For convenience, below we provide a course flowchart and a set of slides for MS student orientation:
At the beginning of each semester communications group faculty hold group advising sessions. The purpose of this session is to address questions and issues common to a many new MSEE students. These sessions are held in other areas of interest as well (e.g., signal processing, VLSI, etc.) Check the EE Department Webpage for information regarding the schedule of these sessions. These sessions are also publicized through posters in EEB.
This page/website covers the material presented at this group advising session in the communications area. However, the session is also a chance for you to ask questions and for us to discuss issues that have recently arisen, so you are encourages to attend.
While the group advising sessions are most efficent at getting new student aquainted with the EE program, students are encouraged to speak with professors individually for advisement. As a student, you are welcome to come to any professor's office hours to discuss anything you like - e.g., degree planning, career planning, etc.
The background of our incoming students varies significantly, so we give placement exams to determine whether or not a student should take certain courses at the start of our degree program. In communications and networks, these classes are EE441 Linear Algebra, EE464 Probability and Random Variables, and EE450 Introduction to Networks. You cna check the course catalogue to see if you have had a class similar to this prior to arriving at USC. If you have, you should take the placement exam to demonstrate your knowledge. If haven't had such a class, you will need to take the class before moving on in the degree program.
Waivers for Prerequisites and/or Placement Exams
These are not granted, so please do not ask for this from our faculty. The purpose of the placement exams and the prerequisite structure is to ensure that you learn as much as possible. If students enroll in classes that they are unprepared for, they do poorly or the material must be altered, which is unfair to the students who have prepared themselves.
Many incoming MSEE students want to focus in a narrow area of coursework. This is not always possible and it may not be advantageous for career planning. In the communications area, there are a sequence of classes that span several semesters and require senior-level classes in probability and linear algebra. So, if you plan to complete your MSEE in 3 semesters, it may not be possible to take all your classes in "communications".
As a solution, we suggest that MSEE students consider taking classes in communications and supplementing those with several classes in a related area. This alliviates the course planning issues and also provides you with a valuable combination of skills. Note that these are not specialized MSEE degrees; we simply provide sample course programs for MSEE with:
For an example set of classes in these areas, see the CSI Orientation Slides.
Research and Funding
Students who have entered USC in the MSEE program without financial aid, can apply for positions as teaching assistants, graders, and/or research assistants. These positions are, however, highly competetive. The majority of these resourses are typically awarded to Ph.D. students and those intending to pursue the Ph.D. degree.