Frequently Asked Questions

Application Requirements

How do I indicate which program I would like to pursue on the application?

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.

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I'm currently an undergraduate student. Am I eligible for admission?

Yes! Anyone who has earned a Bachelor's degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. undergraduate degree from an accredited institution may be considered. See application requirements tab for more information regarding application requirements.

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Is any prior coursework required?

For students with a quantitative research focus, one year of college calculus or its equivalent is required and matrix algebra is desirable. All students benefit from introductory mathematical statistics and intermediate economic theory.

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What is the application deadline?

Please see Application Timeline.

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Can I be admitted for the spring semester?

No, we only accept applications for admittance in the fall.

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Are official transcripts required?

When you submit the application online, you will include unofficial copies of your transcripts. Should your application proceed to the final stages of review, we may contact you to request official transcripts. Please see Application Requirements.

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Are campus interviews required?

In the final rounds of application review, you may be interviewed. We expect these interviews to be conducted  in a virtual format.

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Can I send in some of my prior research?

You may upload one writing sample while completing the online application under the "Documents & Essays" section. We do not review materials sent by postal mail.

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May I submit more than three letters of recommendation?

Each candidate is required to submit three letters of recommendation. Quality bests quantity.

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I am a re-applicant. Do I need to submit my scores and other application information again?

Yes, our program requires that you must submit all your information again, such as unofficial transcripts, unofficial test scores, recommendation letters, etc.

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What is my USC ID # and what is it used for?

The University assigns each applicant a personal USC ID # upon receipt of any part of the application or its supporting materials. Your USC ID number will be automatically sent within seven days of submitting the online application. The USC ID should be referenced when sending additional information or checking on application status.

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The Online Application

Is there any way to apply without using the online application system?

No, all applications are submitted online. All supporting documents (test scores, recommendation letters, transcripts, essays, CV etc.) must be input/uploaded into the online application system.

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Do my recommenders have to submit their letters online?

Yes, recommendations should be submitted via the online application system.

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Can I replace a recommender?

Yes! You can log back into the online application system and make updates.

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Can my application fee be waived?

Unfortunately, we do not sponsor fee waivers.

USC alumni, USC employees, and some applicants are eligible for an application fee waiver. This is determined at the university level and instruction will be available on the online application system.

For more information, please refer to University Graduate Admission:

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What standardized test should I take? Do I have to take the GMAT or GRE?

The Ph.D. program requires applicants to submit either a GMAT or GRE scores. We do not have a preference between the two exams.

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What are Marshall's institution codes for GRE & GMAT?

Our code for the GMAT is 389-9C-89. Our institution code for the GRE is 4852. Applicants are not required to select a department code, however if prompted to enter a department code, applicants should select the code for graduate schools of management "02". Please refer to or for additional information.

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What exams do you accept to demonstrate English proficiency?

We accept either the IELTS or TOEFL. Please see Application Requirements for minimum scores on each exam.

PLEASE NOTE: For international students applying to a Spring, Summer or Fall 2023 application, Graduate Admission will continue to accept TOEFL iBT Home Edition, the TOEFL iBT Paper Edition, and the IELTS Indicator (online) test scores.

Graduate Admission not accept TOEFL Essentials or Duolingo.

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Do I have to take the TOEFL if I received a graduate degree from a university within the United States? What if I have been working in the U.S.?

Yes, you still need to take the TOEFL or IELTS. A Master's, MBA, or Ph.D. degree from the United States DOES NOT exempt you from the TOEFL or IELTS. Work experience in the United States also DOES NOT exempt you from taking the TOEFL or IELTS.

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Admissions Criteria

What do faculty members look for in applicants?

Marshall's faculty selects qualified students based on evidence of outstanding intellectual ability and commitment to a career in research. Standardized test scores, recommendation letters, academic record, and research fit will be evaluated along with intangible qualities like creativity and independence.

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May I give you my qualifications and be pre-assessed for admission?

No. It is difficult to assess any individual's case, as it will depend on the quality of the applicant pool. Therefore, it is our policy not to prejudge, pre-admit, or prescreen students, make subjective probability assessments or give private assurances to prospective applicants. Please see the above "what do faculty members look for in applicants" as well as the class profiles from previous years for an idea of how you compare to our prior applicant pool.

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If I am denied admission, can I reapply?

Yes, you can reapply to our program. Please note that though you must submit all new application materials, including responses to the essay questions, letters of recommendation, application fee, transcripts, and test scores.

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After Applying

What happens after my application is submitted?

We will check your application for all required materials and check for completeness.

Your application will be forwarded to the admissions review committee to make the admissions decision. Applications are reviewed by departments/the faculty admissions committee and assessed as they see fit.

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How can I find out the status of my application?

After you submit your application, you can log back into the online system to check the status of your application and materials at any time.

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Do you offer online option in the Marshall PhD Program?

No, our program is a full-time, on-campus program. We currently do not offer any online, tele-commuting, or part-time programs in the Marshall Ph.D. Program.


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Is a Part-time option available?

Unfortunately we do not offer a part-time program for our Ph.D. students. It is very important that all students engage in research and coursework full-time to benefit from our program.

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