FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CONCERNS
What is the desired length of work experience for admission?
We prefer candidates with at least 3 years of work experience. However, if you have significant internship or volunteer experiences, or an advanced degree, we can consider your application on a case-by-case basis.
What is the average GPA required for the admission?
GPA no lower than 3.0.
How many people are in each incoming class?
Each IPPAM cohort consists of 40-45 students. Although, two cohorts typically coexist at any point in the academic year, resulting in a total of around 80 students on campus. Each cohort is a different incoming class. To learn more about our student population, please refer to IPPAM student facts.
How much does the program cost?
The IPPAM Program costs for Academic Year 2022-2023 is approximately $69,277, which covers 32 units and includes all academic courses, seminars, academic enrichment workshops, distinguished guest lectures, site visits, various student activities, on/off campus organization events, and standard living costs. Tuition is subject to adjustment depending on official USC tuition, which is determined by the USC Board of Trustees each year.
Click here for more information on program costs.
Can I take classes in other programs?
Yes. Students can take electives related to policy within other schools. Popular choices are within Marshall (Business), Annenberg (Communication and Journalism), Price (Public Policy), and Viterbi (Engineering). Some classes can qualify as an elective towards your IPPAM degree upon request.
Note: some courses may require D-clearance or prerequisite classes before you can register.
Is a master’s thesis required for graduation?
A master’s project is required to obtain the degree, which is equivalent to a master thesis. IPPAM faculties and TAs will provide sufficient supports by working closely to ensure the completion.
How long is the program?
Students typically complete the program in 18 months or two full academic years. However, it can be accelerated for those who wish to finish earlier.
When are the application deadlines?
IPPAM Priority Deadline: March 15
International Student Final Deadline: May 1
Domestic Student Final Deadline: July 1
*IPPAM program may continue to accept applications until the class is filled.
Who should I contact if I am having technical difficulties with the online application?
If you encounter problems with technical aspects of the application, you can seek help by clicking the tech support button located at the top or bottom of the application.
Where do I mail my supplemental materials (transcripts and hard copy letters of recommendations)?
Application materials can be submitted to the following address:
University of Southern California
Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Tyler 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915
Electronic transcripts can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please refer to the following link for more info on transcript requirements.
Click here for more information on application materials.
Can I send transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other materials before I submit my application online?
Yes. Please make sure that your name on all the documents that you submit are consistent and are exactly the same as the name appear on your application.
I have been out of school for a few years or more. Do I still have to submit an academic letter of recommendation?
When evaluating an applicant for admission, we are interested in both the academic and professional potential of an applicant. A letter of recommendation from a former professor aids the admission committee in determining the academic potential of a student.
Do I need to submit transcripts from all institutions where I attended classes but did not pursue a degree?
We recommend students submit transcripts from any and all colleges or universities where a student took course work that they either plan to list in their application or that appears on the transcripts from an institution where they did receive a degree.
How do I know that my application or application materials have been received?
Our staff works to process the materials in a timely fashion as soon as an application is submitted. You will be contacted within a couple weeks of application submission to inform you if any material is still missing. Once all materials are received, you will also receive an email notification that everything has been received. Please do not contact our office with inquiries until you first hear from us.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CONCERNS
Is the GRE or the GMAT required for admission?
GMAT or GRE are welcome to submit.
Who must provide English test scores and how recent must the scores be?
All international applicants must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score taken within two years of the intended first semester at USC (eg, no earlier than June 1 two years prior if applying for the summer semester or no earlier than August 1 two years prior if applying for the fall term).
Can I take the IELTS instead of TOEFL?
Can I waive the TOEFL/IELTS?
International applicants are exempt from submitting English-proficiency scores under the following circumstances:
You hold a bachelor’s degree completed in its entirety in the United States or another Anglophone country. The bachelor’s degree should be earned at a regionally accredited university located in the United States, or at an officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program needs to have been completed in the qualifying country.
Note: Dual-degree holders who completed part of their degree in the U.S. do not qualify for this waiver.
