The most frequently asked questions.

Here is everything you need to know.

Thumbnail
I want to apply for the MSF for Fall 2019, but the application is not displayed.

The MSF program only has entry in the Summer session, which for us starts in the end of May. Please look under programs beginning in Summer 2019. The MSF program starts in the summer and is a 1-year long program. 

- Hide
How much does the MSF program cost?

The tuition and fees for the MSF Program for the 2017-2018 academic year, including mandatory health insurance, is about $67,000. 

If accepted, international applicants must show proof of finances for tuition and fees and estimated living expenses, which is approximately $25,000 USD.
 

For more information on tuition and fees please visit: http://financialaid.usc.edu/graduates/admitted/how-much-wil-my-education-cost.html and https://classes.usc.edu/term-20172/tuition-and-fees/

- Hide
What is the difference between the MSF program and a finance-focused MBA from USC Marshall?

As an MSF student, you will be required to take 12 graduate level finance classes. This exceeds the number of electives you will be able to take in a finance-focused MBA from USC Marshall. Therefore the MSF degree is more concentrated in Finance. An MBA equips students with a broader set of skills, while the MSF degree equips students with a specific skill set in Finance. 

- Hide
What is the size of the MSF class?

The Class of 2017 was 65 students. The Class of 2018 was 75 students. The current cohort, the Class of 2019 is 77 students. 

- Hide
How many people apply to the MSF?

We receive around 900 applications per year. 

- Hide
How difficult is it to get into the USC Marshall MSF program?

The Master of Science in Finance program at USC is very competitive. Based on the number of applications we receive and the class size, the percent accepted is 12%. 

- Hide
Who are your competitors?

Our competitors include MIT, Johns Hopkins, and Vanderbilt.

- Hide
Can I apply to more than one USC program?

You can apply to a maximum of three separate graduate programs for a single term. In the Add Program tab on the application, click the + icon for each program you wish to apply to.

Please note that you will be assigned only one 10-digit USC ID number.

You will need to submit only one set of transcripts and test scores to the Office of Graduate Admission, regardless of the number of programs you are applying to. All other materials (personal statement, recommendations, writing samples, etc.) are reviewed by graduate departments only, not the Office of Graduate Admission, and must be submitted according to the requirements listed under the Program Materials section for each program.

If you are applying to multiple programs, please note that scores need to be sent only once. Test scores are posted to our central information system and can be viewed by all departments.

- Hide
I majored in Business/Economics/Finance as an undergraduate. Can I waive some of the course requirements?

No, we do not accept undergraduate courses as a substitute for graduate courses.

- Hide
Can I get credit for graduate courses that I took before the MSF program?

It is possible to get a waiver for some courses on a case by case basis. This would require taking a waiver exam in order to be waived out of a class. This can only be determined once a student has been accepted to the program. If waived out of a course the student must replace it with an approved elective. 

- Hide
What is the MSF curriculum like? Is the curriculum more quantitative oriented?

The curriculum has a balance of quantitative as well as finance theories and interpretations courses. For further information, please check our curriculum section of the website: https://www.marshall.usc.edu/msf/curriculum.

- Hide
Is it possible to do an internship during the program?

Due to the accelerated nature of the program, your time may be very limited. However, students have taken internship offers at their own discretion during the Fall and Spring semesters. The summer session is very intense and leaves very little time for an internship. 

- Hide
How long does it take to complete the program?

The MSF program at USC is a one-year program that begins in the summer and commences in the spring with graduation. The program spans three semesters, Summer, Fall and Spring. 

- Hide
Can students complete the MSF program part-time or via distance learning?

No. Currently, the only option of completing the MSF program is by attending classes as a full-time student on campus. Core/required classes are offered during the day. There are electives that are offered during the day and some that are offered at night.  

- Hide
Can I start the program in the fall and not summer?

No. The MSF program requires all students to start the program in the Summer because the courses MSF students take in the Summer are prerequisites to the courses MSF students take in the Fall semester and the courses that MSF students take in the Fall semester are prerequisites to the courses that MSF students take in the Spring semester. The courses that MSF students take in the Summer are only offered in the Summer. 

