How Does USC’s Ph.D. Application Work?

December 25, 2022
By AdmissionSight

How Does USC’s Ph.D. Application Work?

What are the Ph.D. programs at USC?

What kinds of Ph.D. programs does USC offer? To get started on your USC Ph.D. application, look over the following programs and select the one that seems to be the greatest fit for you:

  • Business Administration
  • Biokinesiology
  • Occupational Science
  • Cinema and Media Studies
  • Cinematic Arts (Media Arts and Practice)
  • Communication
  • Craniofacial Biology
  • Urban Education Policy
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Astronautical Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Materials Science
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Engineering (Environmental Engineering)
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Biology of Aging
  • Gerontology
  • American Studies and Ethnicity
  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Integrative and Evolutionary Biology
  • Biology (Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Ocean Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry (Chemical Physics)
  • Classics
  • Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Comparative Media and Culture)
  • Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Comparative Literature)
  • Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (French and Francophone Studies)
  • Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (Spanish and Latin American Studies)
  • Geological Sciences
  • East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Economics
  • English
  • Creative Writing and Literature
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Linguistics (East Asian Linguistics)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematics
  • Philosophy
  • Physical Biology
  • Physics
  • Political Science and International Relations (POIR)
  • Psychology
  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Religion
  • Slavic Languages and Literature
  • Sociology
  • Population, Place, and Health
  • Programs in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (PIBBS)
  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Behavior Research (Preventive Medicine)
  • Historical Musicology
  • Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Health Economics
  • Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Pharmaceutical and Translational Sciences
  • Public Policy and Management
  • Urban Planning and Development
  • Social Work
  • Neuroscience

Who are eligible for USC Ph.D. admissions?

So, who can apply for a Ph.D. program at the University of Southern California?

Before you can begin your USC Ph.D. application, you are required to have a bachelor’s degree from a school that has been granted regional or national accreditation.

If you’re an international student and you have received your education in another nation, please review the standards that are particular to that country about degree equivalency.

In addition to the basic requirements for eligibility that have been outlined above, please be aware that many graduate programs offered by USC have their own distinct sets of admission requirements.

If you are interested in learning more about your prospective graduate program, please visit their website or get in touch with them directly.

What are the application requirements for the USC Ph.D. program?

What are the prerequisites for enrolling in the Doctor of Philosophy program at USC? You need to prepare the following for your USC Ph.D. application:

GRE/GMAT and Other Tests

You will need to schedule the GRE or GMAT in accordance with the requirements of your program. Only scores obtained within five years prior to the beginning of the month in which you want to begin your studies at USC will be deemed genuine.

Three students talking in front of a laptop.

Resumé/Curriculum Vitae

When you are upgrading your resume or curriculum vitae in order to apply to graduate school, there is no “correct” way to structure either document.

Having said that, it is a good idea to take some time to identify the talents and accomplishments you would like to highlight for your graduate program and to arrange the resume in accordance with those selections.

Recommendation Letters

Find people who might suggest you and let them know that you would appreciate it if they could write a letter of recommendation on your behalf.

Group of people talking while using a laptop.


The bare minimum of required recommendation letters can look very different from one program to the next. In addition, there are several programs at USC where recommendations are not required at all.

What is the admission process for the USC Ph.D. program?

So, how does one be accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Southern California? It’s imperative that you know this for the USC Ph.D. application.

Step 1: Review the Program and Application Requirements.

Please make sure that you have thoroughly read all of the application requirements before beginning your Ph.D. application.

Once the application has been sent in, you will not be able to make any changes to it; however, you will be allowed to add information to some sections of the application (such as your test scores).

Group of students talking while sitting on the round table.

It is possible to cause a delay in the admissions process by providing inaccurate information on your application or by omitting to provide key details.

Since the application deadlines are different for each program, you need to make sure that you confirm the deadline for the program that you wish to apply for so that you may submit all the necessary requirements on time.

Step 2: Complete Online Application.

Paper submissions are no longer accepted by USC. Please ensure that you have thoroughly read all of the guidelines before proceeding to the next step of the online graduate application.

