Admission FAQs

The following provisions govern acceptance:

Criteria: Admission to regular graduate status ordinarily requires possession of a bachelor’s degree, a GPA of at least 3.0, one or more courses in undergraduate statistics and/or college algebra, and three letters of recommendation. International applicants must also submit their score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Admission is highly competitive with approximately six to eight students who enroll each year from the available pool of applicants. Each application receives careful attention and is judged in terms of the full set of criteria.

A limited number of graduate course units taken elsewhere may be considered for transfer into the graduate program. These units are transferred on a course-by-course basis.

  • Submit the following to USC Graduate Admissions online application:

    1. Online University of Southern California application form plus a $90 application fee. There are several ways to qualify for an application fee waiver (e.g., documented financial hardship, McNair Scholars). Fee waivers can take up to 5 business days to process, so please be sure to apply well in advance of the application deadline. You can find detailed eligibility categories and instructions here.
    2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work.
    3. The official results of the general aptitude scores of the Graduate Record Examinations (verbal, quantitative, and analytical).
    4. For international students, a TOEFL score.
    5. One example of written work (normally a paper written for a course) of no more than 20 pages.
    6. Three letters of recommendation from persons who can write about your academic performance and your potential as a social scientist.
    7. Personal Statement: Describe (1) your present sociological interest, (2) the instructors, books, and/or journals that have had the greatest influence on your interests in sociology, and (3) what you hope to be doing in the field of sociology ten years after you receive your degree. Please include any other aspect of your experience that you want to include. (2-3 pages long)
  • Most admissions for graduate study are for “regular” status. On occasion, however, an applicant may be admitted on “conditional” status so that some deficiency can be removed and proficiency demonstrated. When this occurs, up to 12 units of specified performance in graduate or undergraduate course work may be required and/or steps must be taken in order to qualify for acceptance as a “regular” student.

  • Completed applications must be submitted to the university by December 1st. The application portal is on Eastern Standard Time. All applications received by December 1st will be considered for selected university fellowships.

  • We strongly encourage applicants to apply for external funding. Below are a few options:

    Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

    National Science Foundation

    Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Complete details on courses of instructions and degree requirements may be found in the University of Southern California Catalogue.