GRADUATE: General Information

Programs of Study

The department offers the following degree programs:

Master's Degree
Doctoral Degree

Introductory graduate courses are offered in algebra, real analysis, complex analysis, numerical analysis, linear and nonlinear functional analysis, algebraic topology, combinatorics, differential geometry, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, control theory, applied mathematics, probability, statistics, mathematical finance and computational molecular biology. Advanced courses in these and related areas, leading to research topics, are also offered.

The Ph.D. degrees in mathematics and applied mathematics can be completed within four years (although five years is the norm). For the mathematics Ph.D., candidates must take a written pre-qualifying exam in algebra or analysis by the end of their second semester and two written qualifying exams, as well as an oral exam, by the end of their fifth semester. For the Ph.D. degree in applied mathematics, the written portion of the screening procedure consists of four one-hour exams. Once these exams have been successfully completed, independent research is begun under the direction of a senior faculty member. The student must write an acceptable dissertation that exhibits original and independent research. A reading knowledge of two languages, other than English, in which there is a significant body of research in mathematics required.

The M.A. degree program normally requires three semesters of graduate study; it is completed either by passing written comprehensive examinations or by writing a thesis. In both the M.S. in applied mathematics and M.S. in statistics, the degree is completed by a Master's Thesis on written comprehensive examinations in a selected area. The M.S. in statistics also has statistical consulting as a requirement.

Research Facilities

All graduate assistants are provided with office space in the mathematical building. Seaver Science Library contains more than 200,000 books and current subscriptions to about 350 journals of mathematical interest (3,000 journals in all fields). Facilities of the UCLA and Caltech libraries are also available through interlibrary loan, as well as the facilities of the Research Libraries Group, a corporation of major universities and research institutions of which USC is a member. A variety of computing facilities is available for academic and research purposes on the main campus and in the department. Also within the Department of Mathematics is the Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences, an interdisciplinary research group with interests in the application of mathematics to problems in engineering and the sciences.

Financial Aid

Almost all of the department's doctoral students are supported by assistantships or fellowships for the duration of their study. About 20 teaching assistantships are available for new graduate students each year. These assistantships carry a stipend of $23,000, tuition remission for up to 12 units per semester during the academic year (9 units is a normal load), and tuition remission for 12 units the following summer. In addition, some summer teaching assistantships are available at stipends of $2,800-$3,200. The C.W. Trigg Fellowship is available for the applicant best demonstrating mathematical problem-solving ability, and several summer research assistantships are available for Ph.D. students who have completed the Ph.D. qualifying exam. A limited number of University fellowships, research assistantships, and tuition fellowships are also available. California residents are strongly urged to apply for California State Graduate Fellowships, even if they expect to receive other financial aid.

Cost of Study

For 2014-2015, the tuition for students is $1,602 per unit and approximately $58 in fees per semester. A one-time publication fee of $115 is charged for microfilming and binding the thesis.

Student Group

There are currently about 70 graduate students in the department (working with about 27 faculty members); approximately 30 percent are women, and 60 percent are international students. The total University enrollment is about 43,000, of whom about 23,000 are graduate students.


The main campus of USC is located near the center of Los Angeles and its varied cultural attractions. It takes only a few minutes to reach the Music Center, the Art Museum, Dodger Stadium, and Hollywood. The campus is within an hour's drive of mountains, deserts and beaches and within a few hours' drive of Mexico or the Sierra Nevada. Shuttle-bus service is available to and from the campuses of UCLA and Caltech.

The University

Founded in 1880, USC is the oldest major independent, coeducational, nonsectarian university in the West. There are 105 buildings on its 150 urban acres. More graduate and professional degrees than bachelor's degrees have been awarded by USC each year since 1960.


Although applications for admission and financial aid are considered at all times, they should be submitted by December 15th to ensure consideration for the following academic year (for M.S. in Mathematical Finance click here)Scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), as well as transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose and a resume are required for admission to all programs. Scores on the GRE Subject Test in mathematics are required for admission to the Ph.D. program and/or financial aid. International applicants are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS. Applicants to the Ph.D. and M.A. programs in mathematics must have taken full-year sequences at the undergraduate level in real analysis and algebra; admission in special standing may be feasible while remedying deficiencies, but this delays progress. Applicants for the M.S. in applied mathematics and statistics programs should have a substantial undergraduate background in mathematics, which includes one semester of real-analysis or advanced calculus and one semester of linear algebra.

To file an online application, click here.

Correspondence and Information

Director of Graduate Program
Department of Mathematics
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California 90089-2532

Telephone: 213-740-2400
Fax: 213-740-2424