University of Southern California

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Updated August 7, 2020

First opened in 1880 by Judge Robert M. Widney, the University of Southern California is a prestigious private non-profit nonsectarian sea-grant and space-grant institution. Each year, USC enrolls more than 19,000 undergraduates and 24,000 post-graduates across its 22 schools. As an elite member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), USC has very high levels of research with over $646 in annual sponsored funding. The University of Southern California is strategically located on a 308-acre urban campus in Los Angeles, but USC Online provides distance learning options too. USC consistently delivers excellent academics, which have produced six Nobel Prize winners, 78 Academy Award winners, and 181 Fulbright Scholars.

According to the U.S. News, USC is honored as America's 23rd best university, 39th top value school, 18th best college for veterans, and 13th most innovative college. In particular, the University of Southern California was distinguished for hosting the nation's 15th best education school. Princeton Review placed USC among its lists for "Colleges That Pay You Back" and "Best 380 Colleges." Huffington Post named USC among the top 10 dream colleges in the United States. The University of Southern California is ranked the 65th best master's-level institution for civic engagement in Washington Monthly. Times Higher Education also distinguished USC as the 68th top university globally.

University of Southern California Accreditation Details

As an institution, the University of Southern California is wholly accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This is one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Starting in 2015, the Rossier School of Education is being formally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Other notable approvals include the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) and American Psychological Association (APA). USC meets the standards of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) too.

University of Southern California Application Requirements

With a highly competitive acceptance rate of 18 percent, USC has implemented strict academic criteria new applicants must exceed for enrollment. Graduates pursuing one of the online master's in education programs must already hold a bachelor's degree or foreign equivalent from an accredited university. Superior scholastic record with a minimum overall college GPA of 3.0 is mandated. Certain M.Ed. programs will require applicants have at least two years of full-time classroom teaching experience and valid certification. Admitted students score an average GRE score of 151 verbal and 151 quantitative. International learners from non-English speaking countries must take the TOEFL exam and have an Internet-based score of 100 or higher.

Prior to the December 1st priority deadline, interested students should apply to the University of Southern California Graduate Admissions Office by submitting these materials:

  • Completed online application form
  • Official sealed college transcripts
  • One to two-page statement of purpose
  • Graduate entrance exam scores
  • At least two letters of recommendation
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Three requiring writing sample essays
  • $85 non-refundable application fee

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition and fees vary from online program to program at the University of Southern California. In the Rossier School of Education, full-time MAT students can expect to pay $48,060 without credentials and $51,264 with credentials. Part-time learners in this program will pay $49,012 without credentials and $52,352 with credentials overall. TESOL students specifically must afford $48,400 full-time or $49,012 part-time for their 30-credit degree. Other M.Ed. students should expect to pay around $52,310 total for their online studies. USC suggests that online graduate students budget an extra $3,000 for textbooks, supplies, and Internet service.

Nearly 65 percent of matriculated students at USC receive financial aid. When investing in graduate education, students must send in their FAFSA application before May 14th. Money can be borrowed through Direct Stafford loans, Grad PLUS loans, and Perkins loans, but interest rates can be high. Free money could be available via the TEACH Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, or Fulbright Grant. The California Student Aid Commission offers the Cal Grant, Chafee Grant, and APLE Grant for Credentialed K-12 Teachers. Federal Work Study (FWS) and graduate assistantships are available. Scholarships are also abundant, including the USC Rossier Scholarship.

Online Degree(s) Available

The University of Southern California has created its own innovative online learning management system called 2SC to deliver high-quality distance education. Currently, online students can select from 63 master's degrees, four doctoral degrees, and 18 graduate certificate programs. USC has a history of connecting remote learners since 1972, even before the World Wide Web existed. Online courses give students convenience and flexibility in fulfilling educational requirements in a virtual classroom. The Rossier School of Education offers the following degrees online.

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

As a pre-licensure program, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) at USC is delivered online for aspiring K-12 teachers to build the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become transformative educators. Graduate students can specialize in Multiple Subject Teaching (Elementary), Secondary English, Secondary Mathematics, Secondary Science, Secondary Social Science, or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Over four terms full-time, students obtain at least 32 units with weekly, live online classes. MAT students will also arrange two 10-week field practicum sessions in a local school district.

M.Ed. School Leadership

The M.Ed. School Leadership program was created by the University of Southern California to prepare experienced teachers, counselors, and educational support staff to gain entry into administrative roles. Featuring a fully online 15-month curriculum, the program is ideal for teachers looking to become principals, curriculum coordinators, lead educators, department heads, superintendents, and school directors. Two terms of school administration apprenticeship is included. M.Ed. students will graduate with the qualifications to receive the Preliminary Administrative Credential in California.

M.Ed. Learning Design and Technology

Available fully online with no campus trips, the M.Ed. Learning Design and Technology spans over two years full-time to give graduate students the knowledge to significantly improve the use of innovative technologies in classroom learning. Coursework in the 30-credit curriculum will cover topics on human lifespan development, diversity, research methods, data analysis, media selection, learning assessment, instructional design, and e-learning. In the final term, USC students create their own online learning module for teaching a certain K-12 concept.

Graduate education majors may be interested in pursuing the online M.Ed. Teacher Leadership, Ed.D Global Executive, Ed.D. Organizational Change and Leadership, or Gifted Education Credential from the University of Southern California.

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