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USC Graduate School Overview
First opened in 1880 by Judge Robert M. Widney, the University of Southern California is a prestigious private non-profit nonsectarian sea-grant and space-grant institution. Each year, USC enrolls more than 19,000 undergraduates and 24,000 post-graduates across its 22 schools. As an elite member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), USC has very high levels of research with over $646 in annual sponsored funding. The University of Southern California is strategically located on a 308-acre urban campus in Los Angeles, but USC Online provides distance learning options too. USC consistently delivers excellent academics, which have produced six Nobel Prize winners, 78 Academy Award winners, and 181 Fulbright Scholars.
According to the U.S. News, USC is honored as America’s 23rd best university, 39th top value school, 18th best college for veterans, and 13th most innovative college. In particular, the University of Southern California was distinguished for hosting the nation’s 15th best education school. Princeton Review placed USC among its lists for “Colleges That Pay You Back” and “Best 380 Colleges.” Huffington Post named USC among the top 10 dream colleges in the United States. The University of Southern California is ranked the 65th best master’s-level institution for civic engagement in Washington Monthly. Times Higher Education also distinguished USC as the 68th top university globally.
USC Grad School Acceptance Rate
With a highly competitive acceptance rate of 18 percent, USC has implemented strict academic criteria new applicants must exceed for the school.
University of Southern California Accreditation Details
As an institution, the University of Southern California is wholly accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This is one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Starting in 2015, the Rossier School of Education is being formally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Other notable approvals include the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) and American Psychological Association (APA). USC meets the standards of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) too.
University of Southern California Application Requirements
With a highly competitive acceptance rate of 18 percent, USC has implemented strict academic criteria new applicants must exceed for enrollment. Graduates pursuing one of the online master’s in education programs must already hold a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent from an accredited university. Superior scholastic record with a minimum overall college GPA of 3.0 is mandated. Certain M.Ed. programs will require applicants have at least two years of full-time classroom teaching experience and valid certification. Admitted students score an average GRE score of 151 verbal and 151 quantitative. International learners from non-English speaking countries must take the TOEFL exam and have an Internet-based score of 100 or higher.
Prior to the December 1st priority deadline, interested students should apply to the University of Southern California Graduate Admissions Office by submitting these materials:
- Completed online application form
- Official sealed college transcripts
- One to two-page statement of purpose
- Graduate entrance exam scores
- At least two letters of recommendation
- Current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
- Three requiring writing sample essays
- $85 non-refundable application fee
What’s a Good GRE Score for USC?
In this section, we give you an overview of the average and minimum USC GRE scores for some of the university’s biggest programs. In addition, we tell you what each program’s US News ranking is, whether the program requires GRE scores, and what the minimum GPA requirements are.
Before we look at the chart, let’s go over how USC GRE requirements will be laid out. GRE scores are usually presented in one of three ways:
- Required scores: These are the minimum GRE scores you need to qualify for admission. Score lower than these thresholds and your application will most likely be rejected. (However, in some cases, these minimums are merely suggested, not required.)
- Recommended scores: These are the ideal GRE scores you should aim for in order to be a competitive applicant. While you don’t absolutely need to get these scores to be admitted, reaching (or exceeding) them will give you a much better chance of admission.
- Average scores: These are the average GRE scores of previously admitted applicants. You’ll want to aim for at least these scores (ideally, a few points higher) if your goal is to be a competitive applicant.
All USC programs below are arranged in alphabetical order by field and pertain to both master’s and doctoral degrees (unless otherwise stated).
Most USC GRE scores are minimums or averages, though some programs reported recommended or median (i.e., the 50th percentile, which is similar to the average) scores instead. Likewise, most GPAs are minimums, though you will also see average, median, and recommended GPAs.
Note that many of the minimum GRE scores below are suggested—not required—for admission. If you’re not sure whether your GRE scores are high enough, contact your program directly.
