Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Preparing to Apply

What is the average duration of the MS and PhD programs?
It takes an average of five years to complete the PhD program — two years of coursework and approximately three years of research and writing of the dissertation. The MS program is a two-year program.

Do you offer online, distance learning or part-time programs?
No, we do not offer online, distance learning or a part-time programs.

What is the admission criteria for your programs?
Please refer to the program information on our website for an outline of the criteria.

Do you admit for spring or summer terms?
We only admit for the fall semester, as follows:

  • PhD program in Health Economics: admits every even year
  • MS program in Pharmaceutical Economics & Policy: admits every even year
  • MS and PhD programs in Pharmaceutical and Translational Sciences (PHTS): admits every year

Do you accept transfer students?
No, we do not accept transfer students. Interested applicants are required to submit an application for consideration as a new student. Upon acceptance into the program, you may request that the department review your transcripts to determine if any units are transferable.

Do you offer conditional admission?
No, the graduate programs do not offer conditional admission.

Can you explain the graduate admission process from start to finish?
Please visit the Graduate Admission website for a comprehensive overview of the admission processes, policies and procedures.

Fees/Tuition/Financial Aid

Do you offer financial aid for Master’s or PhD students?
If you are admitted as PhD student, both domestic and international students are eligible for financial aid in the form of teaching assistantship, research assistantship, or a fellowship.  A typical funding package covers students in good standing for five years.  Students receive full tuition and fees, and a generous stipend for living expenses.

MS students are self-pay students. We do not offer any financial aid.

For available external fellowships, please visit the Graduate School website.

For further information on tuition and fees, please visit the Financial Aid website.


What is the deadline for the application?
The application deadline for all programs is January 15Program deadline expires on January 15 at 11:59:59 pm PST. Our application is available starting September 1 of every year.

What are the deadlines for transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation?
We recommend that you first submit an application and once you have been assigned a USC 10-digit ID number, arrange for the information to be sent.

Applying to USC

How can I access the application?
The online application is accessible via the Graduate Admission website.  Our applications are available starting September 1 through January 15 of every year.

If I’m experiencing problems with my online application (e.g., issues with recommenders or recommendation letters, technical problems, adding new documents post-submission, 10-digit USC ID number, etc.), who do I contact?
Please visit the Graduate Admission FAQ page. Contact information is provided on the page.

International Students

Are your admission requirements different for international students?
Admission requirements are essentially the same for domestic and international applicants. The only exception is the English-language proficiency test TOEFL/IELTS/PTE. In addition, USC Graduate Admission requires specific documentation once you are admitted. Please refer the Graduate Admission website.

I’m an international student who received a Master’s degree in the US. Am I exempt from taking the English-language proficiency test TOEFL/IELTS/PTE?
As per the USC Office of Graduate Admission, you are only exempt if the following apply:

  • You hold a Bachelor’s degree completed in residency in United States or other Anglophone country.
  • Your native language is English.

For more information, please visit the Graduate Admission website.


Where do I send my transcripts
Carefully read the Graduate Admission webpage regarding transcript requirements.

E-transcripts can be emailed to

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

Standardized Tests

Under what circumstances will the USC School of Pharmacy waive the GRE?
The USC School of Pharmacy does not waive the GRE under any circumstances.

Can I substitute any other test for the GRE?
You may not substitute any other test for the GRE.  The test is mandatory.

Application Status Check

How and when will you notify students of their application status?
You will be notified via email once your official letter is posted and available to view on youUSC starting in February through the Spring. If you are admitted, you can also certify your enrollment using the Intent to Enroll form there.

How can I ensure that my application is complete?
During the peak admission period (January to May), admission processing takes a minimum of four weeks after we receive your application.

You may log back into your application anytime to check your current application status. USC Graduate Admission will notify you via e-mail if additional information or materials are needed to complete our evaluation. Please be sure that you have provided a valid e-mail address and to check it regularly.