USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

International Students

For decades, the University of Southern California Spatial Sciences Institute has been committed to cultivating a global perspective, connecting students from around the world to one another in their pursuit of continued learning.

The GIS graduate programs welcome international students to the Trojan Family. Please see the admission requirements for more information about applying as an international student.

The M.S. in GIST, Graduate Certificate in GIST and M.S. in HSGI programs participate in a required on-site fieldwork experience on Catalina Island, one of California’s Channel Islands. Students in the Graduate Certificate in RSEO program may also choose SSCI 587: Spatial Data Acquisition course, which includes this field excursion as a required component of the course.

Applicants for the online programs from outside the United States should note that USC cannot grant online GIS students a student visa, despite the on-site component. The USC Office of International Student Services will assist students in pursuing a temporary visa for their time on Catalina Island.

The programs also involve several meeting sessions, conducted live via webcam. International students must be able to work this into their schedule no matter where they may reside. They also should ensure that the technology and internet speed is capable of handling streaming video and audio.

All students must have access to:

  • A computer (Windows or Mac OS) with the latest version of any of these browsers
    • Chrome
    • Safari
    • Internet Explorer
    • Firefox
  • Headset or built-in speakers & microphone
  • HD Webcam
  • Broadband/high speed internet (1.5mbps minimum/3mbps preferred)

Note: iPads or Android tablets will work with the online course platform but may not be sufficient for other coursework

Residential Graduate Programs

At USC, an international student is defined as an individual who will enter or has already entered the United States with a student visa to live and study in the U.S. — including those on non-immigrant visas such as the E2, H2 or L2 visa. Prospective international students interested in applying to USC can find information about the residential graduate admissions process from the USC Office of Graduate Admissions.

Online Graduate Programs

Our programs’ flexible online formats perfectly support our dedication to accessibility, allowing us to offer USC’s acclaimed GIS instruction to students inside and outside the United States. Please see the admission requirements for more information about applying as an international student.

English-Language Proficiency

International graduate applicants must demonstrate English-language proficiency by submitting either TOEFL/IELTS scores. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement under certain circumstances. You can visit the graduate admissions page to learn more about USC’s policy regarding exemptions.

NOTE: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ETS has introduced an option for students to take the TOEFL iBT® test at home. Click here for the most up to date information from ETS.

To avoid delays in application processing, it is recommended that international students have their TOEFL/IELTS scores sent to USC when they pre-register for the examination. Copies of TOEFL/IELTS scores can also be uploaded along with the program application. Official scores must be received directly from the testing service and dated no earlier than 2 years (24 months) prior to the start of your intended first term at USC. If sending TOEFL/IELTS scores, the institution code for USC is 4852 (no department code is required). If sending IELTS scores, please choose “University of Southern California, Graduate Programs” from the list of available institutions of where to send scores on the day of the examination. Please do not enter the name and contact information of the specific intended graduate department.

If you have any questions, contact an enrollment advisor.

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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