USC Core and General Education

Please note: USC has revised its General Education requirements for students starting college in fall 2015 or after. If you began full-time college coursework prior to fall 2015 (not including summer semesters), you will need to follow our previous General Education program. Please visit our Transfer Planning Worksheet page to view and download the previous worksheet.

USC’s General Education program is designed to introduce you to the breadth of knowledge you will need to be a well-educated person in the 21st century.

Students must complete our General Education requirements to earn a bachelor’s degree. We expect transfer students to satisfy a good number of these before admission. Although we do not require a specific number, a good rule of thumb is one or two GE courses per term. Ten courses are required in eight categories. With AP/IB credit, or with some courses that may count toward two categories, many students will meet these requirements with fewer.

With careful choice of classes, students can meet the following 10 requirements with eight courses:
  • Eight courses within the six Core Literacies: one course each in The Arts, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Quantitative Reasoning; and two courses each in Humanistic Inquiry and Social Analysis.
  • Two courses in Global Perspectives: one in Citizenship in a Global Era and one in Traditions and Historical Foundations.
  • Some Global Perspectives courses will satisfy requirements in the Core Literacies as well. A single course can satisfy one Global Perspectives and one Core Literacy requirement at most.
  • Transfer students must complete two GE courses at USC Dornsife College from among the six Core Literacy categories.
  • Once enrolled at USC, students must complete all GE requirements at the university.
  • Transfer students are not required to complete a General Education Seminar (GESM) as is required for first-year students.
  • To be eligible for GE credit, a course taken at another institution must be equivalent to at least 2 and 2/3 units of transfer credit (typically 4 quarter units).

In addition, all students must meet our minimum Math and Writing requirements. Please visit our Transfer Planning Worksheet page for complete details.