University of Southern California Online Master of Business Administration

Why University of Southern California? 

The Marshall School of Business at this large public research university is seeking applicants for the online Master of Business Administration degree program. Located in Los Angeles, California, USC requires all applicants to have at least two years of professional business experience. 

No standardized test scores are required to apply to this program. There is no specific minimum GPA required for applications. USC specifically chooses participants in the online MBA in order to build a strong cohort representing diverse backgrounds and experiences, so admission decisions will be guided by the principle of balancing the cohort in addition to assessing applicants on an individual basis.

Program Snapshot

University Name University of Southern California
Location Los Angeles
State California Grade A
Name of Degree Master of Business Administration
School or Department Administering Program Marshall School of Business
Credits (quarter units) 51
Cost per credit $2,137.00
Tuition for Entire Program $108,987.00
Test Requirements none
Minimum GPA none
Prerequisite Courses and Skills 2 years professional experience
Campus Visit Required? yes
Typical Time to Complete 21 months
When Can Students Start the Program? Fall
Program Concentrations none
Synchronous classes both
Required Courses
  • Role of the Manager
  • Fundamentals of Business
  • Opportunity Recognition and Implementation
  • Managing Inside the Firm
  • Managing Outside the Firm
  • Business Environment & Leadership
Does the Program Include a Capstone? no
Does the program include a practicum or internship? no
Other Features that Make the Program Unique cohort model builds community; very strong and prestigious alumni network; cohort is intentionally selected to be diverse and driven; exemplary career services; courses that are 9.5 units each so that each course represents a deep dive into the material; video presentations and other content produced at the Marshall in-house studio; moderated discussion boards; case studies and simulations of real-world business scenarios; Self-assessment exercises, interactive games, and other virtual learning experiences
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the program) The purpose of the USC Marshall School of Business Master of Business Administration (MBA) is to provide students with  the skills and knowledge necessary to become effective leaders.
Program Description This degree takes 51 academic credits. Students do not take a capstone course or participate in any other concluding event. There are no official prerequisites for an internship or practicum. The majority of students finish the program in 21 months. Students study a generalist curriculum rather than specializing in a single topic area. The USC Marshall School of Business Master of Business Administration (MBA) program’s goal is to empower students with the skills and information needed to become effective leaders.


What will I Learn?

The purpose of the USC Marshall School of Business Master of Business Administration (MBA) is to provide With  the skills and knowledge necessary to become effective leaders.  The curriculum fulfills this goal through a distinctive curriculum structure in which students take one very intensive course at a time, with each course being worth 9.5 quarter units (equivalent to approximately 6 semester credits). Therefore each course covers roughly twice as much material as standard graduate courses in other programs, allowing students to complete extensive projects, build connections with other curriculum topics, and really delve deeply into the issues at hand. Due to its wide alumni network, the USC online MBA often integrates the expertise of prestigious and innovative alumni through class visits and case studies. The curriculum has also increasingly foregrounded Diversity, Equity and Inclusion themes.

Based on this curriculum model, there are actually only six required courses in this program, but each covers a fundamental issue of business administration in great depth. The required courses are Role of the Manager, Fundamentals of Business, Opportunity Recognition and Implementation, Managing Inside the Firm, Managing Outside the Firm and the Business Environment & Leadership.  The Role of the Manager is taught as a one-week intensive residential course on the USC campus at the beginning of the program. 

How much will the program cost?

The program costs $2,137.00 per quarter unit, and 51 units are required. The total cost of the degree is just under $108,987.00 for the entire degree. Most students take 21 months to finish their studies. Extensive scholarships and financial aid are available to reduce cost-to-degree.

How does the program fit into my life?

Some courses in the program are taught at pre-scheduled times via videoconferencing, otherwise known as synchronous learning. Some are asynchronous, meaning that students can work on their own schedule to complete online activities and do assignments. with peers and instructors through synchronous classes, scheduled each week and conducted “live” online. Online MBA participants can start the program each Fall. USC boasts that its online video materials are produced at a dedicated in-house studio. Online activities can include self-assessment exercises and interactive games.

Students complete the program within 21 months. The program is designed to be completed at an accelerated pace, and students should expect to focus intensely on their studies during their degree program.  


The online MBA at the University of Southern California appears on paper to be one of the most expensive options in this listing, but applicants should be careful to research the extensive scholarships available at this prestigious institution. The curriculum is unusual among higher-cost options in that no electives are offered and students proceed as a cohort through a series of very in-depth classes around general themes. This model may be very appealing for some applicants but represents a disadvantage for those wishing to pick and choose from a variety of specialized electives. Students can look forward to a teaching style rich in real-world case studies and scenario-based learning, complemented by extensive personalized career services.