Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships

Tuition and costs for graduate students 

Tuition is charged prior to the start of each semester (term) based on the number of units in which you enroll. Part-time graduate students must enroll in four to seven units and full-time graduate students must enroll in eight or more units. Graduate students must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for financial aid.

The estimate below is based on the 2022-2023 academic year for which the cost per unit of tuition is $2,137. This estimate covers master’s degree programs for the first year, if enrolled full-time. To calculate an estimated tuition cost for the first year of each master’s degree program, multiply the cost per unit by the number of units required.

Three- or four-semester degree programs (Fall semester start)

Master’s Program Total Units Units in first year Estimated first year tuition
Communication Data Science (MS) 32 16 $34,192
Communication Management (MCG) 32 16 $34,192
Digital Social Media (MS) 32 16 $34,192
Global Communication (MA) (Second year at USC)** 24 24 $51,288
Public Diplomacy (MPD) 32 16 $34,192
Public Relations and Advertising (MA) 36 16 $34,192

10-month degree programs (Summer semester start)***

Master’s Program Total Units Estimated first year tuition
Journalism (MS) 36 $76,932
Specialized Journalism (MA) 34 $72,658
Specialized Journalism (The Arts) (MA) 34 $72,658

In addition to tuition, all students pay USC mandatory fees and individual costs associated with living in Los Angeles and attending graduate school (e.g. housing, meals, transportation, books and supplies, personal expenses, etc.). Cost will vary based on your lifestyle. 

* All costs on this page depend on USC tuition rates. For semester-specific university tuition rates, click here. All costs listed on this page are subject to change without notice. No estimate may be considered a bill of expenses for USC. For assistance with your student account and billing information, please contact Student Financial Services.

** The first year of the Global Communication degree program is completed at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Visit LSE’s website for first-year tuition costs.

*** The cost of Summer term is based on the previous year’s cost per unit. For this example, the cost per unit reflects the 2022-2023 cost per unit. 

Financial aid for graduate students

Only United States citizens and eligible non-citizens may receive federal need-based financial aid. For graduate students, loans and work study are the only forms of need-based aid. To initiate the process, submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn more at USC Office of Financial Aid.

Departmental scholarships for master’s degree applicants

Scholarship consideration is given to all master’s degree applicants (domestic and international) that submit a complete application for graduate admission. The same faculty admission committees that make admission decisions also make scholarship award decisions. Because master’s degree students do not teach undergraduates at USC Annenberg, Teaching Assistant (TA) positions are rarely offered. The number of departmental scholarships is limited, so many highly qualified admitted students do not receive USC Annenberg departmental scholarships. You are highly encouraged to seek USC scholarships and scholarships offered by foundations, government agencies, and corporations. Learn more at USC Scholarship Universe.

International graduate student costs

International students must demonstrate the ability to study and live at USC. USC Graduate Admission provides a checklist for international student applicants as well as detailed information about required financial documentation.

PhD funding

All doctoral students are fully funded for up to five years, contingent on satisfactory academic progress. Funding packages include up to 12 units of tuition per semester, payment of all requested health care fees (access to USC health services as well as medical and dental insurance premiums), a monthly stipend totaling $34,000 annually, support for conference travel, and upon reaching candidacy, support for dissertation research. Since funding is provided, international students applying to the PhD in Communication do not submit financial documentation. 

Doctoral students are funded in two ways:

  1. Fellowships are awarded in the first year of doctoral studies to allow you to concentrate on your studies and become involved in the research work of the faculty. No work assignments are given. 
  2. Graduate Assistantships are assigned to doctoral students starting in the second year of the degree program. You will work as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant assigned to a class or research project. 

Cost of attendance, financial aid and scholarships for undergraduate students 

The USC estimated Cost of Attendance is used to determine your financial aid eligibility. It includes estimated amounts for standard expenses—including tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, meals and other living expenses for two semesters of study. Actual costs may differ. Additionally, estimated budgets for students in some majors may be higher because of special laboratory or studio supply fees, or other additional costs incurred by all students in the program. Tuition is charged at the same rate for both in-state and out-of-state residents.

Review the Estimated Cost of Attendance at USC Financial Aid

Financial aid for undergraduate students

Admission at USC is need-blind, and USC has a long tradition of fully meeting the USC-determined financial need for undergraduate students who satisfy all federal, state and university eligibility requirements and meet all published deadlines. 

Scholarships for undergraduate students

USC offers scholarships to help students pay for their education. Learn more at USC Undergraduate Admission here. USC Annenberg departmental scholarships are awarded as part of the USC merit scholarship award process. No additional application is required for consideration. 

Current student scholarships

For current USC Annenberg students, see additional scholarship information here.