Students are admitted by each specialty area (please refer to the Areas of Study; for admissions to the clinical program, please see this page). Different areas of our department emphasize different coursework, but we recommend that prospective students choosing classes include Introductory Psychology and coursework drawn from the following areas:

  • Elementary Statistics
  • Research Methods
  • Biological Foundations - including coursework such as Comparative Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Sensation and Perception, Learning and Memory, Cognitive Psychology, or Motivation and Emotion
  • Developmental, Social, and Personality Foundations - including coursework such as Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Personality
  • Cognitive Foundations - including coursework such as Learning, Memory, and Intelligence

More advanced or specialized courses in psychology (e.g., Neuropsychology, Behavior Genetics, Advanced Statistics, Adolescence, Cognitive Development, Interpersonal Relations, Criminal Psychology, Psychology and Law, Organizational Psychology) are desirable, as are courses in the biological, physical, and social sciences and in mathematics. Students with outstanding records, but with less background in psychology will also be considered.



Apply here: USC Office of Graduate Admission

The following items must be submitted online to the Office of Graduate Admission (unless otherwise indicated):

  • The application is open from September 1st to December 1st.
  • Applicants should choose one area of study when applying. Please refer to our "Areas of Study" page.
  • The priority deadline for clinical program applicants is November 10th, 2022 and the clinical area will begin reviewing applications at that time. Final Deadline is December 1st, 2022. 
  • All other areas, except for Clinical Science, have a deadline of December 1st, 2022. 
  • The application will close at 11:59pm PST on December 1st, 2022. Late submissions will not be considered.
  • Applicants are only admitted for Fall. 
  1. Present interests in psychology
  2. Ways in which your experiences and courses have influenced your intellectual development and interest in psychology
  3. Direct experience with psychological work (research assistantships, volunteer work, etc.)
  4. What you hope to be doing in the field of psychology ten years from now?
  • Three letters by professors or supervisors familiar with your potential for graduate training and professional contributions to psychology are required.
  • Letter of recommendations must be submitted by the December 1st deadline.
  • Letter of reccomendations must be completed within the application system. Please contact Liason Tech at if you have any technical difficulties with the letter of reccomendations upload.
  • Upload a scanned copy of your official transcripts in the online application portal. 
  • The GRE is not required for admission into our program.  
  • A copy of your latest resume/CV must be uploaded to the application.
  • International students must submit a TOEFL or IELTS exam (Institution Code 4852). Go to this website for details and exceptions: International Students English Proficiency
  • The subject psychology exam is not required.
  • The application fee is $90 for Fall 2023 admission.
  • Our department does not sponsor application fees; however, there are some general fee waivers that can be viewed here



  • Queries about Transcripts, Financial Aid (other than department support), Official GRE reports, Bachelor degree (four-year requirement)

    Please direct all questions to the Office of Graduate Admissions “Ask USC” portal (under Graduate Admission). You may also submit a question (see Ask Us link at top of page) if your question is not answered.



If you have specific questions about our faculty and their research/labs, you are welcome to review their profiles and email them.



If you are you applying to the clinical science area, please see additional admission information here.  It also includes GRE and GPA data for entering clinical science classes that is in compliance with APA Implementing Regulation C-20.


If you have any additional general admission questions or need assistance, please email

  • Department of Psychology
  • University of Southern California
  • SGM 501
  • 3620 South McClintock Ave.
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 2203