You are only allowed to submit an application to a maximum of three programs every semester. Applications submitted for participation in several programs within the same term will not be reviewed.

Moreover, please be aware that the restriction of three program applications for that term will not be reset even if you withdraw one of your applications.

Step 3: Ensure that your Application Fees Have Been Paid.

The application price for all graduate programs is $175, with the exception of those provided by the Marshall School of Business and the International Academy’s Pre-program. Cards issued by Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are all valid forms of payment here.

Students who believe they should be eligible for a fee waiver are required to begin the application process online, then have their fee waiver request authorized prior to submitting their application by supplying supporting papers that indicate their eligibility.

Step 4: Provide Program Materials.

The majority of USC’s graduate programs call for additional documentation to be submitted for consideration for admission in addition to transcripts and test scores.

These resources may include (but are not limited to) elements such as a statement of purpose, recommendations, writing samples, creative portfolio, etc.; however, this is not an exhaustive list.

The department alone is responsible for reviewing supplemental documents; the Office of Graduate Admission is not involved in this process.

In order to determine which supplementary materials are required and how to submit them, please refer to the homepage of the graduate department in which you are interested as well as the instructions located in the “Program Materials” section of our online application.

The majority of the time, you should be able to submit them through the online application. But, there is a possibility that some programs will need you to submit any extra documents you have through Slideroom.

If this is the case, instructions will be provided to you either through our application or directly from the relevant department.

In the event that the materials have to be mailed, the postal address will be listed on the website for the department.

Moreso, if you have any issues regarding the supplementary materials, please get in touch with the graduate program you intend to attend.

Step 5: Submit your Official Transcripts.

Be sure to include a copy of your transcripts that has been issued by your university and that has been printed on official letterhead with your online application.

Please take note that unofficial transcripts downloaded from student portals at universities cannot be accepted.

In addition to that, you are required to fax or email a copy of your official transcripts.

Step 6: Submit your Official Test Scores.

The majority of USC’s graduate programs require test scores from either the GRE or the GMAT. Please go to their website and look at the exam score requirements for the program you wish to enroll in.

It is imperative that you remember to include a copy of your test scores in your application. You will be able to return to your application after it has been submitted in order to add more test scores if you decide to take these tests after you have already submitted your application.

However, the only scores that can be deemed official are those that are received digitally from the testing service. The University of Southern California does not accept self-reported test scores or paper test scores that are mailed in.

a male student writing something into his notebook

The ETS school code for U.S.C. is 4852. To ensure that USC receives your official test results, applicants sending any tests that are conducted by ETS, such as the GRE, should enter this code. No department code is necessary.

Step 7: Check the Current Status of Your Application.

During the busiest time of year for student enrollment, the admissions processing department receives a significant amount of paperwork. During these months, please allow approximately 15 business days from the date that they receive your official academic records to process these documents and match them to your application in our database.

Applicants for graduate programs are accountable for presenting all items necessary for evaluation in the appropriate manner and responding expeditiously to any requests for extra materials or information that may be made.

When you have finished submitting your application, you will receive an email containing any notices regarding missing transcripts and other materials that are necessary to complete our evaluation.

As a result, it is critical that you keep a close eye on the email address that you supplied on the application and check it frequently. Note that you will not get confirmation emails when individual materials have been received; rather, you will only get them when they ask for further materials.

Step 8: View Your Decision.

Despite the fact that the Office of Graduate Admission processes all graduate applications, the program to which you have applied is ultimately responsible for making admissions decisions.

You will get an email notification from the Office of Graduate Admission advising you that a decision has been made regarding your application once the admission committee for the program of study you wish to enroll in has finished the process of reviewing your USC Ph.D. application.

The amount of time needed to make a decision differs according to the program, the kind of degree being sought, as well as the number of people applying for the position.

The vast majority of candidates for the autumn semester are notified of decisions by the month of June while the vast majority of candidates for the spring term are notified of decisions by the end of December.

