The Progressive Degree Program (PDP) allows you to earn credits toward a Master’s Degree while completing your Bachelor’s Degree at USC. This  gives you, as a continuing  undergraduate student,  another path to earning a Master’s degree from USC.

The PDP will enable you to benefit from 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. Below is a comparison of the Traditional Master’s Degree and one earned through the PDP

Upcoming Dates and Deadlines

First Application Deadline: Fall 2016

September 23, 2016

First Application Decision Notifications

You should receive the decision in time to register for graduate courses the following semester, if necessary.

Final Application Deadline: Fall 2016

December 14, 2016

Final Application Decision Notifications

You should receive the decision by the end of the term following the completion of all parts of the application.

PDP vs. Traditional Master’s Degree

The table below describes some of the differences in the programs for current students in the Viterbi School.
Program requirements may be subject to change.

Progressive Degree
Traditional Masters
Minimum GPA to apply

3.2

None

Unit restriction to apply

64-95 eligible units

None

GRE requirement

None

None, if USC GPA >3.2
Required, if USC GPA <3.2

Application fee

None

None

Application process

Multiple steps,
see Application Section

Online application

Supporting documents required

Proposed Course Plan;
Two Faculty recommendations

Varies.
Depend on Program

Typical term to apply

Junior Year,
fall or spring

Senior Year,
spring

Time limit to complete

12 Semesters total
Bachelor’s and Master’s

5 years
Masters only

Units required, Master’s Degree

Varies.
Reduction of Master’s by up to 1/3

Varies. No reduction.

Timeline

Application Due Dates:

  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, year-round. However, deadlines exist for the purpose of determining eligibility.
  • The application submission deadline for fall and spring semesters is the last day of exams. Applications submitted after the last day of exams will include the units taken in that term in determining eligibility for the program.
  • The application submission deadline for any SUMMER term is the last day of classes for that term. Applications submitted after the last day of classes will include the units taken in that summer term in determining eligibility for the program.

First Application Deadline Option:

  • Submit your application by the first application deadline if you hope to receive an admission decision before the next registration period. In general, this option is for you if you want to register in 500-level classes for the term following the application. (Only available during the fall and spring terms.)
  • The First Application Deadline is the Friday of the fifth week of classes. This deadline can vary by semester, so please confirm the deadline date by contacting the Viterbi Admission and Student Affairs Office (RTH 110).

Decision Dates:

  • Decisions for complete applications are released by the end of the term following the completion of all parts of the application.
  • If you submit an accurate and complete application by the First Application Deadline, you will generally be notified of the admission decision near the start of the following term’s registration period (e.g., applications received by the fall semester first deadline should have an admission decision typically a week after the following spring schedule of classes becomes available).

Priority will be given to applicants who have course plans with graduate-level coursework listed in the coming semester.

Advising

Course Selection and Graduation Requirement Questions

The traditional master’s degree program remains an option for you, and in some cases may be preferable to a Progressive Degree. Make sure to consult with your undergraduate advisor, faculty and the Viterbi Admission and Student Affairs Office (RTH 110) prior to deciding which of these options to pursue.

Schedule an Academic Advising Appointment

Schedule Appointment

Progressive Degree Program Application Questions

If you have any concerns regarding your application or just have general questions about the Progressive Degree Program, stop by RTH 110.

Walk-in Hours

Mondays: 1:30PM to 4:00PM
Fridays: 1:30PM to 4:00PM

Schedule a PDP Application Appointment

Schedule Appointment

Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

64 - 95
Earned Units at USC
3.2
GPA

Applications are reviewed on a comprehensive and competitive basis, not all eligible students are admitted to the program.
If you are unsure if you meet the eligibility requirements, or if you have special circumstances, please meet with the Director of Admission for the Viterbi School (RTH 110) to determine if you are eligible to submit an application.

Admission Requirements

Full admission to PDP is granted in two stages. You are not fully admitted without both:

Admission granted by the Associate Dean for Admission in the Viterbi School.

Activation of the graduate POST granted by the USC Degree Progress Department.

Approval for admission does not guarantee the final approval and activation of the POST. In the unlikely event that this occurs and the course plan can be corrected, you will be given an opportunity to correct and resubmit the plan for approval.

Program Requirements

  • You must fulfill all specified degree requirements for both the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree except for the total number of units for each degree. (The required course units for the master’s degree may be reduced by up to a maximum of 1/3 of the course units.)
  • You will be subject to undergraduate academic progress standards while in undergraduate status and master’s academic progress while in graduate status. In most cases, you will be classified as undergraduate students for the first eight semesters of USC enrollment. In the ninth semester, you will be assigned graduate status.
  • While classified as graduate students, students will be assessed the graduate tuition rate appropriate for their master’s degree, and graduate standards will apply.
  • Students who receive a research assistant or teaching assistant award prior to completion of eight semesters will be assigned graduate status.
  • The bachelor’s degree may be awarded separately, but the master’s degree will not be awarded before the undergraduate degree.
  • The time limit for completing a progressive degree program (combining the BS and MS degrees) is 12 semesters.

