The Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) offers an online Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) degree with a Data Science specialization. The program targets the specialized computer programing, statistical modeling, and algorithmic analysis expertise used by data scientists to solve real-world problems, in areas like business, healthcare and medicine, civil and environmental engineering, and the energy sector. Students must complete 32 credits of coursework, which can be done in one-and-a-half to two years by full-time students. Part-time students generally graduate in two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half years. The program is 100% online and does not require any campus visits.
Online programs offered by the Viterbi School of Engineering are delivered through USC’s Distance Education Network, or DEN@Viterbi, a learning management system that allow for both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Lectures and discussions are videotaped and transmitted from campus-based studio classrooms as they are being taught. Online students can either log in to participate in real-time, or view archived recordings of the lectures and discussion on-demand, 24-7. Most assignments can be turned in online, but exams must be proctored. Students who live in the Los Angeles area are required to take exams on USC’s main campus. Students who live outside of the LA area can arrange to have their exams proctored at a nearby testing center.
The Data Science curriculum at USC is grounded in three core computer science courses: Foundations of Artificial Intelligence; Analysis of Algorithms; and Database Systems. Students can then choose three group electives in Data Systems and Data Analysis, which include courses in the following topics: Information Integration on the Web; Database Systems Interoperability; Machine Learning; Probabilistic Reasoning; and Geospatial Information Management. A broader range of electives makes up the remaining crediting requirements. Students may opt for classes in subject areas like: Professional Writing and Communication for Computer Scientists; Applied Probability; and Optimization Theory and Techniques.
USC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).