Overview of Undergraduate Programs


Undergraduate Programs in Computer Science and Engineering


Computing as a Profession

Computer scientists and engineers apply the theories and principles of mathematics and science to design computers, software, networks, and processes. These professionals work in many settings in research, industry, government, business, and education to create advanced information technologies, computer systems, and computer applications. The field of computer science and engineering is constantly moving forward, providing intellectual challenges and developing new knowledge on an almost daily basis.

Career Outlook

The demand for professionals in computing fields is widespread; job opportunities for computer scientists and engineers exist in almost every industry. As computer applications continue to expand, occupations in computer science and engineering are projected to be among the the fastest growing in the United States through 2008. An overview of job opportunities in computer science and engineering is available from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Computer Science and Engineering at USC

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering offers baccalaureate degrees with majors in computer engineering, computer information systems, and computer science. All three degrees provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to work as practitioners in all aspects of the computing and information processing industries. All majors include a common core of fundamental courses in computing. The major in computer engineering includes courses in electronics and computer hardware as well as software; the major in computer information systems includes courses in business and is designed for students who are primarily interested in business applications; the major in computer science allows students to focus primarily on the software aspects of computing and requires selection of an appropriate application area.

The Department also offers MS, ME, and PhD degrees in Computer Science and Engineering. A combined BS/MS program is available which facilitates completion of both degrees by allowing some senior courses to be applied to both degrees. 

Departmental Research

Faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering conduct research and development in a variety of fundamental areas, including agent-based computing, decision making and analysis, database mining and warehousing, multimedia system design and implementation, parallel computer architecture, and security. This research finds applications in bioinformatics, e-commerce, education, information systems, and computer forensics. Advanced elective courses in these areas are offered, and there are some opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in ongoing research projects (or to suggest their own!). See the faculty and departmental research web pages for further information on research activities.

Student Organizations

The ACM and IEEE student societies support a variety of activities, including local programs and field trips, participation in regional conferences, and software contests. There is also an active local chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The department provides support for undergraduate participation in many activities, including conferences and competitions.

Student Services

All undergraduate programs in the College of Engineering and Information Technology are coordinated by the Office of Student Services. This office conducts advisement and orientation for new and transfer students, maintains student records, tracks student progress, and clears students for graduation. They can also provide  information and contacts in nonacademic areas such as housing and financial aid although they are not the primary source of information about these nonacademic areas. Forms and requests requiring the permission of the Dean should be taken to this office; responsibilities related to the undergraduate program have been delegated to this office.