USF students talking after a presentation
G Web Science

The Program

The MSWS degree is focused on developing applications for the Internet, which means studying algorithms such as Google's map-reduce and building large distributed systems. The MSCS degree is a traditional Masters degree, giving students a broad education in computer science from computer architecture and operating systems to algorithms and artificial intelligence. Both degrees stress software development experience.

Students who complete the Master of Science in Web Science will be able equipped with:

  • An understanding of advanced topics in Internet-based computing including software engineering, distributed computing, artificial intelligence, networking, interface design, and Internet systems
  • The ability to design, implement, and debug large-scale, Internet-based software applications
  • The ability to evaluate and understand advanced research from the Internet computing literature
  • Effective communication and team participation skills with respect to software development

Emphasis in Entrepreneurship

In partnership with the Entrepreneurship MBA program, the Computer Science Department offers an emphasis in entrepreneurship for the Web Science degree. Students enrolled in this will take the standard WS degree courses, but take their electives in the top tier Entrepreneurship Program from the business school alongside MBA students. MSWS students normally take 7 courses, one of which is an elective. For this emphasis, MSWS students must take 6 courses plus 3 MBA courses. Students will also be offered the chance to participate in the Silicon Valley Immersion Program. This program allows students to experience Silicon Valley's unique entrepreneurial environment by offering a dynamic curriculum that combines academic content with real world lessons from the industry's key businesses.

Practicum Option

USF is your gateway to the Silicon Valley. The computer science graduate school offers a Practicum Option that allows students to gain practical work experience in the Silicon Valley while going to school . Students typically earn between $20 - $40 per hour, which makes school much easier to afford. Students take internships with companies such as BEA, Adobe, SAP, Intel, Technorati, Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and Internet Archive.

International students that wish to work in the United States after completing a Masters degree apply for optional practical training (OPT), which lasts for one year. Under certain conditions, F-1 students may be eligible for a 17-month extension for total of 29 months.

Program Timelines

Typical Curriculum: Two-Year Program
The typical student takes two years to complete the MSWS degree, but it is possible to complete in one year for talented and well-prepared students (see accelerated program below).

Year Fall Spring 
 I CS662
 II CS690

CS621: Network Programming
CS662: AI Programming
CS682: Distributed Software Development
CS680: Web Systems and Algorithms
CS690: Master's Project

Accelerated One-Year MSWS degree
USF offers an accelerated MSWS degree that can be completed in an intensive 12 month program. Applicants must have very strong software development backgrounds to be accepted into the accelerated program. Students take the usual two 4-unit course load the Fall semester and then 3 4-unit courses in the Spring semester. After successfully completing these courses, student spends the summer taking to software development workshops. These workshops are extremely demanding and require the students to build very significant pieces of software, either in collaboration with a silicon valley company or as part of a faculty member's research. A new accelerated MSWS cohort is accepted each fall.

Year Fall Spring Summer
 I CS662
CS elective

CS691: Software Development Workshop I
CS692: Software Development Workshop II

Students unable to cope with the accelerated requirements have the option to drop back to a slower pace, taking CS690 (Master's Project) in a contiguous 2-semester sequence instead of the intensive summer workshops.

About USF CS/WS department

USF's computer science department is an exciting place to study. For example, in 2004, the department hosted the first ever "FlashMob Supercomputing " event, an experiment in democratizing supercomputing. Another group of students traveled to Tacna, Peru to install and network computers at two schools -- these schools now have Internet access for the first time!

The typical day includes attending interactive lab/lecture sessions in the department's state-of-the-art multi-media classroom , experimenting with the department's 128-processor supercomputer, working directly with professors on exciting research projects, and traveling to inner-city computing centers to help bridge the digital divide in our own neighborhoods. Additionally, the USF student chapter of ACM holds weekly meetings and special events.

Perhaps the best part of the USF experience is the intimacy of the learning environment -- class sizes range from five to thirty students, almost all classes are taught by full-time faculty, and students have the opportunity to work directly with faculty on research projects.

Our students have taken jobs at top companies such as Apple, IBM, Intel, Sun, Microsoft, and Oracle to name a few. Silicon Valley continues to provide fantastic jobs and high salaries (not to mention a fabulous climate and highly desirable place to live). According to Information Week magazine, application developers in San Francisco made between US$80,000 and US$115,000 in 2005. A survey of practicing engineers by EETimes magazine found that two of the most important ways to get the best salary were to "work for a Silicon Valley employer" and "get an MS or a PhD." USF is your gateway to this combination.

Fellowship Award Policy

A number of research fellowships (max of US $20,000) are granted each year. Recipients of fellowships will engage in research under the direction of faculty members. These fellowships are awarded to the top applicants purely on the basis of merit. To continue receiving units, awardees must earn a GPA of 3.3 or better and be involved in a research project with a faculty member after their first semester. Awards are reviewed each semester.

The admissions committee may contact recommenders, interview applicants, and request additional information to more accurately evaluate candidates for admission and fellowship awards.

Student Representatives

Prospective students often have questions that are better answered by their peers. The following is a list of current students that have agreed to act as student representatives for prospective students from the indicated countries.

Lalith Kumar, Maddali,
Sri Achutan,
Ari Apathi,
Satheesh Kumar,
USF Indian newsgroup 
Orkut USF group 
Orkut Indians@USF group

Renjie Xu,
Jia Feng,
Ye Niu,
Yuting Fang,
USF Chinese newsgroup

Taiwan :
Li-Hung Hsieh,

Netherlands :
Jasper Roel,

Mongolia :
Nara Bayarsaikhan,

Papanii Okai,

Arab World:
Nabeeh Ghanem,

France :
Nathalie Le Guay,