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Graduate Programs at USC

What graduate programs does USC offer?

USC offers over 300 graduate and professional programs, with more programs added every year. To begin exploring USC’s graduate offerings, please visit our Graduate Programs page.

 Do you offer online programs?

Yes. For more information, please visit USC Online.

How much will my program cost?

Expenses vary widely by program and are subject to change. Please contact your intended graduate department for the most up-to-date information or refer to the Financial Aid website for estimated costs.

General Graduate Admission Queries

What are the requirements for graduate school admission?

At a minimum you must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. If your previous studies were done outside the United States, please visit the International Student web page for more information about degree equivalency.

Please be advised that many USC graduate programs have their own set of admission criteria, in addition to the minimum eligibility requirements noted above. For more information, please refer to the homepage of your intended graduate program or contact them directly.

I am currently enrolled in the last year of my undergraduate program. Can I still apply for graduate admission even though I have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree?

Yes. As long as your bachelor’s degree is conferred before the start of your intended first term at USC, you are eligible for graduate admission. When you apply, you will simply need to provide the most recent transcript available, showing all coursework you have completed to date.

If you are admitted, you will need to verify the completion of your undergraduate program and conferral of your bachelor’s degree when you come to USC. Detailed verification instructions will be included in your official USC admission letter.

Do you accept transfer students from other graduate programs?

Yes. USC accepts transfer applications from students enrolled in graduate programs at other universities. The process is exactly the same as for all other graduate applicants. No special forms or procedures are involved.

USC's Review Process

How does the admission process work?

The Office of Graduate Admission conducts a standardized academic evaluation using your official transcripts and other academic records, ensuring that your previous education meets USC’s basic eligibility requirements. Meanwhile, your program conducts a departmental review that takes into account other elements of your application portfolio (statement of purpose, recommendations, writing samples, etc.) as well as the academic evaluation provided by our office. These two components of the process are separate and independent, but both must be completed before you can be officially admitted to USC.

 What is the basis for an admission decision? Who decides?

Graduate applicants are evaluated on a number of criteria: academic performance, test scores, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, other supporting materials, and whether or not their academic and research interests are an appropriate fit with the degree program to which they are applying.

Admission decisions are made by a committee consisting of departmental admission officers and faculty members specializing in your field of study. The Office of Graduate Admission administers the overall process but our office does not make final admission decisions. Any questions or concerns regarding your admission decision should be addressed to your intended graduate department only.

Communicating with USC

How can I best prepare to apply?

We recommend you carefully read the information published on both the Graduate Admission website and the homepage of your intended graduate program. We have done our best to provide a clear and comprehensive overview of the admission process. Virtually all the information you need is available on the Graduate Admission website.

How can I contact USC if I have further questions?

You are welcome to e-mail our office with any questions regarding general admission policies and procedures. Specific questions about a particular graduate program should be addressed to that department.

Please note that during our peak admission season (November-April) our office receives hundreds of messages every week, so it may take us some time to respond to e-mails. Your patience and understanding are appreciated.

Does USC offer information or recruitment events for prospective graduate applicants?

Yes. We strongly encourage applicants in the Los Angeles area to attend one of our Spotlight:USC sessions, which are held on-campus during the fall semester. Spotlight:USC prepares participants to successfully complete the graduate application process and avoid common mistakes.

In addition to Spotlight:USC, the Office of Graduate Admission participates in a number of off-campus events for prospective graduate applicants. For more information, please visit our Learn about USC page.

Many USC academic departments and schools also hold their own events for prospective graduate students across the United States, around the world and online. For more information, please visit the home page of your intended graduate department(s) or contact them directly.

Can I visit the campus?

Yes. We encourage prospective students to visit our campus to learn more about our programs and to help decide if USC is right for you. For more information, please click here.

Can I meet with an admission officer in person?

In addition to our Spotlight:USC events, a graduate admission officer is on call from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Monday through Thursday at the campus Admission Center. Please note that this service is available only from April to December. All in-person counseling is walk-in only and subject to staff availability.

Additionally, USC graduate departments may be available to meet with prospective graduate applicants. Please contact your intended graduate department or school for details.

 

Other Concerns

Can I take graduate classes at USC without enrolling in a degree program?

Students not enrolled in a USC degree program may be able to take classes through our Limited Status option. Contact the academic department or school offering the course you would like to take and obtain their permission to take the class. Register in-person on campus and pay in full at the time you register.

Please note that the Office of Graduate Admission does not handle Limited Status enrollment. Limited Status enrollment is offered at the discretion of individual departments, and some may not able to offer seats to non-degree students. It is up to you to make arrangements with the department. International students and applicants who have previously been denied admission to USC are not eligible to take classes on a Limited Status basis.

What do I need to do if I would like to return to my graduate studies after a leave of absence?

Please contact the department in which you were enrolled.

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