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Master's Degree Program Curriculum

The Master's Degree Program Curriculum allows ITU's offerings to be developed and delivered at the speed of Silicon Valley Innovation.



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ITU's Master's Degree Program Curriculum is specifically designed to increase direct industry interaction.

  • Highlights industry-relevant trends and learning
  • Requires ITU Presents participation over three terms in a TED-Talk style presentation class, featuring five speakers over the course of a term
  • Requires students take nugget courses in total of two (2) credit hours from cross-disciplines, on emerging technologies and innovations, spread over the course of their degree
microphone on podium overlooking student audience
  • Allows ITU's newest alumni (hired into cutting edge areas of tech) to immediately come back to ITU and pitch an idea for a course
  • Benefits current students with the newest developments needed in Silicon Valley - from industry experts and their peers

Master's Degree Program Curriculum

Curriculum and Program Structure

Program Structure

Course Requirements

39 required credit hours (breakdown)

 9  Core
23   Electives (can include up to 8 credit hours from internships)
 1  Internships/CPT
 3  Capstone or Thesis
 1  ITU Presents
 2  Nugget credits

Cost: $650/unit
Total Master’s Degree Tuition: $25,350

ITU Presents - Required

(1 unit total: 1/3 credit per term, offered over 3 terms)

ITU Presents (formerly "Joint Seminar") was created and first taught by ITU's Founder, Professor Shu-Park Chan, who would invite guest speakers, typically Silicon Valley industry leaders, to speak on topics of their personal interest followed by a Q&A session with ITU students. Historically, ITU Presents has been the favorite and reportedly "most useful" class of ITU alumni, as it gives ITU students the ability to listen to the real-life experiences of famous technologists who often share their early career struggles, strategies, and successes with students.

ITU Nuggets (Consilience “Unity of Knowledge” Content) - Required

(1/3 - 2 credit hours)

No prerequisite is required for any Nugget course. Nuggets are a modular course content, following all the same structured and quality assessment aspects of any ITU course, starting with only one-third of a single credit hour, which is 5 lecture hours (or 10 lab hours or 15 practicum hours). A nugget course is a bite-sized project or course, manageable for a busy schedule. Nugget courses are designed to provide content from across multiple disciplines. Nuggets can start three times during the term in an online and/or in-class format of delivery. All ITU Nuggets are listed under the Interdisciplinary Sciences Department.

ITU reserves the right to create any new nuggets offered within the three nugget sessions of any trimester (see chart*)

Internship Study

F-1 students need to be enrolled in nine credit hours as a full-time student in each trimester.

Students will be able to apply a minimum of one and a maximum of 9 Internship credit hours toward the completion of their Masters Degree Program.

Each trimester will be divided into three short term sessions, which consist of five weeks per session. Each session has its own add/drop period: which is the first week of each session. Shorter term Internships can be offered in any of the short term sessions, associated with its own add/drop period.

As a result, with more flexibility for different start dates, students can potentially apply for new short term session internships 9 times instead of 3 times a year (see chart* below). Students are encouraged, for maximum credit, to enroll at the beginning of the trimester, but short term sessions are also allowed, as long as Internships still fall within the start and end dates of each trimester.

Short-term sessions within each trimester*

session table

* STS = short term session; SpB = Spring Break; SuB = Summer Break; FaB = Fall Break

Any student may participate in internships; the current ITU standard for Internship course duration and approximate credit hours assignment includes the following options:

  • Full-time internship
    • One short-term: 5 weeks -- 1 credit hour
    • Two consecutive short-term: 10 weeks -- 2 credit hour
    • Trimester (amounting to three consecutive short-terms): 15 weeks -- 3 credit hours
  • Part-time internship
    • One short-term: 5 weeks -- 1/3 credit hour
    • Two consecutive short-terms: 10 weeks -- 2/3 credit hour
    • Trimester (amounting to three consecutive short-terms): 15 weeks -- 1 credit hour
  • Students only need to enroll once for two consecutive short term internships, or for a full trimester internship.

If students participate in an internship(s) course that is shorter than a trimester period, they must follow guidelines for new internship providers only, and pay special attention to the start and end date. For more detail, please refer to the ITU catalog 2020-2021 for "The Internship Policy".

Students may not substitute nugget courses for their program elective courses.

See a comparison with the previous curriculum and additional notes here.

Nugget Courses by Stefan Al, PhD

Fall 2020
Stefan Al, PhD, giving a presentation

In the Fall 2020 trimester ITU is proud to offer the opportunity to study under award-winning architect Stefan Al, PhD, in three Nugget courses.

Stefan Al is a Dutch architect and associate professor of Urban Design at the University of Pennsylvania. Al has worked as a practicing architect on renowned projects such as the 600-meter-high Canton Tower in Guangzhou and the preservation of world heritage in Latin America at the World Heritage Center of UNESCO.

Visionary Architecture and Cities (IDS 553 1)

Online, September 8, 2020 - October 4, 2020, 5-7pm


This class is about shaping the future of buildings and cities.

