Application Requirements

Master of Education in Educational Counseling

Application Deadlines

We strongly recommend that international students apply no later than round 3.

*scholarship priority deadlines
✝︎ rolling admission, based on available space


To be eligible for this program, you must have a master’s degree from an institution that was regionally accredited at the time your degree was conferred. You must also have leadership experience and a minimum of three years of full-time work experience that is relevant to the concentration to which you are applying.

Holistic Review Process

Your application to USC Rossier will be evaluated using a holistic review process. Academic preparation, professional work experience, personal achievement and commitment to the USC Rossier mission are each considered. No single attribute or characteristic guarantees admission to USC Rossier.

Application Review Rounds

Our program applications are reviewed in rounds. Applications are evaluated using the same holistic process in each round, however, in later rounds, admission and scholarship opportunities may be limited and qualified applicants will be admitted based on available space in the cohort.

Automatic consideration for USC Rossier Scholarships

As an applicant for this program, you will be automatically considered for limited USC Rossier scholarships, with priority consideration given to applicants in deadline rounds one and two. There is no need to submit a separate application. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement, demonstrated dedication to the USC Rossier mission and other distinguishing characteristics. All USC Rossier scholarships are awarded at the time of admission.

You may also view USC Rossier’s list of additional scholarships, fellowships and grants, which includes university and external scholarships that may require an additional application.

Application Tips

  • Submit all application materials by the round deadline. Incomplete applications may be delayed to the next application review round.
  • Skip ahead to the “Recommendations” section and send out requests for letters of recommendation first. Requests should be sent through the application platform. We recommend that you complete this step first to provide each recommender with the maximum amount of time to complete their letter. Recommendation letters should be submitted by recommenders by the application deadline, but they are not required to be submitted at the time you submit your application.
  • Follow the transcript submission instructions carefully. Please note that two sets of registrar-issued transcripts from each institution attended are required – one for application review and another for official USC university records.
  • For additional guidance, read our blog post, Insider Grad School Application Tips or attend an application tips webinar.

You may save your information in the application and continue to complete it at a later date. If you have any questions about completing your application, email

Application Instructions

Personal Information

Where to find it on the application: My Application > Personal Information

  • Enter your name as it appears on your government issued I.D. Indicate any alternate or previous names in the “other name” field (i.e. maiden name).
  • Enter the email address USC Rossier should use to communicate with you throughout the application process.
  • Indicate your citizenship status.*

*Please note that the USC application does not include a citizenship option for undocumented immigrants. If you are an undocumented immigrant, please select the citizenship option “international student.” If you wish to disclose your citizenship status, contact the admission team at prior to submitting your application so that we can withdraw you from receiving communications intended for international students.


Where to find it on the application: My Application > Academic History > Colleges Attended > Add a College > Upload a Transcript

PLEASE NOTE: We anticipate an increased processing time for all transcripts, official documents and materials received via mail or courier. Applicants are encouraged to submit their official transcripts electronically via rather than submitting them by mail.

In order to provide more timely admission decisions, USC Rossier requires that you submit two copies of each transcript from each postsecondary institution you attended. The first copy you will upload to your online application for application review and the second copy must be mailed or emailed from each institution directly to USC.

If you are an international student, please follow USC’s country specific requirements to determine which academic records you should submit.

Step 1: Request two copies of official transcripts

Request two official transcripts from all colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions you have previously attended.

Ask the registrar at each college or university to send one official copy of your transcript to your personal mailing or email address and a second official copy from the institution directly to the University of Southern California by postal mail, courier service or email. Printouts from portals are not acceptable for either official copy of your transcript.

If the second official copy is delivered by postal mail, the transcripts must arrive to USC in a sealed envelope from the institution. You may not send transcripts that have been previously opened, and we will not accept transcripts that are hand- delivered to our office on campus. Mailing address for transcripts:
University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

Email address for transcripts:

Step 2: Upload transcripts for application review into the application

When you receive the official copy of each transcript delivered to your personal mailing or email address, login to your USC application. Go to the ‘Academic History’ section, and add information about your academic history at each college or university.

After saving this information, you will see an option to ‘upload a transcript’ for each college. Only one PDF per college or university can be uploaded. If the transcript from a college or university contains multiple pages, you will need to scan each page and combine the pages into a single PDF. If you don’t have access to a scanner, you can take a legible photo of each page and combine the images into one PDF.

Several online services can help you merge multiple files into one PDF and/or turn photos into PDFs. Once you’ve uploaded your transcripts and completed all other portions of the application, you can submit your application.

