Application Criteria and Process

Admission Criteria

Acceptance normally requires that an applicant has or is expected to receive a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0) in a course of study that includes courses in biological sciences. Applicants not meeting these criteria may be conditionally admitted only with the approval of the USC Graduate School. Submitting GRE or MCAT scores is not required.

International applicants should consult information online at Graduate Admissions – International Students. International students whose first language is not English must take the TOEFL or IELTS examination. Exemption from additional language requirements upon enrollment requires scores meeting University requirements: see online Graduate Admissions – English Proficiency.

Admission Process

Admission is normally in the research thesis track which requires before admission an agreement between an applicant and a faculty member that the faculty member will mentor the applicant’s research thesis project in a specified general field of study. Satisfying this requirement is facilitated by submission of the materials listed below directly to the Program at as early as possible in order to schedule interviews with potential mentors. The materials should also be subsequently submitted to by April 1st for enrollment in the next Fall term and by September 15th for enrollment in the next Spring term. Submissions received after these dates may or may not be considered.

The materials to be submitted are:

  • A résumé providing contact information, current residence location, all college-level institutions attended with dates attended, degrees earned and date earned, and grade point average. Also provide employment and other information you wish to share.
  • A brief statement explaining reasons for applying to the program. The statement must specify whether the applicant is applying to the thesis- or nonthesis track and the rationale for that decision.
  • A brief statement regarding research experiences and laboratory skills. Experiences should be listed in chronological order. Indicate whether an experience was an academic, volunteer, or employment experience, and indicate if an experience led to a publication, submission of a manuscript, a presentation, or an award. Along with the brief statement, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit materials arising from research experiences such as publications, manuscripts, and presentations.
  • A list of potential faculty thesis research mentors of particular interest, if any.
  • Transcripts from all college-level institutions previously attended.
  • At least three letters of recommendation.

After receipt of these materials, potential mentors will be identified and interviews will be scheduled. For the interview, applicants must prepare a brief PowerPoint or equivalent presentation focused on the applicant’s critical evaluation of their research experiences or a research field of interest. The presentation should focus on data critical for the evaluation of a hypothesis and not exceed 30 minutes. The interview is meant to provide the applicant with an opportunity to demonstrate critical reasoning abilities regarding their research experiences and research topics of interest.

USC Progressive Master’s Degree Applicants

The Medical Physiology graduate program participates in the USC Progressive Master’s Degree Program. The application process is facilitated by submission of the materials listed above directly to the Program at no later than early in the Spring Term of Junior year in order to schedule interviews with potential mentors. The materials do not need to be submitted to