University of Southern California

Viterbi School of Engineering

Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering

Degree Requirements

Undergraduate Program Educational Objectives

The electrical engineering program objectives are designed to promote technical competence, professional development and citizenship in the global community. Graduates of the undergraduate program in electrical engineering are expected to attain the following objectives within a few years of graduation:

Technical Competence

Graduates will apply their technical skills in mathematics, science and engineering to the solution of complex problems encountered in modern electrical engineering practice.

Graduates will model, analyze, design and experimentally evaluate components or systems that achieve desired technical specifications subject to the reality of economic constraints.

Professional Development

Graduates will compete effectively in a world of rapid technological change and assume leadership roles within industrial, entrepreneurial, academic or governmental environments in the broad context of electrical engineering.

Some graduates who choose to redirect their careers will be employed in diverse fields such as healthcare, business, law, computer science, multimedia and music through graduate-level studies and the process of lifelong learning.

Citizenship in the Global Community

Graduates will have established the foundations for critical thinking that are needed to broaden or redirect their careers in diverse disciplines such as business, health care and the arts through graduate-level studies and/or the process of life-long leaning.

Graduates will adhere to highly ethical practices, and they will make exemplary engineering decisions that balance economic, environmental and societal factors for the betterment of the global community.

Undergraduate Program Criteria

The program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering provides both breadth and depth across the range of engineering topics implied by the title. The curriculum includes probability and statistics, including appropriate applications; mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and advanced mathematics, such as differential equations, linear algebra, complex variables and discrete mathematics; sciences (defined as biological, chemical or physical science); and engineering topics (including computing science) necessary to analyze and design complex electrical and electronic devices, software and systems containing hardware and software components.

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

The requirement for the degree is 131 units. A cumulative grade point average of C (2.0) is required for all courses taken at USC as well as all upper division courses applied towards the major, regardless of the department in which the courses are taken. See also the common requirements for undergraduate degrees section.

composition/writing requirements Units
WRIT 150* Writing and Critical Reasoning — Thematic Approaches 4
WRIT 340 Advanced Writing 3
General Education Units
General education* + 20****
pre-major requirements Units
Math Requirement
MATH 125 Calculus I 4
MATH 126 Calculus II 4
MATH 226 Calculus III 4
MATH 245 Mathematics of Physics and Engineering I 4
MATH 445 Mathematics of Physics and Engineering II 4
Physics Requirement
PHYS 151L** Fundamentals of Physics I: Mechanics and Thermodynamics 4
PHYS 152L Fundamentals of Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism 4
PHYS 153L Fundamentals of Physics III: Optics and Modern Physics 4
Biology Requirement
BISC 120L General Biology: Organismal Biology and Evolution, or
BISC 121L Advanced General Biology: Organismal Biology and Evolution, or
BISC 220L General Biology: Cell Biology and Physiology, or
BISC 221L Advanced General Biology: Cell Biology and Physiology 4
Chemistry Elective
CHEM 105aL General Chemistry, or
CHEM 115aL Advanced General Chemistry, or
MASC 110L Materials Science 4
major requirements Units
Engineering
ENGR 102 Engineering Freshman Academy 2
Computer Science
EE 355x Software Design for Engineers 3
Electrical Engineering
EE 109L Introduction to Embedded Systems 3
EE 105 Introduction to Electrical Engineering 3
EE 150L Engineering Computational Methods 3
EE 202L Linear Circuits 4
EE 301L Linear Systems 4
EE 330 Electromagnetics I 3
EE 364*** Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Industrial and Systems Engineering
ISE 460 Engineering Economy, or
BUAD 301 Technology Entrepreneurship 3
Major electives Units
Electives See requirements for graduation 33
Total units: 131
*GE Category VI is taken concurrently with WRIT 150.

**Satisfies GE Category III requirement.

***Students enrolled in the progressive degree program may take EE 503 (4) to satisfy this requirement.

****The BISC course taken in the pre-major requirements counts toward GE units for a total of 24 units of GE.

+The university allows engineering majors to replace the GE Category IV with a second course in Categories I, II or VI.

