University of Southern California

Applicant Requirements

Am I exempt from providing a TOEFL or IELTS score?

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement under the below circumstances. Please check the Graduate Admissions site for the most updated information.

  1. You hold a Bachelor’s degree completed in residency in United States or other Anglophone country.

    The Bachelor’s degree should come from a regionally accredited university located in the United States or officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program must have been completed in the qualifying country.

    We do not waive the English-proficiency requirement based on either a graduate degree from a university in the U.S. or other qualifying country or an undergraduate program taught in English in a non-Anglophone country.

  2. Your native language is English.

    This applies to native English speakers from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (except Quebec) where English is both the only official language of the country and the language of instruction.

    The criteria listed above are the only means by which international applicants can demonstrate English proficiency. USC does not waive the English-proficiency requirement based on any other consideration (work experience, ESL enrollment, etc.).

International Applicants

If you are not a United States national, and you will be entering, or have already entered, the United States with an F-1 or J-1 student visa, you should apply as an international student. Applicants who already reside in the United States and hold other non-immigrant visas (for example, E2, H2 or L2) are also considered international students.

Permanent residents of the United States, naturalized U.S. citizens, and U.S. citizens residing abroad and attending a university outside the United States are not considered international students.

USC Marshall encourages all interested international applicants to apply. The procedures are somewhat different than for domestic applicants, so please read this page carefully in addition to Admission Requirements.


Every admitted international applicant must have a passport on file in order for an I-20 or DS-2019 to be issued. Please upload a scanned copy of your passport with your online application. If no passport is available at the time of application, applicants can submit the passport with the financial documents after they have been admitted.

Records of your undergraduate and/or graduate degrees

Please submit one set of records from each college or university you have attended. The records should indicate the number of lecture and laboratory hours devoted to each course and the grades (marks) you received.

You must also submit an official document showing the title and date of each degree you have earned. This document is considered the equivalent of a "transcript" issued by an American institution.

If the official document is not in English, you must also include a separate English translation by the university or by a certified professional translator. You may send a certified copy of the official document instead of the original.

During the admissions cycle, the processing and verification of your transcript/s can take up to 8 weeks.

International Degree Verification

The USC Office of Degree Progress requires verification of international prior degrees from the International Education Research Foundation (IERF). Details about their services, including application forms, fees, and required documents are available at

Please contact Degree Progress, 213.740.7070 if you have any questions, or need more information regarding prior degree verification.

English-language proficiency

International graduate applicants must demonstrate English-language proficiency by submitting either TOEFL or IELTS scores. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement under certain circumstances. Review the USC policy to determine if you are exempt. USC does not waive the English-proficiency requirement based on any other consideration (work experience, ESL enrollment, etc.).

To avoid delays in processing your application, we suggest that you ask to have your TOEFL or IELTS scores sent to USC Marshall when you pre-register for the examination. You can also upload copies of your TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application. Official scores must be received directly from the testing service and date no earlier than 2 years (24 months) prior to the start of your intended first term at USC. If you are sending TOEFL scores, the institution code for USC is 4852 (no department code is required). If you are sending IELTS scores, please choose “University of Southern California, Graduate Programs” from the list of available institutions of where to send your scores on the day that you sit for your test. Please do not enter the name and contact information of your specific intended graduate department. USC will only accept electronic IELTS scores. Paper scores are not considered official.

Financial Guarantee Statement

Before a student visa can be issued, the U.S. government requires that you provide a document attesting to your ability to pay tuition and expenses for the first academic year of your degree program.

The document must include your sponsor's name, address and source of income, and must be verified by a bank stamp and dated within the last nine months. If your financial support is from your home government or another official agency (e.g., Fulbright, AMIDEAST), you must submit similar documentation.

Financial assistance for international students

The USC Marshall School of Business offers a limited number of scholarships for international students, including full-tuition and partial-tuition scholarships. These merit-based awards are highly competitive and are determined at the time of admission. Please note that only U.S. citizens are eligible for Federal Stafford Loans. For more information about financial support, please click here.

Once Admitted

Once admitted, the below items must be complete before an I-20 can be issued

  • Submitted your official academic transcripts
  • Submitted your official TOEFL/IELTS scores
  • Completed degree verification (IERF)
  • Submitted financial guarantee statement
  • Submitted a copy of your passport

Once an international applicant is admitted, they are encouraged to start utilizing the services offered through the Office of International Services. This office provides orientation programs and continuing support services for international students and their dependents. Specially trained professional counselors and student peer counselors are available to advise you about immigration regulations, academic progress, financial concerns, housing and adjusting to life in the United States. Year-round social and cultural activities are also sponsored through this office. For information, contact (213) 740-2666, or visit

Below is some additional information you will need to be aware of and act upon as you prepare to leave your country for study in the United States.

U.S. Visa Information

After your admissions to the Marshall MBA Program, the USC Office of Graduate and International Admission will provide the student with either an I-20 or DS-2019 Eligibility Certificate. The I-20 is valid for the F-1 visa. The DS-2019 is valid for the J-1 visa. Make sure that the information provided on the USC Marshall application —name, date of birth, city and country of birth, and country of citizenship — is exactly the same as the information on the passport. The student’s eligibility certificate can be issued only if the information on the passport matches the information provided to USC Marshall.

When the student receives the eligibility certificate from USC, they must apply through a United States embassy or consulate for a visa to enter the United States. The student must register for the semester specified on the certificate. Admitted international students with questions about the student visa process should e-mail

Health insurance and health fee requirements

International students must carry health and accident insurance unless their sponsor provides sufficient health coverage. USC reserves the right to determine whether the amount of insurance the student has is adequate. All USC students on the University Park campus pay a mandatory health fee entitling them to health and counseling services at the University Park Health Center. Students may also purchase medical coverage for family members accompanying them to the United States. For more information, please call the University Park Health Center at (213) 740-5344.

Social Security Number

A Social Security number is a nine-digit number issued by the federal Social Security Administration to citizens and to non-citizens authorized to work in the United States. The primary purpose of this number is to track individuals for taxation purposes; it is not intended to be used for identification.

The only reason an international student would need a Social Security card is to apply for a job. If the student has a job offer, the USC Office of International Services can help them obtain a Social Security number. To open a bank account, international students will be asked to fill out a form attesting that they are exempt, as an international student, from the Social Security number requirement. For more information, click here.