Pre-Master’s courses are designed to prepare your English and academic skills for the rigors of USC graduate coursework. You will learn how to read and critically assess academic texts, communicate effectively in writing and speech, develop a graduate-level vocabulary, and improve your GRE/GMAT test-taking strategies to help you reach your required score for your degree program.
Split into two tracks, courses are tailored to the reading and writing styles of your discipline and will introduce you to topics and content relevant to your field of study. Through a comprehensive but focused curriculum, you will become well-versed in texts and skills commonly used in your area of study.
Students gain ability and confidence in all aspects of the academic writing process, including: awareness of audience, critical thinking, brainstorming, outlining, thesis, drafting, organization and development, use of sources and citations, and revision. Various genres and viewpoints are addressed, as students improve clarity and accuracy by responding to graduate-level questions.
Students develop the tools for writing in-depth research papers, synthesizing information from a variety of sources and perspectives to state logical conclusions. Emphasis is on analysis, critique, and assessment. Students must correctly cite sources and demonstrate understanding of the importance of avoiding plagiarism. Topics are aligned to students’ fields of study whenever possible.
Combining proven methods with the best instructors, our intensive GRE/GMAT test preparation courses offer in-depth instruction on all content categories, including effective test-taking strategies and practice exercises to help you reach your required score for your degree program.
Graduate students must understand lectures and classroom exchanges with ease and express themselves spontaneously. This course focuses on: explaining, summarizing information, expressing critical thought, negotiating, stating opinions, and speaking persuasively. Precise speaking is practiced in presentations and interaction. Assignments are linked to students’ fields of study.
Students learn strategies and skills for listening and note-taking in academic lectures. Communication skills are strengthened by engaging in classroom debates, initiating and participating in discussions, and asking and answering questions using academic vocabulary and U.S. classroom style. Students receive guidance in delivering presentations with effective visual aids.
Students improve general and academic reading skills through development of fluency and vocabulary. Students learn to use cues and clues from sentence structures, word forms, and affixation to increase critical-reading ability and comprehension. Assignments strengthen skills in analyzing and synthesizing material, recognizing rhetorical strategies, and inferring stance and tone.
Reading speed and capacity are increased by extensive reading and practice in determining an author’s purpose, view, and tone, and by employing inference and prediction while skimming to identify main and secondary ideas. Students develop an active academic vocabulary, become familiar with genres such as literature reviews, research studies, and policy papers, and gain skills for reading long texts. Exposure to idiomatic and colloquial references increases proficiency and confidence.
Research skills are developed with an emphasis on planning, organization, and clarity. Using a theoretical framework, students learn to search reference materials, use library and online database resources, evaluate and utilize sources, and correctly use appropriate styles of documentation. Note-taking practices that serve to prevent accidental plagiarism are taught and practiced.
Students will explore their degree program of study, write Statements of Purpose, and gain familiarity with college catalogs and course syllabi. The course provides time for students to meet with professors and professionals from their field.
USC faculty advisers are dedicated to helping you define your goals and realize your academic aspirations. By developing a relationship with your adviser early on, you are better positioned to maximize your potential and successfully progress through your graduate degree.
To gain full admission from your USC master's degree program, you must maintain at least a “B” average with no grades lower than a “C” in your Pre-Master's courses, successfully complete the GRE/GMAT test preparation courses AND achieve at least the minimum qualifying GRE/GMAT score required by your graduate program.