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Progressive Degree Program Requirements

Before applying for a Progressive Master’s Degree, review the following program requirements which are standard across all progressive master degree programs. 

  1. Progressive degree program students must fulfill all specified degree requirements for both the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree with a minimum two-thirds of the units required for the master’s degree at or above the
    500 level.
  2. Progressive degree students are classified as undergraduate students, until they attain one of the following conditions, whichever comes first:
    • up to and including the semester they complete 144 units *
    • their first bachelor’s degree is conferred; or
    • they receive a research or teaching assistant award
  3. Progressive degree program students are subject to undergraduate academic progress standards while in undergraduate status and to the master’s academic progress standards while in graduate status.
  4. The time limit for completing a progressive degree program is 12 semesters (6 years) beginning from the first term of college enrollment. The admitting program will determine a completion term as part of the application process and list this term on the proposed course plan. Transfer students whose transfer coursework extends beyond this timeline may have their coursework evaluated for semester-equivalency by the admitting master’s program.
    • Transfer units, including AP and IB units, and all units completed at USC, including both undergraduate- and graduate-level coursework during any semester, count toward the 144-unit limit. If applicants transferred prematriculation units, including AP or IB units, they should request a Progressive Degree Status Check to determine how many undergraduate units remain before they transition to graduate status. In rare cases, transfer course work that does not count toward subject requirements, electives or the bachelor degree program’s minimum unit requirement may increase the 144-unit threshold. Again, upon completing 144 units a student transitions from undergraduate to graduate status.
  5. Students may complete only one master’s degree as part of the progressive degree program.
  6. The bachelor’s degree may be awarded separately, but the master’s degree will not be awarded before the undergraduate degree.
  7. F-1 and J-1 international students must contact the Office of International Services before accepting admission to a PDP. PDPs require additional time to degree so F-1 and J-1 international students must apply for a Program Extension before their current Form I-20 or DS-2019 expires to maintain their visa status.
  8. Notes about Financial Aid Eligibility
    • While classified as undergraduates, students are assessed the undergraduate tuition rate, and their enrollment status and financial aid eligibility are determined by undergraduate standards. Undergraduate-level progressive degree students maintain their eligibility for Federal Pell Grants, Federal SEOG Grants, Cal Grants, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Direct Parent PLUS Loans, and any applicable eligibility for USC Merit Scholarships or USC University Grants, as long as they are enrolled in courses that are required for, or that can be applied as an eligible elective credit toward, their undergraduate degree. The Registrar’s Office determines when a student has completed their undergraduate degree and manages the process of posting degrees to a student’s record. The Financial Aid Office relies on the Registrar’s determination of the applicability of a course to a degree program and the completion of the bachelor’s degree.
    • While classified as graduate students, progressive degree students are assessed the graduate tuition rate, and their enrollment status and financial aid eligibility are determined by graduate standards. Graduate students are not eligible for federal, state, or university need-based grants. Graduate-level progressive degree students are eligible to borrow Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct Graduate PLUS Loans, up to the maximum yearly amounts established for graduate students. Students may complete only one master’s degree as part of the progressive degree program.
    • Upon admission, admitted PDP students are responsible for ensuring their undergraduate expected graduation date aligns with their proposed PDP course plan which USC Financial Aid will use for aid repackaging (when applicable). Please note that aid eligibility may be impacted for students in Progressive Degree programs. For more information, visit the Financial Aid Enrollment in a Progressive Degree Program website for details about how PDP can impact aid including need-based, merit-based, tuition assistance and tuition exchange. 

Interested in learning more?

Review PDP Eligibility and the Application Process.

Visit Progressive Degree Frequently Asked Questions for additional information about applying.

Check out a complete list of Current Progressive Degree Program Offerings to consider all the relevant options.