Frequently Asked Questions

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James Derr 813 974-4812

Why should I choose USF's MBA program

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What do I need to submit for my application?

  • Transcript from each junior college, college, or university you have attended
  • GMAT (preferred) or GRE scores
  • TOEFL score for international students not coming from English speaking countries or who have not earned a bachelor's degree from the United States (IELTS and PTE-A also accepted)
  • Résumé that describes relevant professional working experience or other leadership experience
  • Statement of purpose (why this program is right for you and what you intend to do with the MBA)

How are the admissions criteria weighted?

The admissions committee bases its decision on the strength of the application as a whole. Current students have an average of five years of professional working experience, as well as an excellent academic record. For the most recent classes, the GMAT average has been around 572. We strongly recommend that you prepare well before taking the GMAT.
A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university is required. Outstanding qualities or accomplishments in one area might overcome weakness in a different area.

What should I include in my résumé if I do not have extensive work experience?

Your résumé should note your academic record (degree(s) earned), academic honors and awards, internships, extra-curricular activities (including volunteering and community service), international experiences, and any other activities that demonstrate your leadership qualities. Of course, your résumé should also include your work experience. List any professional positions you have held, describe your job responsibilities, promotions, awards, leadership and management skills, and cite your experience working in teams. The average full-time professional working experience of our students is 5 years.

What about GPA?

Strong candidates have a minimum 3.0 GPA. In our most recent MBA classes, the average undergraduate GPA was 3.3.

Who must take the TOEFL? What score do you require? What about the verbal score and total score on the GMAT?

We require TOEFL scores from applicants whose native language is not English or who earned baccalaureate degrees from non-English speaking institutions. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 for the paper version, 213 for the computer-based, or 79 for the Internet-based. Applicants must also score at least a 25 on the verbal section of the GMAT. The average GMAT from our admitted student was 560. A minimum 6.5 on the IELTS or a minimum PTE-A score of 53 are also acceptable. All scores must be within the past 2 years to be valid.

What other skills or knowledge are important to be successful in the USF MBA Program?

You must demonstrate proficiency in college algebra, internet searches, and working knowledge of commonly used business software such as Word, Pages, or similar word processing programs; Excel, Numbers, or similar spreadsheet programs; and PowerPoint, Keynote, or similar presentation programs. You must also have high-speed internet access.

Does my undergraduate degree or my professional experience have to be in business?

No. Applicants must hold a degree from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution in the United States or from a recognized institution in a foreign country, but MBA students come from a myriad of backgrounds. They hold undergraduate degrees from a variety of areas, such as business, psychology, communications, medicine, education, engineering, arts, or architecture. Students work in fields as varied as sales, education, military, manufacturing, healthcare, marketing, technology, the arts, banking, or professional sports.

Are students with non-business degrees at a disadvantage when sharing a classroom with those who studied business?

The business foundation courses (introductory business courses taken at the start of the program) provide the necessary business knowledge needed for the program and are geared toward those with little prior business background.

Do jobs held while attending college apply to the professional work experience requirement?

Many students work part-time in professional jobs while attending college, and professional experience gained during this time period will apply toward the work experience requirement. Applicants are asked to submit a résumé and a statement describing work-related responsibilities and accomplishments,

How long does it take to complete the MBA program?

USF's MBA is a 33 credit hour program. Non-business majors are required to take pre-requisite business foundation courses (16 credit hours) after being accepted into the program. Candidates who earned a business degree within the last seven years from regionally accredited business programs might be able to waive some or all of these classes after a coursework review.
While the program can be completed in as few as 18 months, students typically take 2-3 years to complete the degree, depending, of course, on the number of credits taken per semester. Students must complete all coursework within five years.

Getting Started

Can I register for classes as soon as I am accepted into the MBA program?

No. Newly-accepted students will see a hold placed on their registration account, preventing them from registering for classes until they have attended the MBA orientation. Details regarding orientation are included with the departmental acceptance letter.

Do I have to attend MBA orientation?

Yes. All MBA students must attend the MBA orientation, and newly-accepted students will see a hold placed on their registration account, preventing them from registering for classes, until they have done so. At orientation, students not only learn more about the program and how to register for classes but also have a chance to learn about additional services/opportunities for MBA students and have a chance to meet faculty, MBA program staff, and fellow students.

