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Darla Moore School of Business

Admissions and Requirements

Ph.D. programs start in late August each year during the fall semester, with orientation activities starting in mid-August. Due to highly competitive admissions, we advise you to be fully informed of application deadlines and to apply as early as possible.

Programs Accepting Applications

Given the competitive nature of doctoral programs and the individual attention given to each student, some departments might admit applicants only in specific years. Below is a list of each program's next application acceptance cycle and start date.

Ph.D. in Economics
Program Apply During 
Academic Year
To Start
Program On
Economics 2021-22 August 2022
Ph.D. in Business Administration
Program Apply During 
Academic Year
To Start
Program On
Accounting 2020-21 August 2021
Finance 2021-22 August 2022
International Business 2020-21 August 2021
International Finance 2020-21 August 2021
Organizational Behavior and Human Resources 2020-21 August 2021
Production/Operations Management 2020-21 August 2021
Marketing 2020-21 August 2021

Admission plans for academic year 2020-21 are official. Admission plans for academic year 2021-22 are tentative and subject to change.

Ph.D. Application Deadlines for 2020-21

You may create a profile and work on your application at any time. You should provide detailed information throughout your application. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on the application deadline date. Once you submit your application (as per the deadline schedule provided below) and after all required documents (review Admission Process section below for more information) are received, the admissions committee will begin its review.

Round Application Deadline** Notification By
Preferred* Dec. 15, 2020 As decisions are made by admissions committee
Final Round Jan.15, 2021 As decisions are made by admissions committee

*Given the limited availability of space in the program, all completed applications received by this date receive preferential review. Applications submitted by the second deadline are welcome and receive consideration as per space availability.

Admissions Process

If you are not ready to submit an application yet, but would like to start a profile, you simply create an account and work at your own pace. You will have access to the admissions application fields and essay questions, and can add profile information as you progress through the application process. 

Program Selection: As part of your profile/application, you will be asked to select the program for which you are interest on. On this regard, you will be asked two questions throughout information gathering process:

  1. Degree Sought. You can select one of two degrees :
    1. Ph.D. in Economics
    2. Ph.D. in Business Administration
  2. Ph.D. Major Area of Emphasis. You can select one of the following options (provided we are accepting applications for this particular application season):
    1. For Ph.D. in Economics: Economics
    2. For Ph.D. in Business Administration: Accounting, Finance, International Business, International Finance, Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, Strategic Management/Business, Production/Operations Management, and Marketing,

You are able to change your selection at any time, but only prior to submitting your application.

Applicants must submit an online application. A non-refundable application fee of $100 is required. Payment is only available online via electronic check or credit card. Details are available within the online application for admission.

Applicants who meet specific criteria are eligible to apply for an Application Fee Waiver [pdf]. Review the eligible criteria and the corresponding procedure for more information.

In cases where the application fee presents a financial hardship for an applicant, the Moore School will consider a request for a fee refund. Apply for an application fee refund

All supporting documents must be received before the Admissions Committee can start the application review process. This includes all transcripts documenting all academic work, GMAT or GRE scores, and the English proficiency test (TOEFL/IELTS/PTEA) if applicable.

Unofficial documents and score reports may be uploaded for application review consideration. Official documents will be required, if admitted to the program, before the start of the program. Please review the Admissions Criteria section below for more details on required supporting documents.

Once the full application is received, the admissions committee for each academic department reviews application on the ongoing basis. Given the competitive nature of the process, notification of admission may vary depending on committee availability and volume of applications. Furthermore, the committee may request a follow up conversation with the applicant to better assess the merits of his/her application.

Once a decision is reached, the applicant receives official notification via email. If admitted, such notification includes information regarding the financial support package (i.e. graduate assistantship) offered to the applicant.

Applicants who are offered admission and a graduate assistantship award by the Darla Moore School of Business must accept or reject the award by April 15.

To officially accept and hold a seat for the incoming class, the applicant must provide a $250 enrollment deposit. Instructions to officially accept and submit this deposit will be provided in the official notification of admission.

As soon as deposit has been submitted, but not earlier than April 1st, incoming students start receiving information pertinent to preparing for their arrival. This information includes documentation needed for enrollment (i.e. immunization forms, orientation information, program start dates).

The program starts typically during the 3rd week of August each year (between Aug. 20 and 25). For official dates, please visit the Academic Calendar section of the Registrar’s web site and select the appropriate academic year.

We ask incoming students to plan to arrive on campus on or before the start of the Aug. 1 week as a Math Camp (required for some programs) and orientation activities (required for all programs) take place during the first three weeks of the month. Specific dates are provided as part of the pre-enrollment communications described above.

Admission Criteria

General Information: The admissions application asks for your general personal and contact information, academic and employment information, and information related to your participation in certain organizations (i.e., U.S. Armed Forces). Although not all information is required, we encourage you to provide as much information as possible.