- Hide
I will finish my undergraduate studies in June, however, the MSF program begins in May. Am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, you are still eligible to apply to the MSF program as long as you are physically present at the start of the program in the end of May.

Should you be accepted into the program, your offer will be conditional until your final degree is presented. Students in this situation can still begin classes in the summer even if their diploma is not delivered until later in the summer term. We cannot make accommodations for students starting the summer term late.

Therefore, it is up to the student to figure out how to arrive on time for the start of summer classes. It is also up to the student to follow up with degree verification before the start of fall classes.

- Hide
Who can apply to the MSF program? Do I need an undergraduate degree in a particular field in order to apply? Do I need work experience in order to apply? Are there any required courses students have to take in order to be admitted?

Candidates do not need a finance background in order to be eligible for the program. A finance degree is not required, nor is work experience. Students in the past who had no finance background were able to successfully complete the program. We welcome students from all academic backgrounds. Please refer to the admissions requirements to assess your eligibility. 

- Hide
Is there a rolling admissions for the MSF program?

No. There are specific application dates and deadlines that you can find under the Admissions tab. You can also find detailed information on the notification period in the dates and deadlines section.

https://www.marshall.usc.edu/programs/specialized-masters-programs/master-science-finance/admissions/dates-and-deadlines

- Hide
Are there any special requirements for International applicants?

International students must provide proof of financial resources, including a bank statement. International students must provide an IERF conversion of their transcripts. Their website is ierf.org/index.php/individuals/. International students who did not attend a four year university as mentioned above must provide a TOEFL or IELTS score. International students must obtain an F1 (student) visa from their home country before starting MSF classes in May 2017.

International students can find more information regarding application requirements under the Admissions tab: https://www.marshall.usc.edu/programs/specialized-masters-programs/master-science-finance/admissions/requirements

Please also check the country specific requirements: http://gradadm.usc.edu/lightboxes/international-students-country-requirements/ 

- Hide
I am an International applicant who attended classes in English. Can I waive TOEFL?

International applicants are exempt from submitting English-proficiency scores under the following circumstances:

1) You hold a bachelor’s degree completed in its entirety in the United States or another Anglophone country.

2) Your native language is English.

Transfer students must supply a TOEFL or IELTS score, even if they received a degree from an American university.

For more details please visit: http://gradadm.usc.edu/lightboxes/international-students-english-proficiency/

- Hide
What is the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score?

The average TOEFL score of our past class was 103 IBT, with at least 20 on each of the Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening Sections. The average IELTS score for our past class was 7.5, with at least 6.5 on each section. You can use this information as a benchmark. 

- Hide
What if my transcript is not in English? If I have an international transcript, do I need to have an outside credential service evaluate it and provide you with a report?

Please see http://gradadm.usc.edu/lightboxes/international-students-transcript-requirements/ in order to determine country specific requirements about non-English transcripts.

We do not accept WES evaluations. IERF verification is required only upon admission into the program.

- Hide
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, should 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.

- Hide
If I am admitted this year, may I defer my enrollment until next year?

Applications are evaluated against the pool of applications received in a given year. USC does not offer deferments in the traditional sense of the term for graduate programs. However, admitted students may request an application update to their file. An application update is not a guarantee of re-admission, but rather a request that your original application be evaluated for admission to a subsequent term. Updates are available only for applicants who have been admitted or who have not yet received a decision. An application may be updated to a term within one year of the original application. You do not need to pay the application fee again, and all documents already on file are kept in our system.

- Hide
Is there a minimum GPA?

There is no minimum GPA requirement. Applicants are evaluated on a number of criteria such as academic performance, test scores, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and whether or not their academic and research interests are an appropriate fit with the program. However, do keep in mind that the MSF program is highly competitive. The average GPA of last year's class was 3.57 so you can use that as a benchmark. 

- Hide
How do I submit letters of recommendation?

