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USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

Admissions Requirements

The geographic information science and technology graduate programs are offered by the Spatial Sciences Institute in the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The graduate GIST certificate was one of the first GIS graduate programs in the country.

Online Application Deadlines

Program Name Application Open Application Deadline Start Date
M.S. in Spatial Data Science (SPDS) January 1, 2024 June 30, 2024 August 26, 2024
M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis (SEDA)* April 15, 2024 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024
M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) January 2, 2024 June 30, 2024 August 26, 2024
M.S. in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence (HSGI) January 2, 2024 June 30, 2024 August 26, 2024
Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology* January 2, 2024 June 30, 2024 August 26, 2024
Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence* January 2, 2024 June 30, 2024 August 26, 2024
Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Leadership* January 2, 2024 June 30, 2024 August 26, 2024
Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing for Earth Observation* January 2, 2024 June 30, 2024 August 26, 2024

Residential (In Person) Application Deadlines

Program Name Application Open Application Deadline Start Date
M.A. in Global Securities Studies** (GSEC) August 2, 2023 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024
M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis (SEDA) January 1, 2024 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024
M.S. in Spatial Data Science (SPDS) January 1, 2024 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024
M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) January 1, 2024 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024
M.S. in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence (HSGI) January 1, 2024 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024
Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology* April 15, 2024 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024
Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence* April 15, 2024 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024
Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Leadership* April 15, 2024 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024
Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing for Earth Observation* April 15, 2024 June 7, 2024 August 26, 2024

*The application for the residential graduate certificates and online M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis (SEDA) program will open in early August.

**Please note, the M.A. in Global Securities Studies (M.A. GSEC) has only one start per year in the fall semester.

Although many students have a GIS background before entering the program, we encourage anyone with an interest in the spatial sciences to apply. Our graduate programs are designed to be applicable across disciplines and include options for experienced GIS professionals as well as individuals with little or no experience in the geographic sciences. We will consider all elements of your professional and academic background when reviewing your application.


Academic Calendar and Deadlines

Students are admitted on a rolling basis for fall, spring and summer semester starts.

Request Brochure

Fill out the information below to learn more about the University of Southern California’s GIS Graduate Programs and download a free brochure. If you have any additional questions, please call 877-650-9054 to speak to an enrollment advisor.

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Application Materials and Requirements

Completed Application

Completed online application form

Bachelor’s Degree With a Minimum 3.0

Official Transcripts

Please provide official transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended.

Emailed Transcripts

If an institution is directly sending your transcripts to USC, they should be emailed to etrans@usc.edu. Please use PDF format only for attachments. No other file types (such as JPEG or .doc files) can be processed at this time. Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address.

If you need to submit transcripts issued by an institution’s registrar, please follow these steps:

  • Scan your official registrar-issued transcripts.
  • Submit the transcripts via the Contact Form.
  • Select “Graduate Admission” as the Area and “Transcripts” as the Category. Be sure to have your 10-digit USC ID.
  • In the body of the message include your USC ID number, and then attach the documents. PDF format is strongly encouraged for attachments. You may also send JPEG or .doc files through the contact form, but you should expect delays to have the files imaged.

Mailed Transcripts
All official, mailed transcripts must be sealed by the institution.

Mail transcripts to:
USC Graduate Office of Admission
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

If sending via a private carrier (e.g., UPS, FedEx or DHL), send transcripts to:
University of Southern California Office of Admission & Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street Tyler 1
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

For more information regarding transcripts visit the USC Graduate Admissions Office: Transcript Requirements page.


TOEFL/IELTS Scores

International applicants will need to provide official and valid TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores as required by the USC Graduate Programs Admissions office.

Required for those who have not earned a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited university located in the United States, or at an officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program needs to have been completed in the qualifying country.

NOTE: Please see the international students page for updated options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Resume/CV

Please submit your most up-to-date resume.


Two Letters of Recommendation

These letters should be from faculty or others who are qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study, such as a supervisor or professor. The letters should be on the letterhead of the letter writer and signed by the letter writer and submitted through the online graduate application.


Professional Writing Sample

Your writing sample should be academic in nature and should demonstrate your ability to clearly articulate research you’ve completed in other programs. Documents prepared for previous courses are ideal.


Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the program, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans and other aspects of your background and interest which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.


Application Fee

The application fee is $90.

USC application fee waiver eligibility is listed on the website, and the waiver is issued by the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Applicants should start an application and select the program in the application portal first and then submit the request for the application waiver if they determine they qualify for the waiver based on the eligibility criteria (current USC student, alumni, current employee, etc).

