Overseas Studies

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Overseas Studies Application Process

Application packets are available at the Office of Overseas Studies starting in May for programs beginning in the spring and in December for programs beginning in the fall. There is not one single application deadline for all programs.

For programs that start in the spring, applications are usually due in September.

For programs that begin in the fall, applications are usually due in early to mid-February.

A few programs have earlier or rolling deadlines.

Please abide by the deadline for the particular program to which you are applying and keep in mind that although the foreign university or outside program provider may list a later deadline, the USC deadline is the one you must follow.

Application deadlines are listed on our General Information page.

Start planning for your semester or year abroad. Talk with your major/minor advisor and visit the Office of Overseas Studies. Once you've chosen a study abroad program, follow these simple steps to apply:

1)  Stop by the Office of Overseas Studies to pick up an application packet for your program or email overseas@usc.edu to receive a PDF copy (please include your name, program of choice, GPA and minor/major in your email). The application will include:

  • A checklist of all materials that should returned by the application deadline.
  • An Advising Record, which allows you to indicate which courses you plan to take abroad. You will need to meet with your academic advisor to discuss your choices and get approval for major credit.
  • Essay prompts, which will be read by the Office of Overseas Studies and discussed during your screening interview.
  • Estimated program costs
  • Academic reference forms
  • Your chosen program's brochure and application. This application will be sent to your program's admissions office along with your transcript and other necessary elements.


This form gives the Office of Overseas Studies basic background information about you. It does NOT constitute a complete application. Be sure to print out a copy before closing the browser!

3)  Turn in your application materials on or before the deadline, and sign up for a 15-minute screening interview.

The interview will be conducted by your study abroad advisor; in some cases, a language professor will be present. If you are going to a program that has a language requirement, be prepared to speak in that language for a few minutes.

The purpose of the interview is to assess your maturity and motivation for studying abroad. You will be asked about your application and should be able to demonstrate some knowledge about your chosen program, city and country. You do not need to dress in business attire.

4)  Check your passport.

If you do not have one, please apply right away. If you do have a passport, check the expiration date. It should be valid for 6 months beyond the program END date. If it will expire within the year, you should renew it now.

5)  Wait for an admissions decision.

You must be accepted by BOTH USC and the host institution/program provider. Provided that you have a satisfactory screening interview with the Office of Overseas Studies, your application will be sent to your program's admissions office, which will make the final decision about your acceptance. Students applying to USC Madrid and USC Paris will be notified of their acceptance by their study abroad advisor.

     * Most programs notify students of their acceptance within 4-6 weeks.

6)  Attend orientation.

There will be a MANDATORY general orientation in late October (if you’re applying in the fall) or late March (if you’re applying in the spring). In addition to the general orientation we will also conduct MANDATORY country specific orientations throughout November (if you’re applying in the fall) and throughout April (if you’re applying in the spring).

7)  Research the visa process for your country.

Every student who goes abroad will need a studenta visa or a residence permit. This is a document that is generally stamped into your passport before departure. You may not study in a foreign country on a tourist visa. Host countries will have various consular offices in the U.S., and it is through these offices that you will apply for your visa. Each consulate may have different rules, requirements, and timelines for the application process (processing can take up to 4 months). Please understand that will have to relinquish your passport to the consulate for visa processing. This may affect travel plans, as you cannot travel internationally without your passport. Remember to be polite, patient, and persistent when dealing with consular offices. Before you apply for your visa, you should know what documents are required, if you need to make an appoinment to apply in person or if you can apply by mail, how to pay the application fees, how to get your passport returned to you, and at which consulate you should apply.

To receive a visa is a privilege, not a right. Consulates reserve the right to deny a visa. Issuing or denying a visa is an act of the Foreign Government. Each student is responsible for gathering all required documents and applying for a visa well in advance of the program start date.

Always research the procedures for obtaining a visa for the country in which you want to study.  Keep in mind that they may differ from country to country, and that international students may have to take additional measures to lawfully cross national borders.