Requirements for Graduation: Engineering Electives
Entry-Level Electives

Students are required to take four entry-level electives from the following list: EE 209L (4), EE 241 (3), EE 322 (3), EE 337L (3), EE 338 (3), EE 348L (4), EE 354L (3).

Advanced Electives

Students must fulfill a minimum requirement of three 400-level elective courses in electrical engineering. Of these, one must be a capstone design course from the following list: EE 422x (3), EE 423Lx (3), EE 434Lx (4), EE 447Lx (4), EE 459Lx (3), EE 484x (3).

Free Electives

Free elective courses that complete the 33-unit elective requirement are to be chosen in consultation with the student’s academic adviser. Students are encouraged to pursue minor options when satisfying this requirement.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Computer Science

See the listing under Computer Engineering.

Minor in Music Recording

A minor in music recording is offered through the USC Thornton School of Music to provide undergraduate students with the background necessary to enter the field of recording engineering and to familiarize them with the design needs of modern recording equipment. The minor is recommended to electrical engineering majors with extensive musical training who would like to combine their technical and musical abilities while learning the engineering applications of physical and mathematical principles to the art of music recording. See the listing under the Thornton School of Music.

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

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.

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: (1) a total of at least 27 units is required; (2) 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; (3) no more than three 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; (4) at least 18 units must be taken in electrical engineering, those not in EE require written adviser approval and must be technical in nature; (5) 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; (6) at least 21 of the 27 units must be taken in the Viterbi School of Engineering; (7) units to be transferred (maximum four with adviser approval) must have been taken prior to taking classes at USC — interruption of residency is not allowed.

The aerospace controls option is available as an area of emphasis for MSEE students interested in learning to apply innovative control techniques to aerospace control problems. In addition to 18 approved units of electrical engineering courses, students in this option will take at least three of the following aerospace and mechanical engineering courses: AME 453 Engineering Dynamics (3); AME 531 Aerodynamics of Wings and Bodies (3); AME 532ab Flight Vehicle Stability and Control (3-3); AME 525 Engineering Analysis (3); AME 526 Engineering Analytical Methods (3); ASTE 580 Orbital Mechanics I (3).

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (Computer Networks)

Under the computer networks option students must satisfy the M.S., Electrical Engineering requirements with the exception that only 15 units of EE are required. It is expected that each student in this program will take or have taken the equivalent of three of the four following fundamental courses: CSCI 402x, EE 450, EE 457Lx and EE 503. With the exception of EE 503, the fundamental courses may also be satisfied by having passed EE placement exams. Three of the following courses are required: CSCI 551, EE 550, EE 555 and EE 597. If a fourth required course is taken it can be counted toward elective credit. Suggested elective courses include: CSCI 530, CSCI 555, CSCI 558L, CSCI 570, CSCI 694a, CSCI 694b, EE 512, EE 532, EE 535, EE 554, EE 557, EE 558, EE 579, EE 590, EE 649, EE 650, EE 652, EE 659. Any other course must be approved by a faculty adviser. Total units required for the degree is 27.

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (Electric Power)

See listing in the Sustainable Infrastructures Systems section.

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (Multimedia and Creative Technologies)

Students may earn a specialization in multimedia and creative technologies by completing the general requirements for the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and the following additional requirements:

