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Graduate Programs at USC

What graduate programs does USC offer?

USC’s liberal arts college and 19 professional schools offer over 400 highly regarded post-baccalaureate programs, with more added every year. To begin exploring USC’s graduate offerings, please visit our Graduate Programs page.

I am not sure which USC graduate program is the best fit for me. What should I do?

We encourage you to look through our website, where you can find much of the information you will need to make an informed decision. You will find both a general overview of the USC graduate admission process and links to many other pages on our site, which provide extensive and detailed information on admission policies and procedures.

We also strongly recommend that you visit the homepages of the programs you are interested in. This will help you narrow your choices to those that best fit your interest and goals. A complete list of USC graduate and professional programs with accompanying links can be found here.

Does USC offer online graduate programs?

Yes. USC now offers over 80 of its outstanding graduate programs online, thus allowing graduate students greater convenience and flexibility while benefiting from USC’s reputation for excellence. For more information, please visit the USC Online website.

Does USC offer graduate programs for part-time students?

Yes, many of USC’s graduate programs can be pursued via part-time enrollment. Contact representatives from your department of interest for more details and class schedules.

Do you offer information sessions 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. In addition, the Office of Graduate Admission also 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 homepage of your intended graduate department(s) or contact them directly.

 How can I meet with a representative from USC?

Once you have determined which graduate program is right for you, please contact them directly. Their representatives will be best able to answer any program-specific questions.

If you wish to meet with a representative from the Office of Graduate Admission, you can do so at the Tutor Campus Center, Monday – Thursday, 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM Pacific Time. We are also available to chat via Skype (instant messaging only) at graduate.admissions.usc.

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

Yes. Prospective students who do not wish to seek formal admission to a USC graduate degree may take classes as a limited status student at USC. Students must receive prior approval from their department of interest before completing the Limited Status Program Registration Form, available from the Office of Academic Records and Registrar. You can learn more about the process here.

International students who do not already have an eligible visa, as well as applicants who have previously been denied admission to USC, are not eligible to take classes on a limited status basis.

Dates and Deadlines

What is the deadline to submit my application?

Deadlines for USC graduate programs are set by individual academic departments and schools and may vary by program. Application deadlines will be listed in the Add Program section of the application. Deadlines may also be subject to change. Refer to the homepage of your intended graduate department or contact them for more information.

What time zone is the application deadline set in?

Our application server is set to Eastern Time. Please make sure to submit your application by 12:00 midnight Eastern Time (9:00 PM Pacific Time) the day of your deadline.

Do you need to receive all my application materials by the application deadline?

Usually, the application deadline refers only to the date by which the application itself must be submitted. We understand that some supporting materials will arrive later than others. You should, however, check with your program of interest to verify whether or not supporting materials will need to arrive by that date as well.

Do you need to receive all my recommendation letters by the program deadline?

Most academic programs understand that the submission of recommendation letters may be beyond your control and that some may arrive later than others. You do not need to wait for all your recommendation letters to be submitted before submitting your application. You should, however, always check with your intended program to determine whether or not supporting materials need to arrive by the program deadline. You can also send reminders to your recommenders via the application system after you submit your application.

Can I still apply if I missed the application deadline?

If the final application deadline for your program has passed and the application is no longer available on our system, you will have to apply to the next available term.

I am applying to multiple programs and they have different deadlines. Can I submit my applications separately?

In general, USC allows students to apply to a maximum of three separate graduate programs that begin in the same term.

If you are not applying with an application fee waiver, you may submit your applications separately and at any time. If you are applying with an application fee waiver, you must submit your applications at the same time in order to avoid paying the application fee for each one.

Once you create a USC Central Application System (CAS) account, you will need to use the same account to submit all your applications. However, you will need to submit only one set of transcripts and test scores to the Office of Graduate Admission, regardless of the number of programs to which you are applying.

All program materials (personal statement, recommendations, writing samples, etc.) are reviewed by the graduate departments only, not the Office of Graduate Admission, and must be submitted according to program-specific requirements. You will be assigned only one 10-digit USC ID number once you have submitted your applications.

Application Fees and Waivers

What is the application fee for graduate programs at USC?

The graduate application fee is $90 for most USC graduate programs.
The application fee for all programs in the Marshall School of Business is $155.
The application fee for all programs offered through the USC International Academy is $175.

How will I pay my application fee? What forms of payment do you accept?

USC accepts only Visa and Mastercard payments made online. We are unable to accept American Express. We also cannot accept any credit card payments by phone. Once you submit your application, no refunds can be made for any reason.

Do I need to pay separate application fees if I am applying to multiple programs?