Verifying transcript receipt

After the second copy of your transcripts have been sent directly to the University, you can log into your USC Rossier personal portal at any time to verify when the USC Office of Graduate Admission has received and reviewed your transcripts.

Please note that there can be a delay of several days between when your transcripts have been received and reviewed, and when your portal is updated. This processing time can increase during heavy processing periods or holidays.


Where to find it on the application: My Application > Supporting Information > Documents > CV/Resume

Your résumé should be detailed enough to help the admission committee understand the various experiences – extracurricular, leadership or volunteer – that have shaped your interest in the program. Outline your roles and responsibilities within each organization and highlight any special achievements or accomplishments. In the “Supporting Information” section of the application, select “Documents”. Select the “add document” button under “CV/Resume.”


Where to find it on the application: My Application > Program Materials > Documents

Essay responses will be used to evaluate your personal, professional and educational perspectives and experiences and the ability to effectively communicate ideas and organize written thoughts.

Responses to essay questions should be double-spaced with a 12-point font and one-inch margin on all sides. Include your full name at the beginning of each document. Upload each essay as a separate document in the appropriate section.

Personal Statement — 500 words or less

Write a personal statement that addresses how earning the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EDL) degree in your chosen concentration will enable you to address inequities that interfere with learning opportunities and outcomes for students and employees in educational settings.

Upload your Personal Statement in the “Program Materials” section of the application under the tab “Documents.” Select the “add document” button under “Personal Statement”.

Short Answer – 500 words or less
Explain how your values align with the mission of the USC Rossier School of Education and the ways you plan to contribute to our academic and professional community.

Upload your short answer essay in the “Program Materials” section of the application under the tab “Documents”. Select the “add document: button under “Writing Sample.”

Optional Essay – 250 words or less

To aid the admission committee in evaluating your application, use this essay to discuss anything in your academic and/or professional history that may require additional explanation. This essay is optional.

Upload your optional essay in the “Program Materials” section of the application under the tab “Documents.” Select the “add document” button under “Other.”

Letters of Recommendation

Where to find it on the application: My Application > Program Materials > Recommendations > Add Recommendation

USC Rossier requires two letters of recommendation to complete the application. Letters should come from supervisors and/or former instructors or faculty who can comment on significant contributions you have made in your workplace, your leadership skills as well as your commitment to life-long learning and your ability to perform well in doctoral-level coursework.

  • To submit the names of your recommenders, go to the “Program Materials” section of the application and click on the tab “Recommendations.”
  • Using the ‘Add Recommendation’ button, enter the name and email address of each recommender you’ve asked to electronically submit a letter of recommendation. Each recommender will automatically receive an email that includes a password and directions for submitting the letter of recommendation. If the recommender does not receive the recommendation letter request, advise them to check their spam or junk mail folders.

  • Recommendation letters must be typed on official letterhead from the organization with a signature. If the recommender is not able to obtain company letterhead, this must be noted somewhere in the letter.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure all recommendation letters are submitted in the proper format prior to the appropriate deadline. Letters uploaded in the incorrect format without explanation are subject to further review.
  • Recommendations letters should be submitted by recommenders by the application deadline, but they are not required to be submitted at the time you submit your application.

Please note: recommendation letters are program-specific and cannot be used to apply to additional programs. If you withdraw your application from a particular program, your letters of recommendation will be deleted along with the application.

Application Fee

Where to find it on the application: Submit Application Tab

Application fees must be paid by credit or debit card.

An application fee waiver is available to applicants who meet certain eligibility criteria. Eligibility criteria and instructions for obtaining a fee waiver can be found at the USC Graduate Admission website. If you choose to apply for a fee waiver you must:

  1. Start your online application but do not submit the application until the fee waiver is approved.
  2. Provide supporting documents to demonstrate qualification.
  3. Have your fee waiver request approved.
  4. Complete and submit your online application.
Video Response and Timed Writing Assessment

Where to find it: My Application > Program Materials > Kira Assessment

The recorded video response is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your communication skills in professional settings. The timed writing assessment will allow you to demonstrate your writing, critical thinking and analytical ability. No advance preparation is required for either assessment. You must complete both assessments during the same session. You are allowed to take each assessment one time only. For technical assistance with the video response or timed writing assessment, email

  • Click the “Open Kira Assessment” button on the “Kira Assessment” tab in the application. Note: clicking this link will NOT require you to take the assessment(s) immediately. You can register for the assessment(s) and return at any time to complete it.
  • When the page opens, click the “Check In” button.
  • Click the registration module. Your first and last name and email should pre-populate in the registration form. Agree to the terms of agreement and privacy policy and click the “Register” button. After you register, a link to Kira will also be sent to your email address for easy access at the time you choose to complete your assessment(s).
  • Complete the device set up and practice modules to prepare for your assessment(s).
  • Click the assessment module (final step) at the time you are ready to begin your assessment(s).
  • Once completed, your assessments become part of your application and will be reviewed by the admission committee in conjunction with other application materials.

