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Darla Moore School of Business

Admission Requirements

The Professional MBA program is designed for working professionals from all industry backgrounds who possess at least two years of full-time work experience. Applications are accepted year-round for enrollment into the January and August terms.

Admission Criteria

Applicants are required to have at least two years of full-time, professional experience. The ability to contribute real-world knowledge adds value to classroom discussions and enriches the learning experience for all students.

Submitted resumes should be accomplishment based and include job responsibilities (current and past positions) that specifically demonstrate applied quantitative and analytical skills. Candidates are also encouraged to highlight leadership and management experience. Resumes submitted during the application process may be longer than one page, as the primary concern is for candidates to comprehensively convey their professional experience.

You can attach unofficial transcripts to your online application for the review process.  Transcripts are required from every institution attended for course credit, even if a degree was not awarded.  Official transcripts are required for enrollment and must be sent before the end of your first term to continue in the program.  Documentation includes grade sheets, a statement of degree(s) awarded and the date each degree was conferred.  International universities often have separate grade sheets and certificates showing proof of degree. 

Electronic Transcript Service (Clearinghouse, EScript, Parchment): 

Mail Transcripts:
Graduate Admissions
Darla Moore School of Business
1014 Greene Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29208 

Note: the digital transcript service SPEEDE only sends documents to Undergraduate Admissions.  Once you receive confirmation that your SPEEDE transcript has been downloaded, please forward the notification to so we can request your transcript to be sent to us. 

Applicants must provide a valid (five years old or less) Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) score or a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score to be considered for admission to the PMBA program. The GMAT and GRE are composed of verbal, quantitative and analytical sections. The GMAT institutional/program code for the Moore School is JV2-TP-50. The GRE code for USC is 5818.

PMBA applicants who possess 5 or more years of professional or U.S. military experience and can demonstrate strong quantitative skills through their academic or professional history, are welcome to apply without a GMAT or GRE test score. A successful waiver candidate’s overall credentials will offer strong and clear evidence of their potential for success in the PMBA program, such that a standardized test score is not needed to make an admission determination. 

When evaluating waiver requests, the PMBA Admissions Committee will consider factors such as:

  • Prior academic coursework completed and grades earned (emphasis on quantitative coursework)
  • Professional or U.S. military experience that demonstrates applied quantitative and analytical skills
  • Professional certifications with a quantitative focus such as PE, CPA, CFA, FINRA, Six Sigma, etc.

Test waivers are less likely but still possible for applicants who possess between 3 and 5 years of experience. Applicants in this category must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better and be able to provide compelling evidence (academic or professional) that they possess very strong quantitative skills. 

It is highly unlikely that the Admissions Committee will approve a test waiver for any applicant with less than 3 years of experience or those with less than 5 years of experience whose cumulative GPA is below 3.0.

Applicants who already possess a master's or doctoral degree with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA from an accredited college or university, with a clear demonstration of strong quantitative skills, are automatically granted a test waiver. 

For consideration for a GMAT/GRE test waiver, candidates must submit a complete PMBA admission application. Using the supplemental essay portion of the application, interested candidates must request the waiver and write a brief essay (200-500 words) providing specific details of their quantitative experience (professional or academic) and notable professional accomplishments, where compelling facts may include quantitative coursework or certifications completed, data analysis responsibilities, number of direct reports, budget figures and major projects managed, sales success, cost savings produced, and organizational problems solved.

Applicants who have an active GMAT or GRE score on file with the UofSC Graduate School are not eligible to be considered for a test waiver.

The GMAT/GRE waiver process is competitive, and unless explicitly stated above, no test waiver will be granted automatically. If you have questions about your competitiveness for a test waiver, please reach out to one of our PMBA recruiters to request a review of your credentials.


Two professional letters of recommendation are required for the admission review. Recommendations should be written by current or former managers/directors, colleagues with MBA degrees, senior leaders in organizations that you have worked with, or customers and clients. Some items to address in the recommendation include performance (current or prior), industry knowledge, ability to work with teams, project management skills and leadership potential.

Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose essay for admission consideration. The statement of purpose should be 500 – 750 words in length and describe the applicant’s interest in and qualifications for pursuing an MBA. Specifically, it should address the following questions:

  1. What are some of the challenges/issues currently being faced by your organization or in your career that you hope to learn how to resolve or respond to through the PMBA program curriculum?

  2. What can you contribute to the learning experience in the Professional MBA Program based on your professional experience and industry knowledge?

If an applicant’s cumulative undergraduate GPA was less than a 2.75, they will be asked to provide a separate essay (200 – 500 words) addressing the major factors that contributed to the academic challenges, what was learned from the experience and why they believe they are prepared to be a successful MBA student.

Candidates with a GPA below 2.75 will be considered for conditional admission. Conditionally admitted students must enroll in 6 credit hours for their first semester and achieve a 3.0 GPA to maintain their enrollment in the PMBA program.

International applicants who do not hold a degree from a United States institution must also submit a valid (no more than two years old) test score demonstrating their command of the English language. The minimum score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is 95 (internet-based). The TOEFL institutional code for the Darla Moore School of Business is 5818. The minimum score for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is 7.0. Please make sure you select the University of South Carolina as a score recipient when taking the test. Some applicants may qualify for a TOEFL exemption. Contact a PMBA recruiter today to learn more.

Access the online application.

If you have questions regarding the PMBA program or your application:

Admission Decisions

The PMBA program evaluates applications as they are completed, and admission decisions are made on a rolling basis rather than at specific points in the application cycle. All required application materials must be submitted before an admission decision can be made.

Entry Term Application Deadline
Fall 2023 (August) Priority: April 1, 20231
  Final: July 15, 20232
Spring 2024 (January) Priority: Oct. 1, 20231 
  Final: Nov. 15, 20232

1 Applicants who apply by the priority deadline will receive primary consideration for GMAT/GRE waivers.

Applications submitted after the final deadline for each entry term will be processed on a case by case basis. Please contact the PMBA recruiting team if you wish you apply after the last deadline.


Upcoming Events

MBA Military Webinar - Service to School

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023

Location: See Description for Event Location.

Cost: FREE

USC Professional MBA Virtual Info Session

Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024

Location: See Description for Event Location.

Cost: Free

USC Professional MBA Virtual Info Session

Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024

Location: See Description for Event Location.

Cost: Free

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