Have any questions?
We’re here to answer them.

For more information, please contact our admissions team directly at ldsgero@usc.edu.

Master’s Programs

General FAQ

Is there an internship component in the program?
Students in the Master of Science in Gerontology program are required to complete 240 hours of internship in the course: GERO 591: Fieldwork Practicum. To satisfy the internship requirement, students will work with our Director of Internship Training to select one of our sites in the Los Angeles area or identify their own site. If you are interested in an internship but you are applying to a different master’s program, ask an admission counselor if GERO 591 is available as an elective for your program.

How long will it take for me to complete the Master’s program?
The length of time it takes to complete the program depends on how many classes the student takes each semester.

  • Full-time students taking 3-4 classes each semester can complete our 28-33 unit programs in 1 year.
  • Full-time students taking 3-4 classes each semester can complete our 43-44 unit programs in 1.5-2 years.

Is it possible to complete the program part-time and how long will it take?
Students can take as little as one class per semester. Depending on the number of classes taken each semester, that will determine the number of years it will take to complete the program.

  • Part-time students taking 1 class or more each semester can complete our 28-33 unit programs in 1.5-2 years.
  • Part-time students taking 1 class or more each semester can complete our 43-44 unit programs in 3-4 years.

Is there an online option and how does that work?
Students can complete the whole program residentially or online. Online students will have access to all lectures and discussions online. We record our on-campus lectures live, so online students see the same lecture and interactions our on-campus students see. As an online student, you still keep pace week-to-week with the semester, but you are not required to participate in lectures synchronously. You will also complete the same readings, assignments, papers, exams, and discussion questions as the residential students.

Do you offer scholarships?
We do offer merit-based scholarships when you apply for the program for all our graduate students in the School of Gerontology. You apply for these within the online application.

Does my bachelor’s degree need to be in a field related to the program for which I am applying?
Gerontology students come from diverse academic backgrounds. We look forward to getting to know you during the application process, where you will have the opportunity to demonstrate to us your passion and how your background and education have prepared you for the program.

Do you offer dual degrees?
Yes, we have joined forces with six other professional schools at USC to offer programs in which graduates will earn two master’s degrees, gaining the knowledge and skills of gerontology in tandem with the Master of Science in Gerontology (MSG) as well as those of an additional professional field.

In tandem with the Master of Science in Gerontology (MSG), you can also earn:

  • Master of Business Administration (MS/MBA) with the USC Marshall School of Business
  • Juris Doctor (MS/JD) with the USC Gould School of Law
  • Master of Public Administration (MS/MPA)
  • Master of Health Administration (MS/MHA)
  • Master of Social Work (MS/MSW) with the USC School of Social Work
  • Doctor of Pharmacy (M.S./PharmD) with the USC School of Pharmacy

Application FAQ

What should I include in my statement of interest?
Your statement of interest plays an important role in helping our faculty consider your application for graduate study. The following prompt is designed to help you but is not an exhaustive list of information you should include in your statement. We recommend that your statement is within three to five pages double-spaced pages. The statement should be uploaded as part of the university application.

  • Tell us why you chose to apply to the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
  • Tell us about your experiences in gerontology
  • Describe your educational and career goals
  • Please describe your strengths and weaknesses

Do I have to take the GRE?
The GRE may be waived by having strong academics. If the GRE is required, you will be notified during the review process. In general, if you have above a 3.0 GPA we will not require the GRE.

What are the requirements for the 2 letters of recommendation?
Students applying to our master’s programs must submit 2 letters of recommendation. They can be academic or professional references. Applicants will input contact information for the individuals who will be submitting the letters of reference in the online application, and references will receive a prompting email to submit the letter directly to USC.

How should I send my official transcripts?
Official transcripts should be mailed directly to our office. Students must declare all schools on the application and submit transcripts from all institutions attended (even if it was for just one semester) after high school:

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Office of Admission and Student Services
3715 McClintock Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0191

For some cases USC accepts official digital copies of transcripts. For instructions on sending digital transcripts, please visit the USC Office of Graduate Admission’s Transcript Requirements page.

