Return to: Undergraduate Education
USC is a major university providing diverse academic programs. As such it has evolved into a complex organization. The basic underlying principle in its organization is simple: groups of faculty with similar areas of knowledge and interest are grouped together to form departments or schools. These units work together in determining the courses to be offered, requirements for degrees, and the content and rationale underlying their curricula.
In practice, the organization becomes more complex. Certain areas of study are based on broad areas of knowledge, which need to draw faculty from several departments.
The basic undergraduate degrees are the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. Students may obtain these degrees in a variety of majors that have been formally approved. More specialized degrees, such as a Bachelor of Music, require more undergraduate study devoted to professional training.
Area of Emphasis
An Area of Emphasis is a specific focus within a major. Areas of Emphasis are specified following the appropriate majors, typically in parentheses, and do not appear on diplomas but are indicated on transcripts.
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/Philosophy 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 BA or BS 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” (see USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences). 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 in the Requirements for Graduation section.
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. (See the policy on residence requirements for a second bachelor’s degree, under Course Work Taken Elsewhere.)
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.
In addition to the degree programs listed throughout the Catalogue, 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.