  • Please note that we do not offer waivers at the department/program level. The application fee is non-refundable.

Current USC Applicants

Current USC undergraduates can apply to these master’s degree programs on progressive degree paths. These are only students in good standing (3.5 of junior year); students apply for a master’s degree aligned with their undergraduate program and if accepted, receive a course plan that enables them to take coursework in their senior year that fulfills their major requirements and fulfills the specific master’s degree program’s requirements.

Completed Application

Completed online application form


Bachelor’s Degree With a Minimum 3.0


Official Transcripts

Please provide official transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended.

Emailed Transcripts

If an institution is directly sending your transcripts to USC, they should be emailed to etrans@usc.edu. Please use PDF format only for attachments. No other file types (such as JPEG or .doc files) can be processed at this time. Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address.

If you need to submit transcripts issued by an institution’s registrar, please follow these steps:

  • Scan your official registrar-issued transcripts.
  • Submit the transcripts via the Contact Form.
  • Select “Graduate Admission” as the Area and “Transcripts” as the Category. Be sure to have your 10-digit USC ID.
  • In the body of the message include your USC ID number, and then attach the documents. PDF format is strongly encouraged for attachments. You may also send JPEG or .doc files through the contact form, but you should expect delays to have the files imaged.

Mailed Transcripts
All official, mailed transcripts must be sealed by the institution.

Mail transcripts to:
USC Graduate Office of Admission
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

If sending via a private carrier (e.g., UPS, FedEx or DHL), send transcripts to:
University of Southern California Office of Admission & Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street Tyler 1
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

For more information regarding transcripts visit the USC Graduate Admissions Office: Transcript Requirements page.


TOEFL/IELTS Scores

International applicants will need to provide official and valid TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores as required by the USC Graduate Programs Admissions office.

Required for those who have not earned a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited university located in the United States, or at an officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program needs to have been completed in the qualifying country.

NOTE: Please see the international students page for updated options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Resume/CV

Please submit your most up-to-date resume.


Two Letters of Recommendation

These letters should be from faculty or others who are qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study, such as a supervisor or professor. The letters should be on the letterhead of the letter writer and signed by the letter writer and submitted through the online graduate application.


Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the program, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans and other aspects of your background and interest which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.


Application Fee

The application fee is $90.

USC application fee waiver eligibility is listed on the website, and the waiver is issued by the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Applicants should start an application and select the program in the application portal first and then submit the request for the application waiver if they determine they qualify for the waiver based on the eligibility criteria (current USC student, alumni, current employee, etc).

  • Please note that we do not offer waivers at the department/program level. The application fee is non-refundable.

Current USC Applicants

Current USC undergraduates can apply to these master’s degree programs on progressive degree paths. These are only students in good standing (3.5 of junior year); students apply for a master’s degree aligned with their undergraduate program and if accepted, receive a course plan that enables them to take coursework in their senior year that fulfills their major requirements and fulfills the specific master’s degree program’s requirements.

Completed Application

Completed online application form


Bachelor’s Degree With a Minimum 3.0


Official Transcripts

Please provide official transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended.

Emailed Transcripts

If an institution is directly sending your transcripts to USC, they should be emailed to etrans@usc.edu. Please use PDF format only for attachments. No other file types (such as JPEG or .doc files) can be processed at this time. Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address.

If you need to submit transcripts issued by an institution’s registrar, please follow these steps:

  • Scan your official registrar-issued transcripts.
  • Submit the transcripts via the Contact Form.
  • Select “Graduate Admission” as the Area and “Transcripts” as the Category. Be sure to have your 10-digit USC ID.
  • In the body of the message include your USC ID number, and then attach the documents. PDF format is strongly encouraged for attachments. You may also send JPEG or .doc files through the contact form, but you should expect delays to have the files imaged.

Mailed Transcripts
All official, mailed transcripts must be sealed by the institution.

Mail transcripts to:
USC Graduate Office of Admission
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

If sending via a private carrier (e.g., UPS, FedEx or DHL), send transcripts to:
University of Southern California Office of Admission & Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street Tyler 1
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

For more information regarding transcripts visit the USC Graduate Admissions Office: Transcript Requirements page.


TOEFL/IELTS Scores

International applicants will need to provide official and valid TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores as required by the USC Graduate Programs Admissions office.

Required for those who have not earned a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited university located in the United States, or at an officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program needs to have been completed in the qualifying country.

NOTE: Please see the international students page for updated options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Resume/CV

Please submit your most up-to-date resume.


Two Letters of Recommendation

These letters should be from faculty or others who are qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study, such as a supervisor or professor. The letters should be on the letterhead of the letter writer and signed by the letter writer and submitted through the online graduate application.


