University of Southern California
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Graduate Programs

The school offers interrelated graduate programs in architecture, landscape architecture, building science and historic preservation as well as two dual degree programs with the School of Policy, Planning, and Development. These programs are designed for students who already hold either pre-professional or professional degrees in the appropriate professional fields.

Admission to Graduate Programs

Credentials for admission must include a complete record of all previous college or university work. The applicant must request the registrar of each college or university attended to forward two official transcripts of record directly to the Office of Admission.

Priority for admission and financial aid is given to applications that are complete by February 1.

Following are the basic requirements for admission to the graduate programs: (1) the appropriate pre-professional or first professional degree from an accredited college or university; (2) satisfactory scores on the verbal, analytical and quantitative portions of the aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examinations; (3) intellectual promise and clear study intentions that indicate an ability to do acceptable graduate work; (4) a portfolio of design work*; (5) strong personal qualifications.

All students must speak and write English. Foreign students must demonstrate such ability by taking the TOEFL test before leaving their home countries, and by further tests upon arrival on campus. Applicants for teaching assistantships will be interviewed by telephone or in person, where possible, prior to a final decision.

International students may be required to enroll in American Language Institute (ALI) English courses, based on scores on the English Placement Tests. The cost of these additional courses is the responsibility of the student. In addition, international students should be aware that they may have to defer enrollment in some major courses because of the ALI courses, extending the number of semesters required to complete the program and increasing the overall tuition expense. International students are urged to read with care all information sent to them about English requirements and to take as many English language courses as possible prior to coming to the United States.

*Master of Building Science accepts computer programs, papers and other work as portfolio work.

Correspondence with the dean or individual faculty members does not constitute admission to the Graduate School or to the School of Architecture. Only a letter from the Director of Admission grants official admission.

Graduate Program Policies

All graduate students are expected to complete a minimum of 12 units per semester, spring and fall, in any of the school's programs.

A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required in a course to receive graduate credit. A grade point average of at least 3.0 on all units attempted at USC toward a graduate degree is required for graduation. Course work taken on a pass/no pass basis cannot be applied toward a graduate degree. If students are not meeting these minimum grades the faculty member should meet with the student to provide timely advisory reviews.

Students receiving a teaching assistantship are expected to complete all required courses within the normal number of semesters for each of the degree programs. The thesis or directed design research may be completed in additional semesters when appropriate. Failure to complete such courses on schedule results in the loss of teaching or research assistantships and/or may result in suspension from the program upon recommendation from the program director and approval by the dean and the Vice Provost for Academic Programs.

Students holding teaching assistantships are expected to remain in good academic standing (minimum 3.0 grade point average) and to be making regular degree progress to be considered for renewal of their teaching assistantships.

Appeals will be reviewed initially by the director(s) of the appropriate graduate program and then by a committee consisting of all of the graduate program directors (with the exception that design courses will be reviewed by the design review committee). Their recommendation(s) will be forwarded to the dean for consideration and action, and then forwarded to the Vice Provost for Academic Programs. All communications must be in writing.

Certificate in Historic Preservation

This program is directed at practicing professionals who wish to obtain an academic credential for their involvement in historic preservation projects and at graduate students who wish to obtain a complementary credential to a degree in architecture, landscape architecture, planning, public art administration, geography, anthropology or other related disciplines.

Course Requirements
Completion of the certificate requires 16 units, including ARCH 450 Fundamentals of Historic Preservation (4), ARCH 553 History of American Architecture and Urbanism (4), and either ARCH 550 Historic Preservation Management, Planning and Development (4) or ARCH 551 Conservation Methods and Materials (4). Students may choose to complete both ARCH 550 and ARCH 551. The remaining 4 units (if needed) must be selected in consultation with the program director.

Sample ElectivesUnits
ARCH 511LSeminar: Building Systems4
ARCH 532Elements of the Urban Landscape2
ARCH 535abMaterials and Methods for Landscape Architecture3-3
ARCH 590Directed Research2-4
(must be in historic preservation)
ARCH 605aLGraduate Architecture Design6

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