Can I send digital official e-transcripts?
Yes, For some cases USC accepts official digital copies of transcripts. For instructions on sending digital transcripts, please visit the USC Office of Graduate Admission’s Transcript Requirements page.

USC accepts official electronic transcripts, provided they meet the following guidelines:

  • The transcript originates from a secure site formally linked to the sending institution.
  • The school is located in the United States. If located outside the United States, we accept electronic transcripts only from India sent via TrueCopy Credentials. We do not accept electronic transcripts from any other overseas institutions or vendors.

Please instruct the vendor to email the transcript to etrans@usc.edu. Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address yourself. Electronic transcripts emailed to any other address will not be downloaded, resulting in a delay of your file review and an extra expense to you because the transcript will need to be re-sent.

How long does it take to receive an admission decision?
Once an application is complete, it will be reviewed by the review committee (all supporting documents and transcripts must be received and processed by the university). You will be able to check the status of your application in your application portal.

What are the application deadlines?
The priority application deadlines are:

  • October 15th for our Spring start date
  • March 15th for our Fall start date.

What if the deadline for the application has passed?
We accept applications on a rolling basis. Please contact an admission counselor for guidance on applying for the program.

How can I learn more about tuition?
To learn more about tuition and fees, please visit USC’s Tuition and Fees page. The current per-unit cost of tuition is $1,995.

How can I learn more about financial aid and loan options?
If you would be interested in learning about financial aid options, please get in touch with USC’s Office of Financial Aid or by calling them at 213-740-4444.

Can I defer admission if I am admitted into the program?
If admitted, you are only admitted for that term. USC does not do deferments, so if it came about that you were accepted but did not wish to attend right away, you would need to request that we update your application to a later term. We would then review your application again with the new batch of applicants; admission would not be guaranteed.

International Students FAQ

What are the deadlines for international students?

To ensure international students receive their student visa, international students must apply by the priority application deadlines which are:

  • October 15th for our Spring start date.
  • March 15th for our Fall start date.

What are the minimum English-language proficiency scores?
For details on whether English Proficiency scores are required for your situation, please visit the USC Office of Graduate Admission’s English Proficiency page.

USC does not set minimum scores for admission purposes.
The scores listed below are used for placement purposes only to determine if an admitted student will need to take the International Student English (ISE) Examination upon arrival at USC.

    • TOEFL scores should be 90 or above, with 20 or above in each section.
    • IELTS score should be 6.5 or above, with 6 or above on each band.

What other documents are required?
For a detailed checklist of requirements for international applicants, please visit the USC Office of Graduate Admission’s International Students page.

Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity Program

General FAQ

Is the program offered online?
Yes. The online format is available only to domestic applicants residing within the U.S. at least 100 miles away from USC’s campus. The program cannot be completed online from outside the U.S (exceptions for Active Military or Military Family members). International applicants must apply to the residential program.

Is the program offered part-time?
Yes. We offer a 3- year part-time distance (at least 100 miles away from USC’s campus) program.

Can I do the program while working full time?
No, not if you are a full-time on-campus student. Maybe, if you are a 3-year distance student. Because the program is considered a time-intensive, hands-on experience, it is important that students focus on the supervised practice experience and accompanying didactic courses. The practicum experiences may entail up to 40 hours per week in facilities. Students are encouraged not to work in an outside paying job during the academic program. If an outside job must be maintained, hours for that job must be scheduled so that the hours do not conflict with the supervised practice schedule established by the preceptor. Since practicum experiences may also entail some weekend or evening activities, students should work closely with their supervised practice facility preceptor regarding scheduling issues. In addition to supervised practice (SP) hours, students should allocate approximately 10 hours/week to complete reports and projects outside of the SP day.

Is this program ACEND accredited?
Yes. The program received full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics on August 13, 2018.

