International Applicants

The USC Neuroscience Graduate Program welcomes applications from overseas. As with domestic students, many successful overseas candidates have research experience together with a strong academic background from top-ranked institutions in a subject related to the scope of the USC Neuroscience Graduate Program. All applicants must have an undergraduate degree, but some successful overseas candidates also have a post-baccalaureate degree in a neuroscience-related discipline.

The application to the Neuroscience Graduate Program requires the following materials:

  1. Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  2. Three Letters of Recommendation
  3. GRE scores (department code for GRE is 0213; institution code for GRE is 4852).
  4. TOEFL scores (department code for TOEFL is 30; institution code for TOEFL is 4852).
  5. Application (see below)

Applications and supporting materials are due no later than December 1, 2014 for full consideration. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions section for further information.

All materials should be submitted online with the exception of official transcripts, which should be mailed to the following address: mailing address:

Deanna Solórzano, Neuroscience Graduate Program Student Advisor
Graduate Program in Neuroscience
University of Southern California
3641 Watt Way, HNB 120H, MC 2520
Los Angeles, California 90089-2520
United States
Phone: 213-740-2245
Fax: 213-740-6980

Electronic Application

Applications are handled exclusively by the Neuroscience Graduate Program. There is a $85 application fee when you apply directly to the department.

To apply, we encourage you to complete an Electronic Application online.

NOTE: When listing undergraduate/graduate GPAs (Grade Point Averages) on the Application, please use the system of your university. If you received a percentage grade, provide the average percentage. If you were graded on a scale other than 4.0 (with 4.0 equal to an “A”), please indicate the average grade AND indicate the scale (for example, 8.5/10).

When you have submitted the online application, arrange for your transcripts and GRE scores to be sent directly to us by mail to the address below. All other materials must be submitted online.

Information for International Applicants

Arrange for your transcript, GRE scores and three letters of recommendation to be sent directly to us by mail. Unofficial copies of GRE and TOEFL scores are acceptable for evaluation purposes, but if offered admission, an applicant will be required to send official documentation.

Unless you are from a country where English is the primary language or you have earned a degree from a four-year accredited U.S. institution, you are required to submit results of the TOEFL ( examination. In rare cases, the Graduate Students Committee may elect to administer a phone interview in lieu of one or both tests. This would happen only in cases where the student or the student’s research advisor is already well known to USC faculty, and the student is from a country where English is commonly spoken.

Contact us four weeks in advance if you will be traveling in the United States and would like to visit our department during your stay. We will sometimes provide local expenses (hotel) for one or two nights in Los Angeles, but this must be agreed to in advance in writing (e-mail) by the Graduate Office.

Additional Advice for People’s Republic of China Applicants

In recent years we have received far more international applications from the PRC than from any other country, but we have made offers to only the very best PRC students, in part due to the quality of the application packages. Based on this experience, we are able to offer the following suggestions in order to guide PRC students regarding application to our department:

  1. Complete only ONE online application. Do not apply online more than once, as this may cause us to lose track of you.
  2. After you complete the online application, mail us the following documents: official transcripts in sealed envelopes (required), copies of your publications (optional), resume (optional), photocopies of all of your test score reports (if you have received them; official copies still must be received by the department). Do not mail us paper copies of your application or your research interests statement.
  3. Applicants selected for phone interviews in the past have had course grades of 85 or higher in most of their science courses and have attended one of the better-known universities in China.
  4. Take the TOEFL test early enough that we will have the official copies of your scores by February 1 but no later than March 1. Without a minimum score of 600 on TOEFL (250 computer-based) your application will not be considered.
  5. We will usually communicate with the applicant and/or the applicant’s research advisor by phone or e-mail prior to making an offer.

Additional Information

We offer a very personalized approach to graduate recruiting. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty members and/or the graduate student coordinator at any time during their undergraduate education if they identify potential research interest at the University of Southern California. We sometimes develop relationships with potential students a year or more prior to enrollment.

The USC Graduate School requires that the sum of the Verbal and Quantitative scores on the GRE be a minimum of 1000. However, the NSGP rarely accepts students with verbal and qualitative scores below 1100. We do not require a GRE Subject Test. Applicants with undergraduate grade point averages below 3.0 will only be considered under unusual circumstances including evidence of recent improvement or clearly outstanding potential as a researcher.

The Program places a high priority on the English language proficiency of its applicants. In addition to a satisfactory score on the TOEFL test, all students who wish to be considered for a USC TAship and have received their bachelor’s degree from a non-US university where English is not the official language must pass the USC in-house English test.

Admissions questions? Check the FAQ page.