  • At most four units of electives can be taken outside of the Viterbi School of Engineering with adviser approval. Some examples are CTAN 452 Introduction to 3-D Computer Animation (2 units) and CTIN 483 Introduction to Game Development (4 units).
  • Computer science courses that are cross-listed with EE can (but do not have to) count toward the 18 EE units. Up to nine units of other CSCI courses that either are or are not cross-listed can also be used. Multimedia and creative technologies draws heavily on concepts and techniques from computer science.
  • Students must include the following three courses in their program
EE 483 Introduction to Digital Signal Processing 3
EE 519 Speech Recognition and Processing for Multimedia 3
EE 569 Introduction to Digital Image Processing 3
  • A course can be waived if a student can demonstrate equivalent knowledge of the material and if the course instructor will certify it.
  • Students must include six courses from the following list of courses in their programs for a total of 18 units.
Approved Courses for the Multimedia Specialization
Courses in Electrical Engineering units
EE 450 Introduction to Computer Networks 3
EE 522 Immersive Audio Signal Processing 3
EE 555 Broadband Network Architectures 3
EE 577a VLSI System Design 3
EE 586L Advanced DSP Design Laboratory 4
EE 596 Wavelets 3
EE 619 Advanced Topics in Automatic Speech Recognition 3
EE 669 Multimedia Data Compression 3
Courses in Computer Science Units
CSCI 455x Introduction to Programming Systems Design 4
CSCI 485 File and Database Management 4
CSCI 551 Computer Communications 4
CSCI 571 Web Technologies 4
CSCI 574 Computer Vision 3
CSCI 576 Multimedia Systems Design 4
CSCI 580 3-D Graphics and Rendering 4
CSCI 582 Geometric Modeling 3
CSCI 585 Database Systems 4
Courses from the School of Cinematic Arts Units
CTAN 452 Introduction to 3-D Computer Animation 2, max 4
CTIN 483 Introduction to Game Development 4
Course in Information Technology Units
ITP 411x Multimedia and Video Production 3
  • Students may replace courses in the above list with a combined maximum of multimedia-related EE 599 or CSCI 599 Special Topics courses in their programs. Every course requires prior approval from the faculty adviser, recorded each semester on the plan of study form.
  • Students may include a maximum of 6 units of EE 590 Directed Research in their programs. Before registering for these units, the faculty adviser must approve a written description of the intended multimedia research project signed by the faculty member who will supervise the student.
  • Students entering this program are expected to have already completed, either at USC or at another institution, formal course work equivalent to USC course EE 364 Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Electrical Engineering. If an approved course has EE 441 as a prerequisite, then the student must first take and pass the placement examination that is given each semester for EE 441. See ee.usc.edu.
  • Although not required, students should be proficient in C or C++ programming, at the level taught in CSCI 455x.
  • Although not required, ITP 411x Multimedia and Video Production (3 units) will provide the student with hands-on experience in using multimedia application tools. This will help the student prepare a portfolio, which is expected by the industry from students who major in a multimedia program.

Master of Science in Systems Architecting and Engineering

See the listing under Systems Architecting and Engineering.

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (VLSI Design)

The Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (VLSI design) is earned by successfully completing the normal requirements for the Master of Science in electrical engineering, with the following additional required courses: EE 536a; EE 577a; EE 577b or EE 536b; and EE 552. If a student chooses to take EE 536b as well as EE 577b, the student may either count EE 536b as one of the courses for Area 2 or EE 577b as one of the courses for Area 1 or Area 3. No more than three 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.

The students must also take two courses from one of the following areas and one course from a second area:

  • Area 1: CSCI 455x, EE 560, EE 577b (see above), EE 658, EE 680 and EE 681.
  • Area 2: EE 448L, EE 504L, EE 536b (see above), EE 537 and EE 630.
  • Area 3: CSCI 455x, CSCI 570, EE 557, EE 560L, EE 577b (see above), EE 659 and EE 677.

With explicit approval of a faculty adviser, EE 599 Special Topics and/or 3 units of EE 590 Directed Research may be used to meet requirements for any of the approved areas.

The remaining courses must be technical electives approved by the adviser, and can including the following: EE 501, EE 502, EE 504L, EE 506, EE 540, EE 554, EE 560L, EE 590, EE 601 and EE 677.

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (Wireless Health Technology)

The Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (Wireless Health Technology) reflects a partnership between the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Keck School of Medicine, and other institutions engaged in health care research. The program of study features targeted engineering courses, a rigorous exposure to general medicine, and relevant internship practice (a total of 29-32 units).