Video Response

  • Record your responses using an internet-connected computer with a webcam.
  • Dress professionally and behave as you would during an in-person interview.
  • Make sure you have a pen and notepad available for taking notes on the prompt.
  • Once you begin the assessment, you will be provided with three prompts, one at a time, followed by five minutes of prep time for each prompt.
  • You will have two minutes to complete your response. There will be a countdown timer and a progress bar during preparation and response time so you can track how much time you have left. If you finish before time is up, you can submit your response using the “submit” button in the lower right corner. The system will automatically submit your response when the time is up.

Timed Writing Assessment

  • Once you begin the assessment, you will be provided with the essay topic. You will have 45 minutes to compose and submit your response.
  • Write your essay within the provided space in Kira; do not copy and paste from other documents.
  • As a general guideline, the essay should be structured with an introduction containing a thesis statement, a body containing your major points and a conclusion.
  • Do not use citations or conduct research on the topic while writing your response.
  • There is no minimum or maximum word count, however, we recommend a length of 350 to 700 words.
  • There will be a countdown timer and a progress bar during the response time so you can track how much time you have left. If you finish before time is up, you can submit your response using the “submit” button in the lower right corner. The system will automatically submit your response when the time is up.
Additional Requirements for International Applicants

USC Rossier welcomes international applicants. If you are a citizen of a country other than the United States, you are subject to U.S. government regulations regarding entry into the United States and enrollment in programs. Please follow these additional instructions to complete your application:

TOEFL or IELTS Test Scores
Where to find it on the application: My Application > Academic History > Standardized Tests > Add a Test Score

International students whose native language is not English and who completed their undergraduate work outside of the United States are required to submit an official TOEFL or IELTS score as part of their application. You must have taken one of these tests within the past two years.

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should receive a TOEFL score at or above 100 iBT and an IELTS score at or above 6.5 with no less than a score of 6 on each band.

You may upload your test score report in the “Academic History” section of the application to be used in application review. However, only scores received electronically from the testing service are considered official. Official test scores should be sent from the testing agency directly to USC.

  • TOEFL: To send official scores, use USC ETS code 4852. Please note that USC does not accept super-scoring for the TOEFL.
  • IELTS: Select “University of Southern California” at the time of registration. Alternatively, provide this information to your testing center after taking the test.
  • No department code is required to send TOEFL or IELTS scores

For more information on English Proficiency requirements, English-language test waivers, and other alternate accepted exams, please visit the USC Graduate Admission page.

Financial Documents, Letter of Sponsorship and Passport Copy
Where to find it on the application: My Application > Supporting Information > Documents

For international students, financial documents/verification of funds, a letter of sponsorship and a copy of a passport may be uploaded into the application. While it is not necessary to submit proof of financial support or passport copies to be considered for admission, we highly recommend doing so at your earliest convenience. If you are admitted to and choose to attend USC, this will help expedite the issuance of your I-20 or DS-2019 for your F-1 or J-1 student visa application. If you are currently in the United States studying on an F-1 or J-1 visa, or participating in post-graduation OPT, you must also submit financial documents to transfer your SEVIS record to USC and receive a USC I-20.

For more information, visit the international student FAQ page.

Post Submission

Your application materials will be reviewed by both the USC Rossier School of Education Office of Admission and Scholarships and the USC Office of Graduate Admissions.

  • Refer to your USC Rossier personal portal for timely and accurate updates on your application status (including missing items).
  • If your application is complete by the round application deadline, expect to receive notification of your admission decision by the corresponding notification date.
  • You will receive a decision letter from both USC Rossier and the USC Office of Graduate admission.

USC Rossier adheres to the university’s non-discrimination policy, and is committed to providing equal opportunity for all students.

If you require accommodation for any part of the USC Rossier application process, please contact the Office of Admission and Scholarships at We strongly encourage you to submit your request for accommodation at least one week prior to when accommodation is needed so that our team has adequate time to make necessary arrangements.