Will I be eligible to take the Registered Dietitian licensing exam?
Yes. Completion of both the supervised practice rotations (1200 hours) and the award of a master of science degree provides students with “eligibility” to write the national registration examination of the Commission of Dietetics Registration, that grants the use of the nationally recognized credential, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

What types of supervised rotation experiences are required?
There are 9 required supervised practice rotations: Community Nutrition, Nutrition Education, Retail Food Service, Inpatient Food Service, MNT I, MNT II, Outpatient, Specialty Concentration (Elective) and Professionalization.

Do distance students have to secure their own supervised practice sites?
Yes. All students in the full-time or part-time distance track must secure facilities and preceptors for 8 of the 9 supervised practice (SP) rotations on their own. Distance students must secure preceptors for the first 3 supervised practice rotations (retail food service, community and nutrition education) prior to the start of the program. The internship coordinator will assist whenever possible and can speak to any potential preceptors regarding program requirements.

I am a dietitian in another country and want to practice in the US. How can I get my license?
The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) requires individuals with foreign degrees to meet specific educational requirements and follow a unique process to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Please visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website for more information.

Is this program only focused on older adults?
No. As an ACEND accredited program, we are required to cover competencies from pediatric to geriatric care. The concentration area of the program is healthspan and longevity which covers from birth to death.

Application FAQ

How do I know if the courses I have taken will count towards the prerequisite requirement?
If you wish to find out whether or not any of your past coursework will meet our prerequisite requirements, you can have your coursework evaluated. Please fill out the Prerequisite Table provided to list your coursework next to the prerequisite to which you believe it matches. For any review, it will need to be in the format of the Prerequisite Template. An admission counselor will counsel you from there as far as what will meet our prerequisites and what you still need to take. Download and view the prerequisite template here.

Is there a time limit for the prerequisite courses?
Yes. All prerequisite courses cannot be more than 10 years old at the time of application. The exceptions are general psychology, math, and public speaking. There are no time limits for these 3 classes.

How can I track and submit my shadowing hours with a registered dietitian?
Write a brief summary of the experience and obtain a signature and an email address from the RDN for the hours spent in each experience. You will upload it with your online application.

Do I have to take the GRE?
If you have above a 3.0 GPA, we will not require the GRE. However, if you have below a 3.0 GPA, we will request that you submit GRE scores along with your application.

How long does it take to receive an admission decision?
Once an application is complete, it will be reviewed by the selection committee (all supporting documents must be received by the university). You will be able to check the status of your application in your application portal. All applicants can expect to receive a decision by April 1.

What if the deadline for the application has passed?
We only accept applications once a year for the fall start date. If the deadline has passed, students are advised to apply for the next open application period the following year.

What makes applicants competitive?
The program faculty includes individuals with advanced degrees in medicine and nutritional biochemistry. In order to fully understand longevity and aging a strong foundation in the life sciences is critical. Your GPA in upper-division science courses are important as well as your overall GPA. Work experience, strength of letters of recommendation as well as the personal statement are important. Membership in dietetics organization(s) including leadership roles is encouraged. Greater than 50% of all applicants will be asked to participate in an interview with a panel of faculty, preceptors, and graduates of the program and supervised practice preceptors.

How can I learn more about tuition?
To learn more about tuition please visit USC Catalogue’s Tuition and Fees page. The current per-unit cost of tuition is $1,995.

How can I learn more about loan options?
If you would be interested in learning about loan options, please get in touch with USC’s Office of Financial Aid or by calling them at 213-740-4444.

PhD Programs

General FAQ

How long will it take for me to complete the Ph.D. program?
It will take on average 4-6 years to complete the PhD program depending on your course load and research.

Is the program full time?
Yes. In order to complete the program in a timely manner, the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology encourages students to enroll in 8-12 units (two-three classes, depending on research responsibilities in any given semester) in order to facilitate movement through the program within a reasonable time period. Students are expected to be full-time students for the duration of the PhD program, with 50% of their time spent doing research and 50% on their academic studies.

