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ranked vs unranked...

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Apologies in advance if a similar question has been asked!! Been a long time grad cafe reader and it's always been a help to me - but haven't crossed a similar situation yet.

I've been in the industry for 5 years and my company supports tuition reimbursement so I will be working part-time and taking online courses.

But after looking at the prices between USC and CSUF - I'm strongly considering CSUF since it will take a shorter time to complete. Due to a tuition cap, I would need to spread my classes out over 4 years at USC.

So a degree in 2 years at an unranked university ?? Or a degree in 4 years at a top 20 university - will it make a difference?

I would love to go USC, but need to think cost-effective and I'm not pursuing research, just want to open some doors in my career.

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i think it might be worth it to go to USC but not sure. also the software engg group at USC has Barry Boehm who is old and well known in the field.

I would like to know seniors' perception of USC ranking - for a research-based PhD as well as an industry-oriented masters. Its not in the top 10 for sure. USNews ranks USC as #20 in Computer Science and #15 in AI.

Edited by frenzydude
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If you already have 5 years of experience then you obviously know your stuff and to me it seems like the main reason to get an MS is for the sake of having the degree and hopefully advancing your career. I don't think getting an MS from an unranked school would achieve that goal. So personally I would do either USC or not do it at all. Or maybe you can reapply next year and see if you can get into a cheaper program that's more prestigious than CSUF (other schools in the UC system, etc)?

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