Who Is Considered an International Student?
If you are not a United States national, and you will be entering, or have already entered, the United States with an F-1 or J-1 student visa, you should apply as an international student. Students who already reside in the United States and hold other non-immigrant visas (E2, H2, or L2, for example) are also considered international students.
Permanent residents of the United States, naturalized U.S. citizens, and U.S. citizens residing abroad and attending school outside the United States are not considered international students.
Minimum Requirements for Graduate Admission to USC:
- You must hold a degree considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree, as evaluated by the USC Office of Graduate & International Admission. For a country-by-country breakdown of our requirements, please click here.
- Your college or university must be recognized by the appropriate governmental ministry as a degree-granting institution.
- All transcripts and degree certificates/diplomas must be written in the original language of instruction. All original-language documents must be accompanied by a separate, word-for-word English translation. Dual-language transcripts are not acceptable.
- Official transcripts must show all courses and subjects taken and all grades (marks) received.
- Official transcripts must be sent directly to USC by the college or university.
- Diploma Supplements must accompany transcripts from institutions from countries that are part of the Bologna Accord.
- An overall “B” average (3.0/4.0 GPA) is the minimum standard for admission consideration. To calculate your academic average, USC may convert an overseas grading scale to the U.S. standard scale.
- A vocational track is not appropriate preparation for graduate admission.
- Additional requirements are determined by individual graduate programs. Please contact your intended graduate department for more specifics.
Your academic records must be sent directly to USC by your previous educational institution(s). Required academic records include:
- Transcripts: Yearly or semester records from each college or university attended that indicate the number of lecture and/or laboratory hours per week, per course, and the grade received in each course.
- Diplomas and/or academic certificates for all degrees you have received, with the title and date conferred.
IMPORTANT: If the language of instruction at your institution was not English, then you must provide:
- Original-language copies of all transcripts and diplomas/academic certificates.
- A separate, word-for-word, English-language translation of all academic records you submit to us. The translation should either come directly from the school itself or a professional, certified translator. It must contain all information shown on the original-language documents and “mirror” them as precisely as possible. Dual-language transcripts are not acceptable.
Please note that USC does not accept or recognize credential evaluation reports from outside agencies for purposes of admissions review.
- You must provide a valid e-mail address when you submit your application. All communication directed from the Office of Admission to international applicants is conducted via e-mail.
- You must provide your permanent address in your home country. This information is required even if you currently reside in the U.S.
- You must provide your current mailing address (if it is not the same as your permanent address). If you are currently outside the United States, do not provide the address of a friend or relative living in the U.S. as your current address. This will delay the processing of your application.
I-20 and DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility
The Office of Admission will provide admitted students with either an I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility. Students must then apply at a United States Embassy or Consulate for a visa to enter the United States.
When you complete your application, be sure the information you provide—your name, date of birth, city and country of birth, and country of citizenship—is exactly the same as the information on your passport. USC can issue your I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate only if the information on your passport matches your USC information.
If you are admitted to multiple graduate programs, U.S. immigration law requires that you choose only one program of study before your I-20 or DS-2019 can be issued.
Any student entering the United States by means of documents issued by USC must register for the semester for which admission is granted. Verification of arrival and enrollment is electronically tracked through SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, a Web-based data collection and monitoring system managed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Failure to arrive at USC and enroll as a full-time student will be reported immediately to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
SEVIS Fee Information
The US Department of Homeland Security collects a $200 fee prior to issuing F-1 and J-1 student visas. Complete details will be included with your I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate. For more information, click here.
Transfer and Change of Visa Status
If you are currently studying in the United States or engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT), your current academic institution must release your I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate in SEVIS (the Web-based data collection and monitoring system) before USC can issue an I-20 or DS-2019 for study at USC.
You must also inform the Office of International Services at USC if you plan to change your visa status in the United States, or by leaving and re-entering . These activities will determine the type of I-20 or DS-2019 you are issued.