Test Score Guidelines

Undergraduate Applicants:

SAT/ACT

Read about USC’s admission standards.

AP exam results

Freshman applicants who have taken Advanced Placement (AP) examinations are encouraged to provide those results with their USC Undergraduate application.

English Language Proficiency for Undergraduate Applicants

All international applicants (first-year and transfer) whose native language is not English must submit scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE. International first-year applicants with minimum scores of 600 on SAT Critical Reading or 27 on ACT English are exempt from submitting scores from one of these tests. These exams must have been taken within the past two years from application date. Please refer to the following website for or more details about USC’s English language proficiency requirements and policies:

USC admission for international students

Graduate Applicants:

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Applicants for the following degrees are required to submit scores from the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE):

  • DMA
  • PHD
  • MA in Early Music
  • MM in Music Education

Notes:

  • MM applicants in all areas other than Music Education are NOT required to submit GRE scores.
  • The music subject test is not required.

Scores from both the old and revised versions of the GRE will be accepted provided that the scores are less than 5 years old and can be reported by ETS.

Minimum score requirements

Revised GRE:
Minimum combined score (verbal + quantitative) = 297
Minimum Verbal score = 143
“Old GRE”:
Minimum combined score (verbal + quantitative) = 1000
Minimum Verbal score = 350

Applicants must carefully note that the application deadline for all required application materials does apply to GRE scores. Scores must be received by the appropriate deadline in order to be given full consideration for admission.

Admission to the USC Thornton School of Music is determined as a result of a comprehensive file review process involving a number of review criteria. A score from the GRE which meets the minimum scores described above shall not be construed as a guarantee of admission to any Thornton School program. However, scores not meeting this minimum may still be considered with an otherwise stellar application.

USC’s ETS school code is 4852.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

In addition to all other application and audition requirements, all applicants to the MA, MM, DMA or PhD programs whose first language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), regardless of immigration status or educational background. Scores must be officially reported by ETS in order to be accepted. USC’s TOEFL school code is 4852.

The application deadline for all required application materials does apply to TOEFL scores. Scores must be received by the appropriate deadline in order to be given full consideration for admission.

Minimum TOEFL scores required for admission are as follows:

  • MM, MA – iBT total score of 90 (with no less than 20 on any one section of the test)
  • DMA, PHD – iBT total score of 100 (with no less than 20 on any one section of the test)

Admission to the USC Thornton School of Music is determined as a result of a comprehensive file review process involving a number of review criteria. TOEFL scores that meet the minimum requirement shall not be construed as a guarantee of admission to any Thornton School program. However, scores not meeting this minimum may still be considered with an otherwise stellar application.

Applicants from qualifying countries whose native language is English are most likely exempt from the TOEFL requirement.

Applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university located in the United States or in another country in which English is both the language of instruction and the only official language of the country MAY be exempt from the TOEFL requirement. The entire undergraduate degree must have been completed in the qualifying country. Please note: a graduate degree (MM, DMA, Graduate Certificate, Performance Diploma) from a U.S. college or university does not exempt students from the TOEFL requirement.

We encourage you to contact the Thornton Admission office to ask, rather than assume you are exempt from the TOEFL requirement.

USC’s TOEFL school code is 4852.

English Language Proficiency

In addition to USC Thornton’s TOEFL requirement, non-native english speakers may be required to show proof of their english language proficiency by taking the “ISE” exam.

Further details about USC’s English language proficiency requirement can be found here: http://dornsife.usc.edu/ali/english-language-requirement/