Special Programs

An Education Fit for You

While USC Dornsife’s list of majors and minors represent a huge array of educational possibilities, the options don’t stop there. A range of special programs — including preprofessional, progressive degrees, and honors programs — allow you to tailor your education even further.

Dornsife’s special programs not only provide you with guidance and opportunities aligned with your interests, they also connect you to like-minded students who form a vital community — during your time here, and as you take the next steps after graduation.

Honors Programs

Up for a challenge? Honors programs push you to get the most out of your USC Dornsife education. Connect with other ambitious students and find distinctive experiences related to your specific interests and goals.

  • Thematic Option (TO) students delve into the works of the world’s greatest philosophers, scientists, and artists — exploring, challenging, and revising the limits of the Western literary canon. Emphasizing curiosity and critical thinking, TO challenges you to analyze difficult texts and to make connections between readings and current sociopolitical challenges.

    An interdisciplinary program consisting of honors-level courses built around distinct themes, the TO curriculum satisfies university general education requirements, while inviting you to consider big questions about human nature, justice, historical change, progress, truth, and knowledge.

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  • If you’ve got a passion for the natural sciences and are eager to immerse yourself in labs and learning, the Freshman Science Honors (FSH) program may be just the right start to your undergraduate experience.

    As a FSH student, you’ll be able to participate in advanced courses in general biology and chemistry, exploring more specialized topics like neuroscience and emerging fields like bioinformatics. In small classes taught by outstanding faculty, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a tight-knit academic community with highly accessible advisors and informal meetings outside the classroom.

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  • Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious national honor society in the United States, recognizes excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. As a member of USC’s Epsilon Chapter, you’ll join a community of scholars who demonstrate intellectual integrity, tolerance for other views, and a broad range of academic interests.

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  • Students who maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher are placed on the USC Dornsife Dean’s List for that semester.

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Faculty Led Programs

group of students with usc dornsife flag in Italy in front of pantheonEver thought about studying French in Senegal? Exploring yoga in Mexico? Learning about climate change in Taiwan?

Designed around faculty expertise and interests, Faculty-Led Programs (FLP) invite you to take part meaningful learning experiences beyond the classroom. Along with a small cohort of peers, you’ll work with passionate scholars in places around the world where your research comes alive.

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Progressive Degrees

Photo of professor in front of classroom teaching students in front of projector In just five years, you can earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, reducing up to one-third of the units required for graduate degrees. Progressive degrees are designed to build both theoretical knowledge and research skills that have practical application in the professional world.

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Pre-Professional Programs

If graduate school is in your future, USC Dornsife has got everything you you need to prepare for this exciting trajectory. Specialized advisors for graduate school and pre-professional programs help you enroll in appropriate classes, prepare your applications, and identify available resources.

Advisors offer expert assistance with everything from grad school application logistics to crafting and refining your personal statement. Identifying programs, preparing for entrance exams, and looking for funding are all things advisors can help you with.

If you’re planning a career in medicine, dentistry, or another healthcare-related profession, you can work with a pre-health advisor to map out a tailored academic plan that fits your goals. Pre-health advisors can refer you to resources and programs that provide room for exploration of the medical field.

USC Dornsife pre-law advisors understand what makes a strong candidate for law school and how to shape an undergraduate experience that helps you stand out. One-on-one guidance shepherds you through all aspects of the law school application process, including school selection, writing an effective personal statement, and requesting letters of recommendation.