Please choose a topic below:
Academic Requirements and Admission Policies

Does USC offer conditional admission to international students? 

No, USC does not offer international students conditional admission to any of its full-time academic programs. Students seeking to prepare their English and academic skills before entering a master’s program should visit the USC International Academy.

What are the application requirements for students who have earned their degree outside the United States? 

Please visit our country guidelines to search for academic and English proficiency requirements by individual country.

I hold a three-year bachelor degree’s from my country of study (e.g. India, Australia, South Africa). Am I eligible for graduate admission to USC? 

USC does not recognize three-year bachelor’s degrees from India, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa as sufficient for admission to graduate programs. Please visit our country guidelines to search for academic requirements by individual country.

Please note that graduate-level admission decisions at USC are made by individual academic programs, not the central Office of Admission. Some departments may be willing to admit a student who does not hold the equivalent of a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree if they feel the student demonstrates compensating strengths in other areas. For more information, please contact your intended graduate program.

My bachelor’s degree transcript states that I earned 180 ECTS credits under the Bologna model. Am I eligible for graduate admission to USC?

Students who earned a Bologna model bachelor’s degree with 180 or more ECTS credits are eligible to be considered for graduate admission to USC. Please visit our country guidelines to search for academic requirements by individual country.

Do I need to have my academic credentials reviewed by an outside agency?

For the purposes of admission review, USC does not accept or recognize credential evaluation reports from outside agencies. Only records issued by your previous institution will be accepted.

If you are admitted to USC, you may receive instructions to verify your degree with IERF. The Office of Degree Progress accepts only verifications processed through the International Education Research Foundation (IERF). For detailed information on how to obtain an IERF verification report, please refer to the Degree Progress website.

I am currently an undocumented or DACA student. Am I eligible for admission to USC?

Yes, we welcome applications from all prospective students regardless of their immigration status. All students are reviewed under the same admission criteria regardless of status.

Transcripts

My school issues transcripts only in dual English/original-language format. Will you accept this?

Dual-language transcripts are acceptable provided that this is the only format in which your school issues academic records.

Can I translate my transcripts or academic records to English myself?

No. USC accepts English-language translations only from academic institutions or from professional, certified translation agencies. Translations done by applicants themselves are not acceptable.

I submitted an English-language transcript. Do you still need my transcript in the original language?

In most cases we would require both the original-language academic records and a full, word-for-word English-language translation issued by the academic institution you attended or a professional translation service. Please visit our country guidelines to search for academic and English proficiency requirements by individual country.

I am earning a dual degree. What transcripts do I need to submit?

As a matter of policy, USC requires prospective applicants to list all colleges, universities and post-secondary institutions they have attended. Dual-degree seekers must submit transcripts from any and all institutions they attended as part of their program. Please visit our country guidelines to search for academic and English proficiency requirements by individual country.

I have already sent in my credential evaluation report from WES, ECE or IERF. Do I still need to submit my transcripts?

Yes. For the purposes of admission review, USC does not accept or recognize credential evaluation reports from outside agencies. Only records issued by your previous institution are acceptable. Please mail official transcripts issued by the institution of study, even if you have already provided us a credential evaluation report.

I already submitted my official transcripts to USC. Why does my admission letter say I have to complete degree verification via IERF?

Students who hold degrees from overseas institutions need to have their previous degrees verified through the International Education Research Foundation (IERF). If your degree could not be verified during the initial admission review process, it will need to be verified before the end of your first term at USC. The Office of Degree Progress is in charge of the verification process. For detailed information on how to obtain an IERF verification report, please refer to the Degree Progress website.

If you hold an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution, you may verify your degree by bringing a final, official transcript to Degree Progress, located in Trojan Hall. The transcript must specify the degree(s) conferred, date(s) of conferral and be enclosed in the sealed, original envelope with security marks intact.

English Proficiency Requirements

What are the English proficiency requirements for international students?

Although international applicants are required to demonstrate their level of English-language proficiency during the application process, USC does not set minimum scores for admission purposes. Posted scores are used only to determine if an admitted student will need to take the International Student Examination (ISE) upon arrival at USC. For detailed information about our English proficiency criteria, please visit the English Proficiency page on our website.

I earned my degree in Singapore, Hong Kong or South Africa. Am I exempt from submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores?

To learn more about our English language test waivers, please visit the English Proficiency page on our website. Additionally, visit our country guidelines to search for English proficiency requirements by individual country.

