Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to detailed questions

Program Questions

Learn more about the programs.

Who can I talk to about the degree programs?

Contact one of our Enrollment Advisors at (619) 260-4580 or (888) 832-0239. You may also complete the Request More Information form.

How long will it take me to complete the degree programs?

Most degree programs are designed to be completed in 5 consecutive semesters (6 units/semester), and can be completed in 20 months. The MS in Health Care Informatics program is a 37-unit program that can be completed in 24 months/6 semesters.

Is the degree I'll earn online different from that earned by on campus students?

The degree you’ll earn as an online graduate student is the same as that earned by campus-based students. The online courses embody the same learning outcomes and high level of academic excellence, educational rigor, and content delivery. Read more about this and other misconceptions of online degrees in the blog post “Should You Get Your Master’s Degree Online?”

Which faculty will be teaching the online degree programs?

Full-time and adjunct faculty at the University of San Diego and expert practitioners lead the instructional efforts of the online degree programs, ensuring the highest academic excellence. Review the faculty for each program at the links below:

Are your online programs regionally accredited?

The University of San Diego is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is approved for veterans.

The WASC Senior College and University Commission (“the Commission”) is a regional accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid.  Learn more about the importance of selecting a regionally accredited program.

Admissions Questions

Find out what it takes to become a student.

How do I get started with the application process?

Click here to watch a series of short videos explaining how to fill out your online application.

If you are ready to apply to a program now start here.  

It’s always best to connect with an Enrollment Advisor, who can also help you navigate the application details as well as help you order your official transcripts.

What are the admissions requirements?

Admission requirements vary by program, but please be prepared to supply the following:

  • A completed, online application
  • Official transcripts for all coursework you’ve taken since high school, whether or not the course counted toward your degree
  • A transcript evaluation by World Education Services (WES) for any coursework completed outside the United States.
  • At least one letter of recommendation (varies by program)
  • Current resume/CV
  • Personal statement, statement of purpose, or essay (varies by program)

Review specific admission requirements by program.

Are there special admission requirements for international students?

Yes. In addition to the admissions requirements, international students must also complete and submit the following:

  • English Language Exam – The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is mandatory for all applicants educated outside the United States. The test can be waived if English is your primary language or you have obtained a bachelor degree from the U.S., Great Britain, Canada or Australia. Other exceptions can be made on a case by case basis.
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
      TOEFL/TSE Services
      P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151
      Phone: (609) 771-7100, Fax: (609) 771-7500
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
      IELTS International
      825 Colorado Boulevard, Suite 112, Los Angeles, CA 90041
      Phone: (323) 255-2771
  • Transcript and Credential Evaluations — An evaluation of degrees earned at institutions outside of the United States is required. Applicants must have their transcripts evaluated by World Education Services, Inc. (WES). A course-by-course report from WES must be submitted with your application. Once all required documentation has been submitted to WES, an evaluation can take as little as seven days.
When is the application deadline?

You may apply to start your master’s degree program in either our Fall,  Spring or Summer term.

  • Fall applications are due in August
  • Spring applications are due in December
  • Summer applications are due in April

Specific deadlines are published on our academic calendar. 

Applications are processed on a rolling basis, which means the admissions committee will begin the review of your application soon after it is complete and all supporting documentation has been received. You are encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible rather than wait for the published deadline to avoid any unexpected delays in tracking down official transcripts or requesting letters of recommendation.

Do you accept transfer credit?

Admitted students can petition for transfer credits/units of graduate coursework, up to 6 credits, taken within the last 5 years, from a previously attended regionally accredited institution. The M.S. in Law Enforcement & Public Safety Leadership program provides additional opportunities for transfer credit beyond this 6 unit limit for graduates of California POST’s Command College and the FBI National Academy.

What is the admissions process timeline for domestic and international students?

To ensure completion of the application packet for a specific semester, it is recommended that domestic applicants start the process at least two months from the deadline of the semester they wish to begin the program; and International applicants should start three months before the deadline.

If you do not meet all the admission requirements (for example, if your undergraduate GPA is below the stated minimum for the program) and would like ask for an exception, please allow extra time. You may be asked to provide additional support materials such as an essay as part of your application package to demonstrate your readiness to succeed in a graduate degree program.

Can I still apply if I don’t meet one or more of the admissions criterion, but have a special circumstance that makes me a good candidate for the program?

Each applicant’s admissions packet is reviewed in its entirety. Any exception to meeting the admissions requirements is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. An Enrollment Advisor is available to address questions and concerns regarding your candidacy for the program.

Depending on your unique situation, you may be asked to provide additional support materials such as an essay as part of your application package to demonstrate your readiness to succeed in a graduate degree program.

What if I have a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited university?

A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university is required for admission. A National accreditation is not recognized as an equal standard. If you received your undergraduate degree from a nationally accredited university, please work with your Enrollment Advisor to request an evaluation of your specific situation.

What happens if I can't start the program the same term to which I was admitted?

You can request to defer admission to your degree program for one year. For example, if you were accepted to the Fall 2019 term, you can request to defer your admission to as late as Fall 2020. Requests must be made via an online form that will be provided to you by your enrollment advisor or program coordinator.

