Programs of Study

The department offers the following degree programs:

Master Degree

Doctoral Degree

NOTE: The requirements for the Mathematics PhD Doctoral Degree program have been revised as of Dec 1, 2022. The changes will take effect August 2023.

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, and mathematical finance. Advanced courses in these and related areas, leading to research topics, are also offered.

The Ph.D. degrees in mathematics and applied mathematics are usually completed within 5 years. A student with a very strong background may finish earlier. For the mathematics Ph.D., candidates must take a written screening exam in algebra or real and complex analysis by the end of their second semester and two additional written exams, as well as an oral exam, by the end of their fifth semester. For the Ph.D. degree in applied mathematics, the screening procedure consists of four written exams. More details can be found in the Short Guide. 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 one language, other than English, in which there is a significant body of research in mathematics is also 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 or written comprehensive examinations in a selected area. The M.S. in Mathematical Finance has no written comprehensive examinations or Thesis requirements.

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). Almost all of the journals, as well as many of the books, are available online, as is MathSciNet, the main reviewing journal in mathematics. 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

All of the department’s doctoral students are supported by a 5-year aid package period. This consists of 1 year of fellowship and 4 years of teaching assistantship. About 16 financial aid packages are available for new graduate students each year. These packages carry a stipend of a minimum of $30,500, 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, the award also pays for student health insurance, dental insurance, and student health center access. A limited number of University fellowships and research assistantships are also available. During the summer semester, we have very limited aid available. All MA/MS students who are 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 2022-2023, the tuition for students is $2,137 per unit and approximately $100 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 85 Ph.D students in the department (working with about 34 faculty members); approximately 27 percent are women, and 60 percent are international students. The total University enrollment is about 44,000, of whom about 25,000 are graduate students. The students run the Math Graduate Student Association (MGSA), which is partly supported by USC funds.


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, Art Museums, Dodger Stadium, Staples Center, the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park. 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. As part of the LA Metro bus/train system, there is a direct train to Santa Monica and the beach from USC.

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.


The deadline for submitting the complete application with all the supporting materials is December 1st for Ph.D. program and February 1st for the master’s program 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. GRE Subject Test in mathematics is optional for admission to the Ph.D. program. 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. 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