Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. This list is by no means exhaustive and should you have other questions or comments we invite you to complete the Quick Contact section to the right or call the Office of Undergraduate Programs at (213) 740-1741 for more information.
About the Discovery Scholars Program
No, this is not a scholarship. The Discovery Scholar designation is an academic honor, awarded upon graduation to students who meet the criteria. The ten Discovery Scholar Prizes awarded to students each year are for the purpose of post-baccalaureate study or work on an original creative project that advances their career in the creative arts. Prize recipients using the award for post-baccalaureate study must show evidence of enrollment in a graduate program of study. Recipients using the award for work on a creative project must submit a detailed proposal describing the timeline and intended outcomes of the project. Students have up to five years after completing the Bachelor’s degree to request disbursement of the Prize.
No. Only undergraduates who are enrolled in an undergraduate major may apply for the Discovery Scholar designation.
Yes, in principle you may submit in any discipline. However, in order to qualify, a submission outside the major should be comparable in scope and substance to a senior project within the other discipline. Ideally, non-major submissions should be linked to a declared minor or honors program.
You may contact the Office of Undergraduate Programs at (213) 740-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also follow us on Twitter @USC_Ugrad for more information and deadline reminders.
Eligibility and the Submission Process
A detailed description of how to become a Discovery Scholar can be found on our Become a Scholar page. In short, to become a Discovery Scholar, students must meet the criteria established by their school for outstanding original research or creative work. The criteria may include submission of a research thesis, an artistic portfolio, or some other evidence of original contributions to the discipline. Students must also graduate in no more than five years at USC with a minimum 3.5 overall grade point average.
You may apply for the Discovery Scholar designation during the spring semester of your final year at the University. Applicants have the option of submitting an Intent to Submit form online by early February to declare their interest in applying for the Discovery Scholars designation. If this form is not submitted it will not disqualify a student from the Prize Competition but students are encouraged to submit the form so their respective Schools can prepare accordingly for the anticipated number of submissions.
All applicants interested in being eligible for both the Discovery Scholars designation and the Prize Competition must submit their materials by the Primary Project Submission Deadline. This process is only live from January to March each year. The Primary Project Submission Deadline is midnight on the Monday following Spring Break. December graduates should plan on completing this step in the Spring semester after their degree completion. Spring or Summer graduates should plan on completing this step during their final Spring semester at USC.
Following the submission deadline, the Office of Undergraduate Programs will then distribute submission materials to the respective schools. Each school will nominate a short-list of Prize Competition Finalists from the roster of Discovery Scholar candidates within that school. A university panel will then select the Prize Awardees from the list of Finalists.
Students not interested in being eligible for the Prize Competition can complete their project submission any day prior to the Last Day of Classes in the Spring semester of their final year at USC.
No. If you graduate in the fall semester, you may apply for the Discovery Scholar prizes to be awarded in the spring semester after your graduation. Be sure to keep apprised of and comply with all of the deadline requirements and updates that are published on the Discovery Scholars website.
In addition to the certification of your submitted project, you must graduate within five years at USC with a minimum 3.5 overall grade point average.
No, to earn both the Discovery Scholar and Global Scholar designations, you must submit two completely separate projects for consideration.
If you submit the same project for both programs, your school will certify you for just one of the designations based on which program criteria (if any) best fits your submitted work.
School Contacts and Criteria
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Cynthia A. Martinez, Director of Advisement and Academic Services
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
Danika Newlee, Program Advisor
Marshall School of Business and Leventhal School of Accounting
Kim West, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs
Price School of Public Policy
Nam Ung, Undergraduate Program Administrator
Roski School of Art and Design
Penelope Jones, Assistant Dean of Student Services
Thornton School of Music
Phillip Placenti, Assistant Dean, Admission and Financial Aid
USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Helen Mirsaeidi, Program Advisor
USC School of Architecture
Hadrian Predock, Director of Undergraduate Studies and
USC School of Cinematic Arts
Katie Alvarez, Program Advisor
USC School of Dramatic Arts
Daniel Leyva, Academic Advisor
Viterbi School of Engineering
Louise Yates, Senior Associate Dean, Admissions and Student Affairs
For General Questions about the USC Discovery Scholars program please contact the Office of Undergraduate Programs.
Click on the name of your school to download the project criteria specific to your school:
- Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
- Davis School of Gerontology
- Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
- Keck School of Medicine
- Marshall School of Business and Leventhal School of Accounting
- Roski School of Art and Design
- Sol Price School of Public Policy
- Thornton School of Music
- USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
- USC School of Architecture
- USC School of Cinematic Arts
- USC School of Dramatic Arts
- Viterbi School of Engineering
The deadline for schools to submit Finalist nominations to the Office of Undergraduate Programs is at the beginning of April. You will be notified whether you are a Prize Competition Finalist during the following week.
Prize Competition Finalists will be given an opportunity to update or augment their submission prior to review by the Prize Selection Committee in mid-April.
A university-wide panel will select the Prize Awardees in time for announcement approximately one week before commencement.
No. Prizes awarded to group projects will be divided equally among the group members.
Your immediate plans do not have to be concrete. Once your undergraduate degree has been awarded, you will have up to five years to request disbursement of your prize. Discovery Scholar prize recipients must demonstrate evidence of enrollment in a graduate program or submit a proposal for a creative project that advances their career in the creative arts.
Yes, if you meet each set of program requirements, you may earn two or even all three designations. However, to earn both the Discovery Scholar and Global Scholar designations, you must submit two completely separate projects for consideration.
In addition you may be considered for each program’s Prize Competition– however, no student will be awarded more than one Prize.
Office of Undergraduate Programs University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Gwynn Wilson Student Union, Suite 300
3601 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0896