Am I exempt from the TOEFL or IELTS requirement if my program’s medium of instruction is English?

To learn more about our English language test waivers, please visit the English Proficiency page on our website. Additionally, please make sure to visit our country guidelines to search for English proficiency requirements by individual country.

Does USC require any minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores?

Although international applicants are required to demonstrate their level of English-language proficiency during the application process, USC does not set minimum scores for admission purposes. The posted scores are used only to determine if an admitted student will need to take the International Student Examination (ISE) upon arrival at USC. For detailed information about our English proficiency criteria, please visit the English Proficiency page on our website.

Please be aware that some academic departments may set their own criteria for TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores, which may be higher than the one posted on the Graduate Admission website. Contact your intended graduate department to confirm their policy.

I have a master’s degree from a U.S. university. Am I exempt from submitting TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores?

USC does not waive the English-proficiency requirement for graduate degrees earned in the U.S. or other qualifying countries. Requirements are set based on the completion of undergraduate studies. Please make sure to review our country guidelines for English proficiency requirements by individual country.

I scored below the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores posted on your website. Am I still eligible for admission?

Although international applicants are required to demonstrate their level of English-language proficiency during the application process, USC does not set minimum scores for admission purposes. The posted scores are used only to determine if an admitted student will need to take the International Student Examination (ISE) upon arrival at USC. For detailed information about our English proficiency criteria, please visit the English Proficiency page on our website.

Is there a preference for IELTS, TOEFL or PTE scores?

USC accepts all three scores and does not prefer one over the other, so please select the test that is most convenient for you.

If I apply to multiple programs, do I need to send my TOEFLor IELTS scores multiple times?

No. You need to submit only one set of official TOEFL or IELTS scores, even if you are planning to apply to more than one program at USC.

Do you offer conditional admission to international students without exam (TOEFL, IELTS, GRE or GMAT) scores?

USC offers a Master’s Preparation program through the International Academy. For more information, please visit the USC International Academy website.

My admission letter says I need to take the International Student English (ISE) Examination. What is this?

The International Student English Examination (ISE) is a placement exam that determines the English proficiency of admitted international students. It is administered by USC’s American Language Institute. Your ISE results will determine if you need to enroll in ALI courses concurrently with or before your regular graduate enrollment. There is no charge for the ISE.

If I retake the TOEFL or IELTS and achieve a score that meets USC’s minimum score, can I waive the International Student English (ISE) Examination?

Yes, if the new scores meet USC’s posted minimums you will no longer be required to take the ISE Examination. Please have your testing center send the new official scores to USC. Admitted students should contact the American Language Institute to clear any associated registration holds on their USC student records.

Visa Categories (e.g. F-1, J-1)

What is an I-20?

Issued by U.S. schools, an I-20 is a document that allows admitted international students to apply for and obtain an F-1 non-immigrant student visa. USC will issue an I-20 after you are admitted to an academic program, have provided proof of sufficient financial support for your first year of studies, and have submitted your Statement of Intent to enroll at USC. For more information about obtaining a visa, please click here.

What is a DS-2019?

Issued by U.S. schools, a DS-2019 is a document that allows admitted international students who receive more than 50 percent of their financial support from an organization or government to apply for and obtain a J-1 non-immigrant student visa. USC will issue a DS-2019 after you are admitted to an academic program, have provided proof of sufficient sponsorship for your first year of studies, and have submitted your Statement of Intent to enroll at USC. For more information about obtaining a visa, please click here.

Should I apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa?

The majority of students at USC are on F-1 visas. J-1 students must be majority-sponsored by an organization or government, and may be subject to a variety of restrictions. For a detailed explanation regarding the differences between F-1 and J-1 student visas, please click here.

Will I be able to study at USC if I’m in the United States on another visa besides the F-1 or J-1? (use key words such as L1, L2, E, A, H)

Students in certain visa categories are eligible to enroll at USC in full or part-time study. You can learn more about these categories here.

If you intend to apply for any of these visa categories, please indicate in your application and admission materials that you will remain on your current visa. If you would like to change your status to F-1, you will receive instructions upon your admission.

Can I apply to USC if I am an undocumented or DACA student?

Yes, we welcome applications from all prospective students regardless of their immigration status.  All students are reviewed under the same admission criteria regardless of status.

Communicating with USC

How do I contact USC if I have further questions?

You are welcome to email 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.

Apply
Frequently Asked
Questions