Application Requirements

Marshall Ph.D. Program Required Documents

All required application materials (below) must be submitted. Your application may not be forwarded to the admissions committee if it is missing any required documents. In the online application system, you will be required to fill out four sections. Please refer to the following four sections (Personal Information, Academic History, Supporting Information, and Program Materials) in which to submit your documents.

Special Notes: 

Please refer to program materials section of the Marshall Ph.D. Program Application to specify the program (accounting, finance, management, marketing, operations or statistics) you would like to pursue.  Under the questions on the program materials section, you will identify your program track of interest.

The Marshall PhD program requires a complete application including valid GRE/GMAT and English proficiency scores and your scores may be self-reported when you apply. For the Fall 2021 application cycle, applicants can take the online/at home exams.  We have some flexibility to work with applicants who don’t have valid GRE/GMAT or TOEFL/IELTS scores by the admission deadline. If this is the case, please note planned under the GMAT/GRE and the date you plan to take the exam. If you are unable to take the exam, we could conditionally admit you but you would need a valid GRE/GMAT score no later than the fall of your first semester if admitted. 

If requirements change due to Covid, further information will be posted on this page.

Please note: applicants must submit the application by the deadline.  

Did the FAQ not answer your question?

If these, or other, requirements change due to the coronavirus pandemic information will be posted on this page.

I. Personal Information

In this section of the online application, you will be required to provide your personal information such as First and Last (Family) Name, Date of Birth, Gender, Phone Number, Email Address, Mailing Address, etc.

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II. Academic History
  1. Completion of Bachelor's Degree or the Equivalent by Term of Admittance:
    Applicants must have completed or expect to complete a four-year bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) by the beginning of the fall 2021 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.
  2. Transcripts (unofficial copies of ALL transcripts must be uploaded):
    Uploading unofficial 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.
    Please do not upload protected PDF copies of the transcript to the online application system.
    Official transcripts may be requested of applicants who proceed to Round 2 of applications review. Round 2 decisions are sent in mid- to late-February. Please refer to the Graduate Admission site for more information on transcripts and submission of official transcripts.
  3. GRE or GMAT scores (valid scores must be submitted; no exceptions):
    1. GRE and GMAT should be taken within 5 years from the date of the intended date of enrollment. Your scores are considered valid only if earned within five years to the month of your intended first term at USC. (For example, no earlier than August 1 five years prior if applying for the fall term).
    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 2021, the TOEFL must be taken after August 1, 2019.
    3. Inputting 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 input 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.
  4. IELTS or TOEFL scores (for international students ONLY; valid scores must be submitted; no exceptions):
    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, 

      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.

      USC does not waive the English-proficiency requirement based on any other consideration such as work experience, ESL enrollment, etc. It also cannot be waived for undergraduate programs taught in English in non-Anglophone countries, or for graduate degrees earned in the U.S. or other qualifying countries.

      To determine if USC requires TOEFL/IELTS scores for the country, please check here.

    4. you have a bachelor's degree completed in its entirety in the United States or another Anglophone country. The bachelor’s degree should be earned at a regionally accredited university located in the United States, or at an 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 needs to have been completed in the qualifying country.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       To determine if USC requires TOEFL/IELTS scores for the country of study, please check here.                          

      Note: Dual-degree holders who completed part of their degree in the U.S. do not qualify for this waiver.

      All other applicants must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.  

      TOEFL Score Requirements
      Test Format Minimum Score
      Internet-based Total Score=100 and component scores >=20

      TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the intended date of enrollment. Applicants for Fall 2021 must have taken the TOEFL between August 2019 and August 2020.

      For more information about TOEFL or to register for an exam, visit 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 2021 must have taken the IELTS between August 2019 and August 2021. For more information about IELTS or to register for an exam, visit www.ielts.org/

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III. Supporting Information
  1. CV/Resume
  2. Passport Copy (for international students ONLY)
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IV. Program Materials
  1. Three Letters of Recommendation:
    Letters of recommendations are submitted via the online application system. In the online application, you will submit the names and email addresses of 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 a maximum of one reference from a non-academic in place of one academic reference.
  2. Personal Statement (include Essay Questions below)
    Essay Questions:

    A) 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.

    B) Research Experience/Interest: Please describe any 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, etc.). You can also describe your research interest as well.

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Please note that in addition, you must submit an application fee of $90.00.