Specific Field of Undergraduate Study

Recommended for a competitive application: Bachelor’s degree in STEM or related social sciences field, programming experience or a year of calculus.


Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the program, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans and other aspects of your background and interest which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.


Application Fee

The application fee is $90.

USC application fee waiver eligibility is listed on the website, and the waiver is issued by the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Applicants should start an application and select the program in the application portal first and then submit the request for the application waiver if they determine they qualify for the waiver based on the eligibility criteria (current USC student, alumni, current employee, etc).

  • Please note that we do not offer waivers at the department/program level. The application fee is non-refundable.

Current USC Applicants

Current USC undergraduates can apply to these master’s degree programs on progressive degree paths. These are only students in good standing (3.5 of junior year); students apply for a master’s degree aligned with their undergraduate program and if accepted, receive a course plan that enables them to take coursework in their senior year that fulfills their major requirements and fulfills the specific master’s degree program’s requirements.

Completed Application

Completed online application form


Bachelor’s Degree With a Minimum 3.0


Official Transcripts

Please provide official transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended.

Emailed Transcripts

If an institution is directly sending your transcripts to USC, they should be emailed to etrans@usc.edu. Please use PDF format only for attachments. No other file types (such as JPEG or .doc files) can be processed at this time. Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address.

If you need to submit transcripts issued by an institution’s registrar, please follow these steps:

  • Scan your official registrar-issued transcripts.
  • Submit the transcripts via the Contact Form.
  • Select “Graduate Admission” as the Area and “Transcripts” as the Category. Be sure to have your 10-digit USC ID.
  • In the body of the message include your USC ID number, and then attach the documents. PDF format is strongly encouraged for attachments. You may also send JPEG or .doc files through the contact form, but you should expect delays to have the files imaged.

Mailed Transcripts
All official, mailed transcripts must be sealed by the institution.

Mail transcripts to:
USC Graduate Office of Admission
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

If sending via a private carrier (e.g., UPS, FedEx or DHL), send transcripts to:
University of Southern California Office of Admission & Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street Tyler 1
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

For more information regarding transcripts visit the USC Graduate Admissions Office: Transcript Requirements page.


GRE

If you are applying to the M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis, please submit your GRE score. Please note that there is no minimum score required.


TOEFL/IELTS Scores

International applicants will need to provide official and valid TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores as required by the USC Graduate Programs Admissions office.

Required for those who have not earned a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited university located in the United States, or at an officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program needs to have been completed in the qualifying country.

NOTE: Please see the international students page for updated options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Resume/CV

Please submit your most up-to-date resume.


Two Letters of Recommendation

These letters should be from faculty or others who are qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study, such as a supervisor or professor. The letters should be on the letterhead of the letter writer and signed by the letter writer and submitted through the online graduate application.


Specific Field of Undergraduate Study

Recommended for a competitive application: Students can be admitted into the program with various backgrounds. Strong grades in math and other quantitative courses are a plus. Courses with good grades in an introductory course in GIS and/or remote sensing (or proof of practical/field experience) and undergraduate courses in principles of economics, macroeconomics and microeconomics are a plus, but not required.


Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the program, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans and other aspects of your background and interest which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.


Application Fee

The application fee is $90.

USC application fee waiver eligibility is listed on the website, and the waiver is issued by the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Applicants should start an application and select the program in the application portal first and then submit the request for the application waiver if they determine they qualify for the waiver based on the eligibility criteria (current USC student, alumni, current employee, etc).

  • Please note that we do not offer waivers at the department/program level. The application fee is non-refundable.

Current USC Applicants

Current USC undergraduates can apply to these master’s degree programs on progressive degree paths. These are only students in good standing (3.5 of junior year); students apply for a master’s degree aligned with their undergraduate program and if accepted, receive a course plan that enables them to take coursework in their senior year that fulfills their major requirements and fulfills the specific master’s degree program’s requirements.

Completed Application

Completed online application form


Bachelor’s Degree With a Minimum 3.0


Official Transcripts

Please provide official transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended.

Emailed Transcripts

If an institution is directly sending your transcripts to USC, they should be emailed to etrans@usc.edu. Please use PDF format only for attachments. No other file types (such as JPEG or .doc files) can be processed at this time. Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address.

If you need to submit transcripts issued by an institution’s registrar, please follow these steps:

  • Scan your official registrar-issued transcripts.
  • Submit the transcripts via the Contact Form.
  • Select “Graduate Admission” as the Area and “Transcripts” as the Category. Be sure to have your 10-digit USC ID.
  • In the body of the message include your USC ID number, and then attach the documents. PDF format is strongly encouraged for attachments. You may also send JPEG or .doc files through the contact form, but you should expect delays to have the files imaged.

