Application Requirements


Overview of Requirements

Applicants in the process of finishing an undergraduate degree may apply, with acceptance contingent on finishing the undergraduate degree and ability to be physically present at the start of the MSF program in August.

The following is an overview of the general requirements for the application:

  • Completed online application
  • Four-year undergraduate degree or equivalent.
    • For country-specific requirements please click here and enter your country of study to determine the academic records USC requires.
    • Applicants in the process of finishing an undergraduate degree may apply with acceptance contingent on finishing the undergraduate degree under the condition that they are physically present at the start of the MSF program.
  • Official academic transcripts from the Registrar of the institution where the courses were taken
    • For more information on transcript requirements please click here
  • Official GMAT/GRE report is required (GMAT preferred) 
  • Required essay, as outlined in the online application 
    • An optional essay is provided for any additional information you wish to convey to the Admissions Committee
  • One letter of recommendation to be submitted online (by the application deadline) is required (two are recommended)
  • Application Fee: $155
    • For more information about application fee waiver categories please click here
    • Please note that the MS in Finance program does not sponsor application fee waivers
  • English-Language Proficiency Requirements TOEFL/IELTS (if applicable)
    • More information can be found under ‘Test Scores’ and here

Please review the information on the subsequent tabs for more detail. Please visit the Office of Graduate Admission for more details on the admissions requirements. 

Letters of Recommendation
  • Only one letter of recommendation is required, two letters of recommendation are highly recommended
  • Must be submitted online through the application system
  • Must be submitted by your recommender by the application deadline
    • When you enter your recommenders information in the system you select the date by which you request the recommendation be completed. This date must be before the application deadline. 
    • Request your recommendation letters as soon as you start the online application to allow sufficient time for your recommenders to submit them on your behalf.
    • In order for an application to be considered complete all required documents must be submitted by the deadline. 

The letters of recommendation are used as a gauge of your professional achievements and managerial potential. We prefer that your letter of recommendation be provided by a professor or direct supervisor. This person should provide specific observations and examples of your leadership, teamwork, analytical skills and personal quantities.  We prefer applicants submit two letters; one academic, and one professional.

For more information on Recommendations and troubleshooting please visit the Application Portal Help Center.

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  • Official GMAT/GRE report is required (GMAT preferred)
    • We will not be making exceptions for the  GMAT/GRE requirement for Fall 2021 admissions due to COVID-19.
  • Sending Test scores: We request you upload unofficial copies of your GMAT/GRE scores with your application in addition to sending official scores electronically. (through the GMAT testing service using the codes mentioned).

USC’s ETS school code is 4852. Applicants sending any tests administered by ETS, such as the GRE, should use this code to ensure that USC receives your official test results. No department code is required.

If you are sending GMAT scores, please select “University of Southern California” from the list of available schools. 

The GMAT program code for USC Marshall MS in Finance is 389-9C-01.

How long will my GRE or GMAT scores be considered valid?

Your scores are considered valid only if earned within five years to the month of your intended first term at USC.

English-Language proficiency – TOEFL/IELTS (International Students)

English-Language proficiency requirements are set forth by the Office of Graduate Admission. Please refer to their website for details, including placement scores. Please note that the MSF program is very competitive and does not offer conditional admission. The average TOEFL score of our past class was 102 IBT. The average IELTS score for our past class was 7.5 with at least 6.5 on each section.  

Submitting Scores
To avoid delays in processing of your application, we suggest that you ask to have your TOEFL or IELTS scores sent to USC Marshall when you pre-register for the examination. You should also upload copies of your TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application. But these unofficial copies are a supplement to, not a substitute for, the official copies which must come through the testing service.

If you are required to take an English Language Exam, an official score report must be forwarded to USC by the testing agency. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years. Official scores must be received directly from the testing service and date no earlier than 2 years (24 months) prior to the start of your intended first term at USC.

If you are sending TOEFL scores, the institution code for USC is 4852 (no department code is required). If you are sending IELTS scores, please choose “University of Southern California, Graduate Programs” from the list of available institutions of where to send your scores on the day that you sit for your test. Please do not enter the name and contact information of your specific intended graduate department. USC will only accept electronic IELTS scores. Paper scores are not considered official.

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Transcript requirements are set forth by the Office of Graduate Admission. Please view their website for details. 

Transcript submission is a two-step process:

  1. All applicants must upload scanned copies of official transcripts from all institutions attended to the online application. Please note that these must be official transcripts printed on university letterhead. Print-outs from online student portals are not acceptable.
  2. After you submit your application and received your 10 digit USC ID number, you must also mail in official transcripts from all colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions you have previously attended.

Cover sheet: We recommend that you fill out the “College/University Transcript Cover Page” and send it to the registrar’s office of each post-secondary institution you have attended. Although it is not mandatory, including it along with your USC ID number will help match your transcripts to your file as quickly as possible.

