University of Southern California

The Graduate School

The USC Graduate School is responsible for those academic and professional affairs of the university that relate to the degree programs offered through the Graduate School. The Graduate School also participates in general university affairs relating to graduate and professional education and research.


Sarah Pratt, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Graduate Programs

Richard Andalon, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Director

Meredith Drake-Reitan, Ph.D., Assistant Dean

Shayna Kessel, Ph.D., Assistant Dean

Laura Yoneda, Associate Dean


Graduate studies had their formal beginnings at the University of Southern California in 1910, and 1923 marked the official constitution of the Graduate School of the university.


The Graduate School values the contribution of every graduate student. Its mission is to promote a distinguished Ph.D. educational experience, to support and celebrate all graduate student achievements and to provide leadership in the establishment and communication of policies, standards and processes related to graduate education. The Graduate School partners excellent students with excellent faculty across the spectrum of disciplines and awards fellowships to incoming students who show outstanding promise for academic careers in research and teaching, and who serve to increase the representation of under-represented groups in their disciplines. Incoming Ph.D. students are eligible for Provost’s Fellowships, Annenberg Fellowships , Rose Hills Fellowships and Global Fellowships. Advanced Ph.D. students are eligible for Endowed Fellowships, Research Enhancement Fellowships and Dissertation Completion Fellowships.

The vice provost for graduate programs has academic oversight responsibility for all graduate programs at the university. Excellence in graduate and professional education is critically dependent on the exchange of scholarly ideas among an increasingly diverse community of faculty and students. The values that characterize these interactions include dedication to excellence, mutual respect, fairness, collegiality, honesty and integrity.

The Graduate School, which confers all the university’s Ph.D. degrees, several professional doctorates and many master’s degrees, adheres to that vision and those values. Graduate students at USC are key members of the university’s community of scholars, contributing diverse viewpoints and fresh insights that are poised to make their mark on the theories, systems, innovations, public policy and creative work of the 21st century.

Common threads in all Graduate School activities are: promoting academic excellence; advocating on behalf of graduate students; and the fostering of the sense of community (composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni and administrators) that characterizes graduate education at USC as a place for students of all backgrounds. Facilitating the participation of under-represented groups in all areas of research and graduate studies is critical to the mission.