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USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences


There’s a community of people here to help you. As you make your college decision, please feel free to connect with our staff in the Dornsife Office of Admission and Student Success. You might even see us at a virtual event!

At USC Dornsife, academic advisors provide ongoing support to students throughout their undergraduate experience. Advisors will serve as your mentors and learning partners, assisting you in navigating degree requirements and connecting with academic resources and co-curricular opportunities as you work toward achieving your academic and professional goals. 

You’ll have an academic advisor specific to any major or minor you declare. In addition, you’ll have access to pre-health, pre-law, and pre-graduate school advisors, as well as our Dornsife Career Pathways advisors, all of whom work together to help prepare you for life after USC.

Academic advisors will…

  1. Help you select and register for courses that will be most applicable to your interests and career goals
  2. Assist with course planning to ensure timely graduation
  3. Partner with you to help develop, clarify, and modify your academic goals
  4. Refer and connect you to resources and opportunities on campus and beyond that will be beneficial to you
  5. Provide guidance and support

If you are a fall admitted freshman or transfer student, you’ll meet the academic advisor for your major at Orientation this summer. If you are a spring admitted freshman or transfer student, you’ll meet the academic advisor for your major at Winter Orientation.

Laura Apisakkul


Major/Minor in college: Social Science (Psychology emphasis); Chemistry minor

What I love most about USC Dornsife is the fact that our students are so active, involved, altruistic, and passionate. They creatively apply what they’ve learned in the classroom toward research, internships, study abroad, and community service so that they can make a difference and help others. I am always left in awe hearing about all they accomplish here.

Why USC?
As a high school senior, I was drawn to USC because it encompassed all of the qualities I was seeking in a college: A wide variety of academic courses to choose from; engaging professors who both challenge and support you; experiential opportunities like Problems without Passports and Joint Educational Project that stretch you and take you out of your comfort zone (in a good way); a spirited, caring, active, diverse student community; and (last, but not least) warm sunshine, even in the month of January.

Kristin Beadle

Office Manager

Major in college: Psychology

What I love most about USC Dornsife are the amazing students and faculty! Everyone is doing something unique and interesting, and it is fascinating to learn about the research and programs everyone is involved in.

Why USC?
The students! They’re driven and care about each other. It is contagious to be around.

Courtney Byrd

Senior Assistant Director

Major/minor in college: Human Biology; Psychology minor

What I love most about USC Dornsife are the people. I’ve made lifelong connections thanks to Dornsife!

Why USC?
The family, atmosphere, spirit, and love of learning. There’s always something fun to do and people to meet!

Jessica Castaldi

Assistant Director

Major in college: International Relations

What I love most about USC Dornsife is how collaborative our students are. They truly understand the value of supporting one another.

Why USC?
Not only will you be inspired and encouraged to pursue your passions and discover new interests, but you’ll make lifelong friendships and connections with people who are doing the exact same thing, in widely disparate fields.

Mark Kveton

Senior Assistant Director

Major in college: Psychology and Social Behavior

What I love most about USC Dornsife is how ambitious and driven our students are. With all of the options students have at Dornsife, they find so many ways to fuel their passions.

Why USC?
You’ll be given the individual attention and the support you need to succeed in whatever you do.

Libni Lopez

Assistant Director

Major in college: History; Psychology and Social Behavior minor

What I love most about USC Dornsife is how involved our students are. Dornsife students take advantage of the many opportunities and resources available to further explore the intersections between their academics, interests, and passions.

Why USC?
Become part of an amazing community that is so diverse and dynamic!

Karen Rowan-Badger

Associate Dean, USC Dornsife Admission and Student Services

Major in college: General Studies/Education (Humanities emphasis)

What I love most about USC Dornsife is: We were the first. The original. When USC began in 1880, we were there. The core of USC is the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, and we are proud of our legacy.

Why USC?
The world is here! Our students are scholars, artists, scientists, writers, economists, advocates, dancers, teachers. Each person brings their own experience – from down the street and around the world – into the classroom and the community. It’s an exciting place to be.

Noël Viramontes

Associate Director

Major/Minor in college: Public Relations; Psychology minor

What I love most about USC Dornsife is the community of supportive, driven, and empathetic students. Being around these people who want to change the world, challenge themselves, and celebrate the successes of their peers is incredibly inspiring.

Why USC?
The academics, resources, and opportunities are only part of what makes it special – the rest is in the connections and community (a.k.a. the Trojan Family). Students like the ones we have here, using this institution as a jumping off point, are going to be positive changemakers.

Still Have Questions?

How can I get an application for admission?

We encourage you to complete your application for admission online. USC uses the Common Application.

What are the application deadlines?

The application deadlines for Fall 2021 are:

  • December 1, 2020: Freshman Application Deadline for Scholarship Consideration
  • January 15, 2021: Freshman Application Deadline
  • February 1, 2021: Transfer Application Deadline for Scholarship and Regular Consideration

When will I hear from you regarding admission?

