Frequently Asked Questions

Should you have any questions not addressed in this FAQ, please feel free to email cslc@dornsife.usc.edu

  • When are applications to your program due?

    Our priority deadline for graduate application is December 1.  It is important to submit by this date in order to be considered for the best financial support.  We will, however, accept applications for several weeks after this date.

  • When do you inform applicants of admissions decisions?

    Accepted applicants are typically notified by mid-February.

  • How many applicants does your program get and how many are accepted?

    We received 75 some-odd applications to the CSLC program this past year, and accepted approximately 18% of those applicants.  The accepted students range between tracks and we have between 1-4 applicants accepted per track.  Because our program is so young, these numbers can change based on the quality of the applications we receive.

  • Are other foreign language exams, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), accepted by USC?

    As of September 2012, USC accepts IELTS.  

  • As an international applicant, do I need to take the both the GRE and the TOEFL or IELTS?

    Yes, you need take both the GRE and the TOEFL or IELTS.

  • I am an international applicant and completed my bachelor’s degree at a school where the language of instruction is English, but English is not an adopted language of the country. Will I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS?

    Yes, you will need to take one of these exams.

  • What is considered an acceptable TOEFL score?

    The University-wide standard minimum score for the TOEFL is 100 with a 20 or better on each section.  Average score amongst our admitted and accepted students over the past two years is 107.  

  • What is considered an acceptable IELTS score?

    The University-wide standard minimum score for IELTS is 7, with a score of 6 or better in each ban.  

  • What is considered an acceptable GRE score?

    The University-wide standard for a minimum GRE score is 153 for verbal reasoning and 144 for quantitative reasoning.  The average verbal score was 161 and the average quantitative score was 149 among successful applicants from the last two application cycles.  

  • I took the GRE a few years back. Will I need to take it again?

    Scores from the GRE that are more than five years old at the time of application may not be accepted. 

  • If I apply to a track and am admitted to that track, is it possible to transfer to another track within the Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture Doctoral Program (i.e., apply to Track I in comparative literature, then transfer to Track III in Spanish and Latin American Studies)?

    Yes, it is possible to transfer between tracks within CSLC.  This would usually have to happen by the end of the first year or early in the second year.  But CSLC is very flexible in this regard.