What are Business Foundation courses?

Business foundation courses provide background in several functional areas in order to prepare for more advanced studies. These courses assume the student has little or no prior knowledge in the field. USF's alternative calendar was designed to allow students to move through the courses quickly. These courses include:

  • ACG 6026 Accounting Concepts for Managers (3 credit hours)
  • QMB 6305 Managerial Decision Analysis (2 credit hours)
  • MAN 6055 Organizational Behavior and Leadership (2 credit hours)
  • ECO 6005 Introduction to Economic Concepts for Managers (3 credit hours)
  • FIN 6406 Financial Management (2 credit hours)
  • ISM 6021 Management Information Systems (2 credit hours)
  • MAR 6815 Marketing Management (2 credit hours)

Can I waive courses if I took similar courses as an undergraduate?

Students who completed an undergraduate degree or graduate courses in business from a regionally accredited business school may receive course waivers for business foundation courses only if they earned grades B or better in those subjects. Certain limitations and timelines apply (among them: a maximum of 16 credit hours can be waived, and the degree must be no more than seven years old). Waivers are granted only after students submit the waiver form provided in the departmental welcome package and USF personnel analyze the student's transcript and review completed coursework.

Can I transfer courses from another university's MBA program to USF's MBA program?

Up to 12 credit hours can be transferred, provided they were earned at an AACSB-accredited institution and the courses are equivalent to courses offered at USF. Additionally, a grade of B or higher must have been earned in each course.



How do I determine what electives are acceptable?

Students will complete  15 graduate credits of business electives. Electives should be selected based on your personal and professional goals. Students wishing to earn an individualized area of emphasis may work with an academic advisor to determine the appropriate courses to take. Students are also required to take (1) international elective.

Can I have a Sport and Entertainment concentration?

At this time, MBA in Sport and Entertainment is a standalone cohort program. You need to apply directly to this program. General MBA students are not able to take elective courses in sport and entertainment.

Are required courses to be completed before I can get a permit for the Integrated Business Application course?

You should take the capstone course during your graduating (last) semester. Foundation courses, MAN 6726 - Strategic Business Analysis and FIN 6466 - Financial Analysis must be taken prior to receiving a permit for IBA.  Electives or other required courses may be taken along with IBA.  Students must also have a 3.0 gpa or higher in order to receive a permit.

Do the required courses serve as a pre- requisite for the electives?

Most of the required courses are not pre-requisites for electives, but, it is always better to complete the required courses before you start taking electives.


How much is MBA tuition?

Tuition information can be found at the USF Financial Services website.

Is financial aid available for MBA students?

A step-by-step guide for financial aid for graduate students and other information about financial aid can be found on USF's University Scholarships & Financial Aid Services website.

Why do I have to pay a $100 professional development fee?

This non-refundable fee "secures a space" for the next entering class and is used throughout the program to support educational, networking, and social activities of the Graduate Business Association as well as equipment and supplies for student use, special events and seminars, subscriptions, publications, and other professional development programs. Refreshments and beverages might be provided for some events. The professional fee is in addition to the $35 Comprehensive New Graduate Student fee assessed by the university.

General Information

How many students are in the MBA program? How large are class sizes?

There are usually 250+ students in the MBA program during the year. Business foundation courses average 50 students per class; elective courses average 30 students per class.

Do I have to commit to be a full-time or part-time MBA student?

USF MBA is a flexible MBA program, therefore, you do not have to commit to be either a full-time or part-time student. You are a full-time student by academic definition if you take at least nine credit hours per semester.

I work full-time and can only go to classes in the evening. Is it possible for me to complete my MBA?

Yes, most USF MBA courses are taught in the evening so you will be able to complete your MBA by only attending classes in the evening.

What accreditation does USF's MBA program hold?

USF's MBA program, along with the Muma College of Business and the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy, is accredited by AACSB International – The Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB accreditation is the highest level of accreditation for business schools worldwide, and less than 10% of all business schools hold such accreditation.

Does USF offer online courses in the MBA program?

