MS Web Science (formerly Internet Engineering)

The Master of Science in Web Science provides students a rigorous background in software development, with a particular focus on software for today's Internet industry. With the University of San Francisco's prime location in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area and its proximity to Silicon Valley, USF graduate students enjoy an environment rich with the many innovations and opportunities of this world-renown region of technology.

Close interaction with full-time faculty is a hallmark of graduate education at USF. Along with the full-time teaching and research faculty, accomplished and active experts from the high-tech and internet industries bring real-word internet and computing experience to the classroom. In the Harney Science Center on the USF campus, a state-of-the-art computer and multimedia studio was recently constructed and endowed with a $2.5 million gift from Computer Science alumnus Alfred Chuang, the founder of BEA Systems. Students and faculty also maintain the W.M. Keck Computer Cluster (a Myrinet-connected network of 128 processors which provides students with on-site access to one of the most powerful computers at a liberal arts university).

Students who complete the Masters of Science in Web Science will be able to demonstrate:
  • 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.
Foundation Requirements

The foundation requirements are not required for admission to the graduate program, but must be completed while at USF to achieve regular status as a graduate student. The foundation requirements can be waived if met by previous studies or work experience equivalent to the requirements:

  • Introductory programming (two courses)
  • Upper-division programming (one course)
  • Discrete math (one course)
  • Data structures (one course)
If an applicant believes that they may have fulfilled these requirements by previous study or experience, please attach a statement to the application form with a descriptive explanation.

Required Graduate Courses

  • Web systems and algorithms
  • Network Programming
  • Distributed Software Development
  • Artificial Intelligence Programming
  • Master's Project
  • Security
Plus 2 electives.  (see course descriptions)

Master's Project

All students in the Web Science program undertake a Master's project. The project can be either a sponsored project for a commercial concern or other institution or a research project. In either case, the project will result in the specification, design and development of a significant software system with full documentation, an oral presentation to the university community and a written report. (see course descriptions)

Curriculum and degree requirements

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 accelerator program below).

Year Fall Spring 
 I CS662
 II CS683

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


"I wish there had been an entrepreneurship emphasis like USF's when I was in computer science graduate school; my career has been a combination of just that: technology and management. I hope USF's MS students, particularly those taking the emphasis in entrepreneurship, will consider Adobe upon graduation."
Dr. Charles M. Geschke
co-founder and Chairman of the Board, Adobe Systems

"Today's business world demands both deep technical skills and expansive business acumen. Excellent USF CS graduates demonstrate both these traits and BEA looks forward to hiring more outstanding talent."
Alfred S. Chuang
Chairman, co-founder, CEO
BEA Systems

Accelerated 1-year MSWS

USF offers an accelerated MSWS degree that can be completed in an intensive 12 months. Applicants must have very strong software development backgrounds to be accepted into the accelerated program. 
Accelerated One-Year MS Web Science degree

USF offers an accelerated MSWS degree that can be completed in an intensive 12 months. Applicants must have very strong software development backgrounds to be accepted into the accelerated program.  Students take a 3 course load (12 units) in the Fall semester and Spring semester. After successfully completing these courses, student spends the summer taking two 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 excepted 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 (without the intensive summer workshops).

Working while you go to school

USF is your gateway to the Silicon Valley. The computer science graduate school at USF now offers a Practicum Option that allows students to gain practical work experience in the Silicon Valley while going to school. Students approved for the Practicum Option typically earn between $20 and $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.