University of Southern California

Application Requirements

Application Materials

All application materials are submitted via the online application system. Applications must include all required materials (below). Your application may not be forwarded to the admissions committee if it is missing any required documents.

Required:

Optional:

  • Statement of Research Experience (recommended)
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume (recommended)
  • Writing Sample (e.g. research paper)

Bachelor's Degree or the Equivalent

Applicants must have completed or expect to complete a four-year bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) by the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester with the equivalent of a 3.0 GPA (B average) on the U.S. 4.0 scale. For international applicants, specific equivalencies by country are available on the USC Graduate School website.

Letters of Recommendation

(1) Letters of recommendations are submitted via the online recommendation system. In the online application, you will submit the names and email addresses exactly three recommenders. The system will send them an email that provides instructions on how to submit the recommendation letter on your behalf.

The admissions committee prefers recommendations from academics familiar with your scholastic and research capabilities; those from faculty members with whom you have worked in a research capacity are particularly valued. If you have been away from the academic environment, you may submit one reference from a non-academic in place of one academic reference.

Statement of Purpose and Statement of Research Experience

The statements should generally address the questions below. You may combine your answers into one response or submit them separately. There are no page limits or word count requirements.

Statement of Purpose:

Please describe why you wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Business Administration in your chosen field of specialization. Please also explain why you believe that the Marshall School of Business would be a good fit for you.

Research Experience:

Please describe significant academic research experience you have had, if any. Indicate who you worked with, the topic you studied, the skills you developed, activities you engaged in and the output from the project (e.g., conference paper, publication).

Transcripts

Uploading unofficial (student) transcripts via the online application system is a requirement to complete the Marshall Ph.D. application. You should not have official transcripts mailed to USC unless we directly request them. If you do have official transcripts mailed to USC, you still need to upload unofficial transcripts in the online application system because the official copies are not immediately available to the Marshall Ph.D. program

Official transcripts will be requested of applicants who proceed to Round 2 of applications review. Round 2 decisions are sent in mid- to late-February.

GRE, GMAT, IELTS & TOEFL Score Reports

(1) GRE and GMAT should be taken within 5 years from the date of application submission.

(2) TOEFL and IELTS should be taken within 2 years from the start of the academic semester applied for. For example, when applying for Fall 2014, the TOEFL must be taken after August 1, 2012.

(3) Uploading unofficial (student) score reports via the online application system is a requirement to complete the Marshall Ph.D. application. We know that you may have requested official score reports be sent to USC when you took your exams, but, unfortunately, these records are not immediately available to the Marshall Ph.D. program. Even if you have requested official score reports to be sent to USC, you still need to upload the unofficial (student) score report to the online system to ensure timely review of your application.

Official test score reports will be requested of applicants who proceed to Round 2 of applications review. Round 2 decisions are sent in mid- to late-February.

Who is Required to Demonstrate English Proficiency

Even if you have earned a graduate, master's, and/or Ph.D. degree in the U.S. or another English-speaking country, you must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.

You are exempt from submitting the TOEFL or IELTS score if
(1) you are a U.S. citizen,
(2) you are a U.S. permanent resident,
(3) your native language is English, defined as being from Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), Caribbean countries (Antigua, Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Grenadines, Guyana, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Trinidad &Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands), Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria, Puerto Rico or United Kingdom, or
(4) you have a bachelor's degree from the United States, Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), Caribbean countries (Antigua, Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Grenadines, Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands), Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria, Puerto Rico or United Kingdom.

All other applicants must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. For exemption #4, note that the entire bachelor's program must be completed in the qualifying country.

TOEFL Score Requirements

Test FormatMinimum Score
Paper-based600
Computer-based250
Internet-basedTotal Score=100 and component scores >=20

TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the intended date of enrollment. Applicants for Fall 2014 must have taken the TOEFL between August 2012 and August 2014.

For more information about TOEFL or to register for an exam, visit http://www.ets.org/toefl.

USC's institution code for TOEFL is 4852.

IELTS Score Requirements

Minimum IELTS Score - 7 with at least 6 on each band

For more information, please refer to the USC Graduate Admissions "English Proficiency Criteria".

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the intended date of enrollment. Applicants for Fall 2014 must have taken the IELTS between August 2012 and August 2014. For more information about IELTS or to register for an exam, visit http://www.ielts.org/