Graduate Admissions

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Application | Transcripts | Recommendation Letters | GRE | English Language Tests | Deadlines | Decision Notification | International Students


Q: May I apply to more than one program?
A: You may apply to more than one graduate program at the University of San Diego. This requires additional application fees and separate completed applications. You are able to use the same transcripts for both applications, but that is the only item your applications can share.

Q: May I apply for admission in any academic semester?
A: Most departments admit students to fall semester only, although some will consider applications for other terms. Please consult your chosen program for its policy. Keep in mind that because most financial aid awards are made to students who matriculate in the fall, funds may not be available to you if you matriculate in another semester.

Q: I really want to begin my program two years from now. May I apply for admission this year and defer to next year?
A: Admission is offered for a specific program and a specific semester of entry. Deferral is only granted with the approval of the admitting program. You may not defer for more than one year from the original semester of admission.

Q: I would like to take graduate-level classes at the University of San Diego, but I am not interested in pursuing a degree at this time. May I do this?
A. Yes. You are able to take six units though Open Campus. You will still need to apply, but the only supplemental items required with your application are transcripts and application fee. Please find more information about Open Campus here.

Q: Can I apply directly to a PhD program, or must I apply to study toward a master’s degree first?
A: USD requires that PhD students have already earned a Master’s degree.

Q: If I meet the required deadlines, when can I expect to receive a decision?
A: Programs have different application review schedules. Some programs wait and rank all of their applications against each other; others make individual determinations on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Who do I contact regarding my application status?
A: There are two ways for you to get information regarding your application status. The preferred method for checking your status is to login to the portal. If you are having problems with the portal, you can email the Office of Graduate Admissions at or call (619) 260-4524.

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Q: My former school will not send me transcripts in sealed envelopes to enclose with the rest of my application materials. What should I do?
A: Please request that your school send your transcript directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
University of San Diego
Office of Graduate Admissions
5998 Alcala Pk
San Diego, CA 92110
If your name has changed, be sure to note your former name in your application so your transcripts can be matched to your file.

Q: I took one course during the summer from a different university. Do I have to send the transcript for that one class?
A: Yes. You will need to submit that transcript. Official transcripts are required from each college or university attended, documenting every course taken beyond the high school level (whether or not within a degree program) and all degrees awarded.

Q: My transcripts are from a school in a foreign country. What should I do?
A: Students who have earned degrees outside the United States must have their transcripts evaluated by an outside agency such as World Education Services or Educational Credential Evaluators. A Course-by-Course Report must be submitted with your application. Be advised that the evaluation will take at least 20 days, sometimes much longer. Please contact the agencies for more information:

P.O. Box 5087
Bowling Green Station
New York, NY 10274, U.S.A.

PO Box 514070
Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470 USA

Q: May I send my supplemental materials to the University of San Diego before I submit my online application?
A: You are able to submit supplemental documents before your application, however it is preferred that you submit as many application items online, at the same time, as possible. Documents that arrive before your application will be held in a pending file until the application and fee are submitted. (Pending file items are held for six months and then destroyed.) Anything sent separately from the application should include your name, your birth date, and the name of the program to which you are applying.

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Recommendation Letters

Q: I have been out of school for several years and there is no one left who can write an academic recommendation for me. May my employer write one?
A: The purpose of submitting letters of recommendation is to give program faculty an indication of your ability to do scholarly research. It is recommended that current or former professors in your major-field courses be asked by you to submit your recommendations, as they would have the best idea of your research potential. If, however, such persons are no longer available to ask, anyone who you think can best assess your potential for graduate study can be asked to write the letter.

Q: I want to send more than the required number of letters of recommendation because I feel this will enhance my chances of being offered admission. Is this true?
A: It is not how many you send but the information contained in those letters that contributes to your overall admissibility. Send the required number, two or three, but choose these recommenders well. Does the faculty in the program to which you are applying know your letter writers? Will they write fair and thoughtful recommendations for you? Can they speak to your academic research and accomplishments and your potential for graduate study?

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Standardized Admission Tests

Q. I am applying for admission to the fall 2015 term. What is the cut-off date for my GRE/GMAT scores?
A. Test scores for applicants applying to the fall 2015 term may not be older than fall 2010.

Q: I sent my test scores to the University of San Diego, but the institution code I used was not 4849. Can you retrieve my scores from the other school?
A: No. We will only receive your scores if they are sent to the appropriate code.

Q: My name has changed since taking a required test for admission. What should I do?
A: It is extremely important that the name used on your application exactly matches the name used on your test score reports. If the name on your application and test score reports are not exactly the same we will not receive your test scores. If your name has changed since taking a required admission test, be sure to indicate your original surname in the space provided on the online application.

Q: What is the code for the University of San Diego for the submission of GRE and GMAT scores?
A: The school code is 4849. USD does not require a department code.

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English Language Tests

Q: I am a foreign student. My TOEFL/IELTS score is more than two years old, so the Educational Testing Service will not send official scores to you. Will you accept a photocopy?
A: No. TOEFL and IELTS tests must be taken no more than two years before the desired semester of entry. Test scores for applicants applying to fall semester 2015, may not be older than fall 2013. Photocopies of scores are not acceptable.

Q: I am a foreign student who attended a master’s level program in the U.S. although my undergraduate work was taken at a non-English speaking institution abroad. Because I have a U.S. master’s degree, will the TOEFL or IELTS score requirement be waived?
A: USD does not require test scores from those who have earned a graduate degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English.

Q: What is the University of San Diego’s school and department code for the submission of TOEFL or IELTS scores?
A: USD’s school code is 4849. USD does not require a department code.

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Q: What will happen to my application if I miss the deadline?
A: Programs vary in their willingness to consider late applications. Some programs adhere strictly to the stated deadlines and will not look at those that arrive late. Others continue to review applications until all spaces have been filled. Please check with your desired program. In all cases, it is better to send your complete application, including all support materials, several weeks ahead of the deadline to assure your chances for full consideration. Please note that the University of San Diego does not accept responsibility for postal or courier service delays.

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Decision Notification

Q: If I meet the required deadlines, when can I expect to receive a decision?
A: Programs have different application review schedules. Some programs wait and rank all of their applications against each other; others make individual determinations on a case-by-case basis. The Office of Graduate Admissions will send you a decision letter by mail.

Q: I have not received an admission decision yet, what should I do?
A: Please exercise patience while waiting for your admission decision. You will be notified by mail when the decision has been rendered.

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International Students

Q: To whom should I send my Request for Visa?
A: The following must happen before USD will issue your Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student Status):
1. The applicant has been accepted to the University of San Diego
2. The applicant has paid the Enrollment Deposit
3. The applicant has submitted the USD Certification of Finances form with supporting documents
After you receive your Form I-20, you should present it, along with our letter of acceptance, financial documents and your passport, to the nearest U.S. Consular Office. There, the appropriate official will stamp the F-1 Student Visa into your passport and return the Form I-20 to you. You will be asked to present your Form I-20 to the Immigration officer at the U.S. Port of Entry.

Q: Does the University of San Diego accept three-year bachelor’s degrees?
A: If the foreign transcript evaluation agency determines the degree equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree, the student is eligible to apply for a graduate program.

Q: I am in the process of completing my degree from an English speaking institution. Do I need to submit a TOEFL score?
A: If you are in the process of earning a degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction is English, you may not need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. A waiver is not guaranteed and is at the discretion of the department to which you are applying.

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