design (4 units)
CSCI 570 | Analysis of Algorithms (4 units)
CSCI 585 | Database Systems (4 units)
EE 532 | Wireless Internet & Pervasive Computing (3 units)
EE 536ab | Mixed-Signal Integrated Circuit Design (3 units)
EE 550 | Design & Analysis of Computer Communication Networks (3 units)
EE 552 | Asynchronous VLSI Design (3 units)
EE 554 | Real Time Computer Systems (3 units)
EE 555 | Broadband Network Architectures (3 units)
EE 557 | Computer Systems Architecture (3 units)
EE 558 | Optical Fiber Communication Systems (3 units)
EE 577b | VLSI System Design (3 units)
EE 581 | Mathematical Foundations for CAD of VLSI Circuits (3 units)
Please complete the following form for more information.