By 2050, more than 70% of the world's population will be living in cities. Designing better buildings and cities has never been more important. In the Visionary Architecture and Cities Nugget course students learn about the biggest trends shaping the built environment, and how to play a role in it.

Industry-Related Job Opportunities

  • Architectural Design
  • Information-Based Architecture
  • 3D Modeling
  • Historical Context Design

Contact: Jake Wachtel:

Nugget Course Registration
small flyer for IDS 553 1
small flyer for IDS 553 2

Designing Sustainable Buildings and Cities (IDS 553 2)

Online, October 12, 2020 - November 8, 2020, 5-7pm


This class is about building a more sustainable world.

Buildings are responsible for almost 50% of all global carbon emissions. In the Designing Sustainable Buildings and Cities Nugget course students will learn about the latest technological advancements in net-zero energy buildings and smart cities, and how to create a more sustainable future.

Industry-Related Job Opportunities

  • Sustainable Architecture Design
  • Architecture for City Design
  • Design for Reduced Carbon Footprint

Contact: Jake Wachtel:

Nugget Course Registration

Digital Design and Manufacturing (IDS 553 3)

Online, November 16, 2020 - December 20, 2020, 5-7pm


This class is about 3D printing - even your own home!

Technology is fundamentally disrupting the construction industry, allowing buildings to be created faster, better and with more advanced shapes. In the Digital Design and Manufacturing Nugget course students will learn how to use digital design to manufacture your own project with 3D printers, CNC millers and waterjet cutters.

Industry-Related Job Opportunities

  • Digital Design and Manufacturing
  • CAD/CAM (computer-aided design & computer-aided manufacturing)
  • Basic 3D Modeling, Procedural Design, and Computational Fabrication Techniques
  • Rhino 6 and Grasshopper Applications for Buildable Geometries

Contact: Jake Wachtel:

Nugget Course Registration
small flyer for IDS 553 3

Computer Science Nugget Courses

Fall 2020

Cryptography for Blockchain (IDS 552 1)

Online, December 6, 12 and 13, 2020 (Sundays and Saturday), 9 AM - 12 PM and 2 - 4 PM

Instructor: Jeremy Tzeng

This class is about applying the cryptographic techniques used in Blockchain.

Blockchain technology was originally proposed in 1991 as a timestamp mechanism for digital documents. But not until 2008, when Bitcoin, which used Blockchain as its underlying technnology, was invented by Satochi Nakamoto, did Blockchain catch attention around the world. This fast proliferation was partially due to the speculative nature and the incredible appreciation of the digital cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin. Besides, many other applications also emerged to benefit from the advantageous nature of the Blockchain technology.

In the course, we will use Bitcoin to explain how Blockchain works, although Bitcoin is only one of the many possible applications of Blockchain. We will then describe how and why some cryptographic techniques, namely Hash algorithms, Nonce, Digital Signature and Public Key Encryption, are used in Blockchain and its applications.

Instead of delving into the abstruse mathematics behind the cryptography, we will, in a simplistic way, show how and why these cryptographic techniques are used in Blockchain. The intent is to let students learn how to apply these techniques, not only in Blockchain, but also in many other applications.

Course Content

  • Bitcoin and Blockchain: 4 hours
  • Quizzes: 1 hour
  • Hash: 2 hours
  • Nonce: 1 hour
  • Encrypting techniques: Symmetric and Asymmetric: 3 hours
  • Digital Signature: 3 hours
  • Final Exam: 1 hour
Nugget Course Registration

Safety-critical Software with Ada (IDS 552 2)

Online, September 19, October 10 and November 14, 2020, Saturdays, 9 AM - 12 PM and 2 - 4 PM

Course Description

The Ada language is more of an engineering tool than just a programming tool. It is used by the military for embedded weapon systems such as the F-22 airplane, various missiles, and other weapons. It is also used for Air Traffic Control systems around the world. In France it is used extensively for transportation (e.g., rail) and energy systems. In China it is used for large scale projects by and for the Army. Boeing uses Ada for the avionics software on their new aircraft. Airbus, Fokker and aircraft manufacturers everywhere now use it. Nvidia has recently adopted Ada for its automotive software components. Ada has its niche in the world of safety-critical software, not just in the USA, but in many unexpected applications. Ada is best used in safety-critical environments and is not common in business, banking, web design or in everyday programming.

Textbook: "Ada Distilled" by Dr. Richard Riehle > learn > materials

Nugget Course Registration

Instructor: Dr. Richard Riehle

Dr. Richard D. Riehle is a professor at ITU and a visiting professor at Naval Postgraduate School. He has been creating and managing software activities since the early 1960s. His software engineering experience spans both military and civilian applications. In the military realm, he has been an active participant on some projects (command and control, etc.), and a shirt-sleeves consultant on others. Civilian software experience spans the full range of commercial enterprises: hospital information systems, banking, insurance, wholesale distribution, and medical billing, to name a few. Beginning in the late 1980s, Dr. Riehle's focus turned to software consulting and training. As a trainer, he conducted courses of his own design in Ada, C++, software methods, and object-oriented development.

He received a Bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and a MSSE from National University. He also earned a doctorate in Sofware Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School.