Required Courses (20 units) units
EE 450 Introduction to Computer Networks 3
EE 579 Wireless and Mobile Networks Design and Laboratory 3
MEDS 530abc Foundations of Medicine, Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathology 12
MEDS 597ab Health Technology Internship 1-1
Take three electives from the following list (9-12 units)
CSCI 545 Robotics 4
CSCI 561 Foundations of Artificial Intelligence 4
EE 503 Probability for Electrical and Computer Engineers 4
EE 519 Speech Recognition and Processing for Multimedia 3
EE 535 Mobile Communications 3
EE 550 Design and Analysis of Computer Communication Networks 3
EE 559 Mathematical Pattern Recognition 3
EE 564 Digital Communication and Coding Systems 3
EE 565 Information Theory and Compression 3
EE 567 Communication Systems 3
MEDS 500 Basic Concepts in Global Health 4
MEDS 501 Critical Issues in Global Health 4
MEDS 502 Global Epidemiology of Diseases and Risk Factors 4
Total: 29-32 units

Students are expected to have a background in linear algebra equivalent to EE 441 and experience with a programming language such as C or C++. Admitted students who do not meet prerequisites by placement examination will be assigned courses to complete the deficiencies.

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (Wireless Networks)

The Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (Wireless Networks) is a unique interdisciplinary degree program that prepares graduates for the design and improvement of future wireless networks such as the “Internet of Things.” The program combines courses related to radio hardware, transmission techniques, the medium-access control layer, networking, applications and standards.

No more than three 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.

REQUIRED COURSES (15 UNITS) Units
CSCI 402 Operating Systems 4
EE 503 Probability for Electrical and Computer Engineers 4
EE 511 Simulation Methods for Stochastic Systems 1
EE 535 Mobile Communications 3
EE 597 Wireless Networks 3
ELECTIVE COURSES (12-14 UNITS, AT LEAST ONE COURSE FROM TWO AREAS) Units
Transmission Techniques and Signal Processing
EE 483 Introduction to Digital Signal Processing 3
EE 558 Optical Fiber Communication Systems 3
EE 564 Digital Communication and Coding Systems 3
EE 583 Statistical Signal Processing 3
EE 586L Advanced DSP Design Laboratory 4
Architectures, Protocols, and Applications
EE 519 Speech Recognition and Processing for Multimedia 3
EE 532 Wireless Internet and Pervasive Computing 3
EE 550 Design and Analysis of Computer Communication Networks 3
EE 555 Broadband Network Architectures 3
EE 579 Wireless and Mobile Networks Design and Laboratory 3
EE 652 Low-Power Wireless Networks 3
Communication Hardware and Design
EE 448L Communication Electronics 4
EE 541 Radio Frequency Filter Design 3
EE 544 Radio Frequency Systems and Hardware 3

Note: This program assumes prerequisite preparation in the area of computer networks. Students who do not meet this requirement or who do not pass a related placement exam will be required to take EE 450 Introduction to Computer Networks.

Financial Engineering

Electrical Engineering Building 100
(213) 740-4447
FAX: (213) 740-4449
Email: eesystem@usc.edu

Faculty Contact: Professor Petros Ioannou, ioannou@usc.edu

Master of Science in Financial Engineering

The objective of this program is the training of graduate students with engineering, applied mathematics or physics backgrounds in the application of mathematical and engineering tools to finance. Financial engineering is a multidisciplinary education program that involves the Viterbi School of Engineering, the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences (Department of Economics). Financial engineering uses tools from finance and economics, engineering, applied mathematics and statistics to address problems such as derivative securities valuation, strategic planning and dynamic investment strategies, and risk management, which are of interest to investment and commercial banks, trading companies, hedge funds, insurance companies, corporate risk managers and regulatory agencies.

A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be earned on all course work applied toward the master’s degree in financial engineering. Transfer units count as credit (CR) toward the master’s degree and are not computed in the grade point average. In addition to the general requirements of the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Master of Science in Financial Engineering is also subject to the following requirements: (1) a total of at least 30 units is required; (2) every plan of study requires prior written approval by the contact faculty of the program; (3) units to be transferred (maximum of four with adviser approval) must have been taken prior to taking classes at USC; interruption of residency is not allowed.

