The Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online (OCL online) program is designed for current and emerging leaders, eager to enact systemic change from the top-down.

Application Deadlines

The OCL online program has three dates throughout the year: January, May and August. All items must be completed before the Final Application Deadline, including letters of recommendation and transcripts. We are currently accepting applications for all 2021 cohorts. Learn more about Admissions Requirements.

January 2021

January 2021 Application Deadlines
Early Action Deadline October 2, 2020
Priority Submit Deadline 1 October 23, 2020
Final Submit Deadline November 9, 2020
Classes Start January 11, 2021

Why Apply Early?

Applying before the final deadline gives you an earlier admissions decision and the benefit of more time to prepare for your future, including identifying financial aid resources, scholarships and student loans.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but we encourage you to apply early. If you apply by the Early Action Deadline, you will receive an application fee waiver. If you apply by the Priority Submit Deadline, your application fee will be reduced from $90 to $50.

Admissions Requirements

The USC Rossier School of Education maintains the same high admissions criteria for our online programs as for our on-campus programs.

We seek leaders across industries whose academic background, professional goals, personal commitments and communication skills meet the demands of a rigorous graduate program.

To be eligible for this EdD, you must have the following:

  • A bachelor's degree or its recognized equivalent from a regionally accredited institution
  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A minimum of six years of proven leadership experience
  • A high level of writing ability as demonstrated by the required EdD Writing Assessment, GRE or GMAT
  • The ability to communicate effectively as demonstrated by academic performance and/or professional experience
  • Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores (applies only to applicants whose academic work has been in a country other than the U.S., U.K., Australia or English-speaking Canada)

Application Components

All items must be completed and submitted before the final application deadline, including transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Online Application

The online application includes questions about your personal, academic and professional background.

Personal Statement

Your Personal Statement, comprised of three 500 word responses, will give you the opportunity to provide an in-depth look at your background and professional goals, as well as showcase graduate-level written communication skills.

Employment Information

You will be asked to provide information about past employment and upload your most current resume or curriculum vitae (CV).

Letters of Recommendation

Provide at least three, no more than four, letters from supervisors, colleagues or former instructors who can speak to the contributions you’ve made in the workplace and your ability to perform in graduate-level courses.

Required Assessment

Applicants are required to submit one of the following three assessments:

  • Writing Assessment: This 30-minute online exercise measures your ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills in written form. You will choose a position to a provided argument and compose a concise, well-reasoned response.

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE): We look for a balance between verbal and quantitative scores. Information about GRE testing centers can be found here. Scores are valid for five years. The USC school code is 4852. GRE score not required if you submit a GMAT score.

  • Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT): If you take the GMAT more than once, we will consider your highest score in each section from each test sitting. Scores are valid for five years. Official score reports must be sent directly to USC, learn more here. GMAT score not required if you submit a GRE score.


Many schools issue transcripts electronically. If this option is available to you, please specify that your encrypted transcript(s) be sent to This will expedite the delivery of your transcript(s) and the completion of your application.

Sealed, official academic transcripts must be sent directly from all postsecondary institutions you attended, including any community college coursework to:

University of Southern California (USC)
Application Processing Center
USC Rossier
PO Box 30096 024-003
College Station, TX 77842

Please note: To be considered an official transcript, the transcript must be sent directly from your institution(s) or through an electronic transcript vendor retained by that institution. Transcripts submitted by enrolled or prospective students are considered unofficial documents, even if they are in a sealed envelope provided to you by the issuing university.

Any academic or professional certificates or certifications earned at a regionally accredited institution may also require an official sealed transcript(s).

Application Fee

The USC application fee is $90; however, you can receive a reduced fee when you apply early.

Download the OCL online Application Checklist

International Applicants

Candidates from around the world are encouraged to apply. If your prior study was completed outside of the United States, you must have earned the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree to be eligible for admission.

If your native language is not English and you do not have a bachelor's degree from a U.S. college or university, you will be required to submit a valid score from the TOEFL iBT® (Internet-based test). View additional application requirements.

We may require that you complete an oral interview to assess your English communication skills to make sure you have the ability to understand course materials and collaborate with classmates and faculty. Oral interviews may be arranged in person, by telephone or through video conferencing.

1 International applicants should apply by priority submit deadline. Return to footnote reference

Confidentiality and Document Submission Policy

Transcripts and all other materials submitted for admission consideration become the property of USC. The university does not return or duplicate materials for any reason whatsoever. The information and materials in your submitted application are made available only to the central Office of Admission and the admission committee of the academic department or professional school to which you have applied.