Admission FAQs

How do I apply?

Complete the online application found on this Web site.

What is the deadline for complete applications?

In order to be considered for all competitive USC fellowships, applications and supporting materials should be submitted by January 15. Applications passed this deadline will be considered for fellowship or assistantship support only if funds are available.

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.

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 $2,063 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 admissons staff at

Mailing Address

Adolfo dela Rosa
Student Services Advisor,
Marine Biology & Biological Oceanography
University of Southern California
3616 Trousdale Pkwy.
AHF 107
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371


Phone: 213.821.3164
Fax: 213.740.1380

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