Application for Graduate Admission

The preferred method of applying to the Department is via the University's online application system, Apply Yourself.

For students planning to begin graduate study in the Fall semester, they should submit their applications by December 1 for full consideration. Later applications will be considered but may not be eligible for all fellowship awards.  

Notification of assistantship awards is given on January 31 and must accepted by April 15. Assistantship offers are made only if the information contained in the assistantship application indicates that the applicant is also qualified for admission to the graduate program.

Decisions on financial assistance and admission to the Graduate Physics Program are made by the Department Admissions Committee. The most important factors considered in the admissions process are: (1) performance in undergraduate course-work and research (if any) and performance in prior graduate work; (2) letters of recommendation; (3) scores on the Graduate Record Examination, with particular emphasis being given to the Subject (Physics) Test.

Performance in courses in physics, mathematics and related sciences is considered to be the most relevant; on the basis of A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, a Grade Point Average (GPA) in these (undergraduate) courses of 3.5 to 4.0 would be expected for an applicant to the Ph.D. program.


Those who intend to apply for admission to the physics graduate program must take the General and Subject (Physics) parts of the Graduate Record Examination. This examination is administered by the Educational Testing Service; it can be taken at various times of the year at numerous locations by registering and paying the ETS fee.

Graduate Admissions FAQs

Spotlight USC - Graduate Education

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • University of Southern California
  • 825 Bloom Walk
  • ACB 439
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0484