Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Certificate in Management Studies

Topics Addressed in Frequently Asked Questions


Anyone who has completed the requisite preparatory curriculum described below is welcome to apply to the GCMS program at USC Marshall. Of course, applicants from programs not accredited by the AACSB, EQUIS, ACBSP, AOCTE, IACBE or AMBA are generally considered less well prepared than those from accredited institutions. The admissions committee will rely on the combination of GMAT or GRE test scores, work experience, resume, and essays in making their decision. Also, they will review transcripts from all institutions attended to ensure that the applicant is fully prepared to participate with and compete with Marshall graduate students in the classroom.

Required Preparatory Curriculum

When evaluating the applicant’s qualifications we check to see that the following subject matter (coursework) was/is included in the individual’s MBA program:

  • Financial and Management Accounting
  • Business Communication
  • Corporate Finance
  • Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Organizational Behavior/Personnel Management/Leadership
  • Statistics/Quantitative analysis
  • Strategy

If specific content areas are missing the student may be offered admission on the condition that shortages are completed prior to matriculation. If completed at USC, required preparatory coursework will be added to the requirements of the certificate. 


For International students who did not complete a 4-year bachelor's degree at an American, British, Canadian or Australian college or university, proof of proficiency in English is required for admission. USC Marshall accepts the following test scores, as long as the test was taken no more than two years prior to the first day of class:

  • the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) with a score of at least 100 with no less than 20 on each of the four test components,
  • the PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic) with a minimum score of 70, or
  • the IELTS with a score of 7, with no less than 6 on each band score.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The length of time it takes to complete the program depends on how many classes the student takes each semester. High achievers will complete the program in one semester. International students must complete the program within 2 semesters. Working students take 1-2 classes each semester. Since the program requires 12 units of coursework (usually four 3-unit classes), completing the program can take as long as two years if the student takes only one class each fall and spring semester.

Tuition and Fees

For those who are not already graduate students at USC, the cost of the program is around $24,600 plus books, fees, insurance, and living expenses. Fees and insurance can total more than $2,000 per year. Living expenses (housing, food, transportation, etc.) run about $20,000 per year. Current USC tuition and fee information is available at Select the next future semester and then the 'Tuition and Fees' tab on the left side of the screen. Tuition rates do increase each year.

Can current USC MBA students do this program and apply the courses to their MBA?

No. The program is designed to add academic content to an individual’s MBA. USC MBA students already have access to all of the curricular options in the program. USC MBA students who wish to complete 12 units in addition to the units required to complete their MBA may do this program. They should apply for admission during their last semester in the MBA program. None of the coursework applied to the completed MBA can be counted toward this certificate.

Can USC MBA alumni do the program?

Absolutely! Trojan MBAs are always welcome to come back to school. Keep in mind that none of the coursework applied to the completed MBA can be counted toward this certificate.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The GCMS program is not funded to support scholarships dedicated specifically to GCMS students.  Other scholarship programs might be available. Visit the USC Awards Database for more information.

This certificate is eligible for federal financial aid. To apply for federal financial aid, please click here

Application of prior coursework to the GCMS requirements

The GCMS is intended to provide those who have completed foundational coursework with an opportunity to expand their knowledge in areas not covered during their prior studies. Applying old coursework to the certificate would not contribute to achieving this goal. In other words, no courses completed prior to matriculation in the GCMS program can be applied toward the Graduate Certificate of Management Studies.

Career Development and Placement Services

It is expected that GCMS students will receive career development training as part of their prior graduate program and will have access to career placement services as alumni of their prior graduate institution. As a result, GCMS students are not provided with career transition services at USC Marshall.


The University of Southern California provides a wide range of housing opportunities on and around campus. For more information about University-owned and managed facilities visit Additionally, a great number of non-university housing opportunities are available around campus. For more information about those visit

Information for Students and Alumni of KAIST

Current students and alumni of the KAIST Techno MBA. or the IMBA are welcome to apply for admission to the GCMS program.

Admissions: Under the partnership agreement between KAIST and USC Marshall, Techno MBA and IMBA applicants are not required to have work experience or to submit GMAT or GRE test scores. One letter of recommendation from the KAIST screening committee is required. Proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores) is required of all non-US citizens who did not spend 4-years completing a bachelor's degree at an American, British, Canadian or Australian college or university. All other parts of the application are required.

Curriculum: Students from KAIST are not exempt from course prerequisite requirements. Prerequisite waivers will be issued upon confirmation that coursework equivalent to prerequisites has been completed.

More Questions?

For additional information write to or call (213) 740-3198.

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