New CS Graduate Students

Welcome to the Department of Computer Science graduate programs! Below you can find some resources for getting ready for our program. Please feel free to email if you have any questions.

Please let us know if your status changes before orientation begins. In particular, if you do not plan to join our program please let us know so we can release your space to someone else. Keep in mind your deposit is non-refundable.

Before You Arrive

There are a few things you should take care of before you arrive. In particular, please make sure you have read the following guides:

  • Next Steps: Graduate Arts and Sciences: General information for all graduate students joining the College of Arts and Sciences. Includes information about sending in your official transcripts, setting up your student account, health insurance, and proof of immunization.

  • Pre-Arrival Information for International Students: If you are an international student, please also check out this guide put together by our International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office. This includes information about your visa, packing and travel, and what to do when you first arrive.

In addition, we have provided some extra information for you here. 

Join with your USF email for the latest news and updates!

Program Preparation

Most of our  courses use JavaPython, or the C programming language. We recommend all incoming graduate students brush up on these languages before arriving.

You will write THOUSANDS of lines of code in your first set of courses, so you will want to be prepared! For example, CS 601 Principles of Software Development is one of the first courses you will take. In that course alone, be prepared to write independently 7,000 lines of code. It is important to refresh your skills and come to the program ready for a rigorous graduate program that will prepare you for a successful career!

We also recommend you fill in any missing prerequisite courses you have not already taken. For the MSCS, this includes:

  • CS 110 High-Level Programming (e.g. C, Python)
  • CS 112 Object-Oriented Programming (e.g. Java, C++, C#, Objective-C)
  • CS 245 Data Structures and Algorithms
  • CS 315 Computer Architecture or CS 326 Operating Systems
  • MATH 201 Linear Algebra and Probability
  • MATH 202 Discrete Math

For students in the MSCS Bridge Program, this includes:

  • Introduction to Computer Science/Programming

It is important that this class involves coding assignments -  as a minimum, you need to be comfortable with variables, functions, conditionals, loops.

We have the same expectations for all students, whether or not you have a formal CS degree. All students will take the same set of core courses in your respective programs when you arrive.

Finally, if you are an non-native English speaker, we highly recommend you practice listening and speaking in English. All courses and discussions will be in English, and many of our courses do not have associated books. You will need to be able to comprehend fast-paced lectures in English, and participate in class discussions on technical topics.

Participating in free online courses (in English) are sufficient for all of the above. Check out CourseraedX, and Udacity for options.

Course Registration

All new students will register for courses during the summer (late June, early July). Gian Bruno will reach out to each student to assist with their fall schedule of courses and information on how to enroll through our online registration system. Tuition for fall semester is due August 1st. 

You can find registration instructions and policies from our Student Enrollment Services office. See the Payment Options guide for information on payment deadlines, how to signup for a payment plan, or setup an authorized payer

Finding Housing

You should plan on finding housing BEFORE you arrive. USF has a fantastic off-campus housing page with lots of relevant information. The guides above list several on-campus and off-campus housing resources. Our International Student and Scholar Services office can provide a letter of verification for international students to help with the rental process.

It can be challenging to find affordable housing in the SF Bay Area. The key is to start early. We will also occasionally post additional housing resources in the Announcements section when the semester approaches.

After You Arrive

Once you arrive in SF and are settled in your new housing, feel free to stop by and say hello! (It is always a good idea to make sure I will be on campus first.) You are also welcome to explore the campus and explore the region. See the Getting Around in San Francisco guide for the public transportation options in the area. 

Student ID Card

You will need to get a USF One Card when you arrive on-campus. This will serve as your student ID, give you access to our classrooms and labs, and you can even place money on your card for use in our on-campus cafeteria. 

Before you arrive, make sure you have uploaded a photo to be used on your card. (This speeds up the process considerably.) See the Obtaining a Card guide for students for specific steps.

We will not have your ID cards available to pickup at graduate orientation! Follow the steps above to upload the photo, and pick up your ID card directly from Lone Mountain 130 when it is ready.

International Student Orientation

All international students must attend international student orientation. For details, please see:

Failure to attend international student orientation may result in a hold being placed on your account, which limits your ability to register for classes and access resources.

Graduate Orientation

All incoming MSCS graduate students must attend our program orientation the Monday prior to the start of fall semester. Additional details will be posted as an announcement on the website when the date nears.

2018 Graduate Orientation PPT