Online International Students

Being a fully online International Student comes with a lot of transitions and moving parts. Here at Southern Miss, we understand that! We’re here to help you navigate transitioning to an international university. We hope you can use the information below to help guide you through the first steps of becoming a Golden Eagle!

Below, you will find information on becoming a student as a Freshman (starting as a year 1 college student) and Transfer student (the process of transferring existing college credits). You can learn more about our English Proficiency Test – if you need to take one and minimal score requirements – and about our Application Deadlines for International Students.

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Freshman Requirements

Strong Freshman applicants will present a 2.5 minimum GPA in core academic subjects. It is understood that most foreign education systems do not follow the same core curriculum as taught in U.S. high schools. Therefore, each applicant will be evaluated on criteria particular to the educational system of the country in which they completed their studies. However, it is expected that a college preparatory curriculum include courses in English, Math, Science, and Social Science.

Freshman applicants should submit the following:

  • USM Application or Common Application
  • $45 application fee
  • Copies of high school transcripts and/or school leaving examination results
  • Proof of English proficiency (see English Proficiency section for acceptable tests and waiver options)
  • Optional: SAT or ACT (required for Freshman Merit Scholarship consideration)


Transfer applicants must complete a required core curriculum of courses during their previous college or university studies to be admitted to the university. The basic core requirements are

6 semester hours of English composition
3 semester hours of college algebra or higher mathematics
6 semester hours of science (must be laboratory-based)
9 semester hours of transferable electives

If you have not completed the curriculum requirements for transfer admission, you must also submit an official high school transcript showing the date of graduation. It may also be necessary for you to submit an ACT or SAT score.  Each application will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants transferring from a school outside the US should be aware that credentials cannot be evaluated for transfer credit without an official foreign credential evaluation and course descriptions (in English) detailing course content. Due to variations in credit hour systems and course content, it is not guaranteed that coursework will fulfill course progress towards your degree program at USM.

Applicants who have previously attended a college or university in the United States or abroad will apply using the International Student Application. Transfer applicants should submit the following:

  • USM Application or Common Application
  • $45 application fee
  • Proof of English proficiency through TOEFLIELTS or iTEP scores (see English Proficiency section for acceptable tests and waiver options)
  • Official high school transcript and/or school leaving examination results
  • Official transcript(s) from all previous colleges or universities attended
  • Official course by course foreign credential evaluation for transcripts issued outside the United States.*
  • Course descriptions or course syllabi in English for all courses taken at a foreign institution (credit may not be posted without providing this information)
  • Optional: SAT or ACT (required for scholarship consideration if transferring from a university)

* A list of approved credential evaluation service providers and websites can be found at NACES. Most commonly used providers are WES, ECE, GCE, JS&A, and SpanTran. SpanTran and JS&A offer USM applicants a discount, using institution specific applications. Access the SpanTran application using the link provided and the JS&A application by clicking the link and scrolling to The University of Southern Mississippi on their page. Both services also provide translation services for an additional fee.

Standardized tests are required for most applicants to any academic program at the graduate and undergraduate level. All applicants who are from countries other than the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and certain Caribbean Islands, must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), The International English Language Testing System (Academic) (IELTS) or International Test of English Proficiency Exam (Academic) (iTEP), or meet one of the qualifying exceptions (see below).

Minimum score requirements:
  • TOEFL score of 71 (IBT), 525 (PBT)
  • IELTS (Academic) Overall 6.0
  • iTEP (Academic) Overall 4.0

Official scores are accepted directly from the testing agency. TOEFL ETS code: 1479, IELTS scores should be sent to the address below, iTEP will be sent directly to us upon request.

The University of Southern Mississippi
Office of International Admissions
118 College Drive, Box 5135
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

The English proficiency requirement may also be met if the student satisfies one of the following:

  • Student has an SAT verbal score of 500 or an ACT English score of 20.
  • Student has graduated from a high school in the U.S. with attendance in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades with a minimum grade of C in all of their English courses.
  • Student has completed a secondary school in which English is the language of instruction, in a country where English is the native language (such as U.K., Canada, Australia), with a minimum grade equivalent to a C in all of their English courses and with attendance in the final three years offered.
  • Student has completed a secondary international school (such as the International Baccalaureate, e.g., or an American high school abroad) in which English is the language of instruction, with a minimum grade equivalent to a C in all of their English courses and with attendance in the final three years offered.
  • Student has attended the Southern Miss English Language Institute, has earned a Proficiency 1 or 2 on the ELI Proficiency battery, and has the recommendation of the ELI manager.

The deadlines for filing international applications are as follows:

  • Fall admission (August start date) – June 1
  • Spring admission (January start date) – November 1

Applications must be received in the Office of International Admissions on or before the deadline date to be considered. Some departments have different deadlines for graduate applications. Graduate applicants should contact their major department for more information.


Students who have previously attended the university and have a break in attendance of one or more terms must file an application for readmission.

Readmission documents required include the following:

  • Application for Readmission
  • $25 readmission fee
  • Official transcript from each institution attended since leaving Southern Miss
  • Updated financial support information for issuance of the I-20 form
If students wish to have their international transfer credits evaluated for applicability towards the requirements of their chosen program at USM,  they will be asked by their Academic Advisor to provide translated course syllabi or course descriptions that will detail the content of the classes that were taken.  Advisors are unable to properly review international transfer credit with the credentialed transcript evaluation alone as these evaluations do not include specifics on course content and therefore, they do not contain sufficient proof of course comparability.
Translated course syllabi or descriptions do not need to be translated by a credentialed service as the transcripts do. Students should request this translated information directly from their former institution. Or, at the very least, obtain untranslated documents and provide us with their own detailed translations to go along with them. (Tip: This process can be very time-consuming, so it would be prudent to start gathering this information as soon as possible.)
We do encourage international students to reach out to the Academic Advisor of their intended program to confirm what will be required so they can be prepared come time for advisement.