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Honors Programs


If you are considering a school like USC Dornsife, chances are you relish any opportunity to take on new academic challenges. Even in a diverse community of scholars like ours, there are many ways to push yourself further, engage in high-minded debate, and immerse yourself in new ways of thinking.

USC Dornsife offers a variety of honors programs to undergraduate students. Whether you are a freshman looking for a different take on general education or natural science, an upper classman hoping to graduate with honors, or even a junior in high school interested in making the jump to college a bit early, USC Dornsife wants to tailor your college experience to your needs and aspirations.



Thematic Option

There is a reason Thematic Option is widely regarded as one of the best undergraduate general education programs in the country. Weaving together literature, politics, history, biology, and other disciplines, T.O. engages students in critical analysis, thought-provoking discussion, and lively debate.
Thematic Option is a rigorous, humanities-based alternative to USC's General Education program. The program takes an interdisciplinary look at academic areas linked through overarching themes. It is organized around four core classes, as well as writing seminars, individual writing tutorials, and an annual research conference.
T.O. courses are taught by some of the university's best undergraduate teachers, and are kept small in order to ensure personal attention and spirited conversation in the classroom. Thematic Option is truly as remarkable as the students who pursue it.

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Freshman Science Honors

Imagine a community of aspiring scientists who share a drive to understand the natural world and solve the most difficult scientific questions of our time.
USC's Freshman Science Honors (FSH) is more than just great classes and award-winning faculty; it's a dynamic learning environment that includes special events, small science labs, academic support, and a lively student community.
This program offers honors sections in General Chemistry and Introductory Biology to 60 outstanding freshmen majoring in the natural sciences. In addition, students are offered advanced laboratory research seminars and faculty-guided tours of USC's renowned science facilities.
The FSH experience is about developing a strong grounding in the basics of scientific inquiry, while simultaneously being exposed to new developments in science and preparing for graduate schools and careers in natural science.

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Resident Honors Program

Pack your bags and head off to college... one year ahead of schedule!
Each year, a handful of exceptional high school juniors have the chance to trade homeroom for a seminar room, life at home for life in a residence hall, and another year of high school classes for a full year of college courses. Members of our Resident Honors Program (RHP) are students whose intelligence, maturity, and spirit for adventure set them apart from their peers, and prepare them early for the opportunities (and challenges) of university life.

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Departmental Honors

Are you looking for a way to set yourself apart in your undergraduate program? By conducting an independent research project, you can make a contribution to the scholarly community in your chosen major and graduate from USC Dornsife with honors.
USC Dornsife majors have varying requirements for their departmental honors distinction, but most of them require a minimum GPA and the completion and defense of an honors thesis before graduation. Past honors thesis topics have covered areas such as domestic reactions to the deployment of military forces (International Relations), the apparent dichotomy between fashion and art (Art History), and the application of Game Theory to virtual/online economies (Economics).
Departmental honors look great on a resume, but more importantly, the process by which you attain departmental honors will make you a more well-rounded scholar who understands how to question and investigate the world. Find a major that inspires you; then lead the way into the future.

This Is USC Dornsife

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