Graduate and Professional Education
Graduate Degree Programs
USC is a major research 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. The faculty in 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 following list of undergraduate and graduate degrees provides a guide to the organization of graduate study at USC. The index includes all degrees offered, and the school which administers the degree.
The basic graduate degrees are the Master of Arts, Master of Science, the Doctor of Philosophy and the professional doctoral degree. At USC there are approximately nine professional doctoral degrees, including law, dentistry and medicine. The Master of Arts degree is normally given for study in the humanities and social sciences. All Master of Arts degrees fall under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School.
At USC, the Master of Science degree is normally given for study in the natural sciences and engineering. Some of the Master of Science degree programs and several specialized master's degree programs are also under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School.
Other master's degrees are granted by USC for proficiency in professional fields. These professional master's degrees are not generally conferred by the Graduate School.
Each school may provide programs for several types of degree objectives in similar areas of study. For example, the Thornton School of Music provides curricula for the Master of Arts with a major in early music performance and also offers Master of Music degree programs. These many shades of distinction between the types of degrees offered are to provide flexibility to students. Students must select degree objectives based on consideration of what will best prepare them for the career or further study they wish to pursue.
While many schools provide curricula leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree, all Doctor of Philosophy degrees are conferred by and are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. All Ph.D. candidates must meet the standards of scholarship and other regulations established by the Graduate School. Other doctorates, which prepare students for leadership and expert service in certain fields of science, art and public welfare, are under the jurisdiction of the several schools. Professional doctorates, which are generally not under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School, include: Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Education, Juris Doctor, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Music, Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Planning and Development Studies, Doctor of Pharmacy and Doctor of Physical Therapy.