Professional Work Experience: Though it may or may not be directly related to your future work in academia and/or research, and even though it is not a requirement for admission into the Ph.D. program, your work experience is certainly a complementary aspect of your application. You’re required to include your resume as part of your online application.

Essays: The application also asks for a Statement of Purpose (maximum of 500 words) that should outline why you want to earn a Ph.D. degree. You may also add a personal essay (Optional Essay section) should you want to share additional information for the admission committee to review.

Program Selection: As part of your application, you will be asked to select the program for which you are applying. For more information on what options you may select, please refer to the Admissions Process section above (under Starting an Applicant Profile).

You are able to change your selection at any time, but only prior to submitting your application.

Transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended must be submitted to the Darla Moore School of Business as part of the admissions process. This includes graduate level credit (if applicable) and any credit received from an institution in which you did not graduate (i.e. transfer credit). Transcripts must be submitted by the application deadline. For transcripts issued in a foreign language, an officially translated version must be submitted.

These documents must be sent to the Moore School's Graduate Division in a sealed envelope from the respective institution. The Moore School has access to transcripts of UofSC graduates, and no further action is required if the University of South Carolina was the last school you attended.

Please send all transcripts to:

Darla Moore School of Business
Graduate Division-Director of Admissions
1014 Greene St.
Columbia, SC 29208

E-transcripts are also accepted for admissions consideration if sent directly from the respective institution. These should be sent to Lisa Carter , the graduate admissions director.

Applicants must provide a valid (five years or fewer) admissions test. The Ph.D. in Economics programs requires the GRE test. The Ph.D. In Business administration accepts either the GMAT or GRE tests. 

GRE General Test (GRE): The GRE is composed of verbal, quantitative and analytical sections. You may learn more about the test on the GRE website. To have test scores sent, the institutional/program code for the Moore School's Ph.D. programs is: 5818.

Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT): The GMAT is composed of verbal, quantitative, written and analytical sections. You may learn more about the GMAT and register for the test on the Graduate Management Admission Council website. To have test scores sent, the institutional/program code for the Moore School's Ph.D. programs is: JV2-TP-84.

Minimum Test Score Requirement: There is no specific minimum requirement. Each program’s admissions committee looks at all components of the application to make a final decision, including test scores, letters of recommendation, statement of career objectives, transcripts and overall potential for success in the program. In general terms, the GRE/GMAT scores of applicants who have been admitted in the past have been in the 60 to70 percentile range and above, although the overall strength of the application is what drives the assessment of the application by the committee.

At least two letters of recommendation are required for your application, although an applicant may submit additional letters. Also, please note an individual department may request more as the committee evaluates the application. Letters should comment on your academic or professional qualifications.

We encourage recommenders to submit their letters through the online application system. During the application process, you’re able to send an electronic request to the designated recommender. The recommender is then able to complete the review within the online system or upload a saved document.

If necessary, you or the recommender may send completed letters in a sealed envelope. Hard copy letters of recommendation should be written on company/organization letterhead, include the official signature of the writer, and be sent to:

Darla Moore School of Business
Graduate Division-Director of Admissions
Director of Admissions
1014 Greene St.
Columbia, SC 29208

International applicants who do NOT hold a degree from a U.S. institution must also submit a valid test score (two years old or less) demonstrating their command of the English language. You may provide either of the following test options:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): The TOEFL is composed of listening, reading, speaking and writing sections. You may learn more about the test on the TOEFL website. To have test scores sent, the institutional/program code for the Moore School's Ph.D. programs is: 5818.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS): The IELTS is composed of listening, reading, speaking and writing sections. You may learn more about the test on the IELTS website. Please make sure you select the University of South Carolina as a score recipient when taking the test.

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): The PTE Academic is composed of speaking, writing, reading and listening sections. You may learn more about the test on the PTE Academic website. Please make sure you select the University of South Carolina as a score recipient when taking the test.

Waiver of English Proficiency Test: International applicants who hold a degree from an institution in the USA do NOT need to apply for this waiver as the requirement to present language proficiency results is automatically waived. For international applicants who have earned a degree from an institution outside the USA but where the medium of instruction is English, a waiver may be considered. For this, an official waiver request (email) must be sent to the graduate admissions director, copying the director of doctoral programs with justification for the waiver request and attaching the following documents:

  • Resume/CV
  • Copy of the U.S. institution’s transcript(s).
  • Copy of Graduate Admissions Test (GMAT or GRE)

To make a final determination, we may also look at various potential indicators of English proficiency such GMAT/GRE scores and any work experience in an English based environment. After reviewing all aspects, we reserve the right to require an English Proficiency Test score. – Send Wavier Request.

The Ph.D. Programs committee does not have a preference in regards to the TOEFL, IELTS or PTEA for admissions consideration.

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