During the 1870s, a group of men led by Judge Robert Maclay Widney aimed to establish a university in South California. This vision finally materialized in 1879, when three noblemen Ozro W. Childs, John G. Downey, and Isaias W. Hellman, donated a massive amount of land and resources. The university had developed over the years and became known today as the University of Southern California (USC). USC highly values excellence and had implemented many scholarship programs to reward students that demonstrate outstanding academic performance. Each year, the university awards around $681 million in financial aids and scholarships to domestic and international students. In this article, we will be looking at the University of Southern California scholarships for international students.

International Students at University of Southern California

There are 10,402 international students that enroll at the University of Southern California each year. This number translates to 22.6% of the student population in USC. These multinational students are from 135 countries around the world, and more than half of their number are from China (6,000), followed by India (1,300) and South Korea (400). USC guides international students’ application and admission through the different checklists categorized prior, during and post-application, so best check them out.

Tuition Fee at the University of Southern California for International Students

Undergraduate programs in USC tuition is around $59,260 per year, and with all the miscellaneous fees (housing, dining, transportation, books, etc.) included, it can cost up to $79,063. If you have any parent or relative, you can save as much as $9,000 for housing and around $5,000 for dining/meals. For new and international students, they require a one-time fee of $450 in the first semester.

The tuition for Graduate degrees costs much higher and varies per school. It costs much higher not solely because of the tuition since some Master’s or Ph.D. programs costs around the same as undergraduate tuition but because of added laboratory and field costs, especially in graduate degrees in Medicine. The tuition fee for an MD program per year is $68,451, and living costs are $31,796, which totals $100,247. Check their website to get a detailed list of your desired graduate program’s tuition and living expenses.

USC International Admissions Guide

The application for undergraduate international students’ admission is similar to the regular and transfer application process, aside from some additional requirements. The initial application is through the Common Application website. You must submit your application before December 1 if you want to qualify for merit scholarships, but the general deadline of application is until January 15.

For the graduate programs, there are essential steps that you must follow in applying. First, you must secure that you have reviewed your desired program and have all the application requirements. Next, it is also essential to check the country-specific requirements. Once you have all the necessary documents, fill-up the online application, pay the fees, and submit all program materials and requirements on the portal. The best time to apply to graduate programs in USC is from November through May, and the earlier, the better.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Application Fee at the University of Southern California

The general application fee is $90 except for graduate programs under Marshall School of Business ($155) and the International Academy’s Pre-Master’s program ($175). Application fees are non-refundable but may be waivable.

Admissions Requirements at the University of Southern California for International Students

The general admission requirements for first-year undergraduate students are the following:

  • SAT/ACT official test scores
  • Secondary school transcripts
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Resume/ Curriculum vitae
  • Confirmation of application from the portal

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the process and requirements in applying for undergraduate programs are essentially the same for domestic and international students. The only difference is international students have the following additional requirements.

  • Copy of your documents in your native language and English
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores
  • Statement of personal or family financial support

Graduate programs have fewer admission requirements but generally have additional Country-Specific Requirements. Here are the general application requirements needed:

  • GRE/GMAT test scores
  • Resumé/Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Post-secondary/Bachelor’s degree
  • TOEFL.IELTS scores (country-specific)

The University of Southern California Rankings

The University of Southern California is part of the 2% of the educational institutions in the world. It is at the 53rd spot in the World University Rankings for 2021. It is also in the top 20 Best Universities in the USA according to USA News, US College Rankings, and Forbes of the same year. Niche also recognized USC as the top college with the Best Student Life and as the number 1 Film School in 2017 by The Wrap.

University of Southern California Acceptance Rate

The estimated acceptance rate at the University of Southern California is only 11.4%. The university receives a large volume of applications per year, but only a selected few with exceptional academic backgrounds get accepted due to their faculty and facilities’ capacity. To increase your chances of getting admitted, make sure to cultivate an excellent academic portfolio and apply as early as possible. .

University of Southern California Scholarships for International Students

Undergraduate Scholarships

1. Trustee Scholarship

International students are not eligible for the need-based scholarships at the University of Southern California and can only apply for Merit-based scholarships like the Trustee scholarship. The Trustee Scholarship provides financial assistance to 100 outstanding first-year students per year. You must apply before December 1 to receive this University of Southern California scholarship. They will also notify you by April 1 if you are part of the grantees.

2. Presidential Scholarship

Although it provides half of the financial aid provided the Trustee Scholarship, the Presidential scholarship has twice the number of scholars or 200 students each year. The students are automatically chosen for this scholarship at the University of Southern California based on their application requirements. The Office of Admissions will contact you directly if you get selected to be part of their growing pool of scholars.

There are multiple merit-based scholarships for international students at the University of Southern California, aside from the given above, which you can view here.

Graduate Scholarships

1. Assistantships

One of the many scholarships at the University of Southern California for graduate international students is through Assistantships. There are several types of USC assistantships, including instructional, teaching, research, and staff/administrative. Every graduate student who is enrolled to a minimum of six graduate students can apply for the assistantship as long as they have attended GTA/GIA training workshop and are proficient in the English language. As a graduate assistant, you can enjoy tuition discounted tuition and stipend. You will have to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week where you can gain experience in teaching and research.

2. USC Fellowships

There are several Fellowship programs available in USC for Master and Ph.D. students, including the Boren Awards for International Study, the Luce Scholarship, and more. Applicants from qualifying graduate programs are all considered for this University of Southern California scholarship, and most will receive at least one year of financial aid. The funding varies according to the department, school, and fellowship program.

The University of Southern California offers plenty of other graduate scholarships, which you can check on this page.


I hope that this article on the University of Southern California scholarships for international students was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!