Design@USC is an online master’s degree program designed for recent graduates and working professionals. Successful candidates will be creative thinkers who seek to enhance their knowledge and skills to thrive in collaborative, forward-thinking environments. The program challenges students to reach beyond their comfort zone and achieve fluency at the intersection of three industries: design, business and technology. The goal of the program is to produce problem solvers who can work across diverse areas and quickly adapt to change.
To be considered for admission to the Design@USC program, applicants must meet these minimum requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- At least a 3.0 GPA in your undergraduate coursework
To apply to Design@USC, applicants must submit the following:
- Application: Applicants must complete the online application and pay the non-refundable application fee of $90. Application fee waivers are available to those who apply by the priority application deadline. Access the online application here.
- Resume: An applicant’s resume should highlight relevant work and volunteer experience.
- Transcripts: Sealed official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions the applicant has attended, including any community college coursework, must be sent to: Application Processing Services, Design@USC, Suite 501, 7900 Harkins Road, Lanham, MD 20706.
- Many schools issue transcripts electronically, either through their own web services or through vendors. If this option is available through the institutions you attended, applicants should specify that transcript(s) should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, as this will expedite the delivery of transcript(s) and the completion of the application.
- We recommend that applicants request transcripts when beginning the application, as the turnaround time can vary from school to school.
- Personal Statement and Vision Statement: These must be uploaded to the online application.
- Statement of Purpose: To get a complete picture of each applicant's interest in Design@USC, we require a Statement of Purpose of approximately 500 words that addresses the following:
- The applicant’s experiences involving the creation, development or implementation of original products, services, systems, businesses (for-profit or not-for-profit), business models, technologies, designs or other creative work. This can include experience gained as a student or a professional.
- Any role failure may have played in the ultimate success of the applicant’s work.
- What, specifically, led the applicant to this program, and why the applicant feels they will be successful in it.
- The additional skills and capabilities the applicant wishes to build while in the program.
- Allowed file types are .doc, .docx, .pdf.
- Vision Statement: In a Vision Statement of approximately 300 words, applicants should explain how they see the state and future of their current field, including the most relevant cross-disciplinary influencers or disruptors they see emerging in that field, and the role they hope to play in that future or in bringing it about. As part of this statement, the applicant should describe their dream job or position.
- Allowed file types are .doc, .docx, .pdf
- Video Presentation: Applicants are required to complete a one-minute video proposing an original product, service, system, business model, technology or experience that would solve a problem or address a need. In the video, the applicant should identify the problem they want to address and their idea to solve it, how it works and how it might be realized. Applicants are encouraged to think differently about how to present and effectively communicate their ideas to the faculty. Also note that:
- The problem may be local or global in scope.
- The idea for how to solve it may be focused on the client, consumer or business.
- The idea does not need to have an existing market value or predictable customer base.
- Portfolio (recommended, but not required): Applicants may upload up to three (3) examples of products, projects, designs, technologies, creative work, or other unique and innovative work that they have developed. Applicants should provide information in the upload describing their personal contribution to any work sample that is the result of a group or team effort. The purpose of this submission is for the applicant to show the faculty the way they think as a maker or generator of ideas. Applicants should choose work that they feel best represents their vision and current capabilities.
Submission of work samples is recommended but is not required.
- Letters of Recommendation: The online application requires two professor and/or professional references. Applicants should request recommendations from those who can speak to their professional or academic readiness to attend a rigorous graduate program. These recommenders must be:
- A professor, faculty member and/or academic advisor who can provide meaningful input regarding the applicant’s academic record; and
- A professional in the applicant’s field who can provide meaningful input regarding previous work experience.
GRE scores are not required. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores.
If you have questions about applying to Design@USC, contact an admissions counselor at 866-376-2505 or via email.