The USC Core Curriculum
The USC Core is the hallmark of a USC education and the common bond between you and all other USC undergraduates.
The Core consists of courses in General Education, Writing, and Diversity. Together they provide a coherent approach to the skills you will need to become a generally well-educated person and an informed, productive citizen.
The USC Core will require you to question ideas we often take for granted and to understand the values at issue in contemporary society. You will sharpen your skills in critical thinking, learning to weigh competing theories, to evaluate new evidence, and to articulate an informed individual point of view.
Through the USC Core, you will find opportunities to participate in other USC programs, including the Joint Educational Project and the Social Issues Speaker Series.
The university’s general education program is structured to provide a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to better question and understand the world.
General Education is divided into two parts. The first part, “Foundations”, presents courses that give you the “big picture” about the development of western European and American culture, alternative cultural traditions, and the basic principles of scientific inquiry.
The second part, “Case Studies”, is designed to sharpen your critical intelligence by considering specific applications of science and technology, works of literature, philosophy, and art, and contemporary social issues.
We want you to try new things-- take an astronomy class, a philosophy class, or a linguistics class, even if you are majoring in something completely different. General Education is a great way to get to know yourself and broaden your horizons, and it provides an excellent jumping-off point for the rest of your undergraduate career.
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USC is perhaps the most diverse and dynamic student community in the country, so it should come as no surprise that USC graduates are expected to understand and respect differences between groups of people. The social and cultural consequences of global diversity and disparity will have important ramifications on your personal, professional, and intellectual life.
The Diversity Requirement must be completed by all USC students before graduation. A variety of courses satisfy this requirement, including “Hip-Hop History & Culture," "Minority Mental Health," and “Latin American History and Culture, 1700-Present.”
As always, the USC Core is flexible and meant to suit your particular interests-- choose the class that interests you most.
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Additional Core Requirements
In addition to the General Education and Diversity requirements, all USC Dornsife graduates must complete the undergraduate writing program and a foreign language requirement.
The writing requirement at USC consists of two classes. The first, “WRIT 140: Fundamentals of College Writing”, is taken during freshman year, and is taught in affiliation with one of your General Education courses. Every student at USC--even students who have earned strong test scores on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams-- must take WRIT 140.
The second class, “WRIT 340: Advanced College Writing”, is usually taken during your junior year. It is offered in a variety of academic and pre-professional areas of concentration, including Arts & Humanities, Health Sciences, Natural Sciences, Pre-Law, and Social Sciences. The writing assignments emphasize professional, ethical, and academic aspects of your major and/or career goals.
In addition, all graduates of USC Dornsife are expected to be able to speak, read, write and understand a language other than English. All students must complete a course equivalent to the third (or intermediate) level of a foreign language or demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to third level.
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