Mailed Transcripts
All official, mailed transcripts must be sealed by the institution.

Mail transcripts to:
USC Graduate Office of Admission
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

If sending via a private carrier (e.g., UPS, FedEx or DHL), send transcripts to:
University of Southern California Office of Admission & Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street Tyler 1
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

For more information regarding transcripts visit the USC Graduate Admissions Office: Transcript Requirements page.


TOEFL/IELTS Scores

International applicants will need to provide official and valid TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores as required by the USC Graduate Programs Admissions office.

Required for those who have not earned a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited university located in the United States, or at an officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program needs to have been completed in the qualifying country.

Individuals may still need to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores if:

  • You earned a graduate degree in the U.S. or other qualifying countries.
  • You are a dual degree holder who completed part of your degree in the U.S.
  • You completed an undergraduate program taught in English in non-Anglophone countries.
  • USC does not waive the English-proficiency requirement based on any other consideration such as work experience or ESL enrollment, etc.

Resume/CV

Please submit your most up-to-date resume.


Two Letters of Recommendation

These letters should be from faculty or others who are qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study, such as a supervisor or professor. The letters should be on the letterhead of the letter writer and signed by the letter writer and submitted through the online graduate application.


Specific Field of Undergraduate Study

Recommended for a competitive application: An undergraduate degree in social sciences or a related field such as international relations, political science, public policy, environmental science, geographic information science, regional studies, applied mathematics or economics.


Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the program, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans and other aspects of your background and interest which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.


Application Fee

The application fee is $90.

USC application fee waiver eligibility is listed on the website, and the waiver is issued by the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Applicants should start an application and select the program in the application portal first and then submit the request for the application waiver if they determine they qualify for the waiver based on the eligibility criteria (current USC student, alumni, current employee, etc).

  • Please note that we do not offer waivers at the department/program level. The application fee is non-refundable.

Current USC Applicants

Current USC undergraduates can apply to these master’s degree programs on progressive degree paths. These are only students in good standing (3.5 of junior year); students apply for a master’s degree aligned with their undergraduate program and if accepted, receive a course plan that enables them to take coursework in their senior year that fulfills their major requirements and fulfills the specific master’s degree program’s requirements.


Additional Application Materials (for the M.A. GSEC program only)

Applicants may, but are not required to, provide other material, such as a writing sample or a portfolio of work, relevant to their objectives in studying in the USC GSEC program.

Completed Application

Completed online application form


Bachelor’s Degree With a Minimum 3.0


Official Transcripts

Please provide official transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended.

Emailed Transcripts

If an institution is directly sending your transcripts to USC, they should be emailed to etrans@usc.edu. Please use PDF format only for attachments. No other file types (such as JPEG or .doc files) can be processed at this time. Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address.

If you need to submit transcripts issued by an institution’s registrar, please follow these steps:

  • Scan your official registrar-issued transcripts.
  • Submit the transcripts via the Contact Form.
  • Select “Graduate Admission” as the Area and “Transcripts” as the Category. Be sure to have your 10-digit USC ID.
  • In the body of the message include your USC ID number, and then attach the documents. PDF format is strongly encouraged for attachments. You may also send JPEG or .doc files through the contact form, but you should expect delays to have the files imaged.

Mailed Transcripts
All official, mailed transcripts must be sealed by the institution.

Mail transcripts to:
USC Graduate Office of Admission
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

If sending via a private carrier (e.g., UPS, FedEx or DHL), send transcripts to:
University of Southern California Office of Admission & Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street Tyler 1
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

For more information regarding transcripts visit the USC Graduate Admissions Office: Transcript Requirements page.


TOEFL/IELTS Scores

International applicants will need to provide official and valid TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores as required by the USC Graduate Programs Admissions office.

Required for those who have not earned a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited university located in the United States, or at an officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program needs to have been completed in the qualifying country.

NOTE: Please see the international students page for updated options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Resume/CV

Please submit your most up-to-date resume.


Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the program, your preparation for this field of study, study interests, future career plans and other aspects of your background and interest which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.


Application Fee

The application fee is $90.

USC application fee waiver eligibility is listed on the website, and the waiver is issued by the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Applicants should start an application and select the program in the application portal first and then submit the request for the application waiver if they determine they qualify for the waiver based on the eligibility criteria (current USC student, alumni, current employee, etc).

  • Please note that we do not offer waivers at the department/program level. The application fee is non-refundable.