USC's Core curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to be considered well educated in the 21st century. The faculty has structured the core to encourage students to explore diverse areas of study and to provide enough flexibility to add a minor or second major to their degree program. All students must take two courses in English writing, six General Education or breadth requirements, and a multicultural studies course. Many programs also require foreign language proficiency. We strongly advise you to begin Core course work, especially the writing and foreign language requirements, early in your studies.
Strong English writing skills are essential to success at USC. All students must take two writing courses, including an advanced writing course that must be taken at USC. Successful transfer applicants will complete a course equivalent to USC's lower-division requirement, WRIT 130, before being admitted.
The goals of the general education program are to:
- Teach students the skills needed for critical thinking, writing, and reading.
- Teach these skills in a specific context, i.e., social issues, cultures and traditions, science, and society.
- Teach students how to apply these skills so they can find, evaluate, and use the vast amount of information now available via the media, the internet, new technologies, and traditional forms of knowledge.
- Teach students to discern and assess the values that underlie various critical positions, and to articulate their own with coherence and integrity.
- Encourage a passion for learning.
Students are required to take one course in each of these six categories: Western Cultures and Traditions, Global Cultures and Traditions, Scientific Inquiry, Science and Its Significance, Arts and Letters, and Social Issues.
Successful applicants will complete many of these requirements before being admitted.
The Diversity requirement enables students to better understand and respect differences between groups of people and the potential resources and conflicts arising from human differences in America and across the world.
Requirements vary by major. See Additional Requirements for Selected Majors for information on your intended program. Students not finishing this requirement prior to enrolling at USC must take a placement test before continuing study in a foreign language. Since this requirement can take three or four semesters (or five quarters) to complete, we encourage students to begin this sequence early in their course of study.
An articulation agreement is a published listing of courses offered at another college that will transfer to USC. It indicates which courses fulfill general education and other requirements and shows courses that are equivalent to lower-division courses at USC. USC has articulation agreements with most California community colleges; however, please note that not all community college courses will transfer to USC. All agreements are available online at www.usc.edu/articulation or from your college's transfer counselor.
No Articulation Agreement? If you attend an institution with which USC does not maintain an articulation agreement, consider the following:
- Articulation histories: USC has articulation histories (partial course lists) for CSU Los Angeles, CSU Long Beach, CSU Northridge, CSU Pomona, UCLA, and UC Riverside. Visit the USC Office of Articulation for more information.
- Other four-year institutions: Most academic courses from four-year institutions will transfer.
- Two-year institutions: Most courses that transfer to the main ("flagship") four-year institutions in other states will transfer to USC. In California, most courses that transfer to the University of California system (not the California State University system) will transfer.