Graduate School Exploration

Take your academics and career to the next level with graduate school.

Learn more about how graduate school can affect your professional trajectory and lifestyle to make the best decision for your future.

What is graduate school?

  • A division of a university that offers focused programs of study that go beyond the bachelor’s level
  • Offers advanced degrees such as master’s and doctoral degrees
  • Can host both academic or professional programs, usually related to a particular discipline

Is graduate school right for you?

Deciding whether or not graduate school is right for you depends on several factors. Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Why do I want to go to graduate school?
  • Is graduate school really necessary to achieve my professional goals?
  • What is the potential return on investment (ROI) for attending graduate school?
  • Would I be better off postponing graduate school and getting work experience first?
  • Do I need an advanced degree to further my career?
  • Do I have the time, money and energy needed to invest in graduate school?
  • Have I considered all options before making a commitment?
  • Have I carefully researched the programs and department I am interested in applying to?
  • How will I finance graduate school?

Pre-Graduate School Advising

  • Serves all current students and alumni who are considering graduate school
  • Offers a wide variety of advising services to guide you through the academic and administrative processes
  • Advisors support you on an individualized basis
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Get Help From A Career Advisor

Our Career Advisors are not only well-versed in career and internship knowledge, but can help you explore graduate school programs and the process of how to apply. Schedule an appointment to meet with one of the Career Advisors or join us for drop-in hours.

Career Advising

Earn credits toward a Master’s Degree while completing your Bachelor’s Degree at USC.

The Progressive Degree Program (PDP) gives continuing USC undergraduates another path to earning a Master’s degree from USC. Take advantage of the ability to take graduate-level classes during your senior year, and reduce the number of units required for you to earn a Master’s Degree.

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Master’s Degree

Master’s degrees are typically the first level of graduate study after earning a bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree programs may be course-based, research-based, or a mixture of the two. Most full-time master’s degree programs to two years to complete. Sometimes you are able to attend school part-time to earn a master’s degree. In engineering, most master’s degrees are a Master of Science degree.

Doctoral Degree

The PhD, or the Doctor of Philosophy degree, is the highest academic degree awarded by most universities in the United States. Research is a key component of the PhD degree and PhD candidates complete their own original research as part of their degree requirements. PhD degrees can take anywhere from four to eight years to complete.

Progressive Degree Program at USC

The Progressive Degree Program (PDP) allows USC undergraduates to begin working on their master’s degree while completing their bachelor’s degree. Most PDP students are able to finish their master’s degree in one year instead of two years and are able to reduce the amount of units required for the master’s degree. For more information about the Viterbi PDP program, visit their website.