When you get the news that your decision has been made, open the email and follow the instructions there to register for USC so that you may view your decision there.

How do you get a Ph.D. admission to USC?

How exactly does one go about getting accepted into the Ph.D. program at USC? Different graduate schools have different requirements for what they want to see from prospective students. They all want to ensure that the fundamental standards have been satisfied, of course; yet, many of the strongest and most competitive ones ask prospective students for something that may be roughly characterized as “extra.”

The following are some broad suggestions that can assist you in presenting yourself in the most favorable light possible.

Choose Your Courses Thoughtfully.

There is a possibility that the classes that are listed on your transcript do more than simply identify which prerequisites you have fulfilled and which subject areas of study you have investigated in greater depth. They could also reveal a lot about how you go about acquiring knowledge.

Someone who has completed upper-level electives in their major as well as additional non-required coursework in a field of study that is related may give the impression that they are highly driven.

View of students answering in their desks.

On the other hand, a person who has taken fewer classes or filled their time with unrelated 100-level courses can give the impression that they are less interested in or devoted to the rigorous requirements of graduate school.

Provide Evidence Of Real-World Experience.

Gaining experience outside of the classroom, whether as a volunteer, intern, or undergraduate research assistant, can be a significant advantage for anyone who is applying to graduate school.

Taking on a rigorous course load is one method to demonstrate your passion for studying and to the field in which you are specializing; this is another technique that can be quite demonstrative.

It may also help you establish a more precise route within your subject, which may enable you to include more specifics in your application essay and may make you feel more at ease when you discuss your goals and intentions with members of the faculty. Obviously, the same could be said of experience gained while working full-time.

Therefore, if you have been working for some time before going to graduate school, you should seriously consider putting an emphasis on the level of maturity you have achieved in your professional career in all that you submit.

Obtain The Most Valuable Recommendations Possible.

You probably have at least one person, such as a major instructor or advisor, whose endorsement you may be required to receive in order to move on with something.

If your transcript and other papers show that you spent a significant amount of time working and studying with this individual, but you don’t include them in your application, the admissions officers may ask why you didn’t submit them.

In addition to that, though, you should think about two or three additional people who are able to provide you with good recommendations. Take some time to consider who might be an acceptable letter writer, and keep in mind that it might be most helpful if each of your letter writers could emphasize a different aspect of your work.

Also, once you have identified these individuals, you should inquire with them as to whether or not they would be willing to recommend you, and then you should set a meeting with each person to discuss your objectives.

Analyze Your Own Capabilities, Both Good And Bad.

It is only normal that you would want to highlight your accomplishments in every part of the application process; nevertheless, it is also a good idea to discuss any shortcomings you may have.

This is especially true if your shortcomings are visible in your transcripts, such as a lower GPA or a lack of coursework in the subject area that you intend to study in the future.

If you can establish reasonable justifications for these things, you may find that they become less of a barrier for you to overcome.

For instance, if you changed careers and so did not complete all of your courses, you might emphasize how you were interested in your new field of study and that you are eager to make up for any shortfalls by taking more classes.

This kind of explanation has the potential to mitigate any unfavorable impressions caused by your limitations and even boost your profile by demonstrating your level of determination.

Tailor Your Application To Your Specific Needs.

There are some components of your application that are universal, while others can be modified to fit the requirements of each individual institution to which you are applying. Ensure that you make the most of this opportunity.

For instance, you might want to consider devoting a chunk of your essay to discussing how the course offerings and staff specializations at each school align with the goals you have for your education.

If you are applying to a program in the arts and are required to submit a portfolio or to give an audition as part of the application process, you should also consider personalizing what you present in each application in order to make the most favorable impression possible on the faculty members who will be reviewing them.

The USC Ph.D. application seems a handful but we wish that the information given above will be beneficial to you to get a head start. But, should you need more help, AdmissionSight got you covered.

We have over ten years of expertise coaching students through the challenging admissions process here at AdmissionSight. You can get assistance from us to help you put your best foot forward. Get in touch with us as soon as possible for additional details regarding our services.



Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.