All freshman applicants who submit a complete application by the deadline will be mailed an admission decision by April 1, 2021. All transfer applicants who submit a complete application by the deadline will be mailed an admission decision or a request for spring semester grades by June 1, 2021. USC does not have an early decision or early action program. Only notification from the Office of Admission constitutes an offer of admission.

Is it really possible to combine different majors and minors?

Yes! USC Dornsife offers over 90 majors and over 90 minors, and we encourage students to add a minor or a second major to their academic programs. You will enhance your overall academic experience and become a more well-rounded and informed individual. In addition, by combining diverse interests in your academic program, you will broaden your knowledge base and strengthen your skills in considering a single issue from multiple points of view. In the past, students have combined academic areas like Art History and Chemistry, Economics and Philosophy, and East Asian Languages & Cultures and Natural Science, to name a few. Every semester, you’ll meet with academic advisors from each major and/or minor you declare to ensure you are covering all of your requirements.

Is it possible to have a major in USC Dornsife and a minor in another school at USC?

Yes! Many of our students have diverse academic interests and decide to supplement their major in USC Dornsife with a minor in one of USC’s 18 professional schools to satisfy their personal and professional goals. In past years, we have seen students combine a Psychology major with minors in Business and Philosophy; a Political Science major with a Piano Performance minor; and a Biological Sciences major with minors in Dance and Sociology. Every semester, you’ll meet with academic advisors from each major and/or minor you declare to ensure you are covering all of your requirements.

What is the average class size? Who teaches?

The average class size is 26 students, and the overall student to faculty ratio is 8:1. Professors or lecturers teach all courses at USC; teaching assistants do not teach classes. Teaching assistants lead discussion sessions or labs to supplement lectures given by professors.

What are the opportunities for undergraduate research?

USC is known for its excellence in both teaching and research, and our university has made a name for itself among some of the top research universities in the country without compromising its commitment to undergraduate education. To that end, USC offers extensive opportunities for undergraduate research from basic to applied research in all academic disciplines. Individual academic departments often advertise research positions to undergraduates through academic advisors. Students who engage in their own original scholarly research can receive an honors designation at graduation or apply for special recognition as a Discovery Scholar. The dean’s office within USC Dornsife provides funding of up to $1,000 for research projects conducted in the fall or spring through SOAR (Student Opportunities for Academic Research), and up to $3,000 for research projects conducted in the summer through SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fund). In addition, we send students away from campus to conduct on-site research in global problems through our Problems Without Passports program.

To learn more about undergraduate research opportunities at USC Dornsife, click here.

What kinds of study abroad programs are available?

The USC Office of Overseas Studies provides students with extensive opportunities to study abroad as undergraduates. There are over 55 semester-long and year-long study abroad programs in 30 countries. There are programs offered in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Greece, Japan, Russia, South Africa and Taiwan, to name a few. Programs vary in cost, and all USC financial aid, including loans, grants, and scholarships, is applicable to USC-sponsored overseas studies programs. Not all programs require foreign language skills; in fact, there are 17 programs that have absolutely no foreign language requirement at all. Students can study abroad after the completion of two semesters at USC, and must have at least sophomore status.

To learn more about Overseas Studies, click here.

How can I apply to the honors program?

Rather than having one single honors program, USC Dornsife offers a number of different honors opportunities so that students can choose how they would like to challenge themselves within the academic curriculum.

Thematic Option
Through Thematic Option (T.O.), students engage in honors alternative to the undergraduate general education curriculum. T.O. courses are organized in an interdisciplinary manner under themes rather than by discipline, and the small, challenging courses are both reading and writing intensive. Students are generally invited to apply to T.O., although any motivated and dedicated student who is interested in T.O. may apply to the program. Applications are made available in the spring, after students have been admitted to USC, and are due well before the May 1st decision deadline. For more information on Thematic Option, click here.

Freshman Science Honors Program
Through the Freshman Science Honors Program, natural science students take advanced versions of the General Chemistry and Introductory Biology courses in a small community of 60 students. Students are generally invited to apply to Freshman Science Honors. Applications are made available in the spring, after students have been admitted to USC, and are due well before the May 1st decision deadline. For more information on Freshman Science Honors, click here.

Departmental honors
Students may also engage in honors programs through their majors. Through many of these programs, students complete a formal research project by the end of their senior year and receive a departmental honors designation on their transcripts.

I am interested in transferring to USC; what classes are transferable from my college, and what classes should I take?

USC has articulation agreements with most two-year accredited institutions in California. An articulation agreement contains a list of courses that will transfer to USC for either general credit or as an equivalency for a specific USC class or requirement. You can use articulation agreements to help you decide which classes you should enroll in as you apply to transfer to USC.  

We have articulation histories with a limited number of four-year accredited institutions in southern California. These articulation histories represent course work which USC will accept in transfer to meet course credit, equivalencies, and general education. The histories have been developed without assistance or input from the universities and were developed for the sole use of USC students. Courses not listed in the histories have not yet been reviewed for transfer and in some cases may be appropriate for transfer.

To assist you in selecting courses for particular major programs, we also offer transfer planning guides. By selecting a particular transfer college and a particular major, the transfer planning guide displays which transfer courses taken during the current academic year at your transfer college will satisfy those requirements.

