USC Viterbi - School of Engineering

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Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering

Program Description: 

*Effective Fall 2016, the required units to earn the M.S. in Cyber Security Engineering will be 32 units.

The Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering degree focuses on the fundamentals of developing, engineering and operating secure information systems. Our curriculum fosters anunderstandingonhowto develop a security policy and how policy drives technology decisions. Students will be well versed in the challenges and problems of secure operating systems, secure applications, secure networking, use of cryptography and key management. 

The specialized degree is intended for graduate students who desire to:

  • obtain jobs in which computer network operations knowledge and skills are required;
  • continue an education path toward a doctorate degree with a focus on information security.

It is also for individuals who are in degree programs or job fields that have some responsibility with information security and desire enhanced knowledge and skills.

Application Info: 

Application Criteria

The typical admitted student will have the following qualifications:

  • an undergraduate degree in computer science, electrical engineering or information security
  • programming capability;
  • understanding of the Theory of Computation and operating systems;
  • desire to learn information security techniques and tools that are directly applicable to current information security challenges; and
  • above average mathematical foundation

Satisfactory cumulative undergraduate GPA (grade point average).

Satisfactory GRE test scores. All scores must be officially reported to the university directly by ETS.

Application Materials for All Applicants

DEN@Viterbi Summer 2016 and DEN@Viterbi Fall 2016 Applicants: All applicants must complete and submit the USC Online Application. 

Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 Applicants: USC Online Application will be available July 1, 2016. Visit our Application Deadlines page for more information. 

Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, sealed by the institution.

By regular mail (ONLY):

University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

By courier service, such as DHL or FedEx:

University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission and Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street, Tyler 1
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915 
(213) 740-1111

By electronic transcripts:

USC also now accepts official electronic transcripts, provided they meet the following guidelines:

  • The transcript originates from a secure site formally linked to the sending institution.
  • The school is located in the United States. We do not accept electronic transcripts from any institution overseas.

Please instruct the vendor to email the transcript to Do not send any materials or correspondence to this email address yourself. To avoid delays, do not provide vendor with any other email.

GRE General Test: Satisfactory and valid test scores. Valid GRE scores must be dated within five years of the start of the intended application semester. The fall semester starts in August, and the spring semester starts in January. Official scores must be reported from ETS directly to USC using ETS school code 4852. A department code is not required.
Letters of Recommendation (Optional): Letters of recommendation should be from faculty or others (supervisors, professional colleagues, etc.) qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. 
Statement of Purpose (Optional): The statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program at the Viterbi School of Engineering, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans, and other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.

Additional Application Materials for International Applicants

English Language Proficiency: In addition to the general admission criteria listed above, international students whose first language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS examination to be considered a candidate for admission.  There is no minimum TOEFL or IELTS score required for admission to the Viterbi School. For possible exemption from additional language requirements, you must achieve an Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 90, with no less than 20 on each section or an IELTS score of 6.5, with no less than 6 on each band score. For more details on English Proficiency Criteria for the University of Southern California, please visit USC Graduate Admission - Proficiency in English.
Program Details: 
Please Note: Requirements for graduation, course offerings, course availability, track offerings and any other degree requirements are subject to change.  Students should consult with an academic advisor prior to registering for any classes.
The Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering requires a total of 27 units mimimum to graduate.
Required Courses: 21 Units
Elective Courses:  6 Units
      Curriculum             Schedule of Classes       
Available Online: 

This program is also available online to professional engineers through the Distance Education Network (DEN@Viterbi). Because the DEN@Viterbi program provides a fully equivalent academic experience, the degree a USC engineering student earns is the same whether they are on-campus or online.

If you are interested in beginning classes as a DEN@Viterbi student next semester, explore the requirements and steps to enrolling as a Limited Status Student

More information about DEN@Viterbi

DEN@Viterbi Online Course Offerings

The following courses and program requirements serve as program planning for DEN@Viterbi students. Course offerings and availability are subject to change. Please consult with advisor if you have any questions.

Required Courses

All Courses Required - 21 units total.
INF 520 | Foundations of Information Security
INF 521 | Applications of Cryptography and Cryptanalysis
INF 522 | Policy: The Foundation for Successful Information Assurance
INF 523 | Assurance in Cyberspace and Applied to Information Security
INF 524 | Distributed Systems and Network Security
INF 525 | Trusted System Design, Analysis, and Development
INF 527 | Secure Systems Engineering

Elective Courses

2 Courses Required - 6 Units total.
CSCI 530 | Security Systems
CSCI 531 | Applied Cryptography
INF 526 | Secure Systems Administration
INF 528 | Computer and Network Forensics