Curriculum

The degree requirements include six required courses and two courses from each of two lists of electives for a minimum total of 30 units.

Required Units
GSBA 548 Corporate Finance 3
FBE 559 Management of Financial Risk, or 3
ISE 563 Financial Engineering 3
EE 503 Probability for Electrical and Computer Engineers 4
EE 512 Stochastic Processes 3
EE 518 Mathematics and Tools for Financial Engineers 4
EE 590 Directed Research, or
ENGR 596 Internship in Engineering 1
Electives (adviser approved) Units
Finance, Business, Economics Area:
Two courses (6-7 units) from the following:
ECON 500 Microeconomic Analysis and Policy 4
ECON 501 Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy 4
ECON 613 Econometric and Financial Time Series I 4
FBE 529 Financial Analysis and Valuation 3
FBE 535 Applied Finance in Fixed Income Securities 3
FBE 540 Hedge Funds 3
FBE 543 Forecasting and Risk Analysis 3
FBE 554 Trading and Exchanges 3
FBE 555 Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management 3
FBE 589 Mortgages and Mortgage-Backed Securities and Markets 3
ISE 566 Financial Accounting Analysis for Engineering 3
Optimization, Simulations, Stochastic Systems:
Two courses (6-7 units) from the following:
CE 645 Uncertainty Modeling and Stochastic Optimization 3
CSCI 455x Introduction to Programming Systems Design 4
CSCI 570 Analysis of Algorithms 4
EE 500 Neural and Fuzzy Systems 3
EE 517 Statistics for Engineers 3
EE 553* Computational Solution of Optimization Problems 3
EE 556 Stochastic Systems 3
EE 562a Random Processes in Engineering 3
ISE 520* Optimization: Theory and Algorithms 3
ISE 536 Linear Programming and Extensions 3
ISE 539 Stochastic Elements of Simulation 3
*Students cannot receive credit for both ISE 520 and EE 553

Dual Degree Program (M.S., Electrical Engineering / M.S., Engineering Management)

The Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering in conjunction with the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering offers a program leading to the degree of Master of Science in Electrical Engineering/Master of Science in Engineering Management. This program is designed for graduate electrical engineers whose career objectives lead to increasing technical management responsibilities.

In addition to the general requirements of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the dual degree of Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Master of Science in Engineering Management is also subject to the following requirements:

(1) All applicants must meet the admissions requirements of both the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; (2) a total of at least 48 units is required; (3) 24 of these must satisfy the requirements of the master’s degree in electrical engineering; (4) 21 units must satisfy the required courses towards the master’s degree in engineering management; (5) 3 units of electives approved by the program director or adviser; (6) all courses counted towards the dual degree must be at the 500 level, except those 400-level courses required by the master’s degree in electrical engineering.

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 course work 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.

Engineer in Electrical Engineering

Requirements for the Engineer in Electrical Engineering are the same as those listed under Engineer degree, except that both areas of concentration must be in electrical engineering.

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy with a major in electrical engineering is awarded in strict conformity with the general requirements of the USC Graduate School. See general requirements for graduate degrees. Departmental requirements for this degree consist of a concentrated program of study and research and a dissertation. Each student wishing to undertake a doctoral program must first be admitted to the program and then take the screening examination. This examination will emphasize comprehension of fundamental material in one of the 13 specialized areas of electrical engineering listed below. Listed under each area are courses offered by the Department of Electrical Engineering, which will provide basic background for the examination and partial preparation for the dissertation. Not all courses listed are required for preparation for the screening examination in any specific area. Consult a separately published guide, available from the department office, for more information concerning examination content and scheduling. Further guidance concerning the full completion of courses, including those given outside the department, which are recommended for preparation for the dissertation, can be obtained from the faculty in each technical area.