Is the program offered online?
The Ph.D. programs must be completed residentially.

Do I have to pay for tuition if I am admitted to the program?
No, if a student is admitted into the PhD program, it will be fully funded as long as the student makes satisfactory academic progress.

Are there financial stipend or assistant positions?
Yes, there is an annual stipend for research assistantships and teaching assistantships. If you would like to secure a research assistant position, you will work with faculty to see if there are any open positions.

Application FAQ

What is the application deadline?
Each fall the application for the following year will be made available and is due on December 1st.

What if the deadline for the application has passed?
We only accept applications once a year for PhD programs. Students will be advised to apply the following year if the application deadline is closed.

What should I include in my statement of interest?
Your statement of interest plays an important role in helping our faculty consider your application for graduate study. The following prompt is designed to help you but is not an exhaustive list of information you should include in your statement. We recommend that your statement is within three to five pages double-spaced pages. The statement should be uploaded as part of the university application.

  • Tell us why you chose to apply to the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
  • Tell us about your experiences in gerontology
  • Describe your educational and career goals
  • Please describe your strengths and weaknesses
  • Please include and identify professors you wish to work within the program and describe why their research is aligned with your research goals.

Do I have to take the GRE?
Yes, we require a minimum GRE score of 297 (combined Verbal and Quantitative scores) to apply for the program. Though our minimum is a 297, our more competitive applicants generally have a combined score of 308 or higher.

What is required for the writing sample?
Please send us an example of your best research writing. You may upload your writing sample in your university application, or, if it is manuscript length, send it to us separately.

What are the requirements for the 3 letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation should be requested from former professors or employers who can attest to the applicants’ strengths and weaknesses and potential for success in a PhD program. Applicants will input contact information for the individuals who will be submitting the letters of reference in the online application, and references will receive a prompting email to submit the letter directly to USC.

How should I send my official transcripts?
Official transcripts should be mailed directly to our office. Students must declare all schools on the application and submit transcripts from all institutions attended (even if it was for just one semester) after high school:

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Office of Admission and Student Services
3715 McClintock Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0191

In some cases USC accepts official digital copies of transcripts. For instructions on sending digital transcripts, please visit the USC Office of Graduate Admission’s Transcript Requirements page.

Can I send digital official e-transcripts?
Yes, for some cases USC accepts official digital copies of transcripts. For instructions on sending digital transcripts, please visit the USC Office of Graduate Admission’s Transcript Requirements page.

USC accepts official electronic transcripts, provided they meet the following guidelines:

  • The transcript originates from a secure site formally linked to the sending institution.
  • The school is located in the United States. If located outside the United States, we accept electronic transcripts only from India sent via TrueCopy Credentials. We do not accept electronic transcripts from any other overseas institutions or vendors.

Please instruct the vendor to email the transcript to etrans@usc.edu. Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address yourself. Electronic transcripts emailed to any other address will not be downloaded, resulting in a delay of your file review and an extra expense to you because the transcript will need to be re-sent.

How long does it take to receive an admission decision?
Once an application is complete, it will be reviewed by the review committee (all supporting documents and transcripts must be received and processed by the university). You will be able to check the status of your application in your application portal.

Should I contact faculty prior to applying for admission?
You are encouraged to contact faculty prior to applying for admission. However, please make sure that you take the time to familiarize yourself with their latest research.

International Students FAQ

What are the minimum English-language proficiency scores?
For details on whether English Proficiency scores are required for your situation, please visit the USC Office of Graduate Admission’s English Proficiency page.

USC does not set minimum scores for admission purposes.
The scores listed below are used for placement purposes only to determine if an admitted student will need to take the International Student English (ISE) Examination upon arrival at USC.

    • TOEFL scores should be 90 or above, with 20 or above in each section.
    • IELTS score should be 6.5 or above, with 6 or above on each band.

What other documents are required?
For a detailed checklist of requirements for international applicants, please visit the USC Office of Graduate Admission’s International Students page.