Admission FAQs

How do I apply?

Complete the online application found on this Web site.

What is the deadline for complete applications?

The deadline for complete applications (including all necessary documents) is December 15th.

What other documents do I need to supply?

You must send official transcripts from all institutions attended and three letters of recommendation. You must request that ETS send official GRE test scores (and for international students, TOEFL scores) to the program. Photocopies are not acceptable.
The institution code for GRE/TOEFL is 4852.
The department code for GRE is 0203; for the TOEFL, 30.

What are your required test scores?

The USC Graduate School requires that the sum of the Verbal and Quantitative scores on the GRE be a minimum of 1000. GRE scores are valid for 5 years. We do not require a GRE Subject Test. Applicants with undergraduate grade point averages below 3.0 will be considered only under unusual circumstances including evidence of recent improvement or clearly outstanding potential as a researcher. International students are required to submit an official TOEFL score, unless they hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university located in the U.S. or in another country in which English is both the language of instruction and the only official language of the country.

What are your minimum TOEFL requirements?

Students should have one of the following official TOEFL scores taken within the last 2 years:
An Internet Based TOEFl (IBT) score of 100 or higher with no less than 20 on each individual section of the test
A Paper Based TOEFL score of 600 or higher

Sub-minimal scores will require students to take the International Student English Exam (ISE) upon arrival at USC. ISE results will determine if a student requires supplemental English Language courses.

Is there a form for letters of recommendation?

No, there is no form for letters of recommendation. Letters should be written on institution letterhead and must arrive in sealed envelopes. Opened letters will not be accepted. By default, all letters of recommendation are considered confidential and your right to access is waived. If you wish to have the right to access your recommendations, you MUST have your referee attach a brief statement from you indicating that you have NOT waived your right of access. Please note that you need to give it to your referee before (s)he writes the letter.

Am I eligible for financial aid?

It is the policy of the program to support each student we admit. This support comes in many forms: teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships. All awards include full tuition remission, a monthly stipend for living expenses (currently $2,111 per month), and payment of student health insurance and student health center fees.

When will I know the decision on my application?

We will notify students of our decision as soon as possible. For students admitted to the program, decisions will be made on a rolling basis beginning in late February. Final decisions for all students will be made by the end of April.

May I contact faculty members in the program?

It is strongly recommended that you contact faculty whose research interests you. E-mail addresses for each faculty member can be found on this Web site.

May I visit the campus?

We arrange for some applicants to come to visit the campus. This is by invitation only, and the program covers expenses. If you are not invited to visit and still wish to do so, you may, but you will need to cover expenses.Please contact the graduate programs manager at least one month in advance of such a visit.


If you have specific questions, please contact our admissions staff at If you would like to know the status of your application and receipt of your supporting materials, please e-mail

Mailing Address

Molecular & Computational Biology
University of Southern California
1050 Child Way, RRI 201 (MCB)
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2910
213.821.4257 (fax)

  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Southern California
  • Allan Hancock Foundation Building
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371