Progressive Degree Program

The Progressive Degree Program (PDP) gives continuing USC undergraduates another path to earning a Master’s degree from USC.  Exceptional undergraduate students completing a computer science major or related major can apply for the Progressive Degree Program.  If admitted, students have the option to start graduate-level classes during their senior year and request a reduction in the units required for the Master’s degree, which allows students to earn the M.S. in Computer Science with one or two additional semesters of study.  The Progressive Degree Program must be completed within six years of a student’s first undergraduate college course, whether taken at USC or in transfer.

The Progressive Degree Program is available only for the Master of Science in Computer Science (General).

Information about the Progressive Degree Program and application instructions can be found on the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s website:

Interested students should review the above mentioned materials in detail and make an appointment with their Academic Advisor to discuss their eligibility, the application process, and the required course plan.

CSCI, CSGM, and CECS students are automatically eligible to apply for the progressive degree program.  CSBA students must complete CSCI 356 and CSCI 350 as technical electives in order to become eligible.  Non-majors interested in a progressive master’s in CS should refer to the FAQ below.

Progressive Degree FAQ

Ryan Rozan (Last Names A-G), Norma Perry (Last Names H-O),  Chrissy Franks Sayed (Last Names M-So), Mara Ragan (Last Names Sp-Wa) and Kevin HEnry (Last Names Wb-Z) advise the undergraduate students and the graduate progressive degree students in Computer Science.  They can approve and sign your course plan.
For students in other disciplines preparing for admission to the M.S. program, we require the following preparation:

1. Complete the Computer Science minor with the following adjustments:
2. Take BOTH CSCI 201 (Principles of Software Development) AND CSCI 270 (Introduction to Algorithms and Theory of Computing). The minor calls for either one, but we need to see both in your background.
3. Take CSCI 356 (Introduction to Computer Systems) as a technical elective.
4. Take CSCI 350 (Operating Systems) as a technical elective.

For students completing the M.S. Computer Science (General) as a progressive Master’s degree, the traditional 28 unit program can be reduced to a minimum of 20 units, or five 4 unit courses.

Subject requirements include:

  1. CSCI 570 is required.
  2. Choose TWO courses from CSCI 561, CSCI 571, CSCI 585.
  3. Choose TWO graduate level CSCI elective courses.

The courses for the progressive Master’s degree may not be at the 400-level and must be at the 500-level.

The course plan must include graded graduate level CSCI courses. Directed Research and Internship can be taken but will not be counted in the minimum units required for the progressive Master’s degree.
  • The program of study code for the progressive M.S. in Computer Science is 674.