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Application Instructions - Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR)
USC Gould School of Law

There is still time to apply for Spring 2022!

Apply by November 1 to waive your $75 application fee.

(Note: If you are an international student who requires a student visa, inquire at gipadmissions@law.usc.edu before applying for Spring '22 term.)

We are also accepting applications for our Fall 2022 term and you can also receive a $30 LSAC report fee waiver by completing our form.


To be eligible to apply for our Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) degree, you must have earned or plan to earn a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (based on a 4.0 grading scale) before enrolling at USC Gould School of Law. No law degree is required. We seek applicants whose academic background, professional aspirations, personal commitment, and communication skills align with the focus of USC Gould School of Law Center for Dispute Resolution and meet the demands of a rigorous legal master's degree program.

Note: Our MDR degree is not recommended for students intending to practice law. Pursuant to the American Bar Association Standards and USC's graduate transfer policies, credits earned in our MDR program are not eligible for transfer to a Juris Doctor (JD) program at USC or other universities. In addition, students in our MDR program are not eligible to apply for our LLM-JD Transfer program. For students who wish to become attorneys, we advise that they learn more about our JD degree.

Dates and Deadlines

USC Gould School of Law offers two starts in fall and spring with the option to enroll on a full-time or part-time basis. International students who require a student visa may only enroll on a full-time basis. Below are the upcoming start dates and application deadlines:

Program Start Date Priority Deadline Final Application Deadline
Spring 2022: January 10, 2022 September 1, 2021 November 1, 2021
Fall 2022: August 22, 2022 March 1, 2022 June 1, 2022

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis as space is available until our final application deadlines listed above. We highly encourage you to apply by our priority deadline in order to provide sufficient time to process any required documents, including I-20 documentation for student visas.

Application Process

To apply for admission, the following information and documents must be submitted:

  1. Online USC Gould or LSAC Application

    Note: Once you start your application by clicking above, you may be directed to complete your online application through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) if you have earned (or will earn) a degree from outside of the U.S. Applicable instructions and links will then be provided within the USC Gould application.

  2. Personal Statement

    Following the directions provided in your online application, provide a two or three-page document that includes your personal, academic, and professional background and your reasons for pursuing the MDR degree. If you have prior education or experience in alternative dispute resolution, please take a paragraph or two to tell us about it.

  3. Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)

    Following the directions provided in your online application, provide a record of your employment history and list of any distinctions, publications, and licenses/credentials.

  4. Official Transcripts and Degree Verification

    You must have earned your bachelor's degree by the time you enroll at USC Gould School of Law. No law degree is required.

    Following the directions provided in your online application, submit official transcripts from all institutions attended.

    Domestic Applicants: If all of your degrees are from within the U.S., you must submit official transcripts directly to USC Gould at the address below or by email to adr@law.usc.edu. Official transcripts must be received directly from the institutions.

    Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) Degree
    USC Gould School of Law
    699 Exposition Boulevard, Room 105
    Los Angeles, California 90089-0071

    International Applicants: If you hold any degree from outside the U.S, you must submit official transcripts to LSAC for evaluation using its International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service (ITAES). Credential evaluation takes 2-3 weeks to complete once LSAC has received all of your documents; there may be further delay during LSAC's peak processing periods or if LSAC determines that additional information is required to complete its review. We therefore suggest that you apply as early as possible so that there is no consequential delay in LSAC transmitting its evaluation report to us. Please note that the fee for ITAES is $135 and that LSAC will charge you $30 for sending your Law School Report to USC. You must also subscribe to LSAC's Document Assembly Service (DAS). The fee for DAS is $85 and is effective for a period of five years. Fees charged by LSAC for utilizing its services are payable to LSAC. Please visit LSAC's website for more information about fees charged by LSAC, including its refund policy.

  5. English Proficiency

    If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must take the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). TOEFL/IELTS waiver requests will only be considered if (1) your native language is English, or (2) you possess an undergraduate degree from an institution in which English is the primary language of instruction.

    • USC Gould does not have a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score; however, we recommend a 90 TOEFL iBT and a 7.0 IELTS or above.
    • Please have your official scores sent to LSAC if you submit your application through LSAC. LSAC's institutional code is 8395.
    • Test scores are valid for two years from the date taken.
    • USC does NOT accept MyBest TOEFL scores of applicants as valid proof of language proficiency. We will consider the single best total TOEFL or IELTS score you submit along with the sub-scores from that test.

    The LSAT or GRE exam is not required for admission. In addition, letters of recommendation are not required.

    The Admissions Committee will not review your application until all transcripts and supporting documents are received. It is your responsibility to ensure that all of your documents are submitted by the final application deadline. Be sure to regularly check the email address you have provided on the application in the event that the Admissions Committee request additional materials or information.


You will receive an admissions decision within four weeks of submitting your completed application. Admission decisions are sent by email and postal mail. No admission decisions will be released by telephone.