Take a Class through USC Prison Education Project

USC Dornsife Prison Education Project offers a multitude of courses in varying disciplines including writing, science, meditation, public speaking, and more. Student volunteers assist the lead instructor in guiding the session. We are also offering WRIT 320: Inside-Out Writing Workshop at USC which allows students to deepen their writing skills while working collaboratively with diverse groups, programs, and populations outside of USC.

Courses at USC PEP

Student volunteers will assist the lead instructor guide the session, but student volunteers can also lead one-on-one discussions, ask questions, and encourage critical thinking among students. It is OK if you do not have any background in the offered courses!

Path to Becoming a Volunteer

  • This will become available before each semester begins. Sign up for our newsletter for updates on when the application is released.

  • Orientation includes training on facility guidelines, course information, and more. All volunteers must attend both USC PEP’s orientation, as well as PEP’s general orientation.

  • Visit pepforms.org and submit a facility application.

  • Get TB tested and submit proof of testing and COVID vaccine at pepforms.org.

Ready to become a course volunteer?

Sign up for our newsletter to recieve the application once it goes live.

Current Course Offerings

Listed below are the courses offered this semester, both online and in-person.

Intro to Playwriting

Instructor: Alison Minami

Email: aminami@usc.edu

Location: online


Instructor: Colin Petersdorf

Email: cpetersdorf@gmail.com

Location: CIW (in-person)

Introduction to Astronomy

Instructor: Kenneth Phillips 

Email: phil156@usc.edu

Location: Addiewell, Scotland (online)

Science of the Brain

Instructors: Aditi Jagannathan & Victoria Bogomilova

Emails: aajagann@usc.edu bogomilo@usc.edu

Location: online

Art Appreciation: Visual Thinking and Western European Visual Art and Architecture

Instructor: Susanna Cecilia Berger

Email: TBA

Location: Scotland (online) 

Intro to Environmental Science

Instructor: Jill Sohm

Email: sohm@usc.edu

Location: online 

Intro to Debate

Instructor: Kharee Hoggs

Email: hoggs@usc.edu

Location: in-person

Course FAQs

  • Classes range anywhere from 12-25 students, depending on the facility and the given day. Virtual classes may differ.

  • Enthusiasm, openness to learn, and empathy.

  • The most important thing is to show up, both physically and mentally, and engage in conversations with students.

  • Please send an email to Nik or Kate at dedomini@usc.edu or klevin@usc.edu, and we’ll get the ball rolling. We can send you information like previous syllabi and materials to help with your planning. Faculty and graduate students are open to submit proposals and undergraduates can submit after 2 semesters of volunteer experience.