Applications to the Graduate School of the University of Southern California are coordinated through Apply Yourself application system. The Application Deadline is December 31st.
To be complete, your application must contain the following six components:
- Online graduate admission application available here. The system will prompt you to create a user account, and instructions will walk you through the process. It is important to note that you need not complete your application at one sitting, and that your application will not be complete until you complete the “submit” function.
- Academic Records. An applicant for admission normally has an undergraduate major in philosophy, but programs may be arranged for promising students who do not. You must submit transcripts for each of your previous academic institutions; these are required by the Graduate School in order to process your enrollment. Your transcript will play some role, but not the most important role, in the admissions decision. The instructions for the online graduate admission application will walk you through this process.
- The Graduate Records Examination is required in order to enroll; it may play some role at the margin, but is not a central factor in, admissions decisions. USC’s code for the GRE and TOEFL is 4852, and the philosophy code is 2801; the TOEFL is not required of non-native English speakers either by the Graduate School or by the philosophy department, but it may help you, if there is uncertainty about your proficiency with English. The instructions for the online graduate admission application walk you through this process.
- Personal statement. Your personal statement is the primary opportunity that you have in your application to give us a picture of who you are, what motivates you, and what philosophical questions interest you. It is not a request for you to propose a research program, but don’t be afraid of telling us what you find interesting about the philosophical questions which currently interest you most. It should be under two pages in length. Personal statements should be uploaded in connection with your online graduate admission application under the heading of “Supporting Documents.”
- Writing Sample. All applicants are required to submit a sample of philosophical written work, which should normally be between 12-20 pages in length. It should represent your very best work to date. This is the most important part of your application, so make sure to put your best foot forward. Writing samples should be uploaded in connection with your online graduate admission application under the heading of “Supporting Documents.”
- Letters of Recommendation. The online graduate admission application contains instructions for requesting letters of recommendation (to be submitted online) from at least three, and no more than six, recommenders who can vouch for your academic and specifically philosophical promise. If for some reason your recommenders prefer to submit their letters on paper, the online graduate admission application contains instructions for how to arrange that, as well. Follow up with your recommenders to make sure that all letters have been submitted by December 31st at the latest.
NOTE: Please don’t be confused by the instructions for the online graduate admission application which say that supplemental materials (which means your personal statement and writing sample) must be submitted “directly to the school, academic department or program to which you are applying.” You can and should submit these items online, under the heading “Supporting Documents.”
If you have difficulties with the online graduate admission application system or have further questions about what is needed for a philosophy application, please contact the department at firstname.lastname@example.org
Apply Online Here.