In the online application, there is a section where you must add a recommender. Once this is done, your recommender should receive an email from uscsupport@liaisonedu.com with instructions about how to submit a recommendation.  

Technical support can be reached through: 857-304-2092.

- Hide
What is the average years of experience? Is an internship considered working experience? Is work experience a requirement?

MSF students have an average of 1-2 years of experience. Yes, internships are considered work experience. Work experience is not a requirement to be considered for admission. 

- Hide
Do you think having a master’s degree in another area before applying to the MSF program is a plus? Can I apply to the MSF program if I already have another master’s degree?

We welcome students to apply who have multiple degrees. The committee takes a holistic approach when evaluating applicants, and compares each application to the pool as a whole. We cannot say whether this will be an advantage for an applicant, as it all depends on the person.

- Hide
Where should I send my supplemental materials (transcripts and other hard copy materials)?

Official transcripts from all colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions you have previously attended must be mailed directly to USC. Electronic transcripts that meet certain requirements can be sent to etrans@usc.edu.

Please refer to the Requirements details under the Admissions tab for details on submitting transcripts.

- Hide
Is the GMAT/GRE required? Is there a minimum GMAT/GRE score?

Submitting GMAT/GRE scores is a requirement for admission. We prefer the GMAT but will accept the GRE.

There is no minimum GMAT requirement. The committee takes a holistic approach when evaluating applicants, where all factors of the application are taken into consideration. However keep in mind that the MSF program is very competitive. The average GMAT of last year’s class was 700 and the average GRE was 318; you can use those numbers as a benchmark.

Sending Test scores: We recommend uploading unofficial copies of your GMAT/GRE scores with your application in addition to sending official scores (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.

- Hide
What is USC’s school code for test score reports?

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.

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.

- Hide
How should I report my scores if I took the GRE or GMAT after I submitted my application?

Please log back in to your online application and click on the Academic History section. Select the Standardized Test tab and enter the scores you would like to report. You must also contact the test provider to have your official scores sent directly to USC. However, we recommend submitting your application as a complete application, after you have taken the GMAT or GRE. Please note, the GMAT/GRE must be taken by the application deadline in order for your application to be considered valid and complete. 

- Hide
I sent in my test scores, but my application status does not reflect this.

Contact uscsupport@liaisonedu.com if official GMAT and TOEFL scores have been sent to USC but it is showing they are not received.

- Hide
Are Research Assistant-ships (RA) or Teaching Assistant-ships (TA) available to MSF students?

The MSF program itself does not offer research or teaching assistantships, however students are welcomed to seek one out on their own once the program has started. Once at USC students can express their interest in such a position and if qualified will be assisted in connecting with professors who are looking for such a candidate. This is something that can only be assessed once a student has been accepted to the program. 

- Hide
Are fellowships or scholarships available to MSF students?

The Master of Science in Finance Program offers a limited number of partial tuition scholarships to qualified students, both domestic and international. Scholarships are merit-based. 

- Hide
Does the MSF program require any prerequisite courses in order to apply?

No. The MSF program does not require any prerequisite courses in order to apply. Please check the admissions requirements for a full list of requirements. 

- Hide
I have a 3-year Bachelor's degree from an international institution. Does this meet the admissions requirements?

Degree evaluation is done by the Office of Graduate Admission.

For country specific requirements please visit: http://gradadm.usc.edu/lightboxes/international-students-country-requirements/If you enter your country of education, the specific requirements necessary will be listed.

- Hide
Is the MSF program a STEM classified program?

Yes! The MSF program gained STEM designation in 2018. 

- Hide
What is the average age of MSF students?

The average MSF student is 23 years old with 1-2 years of work experience. The MSF program prepares students for entry level finance jobs. Prospective applicants that have significantly more work experience should consider the MBA or Executive MBA programs.

- Hide
Did you receive my test scores?

Please refer to the Notification status page on your application for GRE receipt notifications.

Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions to confirm delivery of your GMAT scores via http://uscesd.custhelp.com/app/ask.

The MSF program office cannot confirm receipt of test scores, as the scores do not get sent to us directly.

 

- Hide