Review the frequently asked questions below to learn more about first-year advising.



Academic Advising

  • FYA advisors meet the needs of first-year students during their transition from high school to USC. They explain degree requirements and policies; assist with course-planning; support academic and career exploration; and connect students with faculty, resources, and opportunities. Their individualized approach lays the foundation for students to succeed at USC and beyond.

  • Your first-year advisor is assigned by declared major.  To learn about or connect with your assigned advisor visit “Meet the FYA Team”.

  • Mandatory advisement is a required meeting when advisors and students discuss the current semester and prepare for next semester’s registration. Advisors will email reminders when it is time to schedule mandatory advising appointments. Although mandatory advisement is only required once per semester, students are welcome to consult with advisors throughout the year. 

  • To speak with an advisor, students should make an apointment online a minimum of eight (8) hours in advance through our online appointment system, Insight.

  • Yes, students can meet with advisors in-person or virtually on Zoom; choose your desired method when booking your appointment through our online appointment system, Insight.  

  • Advisors may offer a limited schedule of drop-in hours where students can meet with their advisor on a first-come, first-served basis without an appointment. If so, your advisor will email information regarding this opportunity.

    If you have an urgent question for your advisor and do not have an appointment, it is recommended that you contact your advisor by email or contact the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising & Administration at (213) 740-2534.

  • To cancel an appointment, access our online appointment system, Insight. You may also contact your advisor directly by email or contact the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising & Administration at (213) 740-2534.

  • If your assigned advisor is out of the office or does not have any appointments that work with your schedule, you should reach out to your advisor by email. If your advisor is out of the office and you have an urgent issue, please email First-Year Advising at or contact the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising & Administration at (213) 740-2534

  • Submit a form to request access to the online appointment system, Insight, here.

    Once access has been granted, schedule an advising appointment with the advisor of your desired program as listed in our directory. Directions on how to schedule appointments are available here.

  • After completion of the first year, students are advised by an academic advisor in their major department who will support them beginning in the second year to graduation.

  • Prior to your orientation session, Dornsife Admissions will be your best resource for information about majors and minors, course requirements, and transfer coursework. Please contact Dornsife Admissions at (213) 740-5930 or

Declaring a Major or Minor

  • To declare a major/minor within Dornsife, request a referral for your desired program from your current First-Year Advisor. They will share with you contact information regarding that program, including with whom you may meet to learn more.

  • A double major consists of two majors that allow the student to earn the same degree, either two B.A. degrees or two B.S. degrees. The student must complete the requirements for both majors and whatever other coursework is needed to complete 128 units.

    A second Bachelor’s consists of two majors that culminate in two different degrees. For example, the first degree is a B.A., and the second degree is any of the following: B.S, B.M., B.F.A., B.Arch. or B.L.Arch. A second Bachelor’s degree requires a minimum of 32 additional units above the total required for the first degree. In most cases, this number is 160 total units (128 units + 32 units). In some cases, it may take more than the minimum units in order to complete all of the courses required for a specific program combination. Please see your academic advisor to verify your graduation plan.

  • Declaring a major or minor in another academic unit requires admission through an internal application process. For admission information, request a referral from your current advisor who will share with you contact and/or website information regarding your desired program. Students are expected to meet all admission criteria before an admission decision is reached and the major/minor is added.

  • Your major advisor can talk with you about common careers related to your major. Dornsife Career Pathways is another great resource that offers individual career advising and hosts career-focused events throughout the semester. You can also find career exploration tools and resources available on the Dornsife Career Pathways website. Professors in your major can also discuss career prospects with you.

Degree Requirements

  • Per USC requirements, a minimum of 128 units is necessary to graduate with a single Dornsife Bachelor’s degree. However, some majors may require more than 128 units to complete all requirements. For students pursuing a second Bachelor’s degree, an additional 32 units beyond the first degree is required. Within these units, a minimum number must be completed within Dornsife departments; please see anwer to next question.

  • Taking at least 16 units each semester will help facilitate the completion of your degree within four years. Keep in mind that full-time students are charged tuition on a flat-fee basis for 12-18 units. If you are enrolled in less than 12 units, you are considered a part-time student and are charged tuition per unit. Please be sure to check with the USC Financial Aid Office and/or your scholarship coordinator to find out if being a part-time student will affect your financial aid package and/or scholarship. Being a part-time student may also affect you if you are covered under your parents’ health insurance. Be sure to check with your insurance company for verification.

  • AP, IB, or A-level scores may be used to fulfill certain general education, prerequisite, or major requirements. Detailed information on which exams meet which requirements can be found here .

  • All students majoring in Dornsife are required to reach the proficiency equivalent to the 3rd semester of a foreign language. The foreign language requirement may be satisfied in one of the following ways:

    1. Earning a passing grade in level III of a foreign language at USC or its equivalent elsewhere.
    2. Taking the USC Language Placement exam or Competency exam and scoring appropriately to satisfy the level 3 language requirement
    3. Scoring a 4 or 5 on an AP Foreign Language exam OR a 6 or 7 on an IB Higher Level Foreign language exam, with the exception of Latin.

    International students whose native language is not English are exempt from the foreign language requirement.

    Students who can supply proof of at least two years of full-time secondary schooling beyond the age of 14, taught in a foreign language, may request an exemption from the foreign language requirement.

    Find more information about the foreign language requirements and the schedule for placement and competency exams here 


  • All undergraduates at USC must satisfy the General Education Program described below.

    If you began college in Fall 2015 or later, you will complete the new General Education track which consists of Categories A-H with a General Education Seminar (GESM). Detailed information on GE requirements can be found here

    If you began college before the Fall 2015 semester, you will satisfy the old GE track, which consists of categories I-VI with a Diversity Requirement. Information on the old GE requirements can be found here.

  • For undergraduate students earning a degree in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, a minimum of 104 units applicable to the degree must be earned in Dornsife academic departments.

    For students graduating with a minor in any school or a second Bachelor’s degree, this minimum is reduced to 96 units.

    For students graduating with a double major, the total number of Dornsife units required varies depending on your specific programs and catalogue year; please consult your academic advisor to confirm your Dornsife unit requirement.

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  • Yes, it is recommended that all freshman students  complete their GE Seminar (GESM) and lower division writing requirement (WRIT 150) during their first year.

    It is important to note that GESM and WRIT 150 should not be completed in the same semester.


  • Students who do not have active restrictions on their registration may enroll in next semester’s courses on their permit to register date. 

  • Your registration appointment date and time can be found on your OASIS account, available via your myUSC portal, under “Permit to Register.”

  • A mandatory advisement hold requires students to meet with their assigned First-Year Advisor prior to registration. To be eligible for registration at the time a permit to register opens, students with a mandatory advisement hold must schedule and attend an advising appointment with their advisor in advance. It is this appointment that will remove the mandatory advisement hold. Students who do not complete this appointment before their permit to register date and time will be unable to register for classes.

  • In most cases, students can register using the university’s Web Registration portal which can be accessed through myUSC. You can build your schedule on Web Registration once the Schedule of Classes is released for the next semester, but you will not be able to officially register, or “Checkout,” until your permit to register opens. Web Registration directions are available at Students with certain holds on their accounts may be required to register with One Stop Center.

    Incoming students who are attending orientation will use Web Registration to register for courses during their reserved orientation session.

  • In most cases, students can add and drop courses through Web Registration and are not required to meet with their advisor. However, you are strongly encouraged to check with your advisor prior to dropping courses to see how this will impact your course plan and graduation date.

    Please note: students with certain activity restrictions and holds on their account will be required to meet with their advisor and obtain their signature to add or drop courses.