E-transcripts: USC now accepts official electronic transcripts, provided they meet the following guidelines:

• The transcript originates from a secure site formally linked to the sending institution.

• The school is located in the United States. If located outside the United States, we accept electronic transcripts only from India sent via TrueCopy Credentials. We do not accept electronic transcripts from any other overseas institutions or vendors.

Please instruct the vendor to email the transcript to Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address yourself. Electronic transcripts e-mailed to any other address will not be downloaded, resulting in a delay of your file review and an extra expense to you because the transcript will need to be re-sent.

USC alumni or current students: USC degree holders do not need to submit USC transcripts to the Office of Graduate Admission. Please be sure to include your USC enrollment in the “Academic Background” section so that we may match your application to the academic records already on file.

Transcripts in original language of issuance: International students who have earned their degree outside the United States must check the country-specific requirements to determine if original-language copies of their academic records are needed. In such cases, a separate, word-for-word, English-language translation of all academic records must also be submitted. The translation should either be issued directly from the school itself or by a professional, certified translator. It must contain all information shown on the original-language documents and “mirror” them as precisely as possible. Dual-language transcripts are also acceptable.

Credential evaluation: Please note that USC does not accept or recognize credential evaluation reports from outside agencies (e.g. WES, ECE, etc.) for the purposes of admission review.

Mailing Instructions

If sending your transcripts via regular mail, please use the following address:
University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

If sending your transcripts via courier service, such as DHL or FedEx, please use the following address:
University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission and Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street, Tyler 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915
Phone: (213) 740-1111

Confidentiality and Document Submission Policy

Transcripts and all other materials submitted for admission consideration become the property of USC. The university does not return or duplicate materials for any reason whatsoever. The information and materials in your submitted application are made available only to the central Office of Admission and the admission committee of the academic department or professional school to which you have applied.

What is an official transcript?

A transcript is considered official when it is received in the sealed envelope provided by the school, or when it is electronically transmitted (not emailed) from the institution. Even if it is mailed by the applicant, it can be considered official as long as the envelope has not been opened.

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International Students: Additional Information

For information about English Language Proficiency (TOEFL/IELTS), please refer to the ‘Test Scores’ tab. For Information on transcripts please view the ‘Transcripts tab’

Who is considered International?

All applicants that are not United States nationals, and will be entering, or have already entered, the United States with an F-1 or J-1 student visa, must apply as an international student. Applicants who already reside in the United States and hold other non-immigrant visas (for example, E2, H2 or L2) are also considered international students.

Permanent residents of the United States, naturalized U.S. citizens, and U.S. citizens residing abroad and attending a university outside the United States are not considered international students.

USC Marshall encourages all interested international applicants to apply. The procedures are somewhat different than for domestic applicants, so please read this part carefully in addition to above Admission Requirements.

For country specific requirements please visit



Every admitted international applicant must have a passport on file in order for an I-20 or DS-2019 to be issued. We encourage you to upload a scanned copy of your passport with your online application. In case no passport is available at the time of application, applicants can submit the passport with the financial documents after they have been admitted.

Records of your undergraduate and/or graduate degrees

You will need to submit one set of records from each college or university you have attended. The records should indicate the number of lecture and laboratory hours devoted to each course and the grades (marks) you received.

You must also submit an official document showing the title and date of each degree you have earned. This document is considered the equivalent of a "transcript" issued by an American institution.

If the official document is not in English, you must also include a separate English translation by the university or by a certified professional translator.

You may send a certified copy of the official document instead of the original.

During the admissions cycle, the processing and verification of your transcript/s can take up to 8 weeks.

Financial assistance for international students

The USC Marshall School of Business offers a limited number of partial tuition scholarships for international students. These merit-based awards are highly competitive and are determined at the time of admission. Please note that only U.S. citizens are eligible for Federal Stafford Loans.


International Degree Verification

The USC Office of Degree Progress requires verification of international prior degrees from the International Education Research Foundation (IERF). Detailed information about their services, including application forms, fees, and required documents are available at

Please contact Degree Progress, 213.740.7070 if you have any questions, or need more information regarding prior degree verification.

Financial Guarantee Statement

Before a student visa can be issued, the U.S. government requires that you provide a document attesting to your ability to pay tuition and expenses for the first academic year of your degree program.

The document must include your sponsor's name, address and source of income, and must be verified by a bank stamp and dated within the last nine months. If your financial support is from your home government or another official agency (e.g., Fulbright, AMIDEAST), you must submit similar documentation.

Please read carefully through USC Graduate Admission Guidelines for Financial Documentation for all the important information, particularly the Financial Statement Expense Figures as well as the detailed guidelines for submitting proof of financial support.

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