Return to: Graduate and Professional Education
The basic graduate degrees are the Master of Arts, Master of Science, the Doctor of Philosophy and the professional doctoral degree.
The Master of Arts degree is normally given for study in the humanities and social sciences. The Master of Science degree is normally given for study in the natural sciences and engineering. Other master’s degrees are granted by USC for proficiency in professional fields. Master’s degree programs are subject to the policies of the Graduate School.
All Doctor of Philosophy degrees must meet the standards of scholarship and other regulations established by the Graduate School. With the exception of Doctor of Dental Surgery, Juris Doctor and Doctor of Medicine, all professional doctoral programs are subject to the policies of the Graduate School.
In addition, the university also offers a number of graduate certificate programs. Graduate credit certificate programs must be approved by the University Committee on Curriculum and meet the following requirements: (1) a minimum of 12 units is required; the maximum number of units may vary; (2) for certificate programs of 16 units or fewer, all course work must be at the 500 level or above. For programs of more than 16 units, not more than 25 percent of the total units for the program may be at the 400 level; (3) for completion, a minimum cumulative USC grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved on all course work applied to the certificate; (4) all course work must be earned at USC, except for programs of more than 16 units, in which case not more than 25 percent of the course work may be transfer credit.
Area of Emphasis
An Area of Emphasis is a specific focus within a major that has been formally approved. Areas of Emphasis are listed within parentheses following the appropriate majors and do not appear on diplomas but are indicated on transcripts.
A dual degree program joins two distinct graduate degree programs under a single, new program and POST (program of study) code. (Applicants to dual degree programs must apply separately to each degree and be admitted to both programs. After admission to both degree programs, the student is assigned the single, dual degree POST code.) Upon completion of the dual degree program, two degrees (and two diplomas) are awarded. Both degrees in a dual degree program must be awarded with the same conferral date.
Progressive Degree Programs
A progressive degree program enables a USC undergraduate to begin work on a master’s degree while completing requirements for the bachelor’s degree. The degree may be in the same or different departments but should be in a similar field of study. Students in a progressive degree program 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 master’s degree may be awarded simultaneously with but not before the bachelor’s degree is awarded.
Online Programs and Courses
The university does not distinguish online programs and courses from those offered on campus. Requests to provide information about which programs and courses are offered online will be denied.