Unless you have been approved for a fee waiver that covers multiple applications for a particular term, you will be required to pay a separate fee for each application. If you are a Viterbi applicant who wishes to be considered for a second program, please click here.

Do I have to pay the application fee for both programs if I am applying to a dual-degree program at USC?

Dual-degree program applicants must pay for their first application but are exempt from paying for the second application as long as the programs are valid dual degrees listed on the university’s website.

To receive the exception, submit the application to your first program, then submit your fee waiver request. On your request, be sure to provide the name of the qualification for your dual degree program. For more information click here.

I would like to withdraw my application. Is the application fee refundable?

Once an application is submitted, no refunds will be issued under any circumstances.

Does USC offer application fee waivers? How can I request one?

USC offers a variety of fee waivers to prospective students. Please note, all fee waivers must be approved prior to submitting your application. We do not issue any refunds after the fact. Approval can take approximately three to four business days, so plan accordingly to ensure that you meet your application deadline. For more information, click here.

I have already applied to a program at the Viterbi School of Engineering and would like to apply to a second program within the school. What is the process for receiving a waiver?

If you would like to be considered for a second engineering program for the same, click here for more information.

I have been approved for an application fee waiver for this term but I did not complete my application. Can I use it to apply to USC next term?

Unfortunately not. Fee waivers are valid only for the term for which they have been granted.    

Tuition and Financial Assistance

How much is tuition for my program?

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

How do I apply for fellowships, scholarships or assistantships?

Financial assistance (such as fellowships or teaching/research assistantships) is administered by USC’s individual academic departments and schools. For more information, click here or contact your intended program. If you are interested in awards offered by organizations outside USC, we also encourage you to visit our Awards and Fellowships Database.

How do I know if I received a fellowship, scholarship or assistantship?

Your intended program will notify you separately of any funding they are able to offer. This information is typically included with your admission decision. However, some programs such as the Viterbi School of Engineering may have separate dates for award notifications.

How do I arrange for payment of tuition and fees?

Visit USC’s office of Student Financial Services, which offers a variety of payment options.

Do I qualify for tuition remission if I am a current employee at USC?

Full-time employees are eligible for certain tuition benefits at USC. Please contact USC Benefits Office with any questions about using your benefits for graduate studies.

Communicating with USC

How do I contact USC if I have further questions?

You are welcome to contact our office with any questions regarding general admission policies and procedures. If you have specific questions about your intended program of study, we recommend you contact the program directly. Please keep in mind that during our peak admission season (November-April) our office receives hundreds of messages every week, so it may take us five to seven business days to respond to emails.

I am unable to attend any of the scheduled campus tours. How can I familiarize myself with USC? 

We encourage prospective students to visit USC, even if they are unable to attend one of our on-campus information sessions. A campus visit will give you the opportunity to tour the campus and schedule meetings with departmental representatives (if available). We have created a downloadable guide (in PDF format) that will introduce you to our campus, its landmarks, traditions and academic programs. To access it, click here.

How do I meet with an admission or program representative from USC?

In addition to our Spotlight: USC events, a graduate admission officer is on call at the campus Admission Center, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Pacific Time, Monday through Thursday. 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 (though availability may vary). Please contact your intended graduate department or school for details.

Do you offer information sessions 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. In addition, the Office of Graduate Admission also participates in a number of off-campus events for prospective graduate applicants. For more information, please visit our Learn About USC page.

How do I get help with technical issues?

  • USC CAS Application: On the bottom left corner of your application you will find the Instructions and FAQs and Contact Us Please review the instructions and FAQs before requesting help via email. If you are unable to find what you need, please send your CAS ID, the school to which you are applying, and a brief description of your issue to uscsupport@liaisonedu.com or call (857) 304-2092 between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.
  • youSC: For technical issues related to youSC, please refer to our youSC FAQ

How do I let you know if my personal information (such as mailing address, telephone number, email address) has changed?

If your application is in progress, please use the directions in the Biographical Information section to make the necessary changes.

If you have already submitted your application, be sure to update it AND contact us directly.

How do I check the status of my application?

Because of the high volume of materials we process, we do not send confirmation emails when specific items have been received. We will contact you only if we need to request additional materials. To ensure that you have submitted a complete application, please refer to our checklists.

The Notification status page on your application will include the following updates:

  • Receipt of transcripts uploaded to the application.
  • Receipt of official GRE and TOEFL scores.
  • Receipt of recommendation letters.

You may contact us via email to check the following:

  • Receipt of official (mailed or electronic) transcripts.
  • Receipt of GMAT, IELTS and PTE scores.
  • Status of your application.

Graduate admission staff are also available via Skype from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Pacific Time, Monday-Thursday. Please add graduate.admissions.usc to your contact list.

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