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Institutes & Centers


Much of what makes USC Dornsife so special takes place outside the classroom. Combining prime location in the heart of Los Angeles, a faculty of roughly 700 of the world's best and brightest scholars, and the most diverse and dynamic student population in the country, your learning experience may begin in the classroom - but it certainly won't end there.
USC Dornsife is committed to broadening your horizons, and our specialized institutes and centers will serve as a great supplement to your classroom experience.
Every year, thousands of USC Dornsife students engage in heated debate over challenging contemporary moral and ethical dilemmas through the Levan Institute, staff political and legal offices throughout Los Angeles through the Unruh Institute, and design the earthquake detection technologies of the future at the Southern California Earthquake Center.
If you want hands-on, real world experience before graduating from college, look no further than the internships, apprenticeships, and research opportunities available through USC Dornsife's institutes and centers.



The Brain and Creativity Institute

Since ancient times, thinkers and scientists have sought to explain how we perceive, interpret, and shape our existence. However, until very recently, researchers interested in these questions have had to rely entirely on conjecture or indirect evidence.
Recent technological advances in brain imaging and fresh insights into the functioning of the human brain provide extraordinary new opportunities for uncovering the neurological underpinnings of mental functions from emotion and decision-making to innovation and creativity.
Founded by Drs. Antonio and Hanna Damasio in 2006, the Brain and Creativity Institute stands at the forefront of the neuroscience research community.

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The Levan Institute

The Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics issues a grand challenge to every new student who comes to USC: to engage with, understand, and internalize the timeless values at the core of our humanity. The mission of the Levan Institute is to help students acquire values of moral discernment, love of truth and beauty, understanding of self, and respect for and appreciation of others.

In this effort, the Institute collaborates with departments, professional schools, and programs across the university to bring students and faculty together with authors and artists, philosophers and practitioners, and the ethical voices of our time.

The Levan Institute sponsors Coffeehouse Conversations on Practical Ethics, speaker series discussions on the Spirit of the Law and the Soul of Medicine, an Ethics Cup debate challenge, and much more.

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Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics

Students who want an immersive experience in politics, law, and government need look no further than the Unruh Institute of Politics. The goal of the Unruh Institute is to help you become interested, engaged, and involved in government, volunteer activities, and any kind of public service that inspires you.
The Unruh Institute oversees a variety of programs including internships, externships, research, summer programs, and guest lectures. The institute seeks to connect students to the offices of elected officials, city, county, and state offices, non-profit organizations, consulting firms, and law firms to allow you to gain first-hand knowledge in your area of focus.

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This Is USC Dornsife

Click on one of the icons below to learn more about the special programs and academic opportunities that make up USC Dornsife.


For a complete list of USC Dornsife Institutes & Centers, please visit the USC Dornsife Institutes and Centers Index.