Admissions Requirements

To qualify for the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy’s PhD program, you must meet USC’s admissions requirements, including having a superior GPA in previous coursework (typically 3.5 or higher) and an outstanding GRE score (typically 310 or higher, verbal and quantitative combined).

PhD in biokinesiology program applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and/or advanced degree with a science major or equivalent. A research-based master’s degree is highly recommended. You may apply to our PhD program before completing your bachelor’s degree, but must complete the degree before enrollment.

Your undergraduate coursework and associated labs must include biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. We highly recommend coursework in analytical geometry, anatomy, biochemistry, calculus, cell biology, exercise physiology, histology, kinesiology, physiology and trigonometry. We also expect candidates to be computer literate.

Applicants should have some research experience. We highly recommended that you contact a USC biokinesiology faculty member with whom you might want to work to discuss their research program.

Any student deficient in prerequisites may be admitted subject to completion of requirements within two years after admission (such work will not be part of your required 60 units for the PhD degree).

If you are an international applicant, you will be considered upon evaluation of your credentials.


The division guarantees a teaching or research assistantship for students enrolled in the PhD program, with full tuition support, health and dental insurance, and a monthly stipend of approximately $2,700.

Each student is responsible for the purchase of personal textbooks, syllabi, scrubs and incidental supplies. Information on books will be sent by mail in advance.

Students must plan for living expenses and transportation to clinical facilities. Because of limited public transportation, a car is almost a necessity.

For assistance in financial planning, visit the USC Student Financial Services website.


Application Deadline: November 1

Qualified applicants will be contacted for an interview. You will be notified of our admissions decision in late February and, if accepted, will begin your PhD program in the fall.

The application fee is $90.

To apply:

  • Complete the USC Graduate Application online.
  • Upload your statement of purpose (see below).
  • Upload your CV, which should highlight the skills and achievements applicable to the PhD program.
  • Provide your GRE score (must be earned within five years prior to the month of your intended first term at USC). Use ETS Code 4852.
    Note: For the 2021-2022 admission cycle, the GRE requirement will be waived.
  • Submit at least three letters of recommendation (see below).
  • Submit your transcripts (see below).
  • If you are an international student, submit your TOEFL score.

Statement of Purpose

Use the following questions as a guide to assist in preparing your statement of purpose:

  • Why are you applying to the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy?
  • Which USC faculty member would you like to conduct your research with?
  • What is your current research area or clinical interest?
  • Why are you interested in earning a PhD in biokinesiology?
  • What are your professional goals and objectives? How do you plan to accomplish these goals?
  • How do you think our program will facilitate the accomplishment of your professional goals?
  • How do you think you will contribute to the field of biokinesiology?

Letters of Recommendation

You must submit at least three letters of recommendation from individuals who can comment on your academic and research capabilities and potential. Ask the evaluator to complete an electronic recommendation letter through the online USC Graduate Application.


After you submit your application and receive your 10-digit USC ID number, mail your official transcripts from all universities attended to:

USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 S. Flower St., Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

If you earned your degree outside the United States, review the country-specific requirements to determine whether you must submit original-language copies of your academic records. In such cases, a word-for-word, English-language translation of all academic records must also be submitted. The translation should either be issued directly from the university itself or by a professional, certified translator. It must contain all information shown on the original-language documents and mirror them as precisely as possible. Dual-language transcripts are also acceptable.