About NIIN

NIIN is a one-year Master of Science program that consists of a total of 26 units (13 per semester).

Yes. Please discuss options for course completion with the NIIN program director before applying.

Modern understanding of the brain, especially in the context of neuroimaging, requires a highly unique combination of concepts and skills. One must become intimately familiar with brain anatomy – the structural and functional importance of distinct brain regions, their cellular architecture, and how they are connected and how they communicate. In addition, honing skills in data science and informatics is essential – that is the use of computational tools, the writing of software, and the use of sophisticated workflow methodologies to process, analyze, and to visualize brain form, function, and connectivity. In the NIIN program, these are tightly intertwined and are not mutually independent. Rather, a close integrated understanding is absolutely necessary in order to grasp the concepts of the living brain as a source of “big data”. Successful students will appreciate this important connection between how the brain is organized, how it is connected, how it functions as richly quantifiable and that to fully characterize the brain in health and disease programs such as the NIIN are ideally suited to provide the preparation needed for further study. Such students will already have some skills in neuroscience, pharmacology, biology, and medicine, along with having taken courses in computer science, mathematics, statistics, or another quantitative science. Finally, the NIIN program favors the mature and professional individual – those persons who are ready to grow beyond their undergraduate experiences toward seriously embarking on careers in this or a related professional discipline. The NIIN program is a fully fledged graduate program. That is, it is not formulaic – each student will be expected to really think about what they are doing and why it is being done.

Students completing the NIIN program will be ideally poised to pursue further neuroimaging research degrees (Ph.D.’s), undertake further education in public policy (MPH degrees), might serve as scientific coordinators or lead analysts in research laboratories, apply to medical training programs, secure top-level jobs in industry, be employed as an informaticist, be a programmer designing neuroimaging software, or even become involved in areas such as hospital/clinic administration or law.

Yes, this program is STEM eligible, CIP code 26.1103 (Bioinformatics) – http://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Document/2014/stem-list.pdf.


To be considered for the program, a minimum 3.0 GPA is expected. However, the program is highly competitive and so GPAs higher than 3.0 are encouraged. Additional information can be found on the NIIN Student Profile pages: Class of 2017 and Class of 2016.

For 2015-16, the average GRE composite score (interquartile range) was between 303 – 318. Additional information can be found on the NIIN Student Profile pages: Class of 2017 and Class of 2016.

Letters of recommendation should be uploaded to the USC application portal. If needed, letters of recommendation may be mailed, emailed, or dropped off in our office. Please contact our office if you have specific questions about letters of recommendation.

We do, indeed, offer a progressive degree option through USC. Instructions and the progressive degree application can be found by visiting http://www.usc.edu/programs/ugprograms/progressive/documents/ProgressiveDegreesApplication.pdf. Please let us know how many units have you completed to date and your current GPA.

Please refer to the Curriculum page for a list of our courses and the semester they are offered in. The NIIN courses would be taken in order during a one-year period. A sample NIIN_Course_Plan has also been provided. We request that you also submit a statement about why you are interested in this program.

USC does not offer deferments. The Graduate Admission FAQ does however state “If you have been admitted or have not yet received a decision, you may move (“update”) your application to a term within one year of the original application. If you have been previously admitted, an application update is not a guarantee of re-admission, but rather a request that your original application be evaluated for admission to a subsequent term. You do not need to pay the application fee again, and all documents already on file are kept in our system. However, you must inform us of any additional coursework you may have completed in the meantime and send us transcripts when they become available. If you are an international student, you will also need to inform us of any changes in your residency status.”

Yes. Please visit the Office of Graduate Admission website for instructions on how to apply for a fee waiver: http://gradadm.usc.edu/lightboxes/us-students-fee-waivers/.


No. We have structured the program to be a synergistic and comprehensive set of courses which cover all aspects of neuroimaging and informatics in a systematic fashion. USC offers other master’s programs where a degree program can be constructed a la carte.

Yes. Please note the information from the USC Catalogue below:
“At no time should the overall GPA drop below 3.0. A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required in a course to receive graduate credit. Work graded C- or below is not acceptable for subject or unit credit toward any master’s or doctoral program. An overall grade point average of at least 3.0 on all units attempted at USC while a graduate student is required for graduation.”

Yes. Students in the program will be exposed to and trained on state-of-the-art neuroimaging systems for measuring brain form, function, connectivity, and metabolism.

Yes. Not only will you be introduced to modern neuroimaging data, but you will also learn how to author your own programs to do a variety of image processing operations, and put them into practice along side other programs used to analyze MRI data of the brain, genetics, phenomics, etc using leading-edge scientific workflow construction tools.

International Students

Additional information can be found on the International Student FAQ page on the USC Graduate Admissions website (http://www.usc.edu/admission/graduate/international/faq.html).

The USC Office of International Services (OIS) offers a wide range of services, including help with official documents, immigration questions, employment, financial aid, health insurance and more.

Tuition, Fees and Financial Assistance

NIIN follows the USC Tuition and Fees rates. (http://catalogue.usc.edu/content.php?catoid=6&navoid=1488). Please keep in mind that these are only estimated costs and are subject to change. There are also mandatory fees and student health insurance fees that USC has established.


Yes. Please note the information from the USC Catalogue below:
“Auditors pay the regular tuition rate. Auditors are not required to participate in class exercises (discussions and examinations); they receive no grades or credit and there is no transcript notation of courses taken for audit. An instructor, dean or university officer may give permission to an individual to attend a class as a guest. Otherwise, attendance in class is limited to enrolled students.”

That is between you and the instructor of those courses. Please speak to them about your interest in their course.


We can offer the GRE course for current USC students. The program is 13 weeks, once a week for 3 hours. There are a few different class days available, and the times for the courses are all in the afternoon. There are three starts per year (fall-September, spring-January, summer-May). Students will receive books and online resources with the program. They will also receive advising on readiness and timeline for when to take the GRE exam. Please contact niin@ini.usc.edu for more information.

Note: Please also refer to the follwing websites for more information: