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 accept applications for several weeks after this date, but the committee may not give these applications serious consideration, especially if they are found to be incomplete.

  • 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 a little over 50 applications to the CSLC program for the 2015 application pool, and accepted approximately 20% of those applicants.  The accepted students range between tracks and we have between 1-3 applicants accepted per track.  Because our program is so young, these numbers can change based on the quality of the applications we receive each year (for the 2014 application pool, we received about 10 more applications and accepted approximately 24% of applicants).

  • 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.

    Please check the Admission Requirement by County portion of the Office of Graduate Admission’s site.  If you are not an applicant from a country where both the national language and language of instruction is English, or received your bachelor’s degree from one of these countries, then, yes, you will have to take 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?

    Please note there is no minimum score required for admission.  Scores are required for placement purposes only and are used to determine whether an admitted student is required to take the International Student Examination (ISE) upon arrival at USC.  Ph.D. applicants are exempt from the ISE if they have an Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) score of 100, with no less than 20 on each section. For more information see the Office of Graduate Admission’s Proficiency in English site

  • What is considered an acceptable IELTS score?

    As mentioned in the answer to the previous question above, there is no minimum score required for admission.  Scores are required for placement purposes only and are used to determine whether an admitted student is required to take the International Student Examination (ISE) upon arrival at USC.  Ph.D. applicants are exempt from the ISE if they have an IELTS score of 7, with at least 6 on each band. For more information see the Office of Graduate Admission’s Proficiency in English site

  • What is considered an acceptable GRE score?

    There is no minimum score for the GRE. 

     

  • 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. 

  • What are the school and program codes for ETS?

    The USC ETS school code is 4852.  This is good for both the GRE and TOEFL.  

  • I only attended “Academic Institution X” for a semester and did not receive a degree. Do I really need to submit transcripts?

    Yes.  Our Office of Graduate Admission goes through all applications to verify each applicants’ academic record.  They will hold up processing on an application if not all transcripts have been received. 

  • Can one pursue the doctoral degree in your program under part-time enrollment?

    All admitted applicants are expected to enroll full-time. 

  • Is it possible to pursue employment outside the program and university, while enrolled full-time?

    Because all admitted students receive fellowship, they are expected to devote full-time study towards the Ph.D. and not take contemporaneous employment or be involved in other commitments which would move focus away from their studies.  

  • I’m interested in pursuing only a terminal master degree in your program, not a doctoral degree. Is it possible to enroll only for a master degree?

    No.