General PhD Program Questions

  • No.

  • The deadline to apply to the PhD program is 8:59 PM (PT) on December 1st. 

  • Answers to most, if not all, of your questions can be found on this page or via the following resources:

  • Computational and applied mathematics, advanced calculus, as well as real and complex analysis are the types of courses that help prepare students for the rigors of the PhD in Economics program.

  • The PhD in Economics program is a STEM-designated program, which allows international students on F-1 visas to apply for a 24-month extension of their optional practical training (OPT).

  • Annie Le (Associate Director, Doctoral Program)

Test Score Questions

  • Yes, but your application will not be sent to the committee for review until all of your materials are received and your file is complete.

  • International graduate applicants are expected to demonstrate their proficiency in English as part of the application process. Please carefully review the following resources:

  • International applicants may be exempt from submitting English-proficiency scores under a number of circumstances. Please review the most up-to-date criteria for a waiver here:

    You can check if USC requires TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores for your country of study here:

  • We like to see scores of at least 150 on the verbal section and at least 160 on the quantitative section. However, most applicants have much higher scores than those minimums, and our applicants typically have quantitative scores in the 165–170 range.

  • No, we only accept the GRE.

Application Material Questions

  • Only scores received electronically from the testing service are considered official. USC does not accept self-reported test scores or paper scores sent via postal mail.

    Your scores should be sent to the University of Southern California (USC). You do NOT need to provide a department code.

    Please see below for more comprehensive information to ensure that USC receives the official results for the respective tests:

    U.S. Applicants

    International Applicants

  • Please upload all application materials directly through the online USC Application portal. Do NOT mail application materials to the USC Department of Economics.

    If you need to submit supplemental documents beyond the standard required materials but have run out of document upload slots, contact for assistance.

  • Applicants to USC graduate programs must submit official transcripts from ALL colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions they have previously attended. Note that print-outs from student portals are NOT considered official transcripts.

  • Hard-copy transcripts are acceptable, but e-transcripts are preferred. To ensure that your transcripts are official, properly submitted, and meet the review criteria, please carefully read and follow the guidelines here:

    Though USC Graduate Admission will still require (at some point) submission of official transcripts with any university seals or security features intact, you should upload digital/scanned copies of official transcripts (issued on official letterhead) to your online application. Our Doctoral Admissions Committee can review these scanned copies of your transcripts and make a conditional decision based on such documents.

    You are welcome to mail in your original, sealed transcripts now or later (if admitted). Mailing in transcripts now can speed up the application and (potential) admission process though. Either way, these original, sealed transcripts should be sent to USC, not to the Department.

  • You’re welcome to mail in your original, sealed transcript now or later (if admitted). Mailing in transcripts now can speed up the application and (potential) admission process.

    The Department can review scans of your original transcripts and make a conditional decision based on such documents. However, USC does, at some point, require submission of original, sealed transcripts.

Fellowship and Financial Questions

  • No, you will automatically be considered for fellowships.

  • Although the admissions process is rather competitive, all admitted students would receive tuition remission, annual stipend, health and dental insurance, and coverage of most mandatory university fees. You can learn more about our financial support package here:

    As an applicant of the USC PhD in Economics program, you do not have to worry about showing proof of finances or submitting a personal financial statement. If you are admitted to the program, the Department will submit a funding statement on your behalf so that an appropriate I-20/DS-2019 can be issued. However, you should definitely upload a copy of your passport.

    To learn more, the following resources should be helpful:
  • USC offers several options for graduate application fee waivers.

    Domestic Applicants

    USC offers several options for graduate application fee waivers here:

    International Applicants

    The University is aware that some countries are experiencing extreme circumstances caused by armed conflict, social unrest, or natural disasters. As a result, some prospective applicants from these countries may experience difficulties or delays in providing required documents such as transcripts or test scores, or with paying the application fee. International applicants affected by these or similar situations may reach out to inquire about what resources the USC Department of Economics may have available. Requests are subject to review and all decisions will be made at the discretion of the department.

Post-Submission Questions

  • PhD applications are reviewed in December and January, and a first round of decisions are sent out typically at the end of February or beginning of March.

  • Please upload any supplemental materials directly through the online USC Application portal. If you have run out of document upload slots, contact for assistance.

  • All documents must be processed through USC Graduate Admission. You can submit a scanned copy of your official transcripts via askUSC:

    • Select an Area: Graduate Admission
    • Category: Transcripts

Additional Questions

  • You are encouraged to try the following first:

    1. Resend the request
    2. Contact the technical support team via askUSC

    All documents must go through USC Graduate Admission, so if neither of the options above are successful, please ask your evaluator to email a copy of your official LoR directly to USC Graduate Admission via askUSC:

    • Select an Area: Graduate Admission
    • Category: Recommendation Letters
    • Question: Your evaluator will need to briefly explain the situation and ask that, following submission of their LoR, your file be marked as Complete
  • USC Graduate Admission and the USC Department of Economics do not recognize three-year bachelor’s degrees from India, Australia, New Zealand, or South America as sufficient for admission to graduate programs. Please use the following resource to search for academic requirements by individual country: