Public Diplomacy (MPD) Fall 2024

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the MPD program has been extended to February 1, 2024. Fall semester classes will begin in August 2024.

The application deadline for the mid-career program is February 1, 2024. Classes will begin in summer 2024.

What content should be in my résumé?

List all employment (paid and unpaid) including the nature of work and dates of employment. Also, include academic and professional awards, honors, teaching experience, subject matter expertise, language(s) proficiency other than English, relevant international experience, and your familiarity with research or communications technologies.

What should I address in my personal statement?

This statement, which should convey your passion for the field, should be two to three pages long, typed and double-spaced. Care should be taken to submit a clear, concise and well‐written essay. The statement should address the following questions:

  1. Why do you want to pursue the Master of Public Diplomacy at USC?
  2. With whom do you want to study and why?
  3. How will you utilize your training in public diplomacy after receiving your master’s degree?

The statement must be your original words and work. Avoid using ChatGPT or other generative AI tools.

What type of writing sample is required?

Submit an academic paper that you solely wrote for any college or university course. The writing sample should not exceed 10 pages.

The writing sample must be your original work. Avoid using ChatGPT or other generative AI tools or another person to write on your behalf.

How many letters of recommendation are needed and from whom?

Select two individuals familiar with you and your potential for success in graduate studies in public diplomacy.

  • For the MPD program, faculty recommendations are preferred.
  • For the Mid-Career professional program, professional references from managers or supervisors are expected.

What admission test scores are required?

The USC Annenberg School has suspended the GRE requirement for all graduate applicants for admission to the 2024 admission cycle. All international student applicants are expected to demonstrate adequate English-language proficiency. To learn more about how to satisfy this requirement, click here. Also, review the USC Graduate Admission video tutorial titled, “English Proficiency Requirements for International Students” for more details.

What financial support is available?

Departmental merit scholarships and fellowships are competitively awarded. All completed applications are considered for admission and departmental awards. 

All US citizens and permanent residents are urged to submit a FAFSA after the admission application deadline.

International student applicants will find critical information at

APSIA provides a valuable list of fellowships and scholarships that can be applied towards the USC Master of Public Diplomacy: Investigate these options early in your graduate admission application process.

Application Guidelines

The online USC Graduate Admission Application opens October 1, 2023. Go to to access the application.

Assemble the following documents and program materials which must be uploaded to your application:

  • CV or Résumé
  • Personal Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • Copy of Official Transcript(s)

All program materials must be in English and uploaded to the online application. Note: Once your application has been submitted, you may not add, edit or change any document or program material. Also, all submitted documents and program materials become the property of USC and will not be returned.

Official Transcripts

Copies of a registrar-issued official transcript (with registrar’s signature, stamp or seal) from all colleges and universities attended (including USC) must be uploaded to your application in the Academic History section. If you do not possess copies of your registrar-issued official transcripts, request to have official transcripts with legend or grading scale emailed to you from your previous colleges/universities.

After submitting your online application, request to have e-transcripts sent from your degree conferring institutions to USC Graduate Admission at


  • International transcripts must include the original language and the English translation as one document.
  • Transcripts from your institution’s student portal are unacceptable.


Create online profiles in the Program Materials section of the application by providing names and email addresses of your recommenders. Instructions and forms will be emailed to your recommenders. Only recommendations submitted through the online process are accepted.

Graduate Admission Testing

GRE scores are not required for admission to fall 2024.

Valid TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores (taken August 2022 or later) are required from international student applicants unless waived; see below for the exception. To be considered official, USC must receive scores electronically from the testing service. Photocopies or paper copies of scores are unacceptable.

  • For TOEFL, request to have your scores sent to the USC institution code 4852.
  • For IELTS or PTE, select “University of Southern California” from the list of available institutions when you register for the test. Alternatively, provide this information to your testing center after you have taken the test.

Exception: If you completed your entire bachelor’s degree in the United States or another Anglophone country (i.e. where English is both the language of instruction and the only official language of the country), TOEFL and IELTS are waived.

Note: Completing a master’s degree In the United States or another Anglophone country will not waive TOEFL or IELTS.

Video Interview

All applicants are required to complete a recorded video interview via Kira Assessments. The recorded video response is an opportunity for the faculty admissions committee to get a sense of your potential and how you think on your feet. No advance preparation is required.

A desktop or laptop computer with a functioning webcam, microphone and internet connection are required. You may complete unlimited practice sessions prior to starting the interview. Once started, applicants will have one opportunity to respond (no exceptions).

Application Fee

Pay the $90 non-refundable application fee with a credit card or request an application fee waiver prior to submitting an application.

Fee Waiver

Review the fee waiver requirements at USC Graduate Admission website: Applicants seeking a fee waiver must start the online application and then wait for the fee waiver approval before submitting the application.