The Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online (OCL online) program starts three times throughout the year (January, May and August). Limited spots are available. In order to be considered for your preferred start date, please reach out to an Admissions Counselor as soon as possible to get started with the admissions process.

Application Deadlines

August 2019

August 2019 Application Deadlines
Classes Start August 26, 2019

January 2020

January 2020 Application Deadlines
Early Action Deadline1 October 3, 2019
Priority Submit Deadline October 24, 2019
Final Application Deadline November 14, 2019
Classes Start January 13, 2020

May 2020

May 2020 Application Deadlines
Early Action Deadline February 13, 2020
Priority Submit Deadline March 5, 2020
Final Application Deadline March 26, 2020
Classes Start May 20, 2020

August 2020

August/September 2020 Application Deadlines
Early Action Deadline May 21, 2020
Priority Submit Deadline June 11, 2020
Final Application Deadline July 2, 2020
Classes Start August 24, 2020
1 If you fully complete your application prior to the Early Action Deadline, your application fee will be reduced to $50. Please contact an Admissions Counselor for details. Return to footnote reference

Application 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 candidates whose academic background, professional goals, personal commitment and communication skills meet the demands of a rigorous graduate education program. To be eligible for the Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership online program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • A bachelor's degree or its recognized equivalent from a regionally accredited institution
  • A superior scholastic record, normally above a 3.0 GPA
  • A record of leadership experience, specifically having led a team or organization
  • 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
  • A Statement of Purpose that clearly indicates professional career goals and reasons for seeking the degree
  • Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for applicants whose academic work has been in a country other than the U.S., U.K., Australia or English-speaking Canada

Online Application

The online application includes questions about your personal, academic and professional background. To be considered for admission, you must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, or the recognized international equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree. While the Admissions Committee looks for candidates whose academic background demonstrates the capability to succeed in a rigorous graduate program, prior coursework in education is not required.

Personal Essays

The application includes three required essays, which allow the Admissions Committee to gain a deeper understanding of your past experiences and professional goals. In addition, the essays allow you to demonstrate the written communication skills that are critical for success in the program.

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

A minimum of three letters are required. Letters should come from supervisors and colleagues who can comment on significant contributions you have made in your workplace or former instructors who can describe your ability to perform well in graduate-level courses.

Required Assessment

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

EdD Writing Assessment: The EdD Writing Assessment is a 30-minute online essay exercise that measures a candidate's ability to demonstrate critical thinking skills in written form. The applicant will choose a position to a given argument and then compose a concise, well-reasoned response that either agrees or disagrees with the position statement.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE): The GRE is offered at testing sites around the world, and scores are valid for five years. The Admissions Committee looks for a balance between verbal and quantitative scores. Information about GRE testing centers can be found at the GRE website. The University of Southern California school code is 4852.

Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT): The GMAT is offered at testing sites around the world, and scores are valid for five years. If you take the GMAT more than once, the Committee will consider your highest score in each section from each test sitting. Official score reports must be sent directly to the University of Southern California. Click here for more information about the GMAT.


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

Application Processing Services
USC Rossier Office of Admission and Scholarships
7900 Harkins Road
Suite #501
Lanham, MD 20706

Many schools issue transcripts electronically, either through their own web services or through vendors. If this option is available through the institutions you attended, 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.

You will be asked to provide written authorization giving your consent to release your academic records, in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Application Fee

The USC application fee is $90.

International Applicants

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).

The Admissions Committee also may require that you complete an oral interview to assess your English communication skills. Because the program content is delivered in English, it is critical to 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.

Learn more about the international admissions requirements.

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.