To view articulation agreements and articulation histories, click here. To review information on applying for transfer to USC, click here. To access the transfer planning guides, click here.

How can I get more information about majors and minors in USC Dornsife?

Information on each of the majors and minors in USC Dornsife can be found on our website. If you have further questions about any of our major or minor programs, please contact the Dornsife Office of Admission at admission@dornsife.usc.edu.

What advanced credit can I receive for my Advanced Placement (AP) test scores?

USC awards 4 units of elective credit for most AP examinations with a score of 4 or 5. A maximum of 32 units will be granted for AP exam credit.

In addition to elective credit, scores of 4 or 5 for certain exams will satisfy the following Core requirements:

  • Arts: Art History
  • Life Sciences: Biology
  • Physical Sciences: Chemistry or Physics (any)
  • Quantiative Reasoning: Calculus (any), Economics (any) or Statistics
  • Traditions and Historical Foundtains: European History, US History, or World History
  • Foreign Language requirement: Chinese Language and Culture, French Language, French Literature, German Language, Italian Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, Spanish Language, or Spanish Literature.

Some departments may use AP scores of 4 or 5 to waive prerequisites or degree requirements as shown below. However, students will receive academic advisement and discuss whether it would be wise to waive a particular prerequisite. Depending on your individual circumstances (e.g. major/minor requirements, post-baccalaureate plans, scholastic strengths and weaknesses), it could be to your advantage to take a prerequisite instead of waiving it. This is especially true for students interested in a health professional graduate program who hope to waive BISC 120, BISC 220, or CHEM 105a. You will be able to discuss your options further with academic advisors both during and after summer orientation.

What advanced credit can I receive for my International Baccalaureate (IB) test scores?

USC grants either: (1) 20 units of credit to students who earn the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a score of 30 or higher, or (2) 6 semester units of credit for each score of 5, 6 or 7 on the IB Higher Level exams, up to a maximum of four exams, whichever is higher. No credit is earned for the Standard Level exams. Advanced Placement (AP) credit can be earned in addition to IB credit for a maximum of 32 units. However, credit cannot be earned for AP and IB exams on the same topic.

Elective credit is awarded by the Articulation Office upon receipt of official IB scores. In addition, a number of IB exams may fulfill USC subject requirements. Click here for information on USC credit for specific IB courses. Some departments may use IB scores for placement purposes, such as waiving a course prerequisite. Also, your major department may use IB scores to waive certain degree requirements. Your academic advisor will provide you with assistance at orientation.

How can I change my major?

Major changes within the Dornsife College will depend on the timing of the request. Prior to attending orientation, contact the USC Dornsife Office of Admission and Student Success at admission@dornsife.usc.edu. We will send you a link to an online form to officially request the change of major. Your major will be changed prior to your orientation session if we have sufficient notice. If you have already attended orientation, reach out to the academic advisor who advises the desired major for next steps.

When can I add a double major?

Second majors can be added in August or after beginning courses for your first semester at USC. You’ll want to discuss the addition with your academic advisor, who will put together a course plan with you before you add the second major. 

When can I add a minor?

Minors can be added after beginning courses for your first semester at USC. You’ll want to discuss the addition with your academic advisor, who can update your student profile.

Can I take classes in other USC schools outside of Dornsife?

Absolutely! It is possible to take classes in other schools within USC as electives or as part of your general education, minors, or second majors. 

When can I add a pre-professional emphasis?

You can add a pre-professional emphasis anytime after you’ve met your academic advisor. Your advisor can add the designation to your student profile. Keep in mind that a pre-professional emphasis is not a major or a minor. Instead, it’s more of a guide to the courses and involvement that will help you toward that career path. By declaring a pre-professional emphasis, you’ll be notified of special workshops, events, and resources organized by our pre-professional advisors.

When can I connect with my advisor?

The first meeting with your academic advisor will happen at orientation. After that, you are welcome to contact them as needed between semester meetings.

How will my AP, IB or A-level exam scores transfer in for credit?

First, please ensure that you have sent USC all of your official score reports. If you submitted official score reports as part of the application process, rest assured that we have them on file. We accept elective credit with specific minimum scores on these exams. Strong performance on selected exams may grant credit toward lower-division courses or general education courses. You can find more detailed information here.

What if some of my classes did not transfer?

First, please review information on types of courses that will transfer, may transfer, or will not transfer to USC. You can find this information here

If there are some courses that you expected to transfer that are not reflected in your USC Transfer Credit Report, you can speak with your academic advisor at or after orientation and contact USC Undergraduate Transfer Credit Services, which is part of the Office of Academic Records and Registrar. Undergraduate Transfer Credit Services may request syllabi or completed coursework you have from the classes in question. For further information, click here

What if my question is not listed here?

If you have a question related to orientation and next steps, we recommend reviewing the USC Orientation website, where you can start with the FAQs here

If you have a question about registration holds, we recommend connecting with your USC admission counselor

You can also contact our office at admission@dornsife.usc.edu for assistance with other questions.