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USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences

Research Opportunities

Research is an integral part of academic life at USC Dornsife, and students are encouraged to engage in research at every stage of their academic careers. Opportunities range as wide as our selection of majors. For instance, imagine investigating the processes through which children acquire language, conducting peace & conflict research through interviews with survivors of genocide and civil war, or analyzing online economies and applying game theory to the new online digital universe. Students can even propose their own original research projects. This is what makes USC a premier research institution: Dornsife faculty are actively engaged in groundbreaking research, and undergraduate students are working every day alongside our most renowned scholars.

Portrait of USC Dornsife student overlaid with imagery of an operating room and Los Angeles City Hall

Dornsife is home to more than 40 research centers that run the gamut of topics and disciplines. In fact, many of these centers combine two or more areas of study such as neuroscience and music, or history and digital media. Conducting research at USC Dornsife is a great way to get to know faculty, graduate students, and other undergraduates who share similar academic and career interests.

"Because of USC's location, I was amazed at how easy it was for me to find a research position on campus, at the Health Sciences Campus (where the Keck School of Medicine is located), or at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The first lab I emailed responded to me within 15 minutes, and I’ve been a part of the lab ever since. I feel that my research experience and mentorship through my lab will be integral in my preparation for medical school."

Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR)

The Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) program provides USC Dornsife students up to $1,000 of financial support for non-course related research activities during the fall or spring semester. Students submit a research plan and a proposed budget with their application; funding can allow you to purchase equipment or undertake project-related travel.


Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF)

Looking for a stimulating way to spend your summer vacation – something unique and academically challenging? Consider doing research funded through the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund. SURF provides students up to $3,000 to support a summer research project under the supervision of a USC faculty member. The stipend may be used to pay for travel, equipment, living expenses, or other fees related to the research effort. It may be used towards research conducted with a faculty member, an independent research project, or participation in a Problems Without Passports (PWP) program.