Learn more about the Viterbi Master’s Programs

Programs are subject to change. Please make sure to check in with your potential department graduate advisor when deciding on a program to pursue. 

PDP Programs

Instructions & Application

Step 1: 

Identify the master’s degree you would like to pursue. Be sure to identify a specific Program of Study (POST) that you intend to follow.

If your intended Master’s program is outside the Viterbi School, you must meet with the Director of Admission in the Viterbi Admission and Student Affairs Office (RTH 110) before proceeding with the application.

Step 2:

Log on to MyViterbi and look for “Progressive Degree Program” under Student Resources.

MyViterbi

Step 3:

Complete the application and follow the instructions for each step.

Units and GPA information is available through OASIS on both your STARS report and your Transfer Credit Report.

Step 4:

Download the PDP Proposed Course Plan (you may fill it out online or print it out) and follow the Application next steps to submit it.

Step 5:

Bring the proposed course plan to your advisement meeting with your undergraduate advisor and your potential graduate advisor.

Step 6:

Check MyViterbi from time to time to see if your recommenders have submitted the Letter of Recommendation and also to make sure that your advisor has uploaded the proposed course plan.

 All materials must be received by the deadline in order to be considered for that application term.

Revised Course Plan

Once admitted to the PDP program you can change your course plan by submitting a Revised Course Plan form:

Step 1:

Download the Revised Course Plan form and complete it. If you decide to print and complete the form then ensure you do so in pen and not pencil.

Step 2:

After completing the form you should meet with  your advisor(s) who will review and approve your Revised Course Plan. Please note that If you have not yet completed your Undergraduate degree  you will need to meet and seek the approval (signature) of your Undergraduate advisor. However if you have already completed your undergraduate degree then you will only need to meet with and seek the approval (signature) of your Graduate advisor.

Step 3:

Check to make sure that your Revised Course Plan form has been completed correctly (forms completed in pencil, with crossings out or white out will not be accepted) with the appropriate signatures. If everything is completed correctly then submit your Revised Course Plan form  to Viterbi Graduate Admissions. If your form has been completed and signed electronically then you can submit it via email to ViterbiPDP@usc.edu. Alternatively you can submit the form by hand to RTH 110

FAQ’s

How do I apply?

Please refer to your MyViterbi account and look for the Progressive Degree Program to start your application.

If I am a non-Viterbi student, can I still apply to Viterbi PDP?

Yes you can! However you will need to apply via paper application.

PDP Application

Can I apply to a non-Viterbi PDP program?

Of course! But you will need to follow that department’s application procedure. Please refer to the relevant webpage. Note that you should check with the relevant graduate advisor for more information regarding their specific PDP requirements.

Do I have to know exactly when I will graduate from PDP?

Not at all! We understand that schedules change, but we do want you to have an idea of when you will be finishing everything. If you do need to make changes in the future, you would just need to submit a revised course plan.

I don’t have any transferred units, so what how do I fill out the transfer credit report section?

Regardless if you have transfer credits or not, please download the transfer credit report from your OASIS (if there’s nothing then it should be blank) and attach it to the document.

Where can I find my grades?

You can find your exact overall grades in your STARS report located in OASIS.

Can I use non-Viterbi faculty as my recommenders?

Letters of Recommendation should come from a Viterbi faculty member. If you do not have two Viterbi faculty recommenders please email us at viteri.pdp@usc.edu.

Do I have to print out the Proposed PDP Course Plan?

No, you do not have to print out your Proposed PDP Course Plan. We have the Course Plan online in a fillable PDF format so you could email the completed version to your advisor.  Emailing the completed fillable PDF as opposed to printing will speed the process up. So, where possible we recommend you complete the course plan online and email to your advisor.

Do I have to fill out the entire Proposed PDP Course Plan at the beginning?

Please fill out the Proposed PDP Course Plan to the best of your ability. Your advisor will go over any courses that need to be changed when you meet with them.

What is the timeline to hear back with my PDP decision?

If you applied by the priority deadline, you would hear back by the end of that same semester.

How do I check my PDP application status?

You can check your PDP application status through your MyViterbi account.

I don’t know if I am qualified to apply to PDP, who can I talk to?

Please feel free to email us at viterbi.pdp@usc.edu to schedule an appointment to come in to speak with us!

What will happen to my financial aid when I am enrolled in the Viterbi PDP program?

As indicated in the USC Catalog, progressive degree students are classified as undergraduate students until their undergraduate degree is conferred or they complete 144 units, whichever comes first. If a transfer student’s course work is not accepted for credit toward the degree, he or she may appeal to request that those units not count toward the 144 units.