Application Process FAQs

How long does it take to complete the online application?

The online application requires you to provide personal information, academic and work history/ resume, recommendation letters and responses to program-specific questions and essays. While entering the information into the application may take only in a few hours, gathering all the required materials to complete an application can take several weeks. It is recommended that you review the application checklist and plan ahead to ensure all materials are received by USC Rossier by the application deadline.

You do not need to complete your application in one sitting. Application progress can be saved and completed at your own pace.

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What materials do I need to complete the online application?

The materials needed to complete an application vary by program. For specific requirements for your program of interest, visit the Admission Deadlines and Requirements page.

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What are the application requirements for each program?

Application requirements vary by program. Refer to the application checklist for your program of interest by visiting the Admission Deadlines and Requirements page and select your program for a complete list of application requirements.

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Is the GRE required?

The GRE is not required for any USC Rossier programs.

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How do I submit English Proficiency scores?

Please have your official test scores sent from the testing agency directly to USC. Only scores received directly from the testing service are considered official. USC does not accept self-reported english proficiency scores.

USC’s ETS school code is 4852. Applicants taking the TOEFL should use this code to ensure USC receives your official test results. No department code is required.

If you are sending IELTS scores, please select “University of Southern California” from the list of schools available for official score submission.

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Do I need to take the CBEST and CSET?

Applicants to the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Master of Arts in Teaching – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MAT-TESOL) (credential track only) program may use a number different methods to satisfy the basic skills and subject matter requirements, including, but not limited to, taking the CBEST and CSET tests. For more information, visit one of the following Credential Requirements pages:

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From whom should I request letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation should come from supervisors or colleagues who can comment on the value you have added to your workplace or former instructors who can describe your ability to perform well in graduate-level courses.

For students applying to the PhD in Urban Education Policy, letters of recommendation should come from individuals who can attest to the applicant’s abilities as a researcher.
Recommenders should preferably have a PhD and are working in research-related fields.

The recommenders listed on your application will receive an email with instructions to create a password and directions to upload a letter. Recommendations must be on official letterhead and contain a signature. It is your responsibility to ensure that recommenders follow the criteria and submit a letter by the deadline.

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How can I verify that USC has received my transcripts?

The USC Rossier Office of Admission and Scholarships will notify you if transcripts have not been received. If you have questions regarding transcripts, please contact the processing team at or (213) 740-0224.

PhD applicants can contact the PhD Program Office at or call (213) 740-6303

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How much does it cost to apply and can I receive a fee waiver?

The application fee is $90. An application fee waiver is available for applicants who meet certain eligibility criteria. Requests are reviewed by the Office of Graduate Admission. If your request for a fee waiver is denied, you must pay the application fee before submitting your application.
To be eligible for a fee waiver, you must be:

  • A permanent, full-time USC employee, or dependent child of a full-time USC employee
  • A U.S. citizen/permanent resident with demonstrated financial hardships
  • A USC alumni or student currently enrolled in a USC degree program
  • A McNair Scholar
  • A Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) Fellow
  • A current participant in the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) program
  • A Pickering/PPIA/DIA Jumpstart program fellowship recipient
  • A current or recent (within the last two years) Americorps/Peace Corps/Teach for America participant
  • A U.S. military veteran or current service member
  • A Hebrew Union College student or alumni
  • A USC sponsored applicant (must be approved by sponsoring department prior to fee waiver request)

Qualification details and instructions for obtaining a fee waiver can be found at the USC Graduate Admission website. You must follow the steps listed to have the fee waiver applied to your account prior to submitting your online application. No refunds will be issued post-submission.

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When can I expect to receive a decision on my application?

Application review and admission notifications are completed in rounds, with the exception of the PhD in Urban Education Policy and the Global EdD programs. Your complete application must be submitted by the specified admission round deadline to receive a decision by the corresponding notification date. Incomplete applications will be moved to the next round and, once complete, will receive a decision by the notification date specified for that round. You will receive an email when an admission decision has been made.

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Can I expedite the processing of my application?

To eliminate delays in your application processing time, submit your online application before submitting any supplemental materials such as official transcripts and test scores. Please include your USC ID number on all documents you send to the USC Office of Graduate Admission and USC Rossier. Review the application checklist for your program of interest to ensure all required materials are present and sent to the correct department.

Please make sure all required materials are submitted by the round deadline so that you can receive a decision by the corresponding notification date. Incomplete applications will be pushed to the next round and your decision may will be delayed.

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I’m applying for a Master’s degree, but still finishing up my bachelor’s degree. Where do I send my final transcripts?

Send your final transcripts to the Office of Degree Progress. Instructions for submitting your final transcripts will be provided on your admission letter from the Office of Graduate Admission. To view this letter, log in to your youSC account.

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When will I receive information about orientation and registration?

Admitted students will receive information about orientation and registration within a few weeks of submitting their intent to enroll. You can attend an orientation for all USC graduate students as well as a separate orientation for students within your specific program. The USC Office of Orientation manages the general graduate orientation, while the USC Rossier program offices manage specific program orientations.

Contact the appropriate office for assistance:

EdD Program Office Global EdD Program Office Master’s Programs Office PhD Program Office
213 740-6019

For more information about registration and enrolling in classes, review Admitted Students: Next Steps.

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