About the Bennis Scholars Program
Eligibility and Certification
Graduating as a Bennis Scholar

About the Bennis Scholars Program

What is the Bennis Scholars Program?

The Bennis Scholars Program is an academic program and honor for a select group of USC undergraduate students.  The program is designed to develop effective leadership skills through coursework, internships, mentoring, and various activities and experiences.

Who is Warren Bennis?

Dr. Warren G. Bennis was an internationally renowned authority on leadership and widely acclaimed pioneer of leadership studies.  He published 30 books on leadership and was an advisor to several U.S. Presidents as well as numerous business leaders.  In addition, Dr. Bennis was a long-time Distinguished University Professor at USC, where he co-taught with USC President Emeritus Steven B. Sample a popular class on leadership.  Read more about Dr. Bennis’ life and career here.

Is this a scholarship?

No, this is not a scholarship. The Bennis Scholars Program is an academic honor, awarded upon graduation to students who complete the program.  The program consists of four courses (one-unit each) which are completed during the junior and senior year.  Participation in events outside of class is also required.

Whom do I contact for more information?

You may contact Marci Henkoff (henkoff@usc.edu) for more information about the program and the application process.

You can also access a recording of the Spring 2017 Information Session for an overview of the program.

Eligibility and Application Process

Who is eligible to join the Bennis Scholars Program?

Students from all majors and academic departments are eligible to apply.  Applicants must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.60.

Applicants must be second-semester sophomores and/or students expected to graduate in Spring or Fall 2019. Since the program requires two years of courses intended for the junior and senior year, students applying in Spring 2017 to join the program must be graduating within four or five semesters following the Spring 2017 term.

Is there a deadline to apply?

The application deadline for students wishing to begin the program in Fall 2017 is Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by 11:59pm.

What is required to apply?

Eligible applicants must submit the online application including a résumé/one-page list of academic and extra-/co-curricular activities, two essays responding to the given prompts, and completed interview availability sheet. A letter of support (preferably from a USC faculty member) is also required.

How soon after I apply will I know if I’ve been selected for the Bennis Scholars Program?

Following the application deadline in mid-February, eligible applicants will be contacted for an individual interview that will take place in early March, prior to Spring Break.  Candidates will then be invited to participate in a final round, group interview in late March.  The final selection of Scholars will be determined at the conclusion of this interview process.  The Scholars for Fall 2017 will be announced by early April.

Can I participate in the Bennis Scholars Program if I plan to study abroad in my junior or senior year?

Students joining the Bennis Scholars Program are expected to be enrolled on-campus for their first semester in the program (Fall 2017).  Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for Bennis Scholars to study abroad in the Spring of junior year or the Fall of senior year.  Continuing Bennis Scholars who spend a semester abroad may be asked to participate in Bennis Scholars Program experiences remotely via online discussions and recommended activities while in the overseas location which would further the scholar’s progress and development in the program.

Can transfer students apply for the Bennis Scholars Program?

Yes, provided that they expect to graduate in four or five semesters following the Spring 2017 term. Since the program requires two years of courses intended for the junior and senior year, applicants for 2017 must be graduating in Spring or Fall 2019.

Can graduate students apply for the Bennis Scholars Program?

No. Only currently enrolled USC undergraduate students may apply for the Bennis Scholars Program.

Graduating as a Bennis Scholar

If I am selected for the Bennis Scholar Program, does that mean I am automatically a Bennis Scholar?

In addition to being admitted to the program, you must complete all of the program requirements in order to be designated a Bennis Scholar upon graduation.  Graduating Bennis Scholars will have successfully completed each of the four courses (one-unit each) for the program and participated in required program experiences outside the classroom.  Bennis Scholars must also graduate within five years at USC with university honors with a minimum 3.5 overall grade point average.

How is the Bennis Scholar honor recognized upon graduation?

Graduating students who meet all of the program requirements will receive an honors notation on the final transcript and will be acknowledged in the commencement ceremonies.  Bennis Scholars will also have their names inscribed on the USC Wall of Scholars.

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