|Program||US News Ranking||GRE Required?||Min. GRE Scores||Avg. GRE Scores||Min. GPA|
|Business Analytics MS||—||Must take either GRE or GMAT||None||V: 154|
|Business Fundamentals Graduate Certificate||—||Must take either GRE or GMAT||V: 80th percentile|
Q: 80th percentile
AW: 80th percentile
|Clinical Science||16||Yes||None||V: 161|
|Curatorial Practices and Public Sphere MA||—||Yes||None||Unavailable||None|
|East Asian Area Studies MA||—||Yes||V: 153|
|Urban Education Policy PhD||—||Yes||None||V: 162|
|Engineering MS programs||11||Yes||None||V: 151|
|Engineering PhD programs||11||Yes||None||V: 153|
|English Literature PhD||33||Yes||None||Unavailable||None|
|Master of Health Administration (MHA)||22||Yes||V: 153|
|Health Behavior Research PhD||—||Yes||V+Q: 297||Recommended|
|Mathematical Finance MS||—||Yes||V: 150|
|Q: 790-800 (old scoring scale)||3.2Average|
|Online MBA||6||Must take either GRE or GMAT||None||V+Q: 313||Average|
|Global Medicine MS||—||Must take GRE, MCAT, or DAT||V+Q: 300||Unavailable||3.0|
|Molecular Microbiology and Immunology MS||66 (world)||Must take GRE or MCAT||V+Q: 300||Unavailable||None|
|Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology MS||101 (world)||Yes||V: 144|
|Choral Music/ Sacred Music DMA||—||Yes||None||Recommended|
|Early Music MA/DMA||—||Yes||None||Recommended|
|Music Teaching and Learning MM/DMA||—||Yes||None||Recommended|
|Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)||3||Yes||V: 153|
|Optimization and Supply Chain Management Graduate Certificate||—||Must take either GRE or GMAT||None||Recommended|
V: 80th percentile
Q: 80th percentile
AW: 80th percentile
|Pharmaceutical and Translational Sciences (PHTS)||9||Yes||None||Recommended|
|Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)||1||Yes||V: 150|
|Political Science International Relations (POIR) PhD||51||Yes||None||V: 162|
|Applied Psychology MS||26||Yes||None||Unavailable||None|
|Master of Planning (MPL)||—||Yes||V: 153|
|Master of Public Health (MPH)||—||Yes||V+Q: 298||Unavailable||3.0|
|Master of Public Policy (MPP)||11||Yes||V: 153|
|Master of Real Estate Development (MRSD)||—||Must take GRE, GMAT, or LSAT||V+Q: 310||Unavailable||3.0|
|Regulatory Science MS||—||Yes||V: 153|
|Master of Social Work (MSW)||12||No||None||Unavailable||3.0|
|Spatial Informatics MS||—||Yes||V+Q: 297||Unavailable||3.0|
|Program||US News Ranking||GRE Required?||Min. GRE Scores||Avg. GRE Scores||Min. GPA|
What Are Your Chances of Admission to USC?
Your chances of admission to a USC grad program depend on several factors. Before we discuss those, though, let’s go over some estimates.
For most USC programs, the following GRE scores and GPA should give you an excellent shot at getting accepted:
- If Verbal is your most important section, around 163 on Verbal, 158 on Quant, and 4.5 or higher on AW. Reading-heavy programs at USC want to see good Verbal scores but don’t necessarily expect high Quant scores, so it’s a good idea to aim for around the upper 150s on Quant.
- If Quant is your most important section, around 165 on Quant, 158 on Verbal, and 4.5 on AW. With math-heavy programs at USC, it’s important to get a super high Quant score. Though you usually don’t have to worry about your Verbal or AW scores as much, try to get in the high 150s for Verbal and at least a 4.5 on AW.
- 3.6 (out of 4.0) GPA or higher. Essentially, between an A- and B+ average is best. You’ll have an even better shot at standing out if you have a 4.0 (or higher, if your undergrad college calculated GPA on a weighted scale). Remember that the rigor and relevance of your coursework are important as well, so even if your GPA isn’t as high as these, the difficulty of your undergrad courses could work in your favor!
Getting these GRE scores and GPA should make you a very competitive applicant for USC. However, there are a couple of caveats.
For one, GRE and GPA expectations vary significantly among USC grad programs, so you won’t always need to match the exact scores and GPA we’ve given you above in order to get accepted.
Secondly, because USC is a moderately selective school, in the end even high GRE scores or a great GPA can’t guarantee you’ll be admitted.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the most important factors that can affect your chances of admission to USC.
