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Problems Without Passports

Most, if not all, of the societal problems or challenges we face are transnational or global in nature.  These problems like global climate change, pandemics or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are global challenges that do not belong to a single country.  These are "problems without passports."

USC students will have the opportunity in summer 2016 to participate in a number of Problems Without Passports (PWP) courses that combine problem-based or inquiry learning research exercises with study in a foreign country. Learn more about problem-based learning.  Courses are currently being finalized, and a full list will be available soon.

Undergraduate students:  Students applying to a PWP program are eligible to apply for our Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF).


Summer 2016 Courses:

Please check back periodically, as we will be updating this page on a rolling basis as courses are approved. For a brief overview of proposed classes, including date and cost information when available, click here.


Summer 2015 Courses:


Summer 2014 Courses:

Please check back periodically as we will be updating this page on a rolling basis.


Summer 2013 Courses:


Summer 2012 Courses:


more videos >

PWP: GeoDesign

Students traveled to the Netherlands to learn and apply Dutch urban planning, geospatial technologies, and environmental design principles to address an LA-area societal challenge.

Video by Mira Zimet and Matt Meindl

PWP: Rwanda

A Problems Without Passports course brings 11 USC Dornsife undergraduates to Rwanda to study the complex task of reconstruction in the wake of the 1994 genocide that claimed 800,000 victims.

Video by Mira Zimet

PWP: Politics and Security in the Arctic

Eighteen USC Dornsife undergraduates traveled to Sweden, Russia and Finland this past summer as part of a "Problems Without Passports" course. They gained an insider's view of the…

Video by Mira Zimet

PWP: Saving an Endangered Language

As part of the Problems without Passports program, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Khalil Iskarous traveled with a group of undergraduates to the mountains of Taiwan. Here they…

Video by Mira Zimet

PWP: Forced Labor in Dubai

Rhacel ParreƱas, a professor in sociology, leads a Problems Without Passports trip to Dubai to research forced labor and human trafficking among migrant workers.

Video by Matt Meindl

PWP: Belize

As part of the Problems without Passports trip, a group of students traveled to Belize to study the ancient Mayan civilization.

Video by Mira Zimet & Angelica Zatarain

Explore the Problems without Passports Program

Problems Without Passports shows undergraduate researchers that big issues transcend national borders.

Video by Mira Zimet

Scientific Diving through the Environmental Studies Program

As part of the Problems Without Passports program, a group of students traveled to Guam and Palau to study environmental issues.

Video by Mira Zimet

Articles about the program:

For information about summer financial aid, please refer to