Your native language is English. This applies to native English speakers from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (except Quebec), where English is both the only official language of the country and the language of instruction. USC does not waive the English-proficiency requirement based on any other consideration such as work experience, ESL enrollment, etc. It also cannot be waived for undergraduate programs taught in English in non-Anglophone countries, or for graduate degrees earned in the U.S. or other qualifying countries. To determine if USC requires TOEFL/IELTS/ PTE scores for the country of study, please check here.
What is the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score required?
USC does not set minimum scores for admission purposes. The scores listed below are used for placement purposes to determine if an admitted student will need to take an English placement test upon arrival at USC and/or English courses prior to or concurrent with enrollment in the IPPAM Program. English course work can be completed at USC International Academy. See its web page for application instructions and tuition fees.
For TOEFL: The minimum score* to be deemed English proficient is iBT 100 (Internet-Based Test) with no less than 20 in each subsection. IPPAM will consider applicants with TOEFL scores of 71 and above on a case-by-case basis.
For IELTS : The minimum score* is 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in each subsection. IPPAM will consider applicants with an IELTS of 6.0 and above on a case-by-case basis. If an applicant is admitted with an IELTS score that is less than the minimum, the applicant will be required to take English courses at the International Academy.
*Please note that the Price School standard for English proficiency for master’s programs is somewhat higher than that set by the university in its general guidelines.
What if my TOEFL/IELTS score is below the minimum English proficiency level?
If an applicant is admitted with a TOEFL or an IELTS score that is less than the minimum deemed to be English proficient, the applicant will be referred to the International Academy for coursework to strengthen English skills.
What is the institution code for the TOEFL?
Please use the institution code 4852 when registering for the TOEFL/IELTS.
In which languages do you need my transcripts?
Transcripts must be submitted in the native language used for instruction at the university AND in English.
Can I send my financial statement after I have been accepted?
The U.S. government requires all international applicants to provide proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses for themselves and their dependents (if applicable) before a formal letter of admission and an I-20 or DS-2019 Eligibility Certificate can be issued. A missing financial statement will delay the processing of the I-20 or DS-2019.
Do you have a special office to assist international students?
USC’s Office of International Services (OIS) offers a wide range of services, including help with official documents, immigration questions, employment, financial aid, and other practical matters. For questions about your I-20, please refer to the Ask USC page. More information for international student support can be found here.
How do I secure an I-20 for my family members?
There are two ways to do this:
You may obtain your own I-20, enter the United States and then apply for your family members’ I-20 forms through the USC Office of International Services (OIS). For more information, e-mail email@example.com. Alternatively, you may obtain I-20 forms for your family members before you arrive in the United States. You must provide the following information for each of your dependents:
Last (family), first (given) and middle name – exactly as each name appears on the passport. Please write the last name in all capital letters.
Date of birth (month/day/year)
Country of birth
Country of citizenship
Relationship to you (husband, wife, son or daughter)
What jobs do Price School graduates accept after graduating?
USC Price graduates go on to work in a variety of industries, most commonly across the government, private, and nonprofit sectors. Many join the program through support and scholarships from their respective countries and return to either the government sector or private sector there.
The IPPAM program and Sol Price School of Public Policy offer many opportunities (career counseling, career fairs, networking events, conferences, etc.) and professional guidance for students to make the most of their time here at USC. IPPAM students have direct access to their own opportunities.
You can learn more about our graduates at our alumni page.
Do Price School students live on or off campus?
Limited spaces are available in on-campus housing for graduate students. Most students choose to live off-campus in the nearby area or in other popular neighborhoods around Los Angeles. Information about on-campus housing can be found here.
Is the campus safe?
Student safety is a priority at USC. The university’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) is one of the largest campus public safety departments in the country, employing over 300 full-time personnel. DPS patrols not only on campus, but also the surrounding area 24/7 (see DPS patrol boundaries map). The Department offers a variety of services and innovative technology, such as the Campus Cruiser, TrojansAlert, and LiveSafe (a mobile safety app) to ensure the safety of our students. More information could be found on the DPS website.
Please contact the IPPAM Office:
Joanna C. Yu, Ph.D.
International Public Policy and Management Program
3518 Trousdale Parkway, CPA 253
Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089–0041 USA