USC Grad School Program Benefits
- Highly selective doctoral program at the #46-ranked university in the US*
- Outstanding faculty of scholar-practitioners with exemplary academic achievements and professional expertise
- Global Access format (60 percent face-to-face/40 percent online) is ideal for working professionals
- Small class sizes provide an environment for faculty mentorship
- Cohort model enables students to build upon leadership skills while forging valuable relationships with colleagues
- Classes conveniently located at our West Los Angeles Graduate Campus, close to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and just off the 405 freeway
- Extensive alumni network creates influential connections with more than 20,000 professionals
- * U.S. News & Report, Best Colleges Rankings, National Universities
USC Grad School Campus Locations
Classes are conveniently located on our West Los Angeles Graduate Campus, close to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and just off the 405 freeway.(Please note that your campus of choice cannot be guaranteed. Campus offerings are contingent upon availability and subject to change.)Learn MoreThis will only take a minute.Start Here
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Welcome to USC Graduate Admission
Welcome to Graduate Admission at the University of Southern California, one of the world’s leading private research universities. USC is home to over 27,000 top-caliber graduate and professional students —more than half the entire USC student population— who represent all 50 states and 135 countries around the world. We are proud to host one of the largest numbers of international students in the United States. We offer over 400 highly regarded graduate and professional programs in our liberal arts college and 20 professional schools. We encourage you to review our website to learn more about the graduate student experience at USC and to discover which of our academic programs is best suited for your interests.
Annual Security & Fire Safety Prospective Student Notification 2019: The University of Southern California’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports (ASR) for the past three years are available online at: https://dps.usc.edu/alerts/annual-report/.
The Annual Security and Fire Safety Report includes Clery Act crime and fire statistics for the preceding three years for locations owned and or controlled by USC, the required policy disclosure statements and other important safety related information. A paper copy of the ASR is available on request made to Department of Public Safety Records by calling (213) 740-6000, by email to [email protected] or in person at DPS at 3667 South McClintock Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90089.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition and fees vary from online program to program at the University of Southern California. In the Rossier School of Education, full-time MAT students can expect to pay $48,060 without credentials and $51,264 with credentials. Part-time learners in this program will pay $49,012 without credentials and $52,352 with credentials overall. TESOL students specifically must afford $48,400 full-time or $49,012 part-time for their 30-credit degree. Other M.Ed. students should expect to pay around $52,310 total for their online studies. USC suggests that online graduate students budget an extra $3,000 for textbooks, supplies, and Internet service.
Nearly 65 percent of matriculated students at USC receive financial aid. When investing in graduate education, students must send in their FAFSA application before May 14th. Money can be borrowed through Direct Stafford loans, Grad PLUS loans, and Perkins loans, but interest rates can be high. Free money could be available via the TEACH Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, or Fulbright Grant. The California Student Aid Commission offers the Cal Grant, Chafee Grant, and APLE Grant for Credentialed K-12 Teachers. Federal Work Study (FWS) and graduate assistantships are available. Scholarships are also abundant, including the USC Rossier Scholarship.
Online Degree(s) Available
The University of Southern California has created its own innovative online learning management system called 2SC to deliver high-quality distance education. Currently, online students can select from 63 master’s degrees, four doctoral degrees, and 18 graduate certificate programs. USC has a history of connecting remote learners since 1972, even before the World Wide Web existed. Online courses give students convenience and flexibility in fulfilling educational requirements in a virtual classroom. The Rossier School of Education offers the following degrees online.
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
As a pre-licensure program, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) at USC is delivered online for aspiring K-12 teachers to build the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become transformative educators. Graduate students can specialize in Multiple Subject Teaching (Elementary), Secondary English, Secondary Mathematics, Secondary Science, Secondary Social Science, or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Over four terms full-time, students obtain at least 32 units with weekly, live online classes. MAT students will also arrange two 10-week field practicum sessions in a local school district.
M.Ed. School Leadership
The M.Ed. School Leadership program was created by the University of Southern California to prepare experienced teachers, counselors, and educational support staff to gain entry into administrative roles. Featuring a fully online 15-month curriculum, the program is ideal for teachers looking to become principals, curriculum coordinators, lead educators, department heads, superintendents, and school directors. Two terms of school administration apprenticeship is included. M.Ed. students will graduate with the qualifications to receive the Preliminary Administrative Credential in California.
M.Ed. Learning Design and Technology
Available fully online with no campus trips, the M.Ed. Learning Design and Technology spans over two years full-time to give graduate students the knowledge to significantly improve the use of innovative technologies in classroom learning. Coursework in the 30-credit curriculum will cover topics on human lifespan development, diversity, research methods, data analysis, media selection, learning assessment, instructional design, and e-learning. In the final term, USC students create their own online learning module for teaching a certain K-12 concept.
Graduate education majors may be interested in pursuing the online M.Ed. Teacher Leadership, Ed.D Global Executive, Ed.D. Organizational Change and Leadership, or Gifted Education Credential from the University of Southern California.