Return to: USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Thematic Option, the university’s general education core honors program, is an alternative to regular core general education requirements. The program is interdisciplinary and provides a strong intellectual community.
The program teaches students to formulate ethical questions, to analyze and understand the reasoning behind views that differ from their own, to recognize the roles that historical, political and social forces play in matters of personal choice, and to express their views coherently in writing. Thematic Option can be arranged to fit any major.
To maintain small classes and allow for extensive discussion, Thematic Option is limited to just under 200 students each year. Students must be highly motivated, with a record of academic achievement. The average Thematic Option student has cumulative SAT scores above 1480 and an average high school GPA of 4.0. The program is rigorous and requires extensive reading and writing.
Hancock Foundation Building 410
Executive Director: Richard Edinger, PhD
Assistant Professor of Writing: Trisha Tucker, PhD
Lecturers: Amy Cannon, MFA; Patience Moll, PhD; Michael Petitti, PhD
The Thematic Option honors curriculum consists of four interdisciplinary core classes taught around distinct themes: CORE 101g Symbols and Conceptual Systems: Thematic Option Honors Program ; CORE 102gp Culture and Values: Thematic Option Honors Program ; CORE 103g The Process of Change in Science: Thematic Option Honors Program ; and CORE 104gw Change and the Future: Thematic Option Honors Program .
CORE 111 Writing Seminar I: Thematic Option Honors Program and CORE 112 Writing Seminar II: Thematic Option Honors Program make up the 8 units of writing to meet the university requirement. The classes are accompanied by individual, bi-weekly tutorials. CORE 111 , which requires concurrent enrollment with an affiliated CORE 102 , focuses on critical thinking and analysis, focusing on academic argument and reasoning through close reading of primary texts. CORE 112 teaches students to convey complex ideas and to advance sophistication of essay structure, grounded argument, and to identify and address specific audiences persuasively in academic discourse.
The core Thematic Option curriculum is supplemented by four additional courses taken from the General Education Program: one in Quantitative Reasoning, one in The Arts, one in Social Analysis, and one in the Physical Sciences. Completion of CORE 102 and CORE 111 with a passing grade satisfies the University’s General Education Seminar requirement.