Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business

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

Yes. Holding a prior master’s degree does not exempt applicants from submitting the required test scores.  

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.

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 may complete the program in one semester, depending on course availability. Working students usually take 1-2 classes each semester. Part-Time domestic students and permanent residents may choose to complete the program over several years. International students not concurrently enrolled in a USC graduate program must complete the certificate in no more than 2 semesters.

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 master's degree program. 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

    For those who are not already graduate students at USC, the cost of the program is around $31,000 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 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.

    Can I get a scholarship? How about financial aid?

    The Graduate Certificate program is not funded for program-specific scholarships.  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 financial aid, please click here.

    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 and Alumni

    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.
      Warning! When you try to submit your application, if the system asks for a credit card number, do NOT give it a credit card number. Contact USC Admissions to follow up on the status of your waiver.
    • 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.
    • 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. Test scores and transcripts submitted to USC with your prior application should be on file in the USC admissions system, so you should not have to submit new official scores or new official transcripts, but do fill in the requested fields and upload scanned copies as requested to your 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) 740-3198.

    Return to home.