Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business

I already hold a master's degree. Do I have to submit test scores?

Holding a prior master’s degree does not exempt applicants from submitting the required test scores. Failing to submit test scores could jeopardize the individual's admission if the committee asks for scores and the applicant is not able to take the test in time for admission.

What if I took one of the required courses with a degree I completed already?

Coursework credited to a degree previously awarded by USC cannot be applied to the Graduate Certificate. Likewise, coursework taken at another university cannot be applied to the Graduate Certificate and should not be repeated at USC.

Application of Graduate Certificate Coursework to master's degree requirements

A Graduate Certificate may be completed in conjunction with course work required for another program in which the student is already enrolled. Applicability of certificate courses to the student's primary degree program is determined by the student's home department. Current MBA students may apply all 15 units of the graduate certificate program to their MBA degree. Coursework may be applied to both the certificate and another graduate degree only if the certificate is completed prior to or in the same semester as the master’s or Ph.D. degree.

Conferral of the certificate and documentation on the transcript requires that the individual formally apply to the program and be admitted. See the Admissions page for more information about this process.

    How much will it cost? Tuition and Fees

    Current USC tuition and fee information is available in the USC Schedule of Classes. 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. The cost of tuition for this program is roughly about $28,000US. Additional fees and insurance can total as much as $2,000 per year. These estimates do not include living expenses (housing, food, transportation, etc.), which run about $20,000US per year.

    Can I get a scholarship? How about financial aid?

    The Graduate Certificate program is not funded for program-specific scholarships. Graduate Certificates are not eligible for federal financial aid. Other scholarship programs might be available. Visit the USC Awards Database for more information.

    Career Development and Placement Services

    Career Development and Placement Services for Certificate-only students are provided by the USC Career Center. Certificate students are not provided with specialized Marshall School career development or placement services. Certificate students are welcome to join Marshall graduate student organizations and attend open-invitation presentations by guest speakers.


    Instructions for Current USC Students

    Q: I'm a student at USC. What do I have to do to apply?

    A: You will need to submit a new application to apply for admission to this program.

    Applications to the Graduate Certificate are submitted on-line via

    • Start by applying for an application fee waiver. (First year students must wait until they have completed their first semester.)
      Follow the instructions under
      step 3 at or
      step 4 at
      Processing of application fee waivers usually takes 2-3 working days.
    • If you have not used this system before, you will need to create a login and password. If you have applied to USC using this system before, use your existing login and password to retrieve your file.
    • Select the "Add Program" tab and follow the directions to request an application fee waiver.
    • Under the "Add Program" tab search for "Program Level" Certificate and select the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business from the list.
    • Return to the "My Application" tab and complete the required portions of the application.
    • In the "Academic Background" section don't forget to add your current USC degree program to your education history. You may upload a copy of your STARS report in lieu of a USC transcript.
    • In the "Program Materials" quadrant, the "Questions" are required.
    • Don't forget to "Submit Application."


    What did we miss?

    For more information, write to or call (213) 740-0671.

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