Directed Research – Sign Up Instructions

1.  You must personally contact the Computer Science instructor with whom you wish to do directed research.  Use the CS Faculty Directory and Research Areas & Labs listings to find faculty whose research match your interests.

2.  After gaining permission from the Computer Science instructor, you will need to fill out the online application at: http://myviterbi.usc.edu

B.S. Students: Choose CSCI 490 only.
M.S. Students: Choose CSCI 590 only.
Ph.D. Students: Choose CSCI 790 only.

The number of units for Directed Research is determined between you and your chosen instructor.

3.  The faculty member will receive an automated email and they must approve your project via the online application system.

4.  Do not fill out the online application until you have received permission from the Computer Science instructor.

5.  After the faculty member approves your application, the department will approve the project and issue d-clearance within one week.


Directed Research FAQ

Graduate Students: No.  CSCI 590 and CSCI 790 Directed Research is credit or no credit.  It is not graded.  You can only earn units toward the degree.
Undergraduate Students: Yes. You are assigned a letter grade for CSCI 490 Directed Research.  It counts toward your GPA and you earn units toward your degree, typically these are technical elective units.
No.  You can only have one enrollment in a Directed Research course per semester.
Students who began in Spring 2017 and earlier: A maximum combination of 4 units of CSCI 590 Directed Research and ENGR 596 Internship can be used toward the M.S. program.
Students who began in Fall 2017 and later: A maximum combination of 2 units of CSCI 590 Directed Research and 2 units of CSCI 591 Research Colloquium can be used toward the M.S. program.  Internships do not count for credit in the M.S. Program.
There is no list of topics or projects.  Most faculty do not advertise their availability for Directed Research.  Any full-time Computer Science faculty can supervise your Directed Research.  It is up to you to search and contact the professors on your own.
M.S. students can only take a 1-2 unit Directed Research.  A maximum of 2 units can be taken for credit toward the M.S. degree, so you can either take 1 unit of CSCi 490 twice, or do the course once for 2 units.  The number of units should be something that you discuss with your Professor and Advisor.
Undergraduate students should consult with their Professor regarding the appropriate number of units. Keep in mind that 3 units of research is roughly supposed to be the same amount of time as a 3 unit class. Typically, each unit represents an hour of class time and two hours of outside-of-class study time.  So, a student taking a 3 unit Directed Research could expect to spend about an average of 9 hours per week on the course.  A student taking a 4 unit Directed Research could expect to spend an average of about 12 hours per week on the course.
It’s between you and the Professor. Most faculty require a final report. Some require code. Others require a presentation. Often, it is a combination.