Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Select from the topics below for information on some commonly asked questions.

In addition to this FAQ, please visit the PhD FAQ which has answers to questions that pertain only to doctoral programs.

Length/ Format:

  • There is no standardized format or length for the Personal Statement (Statement of Purpose), but we can provide some general guidelines. It should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program at the Viterbi School of Engineering, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans, and other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.

The Letters of Recommendation requirement vary by master's program.  Please visit our Academic Disciplines to view a list of master's degree programs and their application criteria.  Doctoral applicants are required to submit 3 letters of recommendation.

If required:

  • Complete and submit the other parts of the application by the application deadline even if your letters have not yet been submitted. This is separate module of the application so your recommenders will still be able to add their letters, and you will be able to check the status of letters or even add/replace a recommender after the application has been submitted.


Master's applicants

  • The Viterbi School is pleased to offer merit-based funding opportunities to U.S. and International students applying for Master’s programs. On-campus students who apply by published application deadlines will be considered for scholarships if admitted. Please visit our Ready to Apply page for information on deadlines and application steps.

Doctoral applicants

  • Doctoral applicants do not apply for Viterbi scholarships. USC tries to fully fund all of its doctoral students. This generally consists of tuition, a stipend for living expenses, and a health benefits package.

    Admitted students receive information on the funding offer before they have to submit the Statement of Intent.

    Additional information on doctoral program funding 


  • International graduate applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting either TOEFL or IELTS scores. For details on the requirement and for information on waiving the English Language requirement, visit USC Graduate Admission’s English Proficiency page.


  • Although required for admission, all complete applications receive a full review regardless of the TOEFL/IELTS scores submitted. Visit USC Graduate Admission’s English Proficiency page for detailed information about TOEFL/IELTS requirements.

Published on August 23rd, 2023

Last updated on August 28th, 2023