Some courses are taught in an online format. Many professors use CANVAS, a course management system as well as an online communication tool, to post readings, course assignments, book information, send email, and share other course-specific information. We also have a separate online MBA program.

Can I take undergraduate courses and MBA courses concurrently?

No. Students who have "graduate status" in the system may not take undergraduate courses; enrolling for undergraduate courses may result in the student being dropped from the graduate program.

Can I take graduate-level business courses if I am not (yet) in a graduate program?

No, not unless you are a visiting MBA student from another AACSB-accredited MBA program. Call (813) 974-3335 for special approval.

Admissions Testing

What is the GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized assessment test comprised of four sections: analytical writing, quantitative reasons, integrative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. The GMAT tests abilities that you have developed over a long period of time; it is not intended to test specific subject areas, nor does it presuppose any prior business coursework. The test takes 4.5 hours and is computer adaptive (the difficulty of later questions is based on whether earlier questions were answered correctly).

Can the GMAT be waived?

Generally, the GMAT is required of every applicant. We do however, also accept the GRE. GMAT waivers may be considered for individuals having at least 5 years of professional experience with other acceptable admission items.  A GMAT waiver based on gpa may also be submitted for individuals having a 3.5 or higher cumulative gpa from USF Tampa, AAU and other preeminent institutions.  PLEASE NOTE: Waiver forms will only be considered if the MBA Application is otherwise complete. Submitting a waiver form does not guarantee a waiver will be granted.

When and where do I take the GMAT?

Because the GMAT is offered via computer, the test can be taken almost any time at the nearest testing center. The testing center closest to USF is the Pearson Professional Center (3922 Coconut Palm Drive, Sabal Business Center, Suite 101, Tampa, FL 33619). Visit to find a testing facility and schedule an appointment to take the exam.

How do I report my GMAT scores to USF?

Test-takers specify institution codes on the day of the exam, signifying to which institutions scores should be reported. USF's code is VP9-M4-80 or VP9-M4-97. You may use either one.

How should I prepare for the GMAT?

Free test preparation information can be found on, the official GMAT website. This website also has practice questions, free downloadable test preparation software called GMAT prep, and a study guide that is available for purchase.

USF Continuing Education offers GMAT preparation courses, as do a number of companies such as Sylvan Learning Centers and Kaplan (which also offer private tutoring and online prep courses of varying length and interactivity). Some students prefer the interactive classroom or online environment while others can confidently prepare alone for the test. We recommend that test-takers assess their own needs by beginning with a preparation book. Test preparation books are numerous and can be a valuable resource because they help a test-taker determine if further preparation is needed, while requiring a small initial investment. Many GMAT prep books contain full or partial sample exams (sometimes on CD-ROM or via the web) with tips and techniques for succeeding on the test. There are entire books devoted to each of the main test sections for those who only need help with one area. GMAT preparation books are available at most retail bookstores, including the USF Bookstore.

Career Development

Does the MBA program offer career development or placement services?

USF's Career Services coordinates USF's Career Fair and offers on-campus interviewing, job search workshops, mock interviews, and résumé referral services. Career Services' cooperative education program provides alternating terms of full-time study and full-time employment in a private enterprise or government agency over the course of the academic year.

The Muma College of Business Office of Employer Relations works jointly with Career Services to serve MBA students, offering an MBA Career Guide, detailed career advice, and résumé reviews. A number of specific career events are planned for MBA students to gain access to top employers. A calendar of career events, including company information sessions, on-site tours, and networking events, can be found online.

Graduate Certificate in Business Foundations

What is the Graduate Certificate in Business Foundations?

It is a non-degree program for individuals with a non-business undergraduate degree who are interested in getting basic business knowledge before applying for the MBA degree program. These 16 credit hours also count as the pre-requisite courses for the MBA Program

Is financial aid available for the certificate program?

Since the Graduate Certificate in Business is a non-degree program, you will not qualify for financial aid, however, private low rate loans may be available. Check with your employer to determine if non-degree programs are eligible for tuition reimbursement program.

As an international student, do I qualify for the certificate program?


Will I be able to count those courses toward an MBA degree?

Yes, the certificate courses will satisfy the prerequisites to the MBA program.