Admission

Take the next step toward your career goals. Learn key information about the USC Rossier admission process and application requirements for the Organizational Change and Leadership online program.

Prerequisites

In order to apply for this program, you must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree (60-unit track) or master's degree (43-unit track), or equivalent, from a college or university that is regionally accredited or recognized by a ministry of education. The institution must have been accredited at the time your degree was conferred.
  • Have a minimum of six years of proven leadership experience.
     

Deadlines

The OCL online program has three start dates throughout the year: spring, summer and fall. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but we encourage you to apply early. 


Spring 2025

Program Start Date: January 13, 2025 

Deadline Date
Priority Deadline August 1, 2024
Regular Deadline September 15, 2024
Final Deadline November 1, 2024

Application Instructions

Review the detailed instructions in the dropdowns for each section of the online application. If you need accommodation for any part of the application process, please contact the Office of Admission and Scholarships at rsoeadm@rossier.usc.edu. We encourage you to submit your request for accommodation at least two weeks before the accommodation is needed so our team can make the necessary arrangements.

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.

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

Any form of unofficial transcripts including print-outs from student portals are not acceptable for admission review.

To expedite admission decisions, please upload registrar-issued transcripts from all attended institutions to the USC application portal. Official transcripts should be submitted separately to the USC Office of Graduate Admissions upon acceptance and submission of intent to enroll. 

International students should refer to USC’s country specific requirements to determine which academic records they need to submit. 

To Upload Your Transcript to The Application Portal  

Login to your USC Application Portal and navigate to the Academic History section. Enter detailed information about your academic history from each institution you have attended. 

Once you have saved this information, you will find an option to Upload a Transcript for each institution. You can upload only one PDF per institution. If the transcript consists of multiple pages, you must scan each page and merge them into a single PDF file. If you do not have access to a scanner, you can take clear photos of each page and combine them into one PDF.  

There are various online services available to merge multiple files into a single PDF or convert photos into PDFs. Once you have uploaded your transcripts and completed all other sections of the application, you can proceed to submit your application.  

Upon admission and submission of the statement of intent to enroll, you must submit degree-conferred transcripts from all attended institutions to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

colleges attended

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.”

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

Discuss your interest in the OCL program and how you believe it will help you reach short and long-term professional goals. In what ways do you hope or expect to contribute to the academic and professional community at USC Rossier? 

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

Personal Statement

Essay 2 – 500 words or less

What are some of the societal forces that perpetuate inequity in your professional field? Given the Rossier mission, in what ways do you hope or expect to contribute to bringing about equitable outcomes in your organization or field? 

 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.”

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.”

other document

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

USC Rossier requires three 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.

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 support@kiratalent.com.

  • 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 one prompt, followed by five minutes of prep time.
  • You will have three 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 30 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.

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.

USC Rossier welcomes international applicants. If your prior study was completed outside of the United States, you must have earned the equivalent of a United States bachelor’s degree to be eligible for admission. View the international application requirements based on your country of study

International students whose native language is not English and who completed their undergraduate work outside of the United States are required to demonstrate proficiency in English as part of the application process. For more information on English Proficiency requirements, English-language test waivers and other alternate accepted exams, please visit the USC Graduate Admission English-Language Proficiency page.

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 considered for admission, you should receive a TOEFL score at or above 100 iBT with no less than a score of 20 on each band, or an IELTS score at or above 7 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
    Standarized Tests

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

 

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 within 5 weeks.
  • You will receive a decision letter from both USC Rossier and the USC Office of Graduate admission.

 

Tips

  • Submit all application materials by the deadline. Incomplete applications may be delayed to the next application review.
  • Skip ahead to the “Recommendations” section and use the application platform to send requests for letters of recommendation first. We recommend you complete this step right away to provide each recommender with the maximum amount of time to complete their letter.
  • Follow the transcript submission instructions carefully. Please upload your registrar-issued transcripts from each institution attended to the USC application portal. Upon acceptance and submission of intent to enroll, you will need to submit official transcripts to the USC Office of Graduate Admissions separately.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. Your diploma will read “Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership.”

The admission committee looks for leadership experiences that demonstrate increasing levels of responsibility on tasks, projects, initiatives and supervision of individuals or teams.

There is no minimum GPA required to apply to USC Rossier programs, but competitive applicants typically have a GPA of 3.0 or above. However, GPA is one of many elements evaluated in the admission committee’s comprehensive evaluation of candidates. In the application, you may use the optional essay to discuss anything in your academic and/or professional history that may require additional explanation.

Applicants are permitted to apply to up to three USC programs within the same academic year. When completing your online application, select all programs to which you would like to apply. Please read each program’s guidelines carefully, as each program may require different documents or methods of assessment. Application fees are required for each program to which you apply, but you will only need to submit transcripts and test scores (optional for most programs) once.

GRE scores are neither required nor accepted for admission at USC Rossier.

Program Contact

Estevan Hernandez

Estevan R. Hernandez, M.Ed

Senior Assistant Director, Office of Admission and Scholarships