university of southern California


History of USC

Los Angeles was a rough-and-tumble frontier town in the early 1870s, when a group of public-spirited citizens led by Judge Robert Maclay Widney first dreamed of establishing a university in the region. It took nearly a decade for this vision to become a reality, but in 1879 Widney formed a board of trustees and secured a donation of 308 lots of land from three prominent members of the community – Ozro W. Childs, a Protestant horticulturist; former California governor John G. Downey, an Irish-Catholic pharmacist and businessman; and Isaias W. Hellman, a German-Jewish banker and philanthropist. The gift provided land for a campus as well as a source of endowment, the seeds of financial support for the nascent institution.

When USC first opened its doors to 53 students and 10 teachers in 1880, the “city” still lacked paved streets, electric lights, telephones and a reliable fire alarm system. Today, USC is home to more than 41,000 students and nearly 3,800 full-time faculty, and is located in the heart of one of the biggest metropolises in the world.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Area of Emphasis

An Area of Emphasis is a specific focus within a major. Areas of Emphasis are listed within parentheses following the appropriate majors and do not appear on diplomas but are indicated on transcripts.Combined Program A combined program is an organized set of requirements from two academic units in a single undergraduate degree program that combines two majors. Examples are: Linguistics/Psychology and Physics/Computer Science.Double Major Within the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences A double major consists of two majors, which allow the student to earn the same degree, either a B.A. or B.S. degree, conferred by the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences offers two kinds of majors, “departmental” and “interdepartmental. A double major may consist of two departmental majors, two interdepartmental majors, or one departmental and one interdepartmental major. All double majors require a minimum of 12 upper-division courses. Some upper division courses may count for both majors. For double departmental majors two upper division courses may count toward both majors. For departmental and interdepartmental majors, three upper-division courses may count toward both majors. The student receives a single diploma.Other Double Majors Double majors may be offered in other schools. The two majors must be offered by different departments but lead to the same degree, such as a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Music. Double majors consisting of two majors in the same department are not permitted. The student receives a single diploma.Progressive Degree Programs The progressive degree plan enables an undergraduate student to begin an integrated program of study joining bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs in the same or different departments. This option is available to outstanding USC undergraduates who have completed 64 units of course work at USC, and often results in a more expeditious completion of the master’s degree than otherwise would be possible.Students are admitted to the master’s degree at the completion of the sixth semester. Progressive degree students must fulfill all requirements for both the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree except for the combined total number of units for the degrees. The bachelor’s degree can be awarded first. Further details about progressive degrees can be found here.Second Bachelor’s Degree A second bachelor’s degree requires a minimum of 32 units beyond the number required for the first. If the first bachelor’s degree was earned at USC, a minimum of 32 units for the second must be completed at USC. If the first bachelor’s degree was earned at another institution, a minimum of 64 units toward the second must be completed at USC For some degrees, more than the 32 units beyond the first bachelor’s degree will be required because all requirements for both degrees must be met. The student receives a separate diploma for each degree upon completion.The first and second bachelor’s degrees may be completed at the same time but there is no requirement that they be.Minor Programs in addition to the degree programs listed, many academic units offer minor programs. A list of minors appears after the list of undergraduate degrees. The requirements for each minor are listed in the appropriate school section. A separate minor certificate is issued for each minor a student completes. Minors are also recorded on the student’s transcript. See here for more detailed information about minor programs.The Undergraduate Degree Programs ListAll degrees are listed alphabetically by the school that provides the program for the degree objective. All degrees are listed alphabetically in the index at the end of this catalogue. Areas of emphasis do not appear on diplomas but are indicated on transcripts.

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