The First-Year Experience

Opportunities for your first year – make it memorable

USC Core

The hallmark of a USC education and the common bond between you and all other USC undergraduates. The Core consists of courses in General Education, Writing, and Global Perspectives. Explore your options here.

Thematic Option

Thematic Option is the university’s General Education honors program. Each year, fewer than 200 first-year students participate in interdisciplinary classes with some of the university’s best undergraduate instructors.

Freshman Science Honors

Offered to students who declare natural science majors within the Dornsife College, Freshman Science Honors represents advanced versions of existing science tracks, combining world-class faculty, small labs, and a vibrant learning community to help students excel in their studies.

Freshman Seminars

The Freshman Seminar Program allows you to work closely with distinguished faculty members in a seminar environment.  An engaging topic, an enthusiastic instructor, and a small discussion group — all in a once-a-week, 2-unit course.  Learn more about the course offerings for Fall and Spring.


While similar to Freshmen Seminars, Micro-Seminars are just that – mini-workshops and small-group sessions that highlight a special topic in a short time. Limited to two 90-minute sessions during Welcome Week, these seminars are designed to introduce you to faculty and engage you as new students in USC’s academic environment before classes begin.

First-Year Programs by School