Undergraduate Honors

USC Freshman Science Honors Program
The USC Freshman Science Honors Program (FSHP) allows exceptionally well-qualified freshmen the opportunity to study in an enriched bio and chemistry first semester sequence, BISC-121Lg and CHEM-115aLg. The FSHP courses tend to have smaller class sizes and allow the student access to special lectures, tours, and field trips. Some students are invited prior to their acceptance of admission, while others apply during freshman orientation. Bio students who secure good grades in this program are usually invited to participate in the Department of Biological Sciences Honors Program (below). If interested, please visit Freshman Science Honors website.

The Department of Biological Sciences Honors Program
The department offers an honors program for outstanding students already pursuing studies toward the B.A. or B.S. in Biological Sciences. This program offers students an opportunity to participate in undergraduate research, gain experience in writing an honors thesis, and participate in an honors seminar. Honors students are required to take two semesters of BISC 493x Honors Seminar (1 unit/semester) and one semester of BISC 494x Honors Thesis (2 units) in addition to fulfilling all requirements of the B.A. or B.S. degree with a 3.5 science and math GPA. Honors students must also enroll in BISC 490x Directed Research as one of their upper division electives. Successful completion of this program leads to the transcript notation: Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences with Honors or Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with Honors. Applications can be secured in AHF 107.

Interested applicants, please download the Honors application form.

Department Honors and Awards
The following awards are presented each spring at the department honors luncheon.

  • The Milo Don Appleman Award
    Established in 1974, this award is given to the most outstanding graduating senior pursuing a career in the health sciences, as determined by the faculty and lab directors.
  • The SCynergy Award
    Established in 1998, this award is given to the most outstanding graduating senior pursuingcareer in the biological sciences, as determined by the faculty and lab directors.
  • The Okin Award
    This award, established in memory of Dr. Milton Okin, is given to the most outstanding sophomore, junior or continuing senior, as determined by the faculty and lab directors in the Department of Biological Sciences.
  • Course Honors
    Course honors are awarded to the most high achieving bio and biochemistry undergraduates in out seven core courses: BISC-120Lg, BISC-121Lg, BISC-220L, BISC-221L, BISC-320L, BISC-325 and BISC-330L.
  • Research Stipends and Scholarships
    For more information go to the Office for Undergraduate Studies or Financial Aid in the Hubbard Hall lobby.  Information on paid research and scholarship opportunities are also posted in the AHF-105 reception area.


  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Southern California
  • Allan Hancock Foundation Building
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371