International Applicants

The USC Thornton School of Music is home to approximately 150 international students from roughly 40 countries. International students make up an important part of our student population, and add depth and diversity to our school.


At USC, an international student is an individual of foreign nationality who will be entering, or has already entered the United States with a student visa. Students already residing in the United States and holding other non-immigrant visas (for instance, O1, H2, R1, R2 or L2) are also considered international students.

International applicants are expected to follow the same application procedure that domestic applicants follow. There is no special international application for admission; however, international applicants are required to submit a few extra items that are not required from domestic applicants. Additionally, the academic review process for international applicants can be time consuming; thus international applicants are encouraged to submit all required application materials by the published application deadlines. Failure to do so could cause the entire application to be withdrawn from consideration.

The following additional application materials are required from all international applicants:

Please note that all of the above must be submitted with the USC Application for admission according to the directions on the USC Admissions website. (follow the links above for full details)

The I-20 Process

When an international applicant is admitted to USC and the Thornton School of Music, the applicant must accept the offer of admission (submit the statement of intent) before an I-20 will be issued. The applicant’s financial support documents will be evaluated, and if acceptable, an I-20 form will be prepared by the USC Office of Graduate and International Admission and will be sent to the applicant. The applicant will then use the I-20 to apply for a student (F-1) visa at the nearest U.S. embassy in their home country. The process of issuing I-20s can be time consuming. It is common for the preparation of an I-20 to take up to 2-4 weeks. Additionally, the visa application and interview process can also be quite time consuming and complicated, depending on the applicant’s home country. Because of this, applicants are urged to submit their statement of financial support and passport copies by the published deadlines, to ensure that there is sufficient time for I-20 preparation and the visa interview process. Additional details about the issuance of I-20 forms can be found here.


Please refer to the detailed FAQ section available on USC’s Graduate Admission website or the askUSC resource for undergraduate applicants.  If your questions can’t be answered by the FAQ, you may contact the Thornton Office of Admission with any questions you may have. (213) 740-8986 or