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USC Discovery Scholars Program

This information is specific to USC College students. All students should review the main program website for more information about the program.


The Discovery Scholars Program honors students who excel in the classroom while demonstrating the ability to create exceptional new scholarship or artistic works. Among these students, up to ten across the University will receive a $10,000 prize to be applied toward graduate study.


Students in the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences may be recognized as a Discovery Scholar by demonstrating academic and research excellence (in any academic field) in one of the following ways:

  • Participation in a departmental honors program, leading to the completion of an original research paper or project

  • Two semesters of directed research culminating in a paper that documents the original research performed

  • Publication of research in a scholarly journal as a named author (if co-authoring with a faculty member, a letter of memorandum from the faculty member detailing the student's contributions must be included)

  • Presentation of research in paper or project form at a competitive regional or national scholarly conference

  • Selection as a 1st or 2nd prize winner at the annual USC Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work and submission of a paper that documents the research performed.

  • Participation in a SOAR or SURF program, leading to the completion of a research product

  • Internship work that involves research and leads to a scholarly research product


In addition, USC College Students must meet or submit the following requirements:

  1. 3.5 GPA upon graduation (after no more than 5 years of study)

  2. The qualifying academic work, if graded, must earn a mark of B+ or better.

  3. 2-page abstract completely describing the research performed and the experience of the student in the research activity

  4. Submission of the actual paper, project, portfolio, etc.

  5. A letter of recommendation from a USC faculty member sponsoring the student's research


Preliminary applications will be processed by the USC Office of Undergraduate Programs, using the online application form, available by clicking here.


The deadline for submission of all materials will be in March. 


Please note: Many of our top students may qualify for more than one scholar award. However, while the university might designate a student as a Renaissance, Discovery and Global Scholar, a student can receive only one $10,000 prize.