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What will I learn?

The PhD degree at the USC Computer Science department prepares students for a career in research. The goal of the program is to nurture talented minds via research and formal coursework, to produce future thought leaders in Computer Science.

Unit Requirements

A student is required to complete a total of at least 60 units, at least 40 of which must be at the 500 level or above (beyond the bachelor’s degree and including the required courses as listed in the requirements below). A student must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in good academic standing.

Course Requirement

Mandatory courses: Each student is required to complete two semesters of CSCI 697 (1 unit each, 2 maximum) and CSCI 670 (4 units). In addition, students are required to pass two semesters of CSCI 698 (1-2 units each, no maximum) as part of a teaching requirement.

Elective courses: In addition to the mandatory courses, each student must complete five (5) CSCI courses at the 500 level and above, each of 4 units. No more than two (2) of these courses (8 units total) may be at the 500 level; the remaining must be CSCI courses at the 600 level. Directed Research units or thesis credits do not satisfy this requirement. Students are strongly advised to take at least one of their elective courses in an area of Computer Science that is different from their proposed area of research.

Which department am I in?

USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Study options

Full Time (60 units)

Tuition fees
US$57,256.00 per year
Start date

Expected August 2023


University of Southern California

University Park Campus,



90089, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants must have a Bachelor degree earned at an institution recognized by the Ministry of Education.

For international students

The program accepts students who have completed a four-year Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field; a Master’s degree is not a requirement for entry.

Applicants to doctor's programs who have attained an Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 100 or above, with 20 or above in each section; or an IELTS score of 7 or above, with 6 or above on each band.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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