Tuition and Financial Aid Questions

Understand the tuition, fees and intricacies of financial aid.

What is the tuition for the master's degree programs?

Tuition for USD’s master’s degree programs is based on a per unit fee. There are no additional fees for international students or non-California residents, since we are a private, tuition-based institution. Please visit each respective program page for the current per-unit tuition rate.

Students in our online programs will not pay any additional student fees such as health services, student association fees, etc. and are also not required to pay a deposit upon registration.

Is financial aid available?

One of the University of San Diego’s highest priorities is to ensure that sufficient financial support is available to all eligible students. The first step in applying for aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.govUSD’s FAFSA School Code is 010395.

Visit USD’s Financial Aid webpage for a list of deadlines, requirements and instructions for applying for financial aid.

What fees are required for the program?

Check with an Enrollment Advisor for the most current fees. The Application Fee is $45. Online degree students are not responsible for the following:

  • Student health insurance
  • Health service fee
  • Student Association fee
  • Student Life Pavilion fee
What if I am not able to secure financial aid? Does USD offer other payment options?

The University of San Diego offers two payment options to assist students in meeting the costs of education. Payment in full and an interest-free Monthly Payment Plan ($50 processing fee/term). Learn more about setting up a monthly payment plan. 

How do I defer my undergraduate student loans?

Contact the Office of Financial Aid for information concerning deferral options, or by reviewing to the Federal Student Loan Repayment FAQ.

Can I get a refund if I don't start classes?

For students in the online graduate programs both courses must be dropped prior to the first day of the semester to receive a 100% refund, and within the first three days of the semester to receive a 95% refund. No refund will be provided after the third day of the semester.

Students requesting to withdraw after the third day of the semester must withdraw by week five of the course. Students will receive a grade of “W” and no refund will be provided.


USD provides support services throughout the entire program.

Do you have placement service?

Career Services at the University of San Diego (USD) serves as a centralized resource for USD students, alumni and employers. Career Services can provide USD students with resources to support their job search. Your specific degree program may provide additional opportunities for career development and placement support.

What support do you provide to help me complete the program?

Here at USD, you’re never treated like a number. From undivided attention with faculty to one-on-one admission and program counseling, our goal is to personalize your entire experience, surround you with support, and ensure your success. Read all about our Student Support, and follow the links below to meet the support team for each of our degree programs.

When you enroll, you will be assigned a personal Program Coordinator who will serve as your concierge, counselor and go-to person for all questions and concerns related to your program. You will also be provided access to our online Student Support Center, a helpful website of information specific to your degree program, and Degree Works, a portal that will help you track your progress toward graduation.

Can I access all services available to on-campus students?

Online students have access to Copley Library’s online digital databases and other library resources, including the library’s reference services either by phone or email. If you are a local resident in San Diego and would like to participate in other benefits, talk with an Enrollment Advisor for the latest information for online student benefits.

Online Learning

Online courses are designed to be both rigorous and flexible for working professionals.

What is the online course format?

We make learning accessible and convenient for our students with structured online courses. Each course is designed for a 7-week term with prescribed due dates for each assignment.

Course assignments are asynchronous, which means you don’t need to log in on a specific day and time, but rather have the flexibility to complete your coursework on your time. Assignments are typically due every Monday, which gives you the weekend to work on coursework if you work during the week.

Our courses are administered through Blackboard.  When you first log in you will find all the information you’ll need to successfully complete the class, such as announcements, the syllabus, the course calendar, course materials, assignments, and exams.

Coursework, quizzes, and presentations are delivered via multiple formats, and students have ample opportunity to communicate with their instructor and one another within the Blackboard environment.

The following week’s lesson is typically posted three days prior to the start of the week, giving you the chance to get a head start on the assignments if your schedule permits.

Learn more about the online Course experience. 

How can I determine if online is for me?

Many people have concerns, or even anxiety, about whether the online format will work for them.  There are lots of misconceptions about online degrees, but the reality is that, for most working adults, online is a more viable option than a campus-based program.  With an online program, you can avoid the hassle of commuting to campus and finding a parking spot, and just as important you can do your coursework on the days and times that best suit your schedule. You also have the option of choosing the University and program that best suits your needs, regardless of how far it is from your home. We have students from across the country, and even outside the U.S., enrolled in our online degree programs.

Read the blog post “Should You Get Your Master’s Degree Online for more tips on deciding whether online is a good option for you.

What support will I have to learn the online technologies, for example, the learning management system (LMS)?

Students can expect direct support to learn and use the technical learning tools:

Technical Support – Online learners have helpdesk technical support access that is responsive and effective.

Program Advisor – Your Program Advisor will be your first point of contact for administrative support once you are admitted. In addition, a step-by-step guidance will be provided to prepare you for your first course.

Online Orientation Course – When you enroll in one of our online degree programs, you’ll be required to complete an Online Orientation Course prior to the beginning of your first class. This Orientation Course will help familiarize you with the technology as well as set your expectations for the coursework ahead.

The bottom line is that, from the day you enroll in an online degree program at University of San Diego, you will be supported by a team of people focused on getting you to the finish line. We want you to graduate, to have a great experience along the way, and to be able to use your experience here at USD to help you achieve your career goals. When you thrive, we thrive.