Master of Science Programs – Details

In addition to the general requirements of the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Master of Science in electrical engineering is also subject to the following requirements:

  • a total of at least 27 units
  • every non-EE course for graduate credit requires prior written adviser approval recorded each semester on a special request form in the student’s department file
  • no more than three (3) courses (maximum 12 units) may be counted at the 400 level- at least 18 adviser-approved units must be taken at the 500 or 600 level
  • at least 18 units must be taken in electrical engineering, those not in EE require written adviser approval and must be technical in nature
  • to achieve a degree of breadth in their program, students are encouraged to take two technical courses outside their area of specialization but within EE
  • at least 21 of the 27 units must be taken in the Viterbi School of Engineering
  • units to be transferred (maximum of four (4) with adviser approval) must have been taken prior to taking classes at USC- interruption of residency is not allowed.

A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be earned on all course work applied toward the master’s degree in electrical engineering. This average must also be achieved on all 400-level and above course work attempted at USC beyond the bachelor’s degree and through an accumulation of no more than 12 units beyond the minimum needed for the specific degree program. Transfer units count as credit (CR) toward the master’s degree and are not computed in the grade point average.

Degree Programs

The Department offers many specialized MS degrees in addition to a standard degree, including a degree with the Aerospace Control option. For specific degree program requirements, check below.

Detailed program information applicable to all graduate degrees can be found in the USC Catalogue.

EE Curriculum Flowcharts

These flowcharts organize EE courses into “like areas.” If you are pursuing the MSEE degree, 15 units (5 courses) should be taken from one flowchart. These charts are not degree programs. For specific program degree requirements please check the appropriate links above. Be aware that from time to time faculty will offer EE 599 (Special Topics) courses that may be of interest to your study program.

Please visit this page for information on the following emphasis areas.

Thesis Option

The MS Thesis Option is also available, following the above guidelines with the following additional conditions:

  • minimum requirement of 27 units
  • four (4) of these units are to be thesis
  • At least 16 units, not including thesis, must be at the 500 level or higher, and at least 18 units must be in the major department.
  • A total of 4-8 units of 590 Research and 594ab Thesis must be included in the program. The minimum thesis requirement in 594a is two units; in 594b, two units.

Second Master’s Degree

A graduate student who already holds a master’s degree from USC may apply up to 4 units toward a second master’s degree with the permission of the chair of the major department. All credit, including the transferred units, must be earned within seven calendar years.

For students who earned their first master’s degree at another institution, no coursework may be repeated from the first program of study and no unit credit from the first program of study may be counted toward the second master’s degree.


Students interested in achieving their Masters of Science degree online may do so by enrolling in our top ranked Distance Education Network (DEN) program.  For more information regarding our DEN@Viterbi program, please click here.


Apply to the MS program