International Student Admission
The Thornton School is home to approximately 150 international students from roughly 40 countries. International students make up an important part of our student population, and add depth and diversity to our school.
International applicants are expected to follow the same application procedure that domestic applicants follow. There is no special international application for admission; however, international applicants are required to submit a few extra items that are not required from domestic applicants. Additionally, the academic review process for international applicants can be time consuming and complex (please read about the I-20 process below); thus international applicants are encouraged to submit all required application materials by the published application deadlines. Failure to do so could cause the entire application to be withdrawn from consideration.
The following additional application materials are required from all international applicants:
Please note that all of the above must be submitted directly to the USC Admission office.
All international applicants are required to submit a statement of financial support to verify that sufficient funding is available to cover the cost of studying in the United States. If a scholarship is offered, it will count towards the total amount required on the financial statement, but the applicant will be responsible for documenting the remaining amount. Documents more than six (6) months old are not acceptable.
Acceptable forms of financial documentation are:
- The Confidential Statement of Financial Support form, available in the USC Graduate Application booklet (also available with the on-line USC application at: http://www.usc.edu/admission/graduate/index.html). Along with the Confidential Statement of Financial Support, a statement from the applicant's bank or the bank of the applicant's sponsor must be submitted, which verifies that the required amount is available in an active bank account in good standing. OR
- If the applicant DOES NOT have a sponsor, s/he may submit a statement from his/her bank which verifies that the required amount is available in an active bank account in good standing. OR
- If the applicant DOES have a sponsor, but does not have the Confidential Statement of Financial Support form, the applicant's sponsor must submit both a sponsorship letter (example below) AND an official statement from his/her bank which verifies that the required amount is available in an active bank account in good standing.
- If the applicant is the recipient of a grant or loan from a government or private agency, official documentation of the funding issued from the awarding agency must be submitted in lieu of a traditional financial statement.
To Whom it may Concern:
I, (Sponsor's Name), willingly act as the financial sponsor for (Applicant's Name), who is my (applicant's relationship to sponsor; for example, son, niece, friend). I agree to make a minimum of (Amount) available for (his/her) studies at USC. A statement from my bank is included for your reference.
In addition to all other application and audition requirements, all applicants to the MA, MM, DMA or PhD programs at the Thornton School whose first language is not English are required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), regardless of immigration status or educational background. Scores from tests taken more than two years before the date of a student's application to the USC Thornton School of Music will not be considered valid for admission review purposes and a more recent score will be required. Official score reports should be submitted directly to the USC admission office by ETS. USC's ETS school code is 4852.
Applicants must carefully note that the materials received deadline for all required application materials applies to TOEFL scores as well. These scores must be received by the Thornton admission office by the appropriate deadline in order to be given full consideration for admission.
Minimum TOEFL scores required for admission are as follows:
- MM, MA – iBT total score of 83 (with no less than 20 on any one section of the test)
- DMA, PHD – iBT total score of 100 (with no less than 20 on any one section of the test)
Admission to the USC Thornton School of Music is determined as a result of a comprehensive file review process involving a number of review criteria. A score from the TOEFL which meets the minimum scores described above shall not be construed as a guarantee of admission to any Thornton School program.
English Language Proficiency
Admitted international students whose primary language is not English are required to take the International Student English Examination (ISE), administered by the USC Testing Bureau at the beginning of their first term of study. The results on the examination determine whether or not students must take special courses in English at USC. International students who have a score of 100 on the iBT (with no less than 20 on each individual section of the test) taken within the past 2 years will be exempt from the ISE test, and will not be placed in special English courses. Therefore, even though the minimum TOEFL score for MM admission is 83, we strongly encourage all international applicants to strive to attain a score of 100 on the iBT before enrolling at USC Thornton.
Further details about USC’s English Language requirement can be found here: http://dornsife.usc.edu/ali/english-language-requirement/
All applicants to USC and the Thornton School of Music are required to submit official transcripts issued in the language of instruction from all colleges and universities attended in the past. International applicants must fulfill the same requirement and must also submit official diplomas and diploma supplements for all degrees earned. Certified English translations of all documents not issued in English are also required. Transcripts and translations need only be submitted to the USC Admission office according to the instructions listed with the USC online application.
Please refer to the USC Graduate and International Admission website for complete details about transcripts and translations as USC's requirements are quite specific, and are different for every country. Remember, it’s the applicant’s responsibility to understand and abide by the application policies and requirements of the university.
When an international applicant is admitted to USC and the Thornton School of Music, an I-20 form will be prepared by the USC Office of Graduate and International Admission and will be sent to the applicant. The applicant will then use the I-20 to apply for a student (F-1) visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy. The process of issuing I-20s from USC is a complicated and exacting procedure, which can be very time consuming. It is typical for the preparation of an I-20 to take up to one month AFTER admission to USC has been finalized- perhaps even longer in certain cases. Additionally, the visa application and interview process can also be quite time consuming and complicated, depending on the applicant's home country. Because of this, applicants are urged to submit all required application materials by the published deadlines, to ensure that there is sufficient time for I-20 preparation and the visa interview processes.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have throughout the process. We can be reached at (213) 740-8986, (800) 872-2213, or firstname.lastname@example.org.