A computer science student smiling in front of his PC.

Computer Science

Gain the skills you need to thrive in the brave new world of computer science. An advanced degree prepares you to excel in a career in national laboratories, federal or state agencies, continuing education and more.

Why Study Computer Science?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 12% (roughly 546,000 new jobs) from 2018 to 2028 — much faster than the average for all occupations.

As a graduate-level computer science student at USD, you'll prepare to excel as a professional in the field. Learn the ins and outs of the latest technological developments, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, pattern recognition, data science, information retrieval, internet of things, cybersecurity and big data. But you won't stop there — due to our endless research and internship opportunities, you'll learn to apply your knowledge to solve real-world problems in every facet of society. Armed with both experience and knowledge, you'll be positioned to succeed in the rapidly growing fields of computer science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and information security.

Become a pioneer in the expanding world of computer science, artificial intelligence and informatics at USD.

Degrees & Offerings

Computer Science (M.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

A master's degree in computer science prepares you for a career in any type of field as technology continues to shape our world. You'll receive foundational knowledge that you can use to understand the complex problems of today and create the solutions of tomorrow. This program requires 30 credit hours and offers both a thesis and non-thesis track.

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Computer Science: Artificial Intelligence (M.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

Explore this specialization if you are interested in data analytics with machine learning models, computational chemistry physics, business/finance and heath sciences, to name a few. This program offers both a thesis and non-thesis track and requires 30 credit hours which includes 15 credit hours for the specialization.

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Computer Science: Informatics (M.S.)

Accelerated Program
  Vermillion Main Campus

This specialization prepares you for a career as database developers/managers, e-commerce specialist, human-computer interface designer, information architect and more. You'll take coursework in high performance computing, data mining, information storage and retrieval, bioinformatics and computational biology. This program offers both a thesis and non-thesis track and requires 30 credit hours which includes 12 credit hours for the specialization.

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Accelerated Computer Science (B.S./M.S.)

Accelerated Program
  Vermillion Main Campus

If you are a current USD undergraduate student who would like to begin a master's degree while completing your bachelor's degree, you may apply and begin the program after completion of 90 undergraduate credit hours.

View Admissions Requirements

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.


As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

An Affordable Education

Gain valuable real-world, professional experience while enjoying paid employment and discounted tuition rates as a graduate student at USD. The affordability you gain through graduate assistantships and fellowships will equip you will valuable, professional-level skills that will set you apart after graduation. 

Teaching and research assistantships are awarded by individual departments. If you do not receive an assistantship within your department, you are eligible for an assistantship outside of your academic program or administrative assistantships within support offices are available at USD. Further inquiries should be directed to the graduate chair of the department.

For more information and to apply for a graduate assistantship, visit the Graduate Assistantship webpage.

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Real Experience Through Research

You'll find the mentorship and opportunities you need to study topics that spark your curiosity. 

At USD, our graduate students are actively pursuing unique research and presenting at local and national conferences exploring innovative areas of interest to them. Additional research and grant opportunities include:

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) 

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition provides the opportunity to communicate the significance and impact of your research project in just three minutes. 

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Research and Creative Scholarship Opportunities

Each semester students may apply for grants through the USD Graduate School, faculty and students pursue research in virtually all academic departments on campus, and in many cases, it is a required portion of a graduate degree program. 

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IdeaFest is an annual event celebrating student research, creative scholarship and academic engagement. Undergraduate and graduate students in all disciplines present their work in oral and poster presentations, live performances, readings, exhibits and displays. 

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USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the Department of Computer Science. Through these organizations, you can forge valuable professional connections, make lifelong friends and gain incomparable experience in your field.

Association of Computing Machinery

Formed in 1947, the ACM is is the world's largest scientific and educational computing society. Becoming a member will help you build relationships with other students and computer science professionals and open doors for you professionally.

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Network Security Club

The club regularly participates in the North Central Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, in which schools compete to create the best corporate network security system. In 2017, USD's team took second place.

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Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPI)

This international honor society promotes excellence in computer science and information technology, with more than 300 chapters at schools across the country.

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Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Join your fellow graduate and professional students at USD. We aim to build a sense of community between graduate and professional students. Build your resume, network with others and gain experience and the unique opportunity to represent the interests of graduate students to the greater campus and community.

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Departments & Facilities

Our department is home to programs, resources and services that benefit our students, communities and academic discipline. The USD Department of Computer Science's award-winning faculty's research and teaching areas are primarily focused on algorithms, artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, pattern recognition, data science, information retrieval, Internet of Things, cyber security and big data.
Computer Science person looking at a computer screen

Computer Science

Learn to develop and manage technology that changes the world in the Department of Computer Science.


Get to know the faculty and staff in the Departments of Computer Science and Math. Our faculty are experts in their field, contributing research and scholarship in algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine vision, machine learning, pattern recognition, data science, information retrieval, internet of things, cybersecurity and big data.
Bio Image for Faculty Member KC Santosh

KC Santosh

Chair-Computer Science


Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Bio Image for Faculty Member Farhad Akhbardeh

Farhad Akhbardeh

Farhad Akhbardeh
Bio Image for Faculty Member Laurie Fritsch

Laurie Fritsch

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Douglas Goodman

Douglas Goodman

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Carrie Minette

Carrie Minette

Bio Image for Faculty Member Rodrigue Rizk

Rodrigue Rizk

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Vijayalakshmi Saravanan

Vijayalakshmi Saravanan

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Longwei Wang

Longwei Wang

Assistant Professor
A student posing in front of the computer science robotics sign.

A Strong Computer Science Program

A team of faculty-led computer science graduate students competed in the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Content, only 50 teams in the world were qualified for this contest and USD was the only team in the region to attend. Be assured, you will be ready for top careers in the industry with an advanced degree from USD.

A finger touching a screen with code.

Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP)

Increase affordability and minimize student loan debt through the WRGP program. Since public-university nonresident tuition rates are typically much higher than resident rates – sometimes by 300 percent or more–WRGP increases affordable higher education options for students, and minimizes student loan debt for out-of-state students.

Learn More about the WRGP program

Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 

Graduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Graduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees.

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.

Graduate Assistantships

USD offers opportunities for grad students to earn a reduced tuition rate in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university.


Alum success story

Success story Kurtis Van Gent smiling.
The best part about USD is the staff. The majority of them will go above and beyond to help students who are interested. Today I work as a developer programs engineer for Google— a job I would not have gotten had I chose a different school.

Kurtis Van Gent

M.A. Computer Science '17

B.S. Computer Science '16

Developer Program Engineer, Google
San Francisco, California

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