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Computer Science

It’s Way More than Coding

Learn more about how you can specialize your degree program with different emphases
Check out the research our faculty and students are doing on and off campus
Hear how you can apply your degree in industry through internships, co-ops, and more
Find out what our current students are up to in clubs and student organizations

Hear Directly from Faculty

Computer Science (CS)

Computer scientists design and implement efficient software solutions to computer-solvable problems. They are involved in the development of areas such as high-speed networks, multimedia and creative technologies, systems design, virtual reality, data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics.

Listen while you scroll!

CS Podcast Playlist

Check out all of our podcast episodes related to Computer Science & Computer Engineering. Whether it’s Dr. Sukhatme discussing CS at USC or current students discussing hackathons, cyber security, and internships in the Girls Who Code miniseries.

Viterbi Voices: The Podcast is your chance to hear stories about research, classes, student life, and more directly from our faculty, students, and other members of our engineering community. Click the link below to see the rest of our episodes!

Curriculum and Emphases

There are several different options within the computer science program to pursue.  Check them all out!

Computer Science

The computer science program prepares students to work in the areas of software design, development, application and maintenance.  It provides intensive study in algorithmic design and analysis as well as the theory of computing.

Course Plan

Computer Science (Games)

This major offers technical and creative training for the video game industry.  The curriculum brings numerous core areas of advanced computer science – including artificial intelligence, graphic interfaces, modeling, algorithm design – together with creative and artistic training from the School of Cinematic Arts and the Roski School of Fine Arts and Design.

Course Plan

Computer Engineering & Computer Science

(Jointly administered by the Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering departments)

This program trains students to integrate hardware and software processes to design solutions to problems arising in complex domains such as atomic reactors, guidance systems, and manufacturing systems.  These students graduate ready to design and build complex systems of hardware, software, and networks.

Course Plan

Computer Science/Business Administration

This combined degree program allows students to study both Computer Science and Business in four years.  In addition to the core computer science courses, students take courses from the Marshall School of Business such as Organizational Behavior, Marketing Fundamentals, Business Finance, and Strategic Management.

Course Plan


The Computer Science department has more than 40 research faculty members from the world-renowned Information Sciences Institute (ISI) – a major player in the creation of the Internet- and from the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). Its faculty includes pioneers in modern cryptography, Internet technologies, software engineering, databases, computational neuroscience, robotics, natural language processing, computational biology and network sciences, and it has an innovative education program, including the new interdisciplinary Informatics Program as well as one of the nation’s first programs in game development.

In addition, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering offers one of the best environments for interdisciplinary research and international collaboration in the nation. There is a strong record of innovation in the department and its affiliated centers: the Domain Name System and the TCP/IP protocols, the invention of DNA computing, and historic interdisciplinary studies relating brains, machines and mathematics. For example, a former student wrote one of the first computer viruses and led the theoretical study of the computer virus concept. The accomplishments of our current faculty include path-setting results in artificial intelligence, computer vision, data science, privacy and security, robotics, software engineering, and the Academy Award winning work in computer graphics.

We have a balance of programs - theoretical, computational, and experimental – which exemplify the Viterbi School’s approach to intensive and collaborative research.


Faculty will be teaching all of your classes and leading research projects as well. Your opportunities to build relationships with your faculty will begin immediately in your first year, both in the classroom and the lab. Check out a few highlighted professors with whom you may work in the future:

Dr. Nora Ayanian

Automatic Coordination of Teams

Her research group, the ACT lab, conducts research in the area of coordinated multi-robot systems, where they provide theoretically sound solutions to practically motivated problems. You may also recognize them from the drones performance at the 2017 Super Bowl Half-Time Show!

Dr. Heather Culbertson

The Haptics Robotics and Virtual Interaction

Her research focuses on the design and control of haptic devices and rendering systems, human-robot interaction, and virtual reality. Particularly she is interested in creating haptic interactions that are natural and realistically mimic the touch sensations experienced during interactions with the physical world.

Dr. Leonard Adleman

Number Theory

His research focuses on algorithms, computational complexity, cryptography, DNA computing, number theory and molecular biology. He's known famously for the RSA algorithm, which allows data to be encrypted; it is one of the bedrocks of security on the internet. He's also writing a book about memes!

Dr. Yan Liu

USC Machine Learning Center

Her research interests include machine learning and data mining with applications to biology, climate science, health, and social media. She is currently working on deep learning for health care applications like phenotyping and healthcare prediction tasks.

Don't stop here.

Learn more about the cool faculty and amazing research being done at the Computer Science Department at their website:

CS Department WebsiteCS Department Website


Your engineering undergraduate degree will prepare you for many career and academic opportunities. Whether you have always known “what you want to do when you grow up” or are hoping to find out, we are here to help you plan for your future beyond USC. We provide dedicated career services starting in your first year to help you find internships, co-ops, and full-time positions post graduation.

When you graduate with a degree in Computer Science, here are just a few of the future career paths that might lay before you.
  • Build new computer circuits, microchips, and other electronic components
  • Launch high tech entrepreneurial projects and ventures
  • Conduct research on artificial intelligence capabilities
  • Create new computer and operating systems
  • Design logic devices for everyday appliances
  • Improve video game consoles and devices
  • Integrate hardware and software processes
  • Invent intelligent robots
  • Develop advanced data analytics

Don't take our word for it. Ask some Viterbi alumni:

Student Life

We want students who like to work hard – both in and out of the classroom. Our students know that going to college is more than attending class and completing assignments. College is about making connections and joining a community of dedicated students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Our students want to work and play with people as interesting as they are, and we have a number of ways for you to do the same.

Your life can be designed how you like it. Join a design team like Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. Continue your passion for volunteering with Code the Change. Keep making art with Corpus Callosum. On this page, we have a few student organizations we think you might be interested in, but there are so many more you can get involved in!

Code the Change

Service Organization

This community of student technologists designs and builds software to empower philanthropic organizations to help them alleviate various problems facing our world like assisting the homeless in finding job training.

Association for Computing Machinery

Professional Organization

ACM is USC's largest Computer Science organization, providing many events and opportunities for students to develop their professional and technical skills like learning how to code from upperclassmen or meeting industry reps.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Design Team

By employing industry standard programs and techniques, USC AUV ensures that all members have a hands-on, practical engineering experience outside of the classroom that can be utilized in their future careers.

Imagine yourself on campus.

Learn more about life at USC as an engineering student at Viterbi Voices:

Viterbi VoicesViterbi Voices

More Engineering Disciplines

You just learned so much about Computer Science, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond this department, Viterbi has ten academic disciplines spread across eight departments to make up more than thirty major combinations. Take some time to explore all of your interests.

Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

Design for Movement.

Astronautical Engineering

Build for Beyond.

Biomedical Engineering

Help Others Live Better.

Chemical Engineering

Make the Stuff of Tomorrow.

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Design. Build. Improve.

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Power Up.

Industrial & Systems Engineering

Engineer Better Businesses.

Undeclared Engineering

It’s Okay If You’re Not Sure.

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