Become a Global Scholar

The Global Scholars distinction is intended to recognize and celebrate USC undergraduate students who have excelled academically while becoming world-citizens. Global Scholars will graduate from USC with at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA and will have spent at least ten weeks abroad either through study abroad programs, internship opportunities, service work, or a combination of these efforts.

Interested USC students can utilize the step-by-step process that follows to determine their eligibility and apply for the Global Scholars distinction . Global Scholars will receive a medallion to wear at graduation, have their distinction noted on their final transcript from the University, and may be eligible for a $10,000 prize toward graduate study.

1. Watch the Info Session
2. Review Your School’s Criteria
3. Determine Your Eligibility
4. Meet With Global Scholars Coordinator
5. Have an Incredible Time Abroad!
6. Online Application and Project
7. Project Evaluation and Prize Competition

1. Watch an info session on the USC Scholar Distinctions

2. Review Your School’s Criteria

Each school has determined specific School Criteria for its students who wish to be designated as Global Scholars. This allows every student the flexibility and creativity to express themselves in a format best suited for their field of study.

*Tip: Reading this information before going abroad can help you conceptualize your capstone project in a way that will also compliment your School’s expectations. With this in mind though, the authenticity of your project comes first, and we encourage you to keep this in the back of your mind rather than allowing it to become the lens through which you see your experience.

3. Determine Your Eligibility

The Global Scholars distinction recognizes graduating seniors who have excelled in their studies both at USC and abroad. Global Scholars will:

  • 3.5 minimum overall GPA upon graduation
  • Graduate within five years of initial enrollment at USC
  • Spend at least ten weeks outside the U.S. as part of their undergraduate experience. Ten weeks can be a combination of one or more programs that are founded on academic study, work experience, or service learning. Programs must be administered by USC or an outside institution. In the case of purely student-run international programs, the quality of the program would need to be verified by the student’s school.
  • Submit a capstone project or research paper that demonstrates their learning and validates the depth and quality of the student’s experience. Each school has defined what the capstone project criteria will be for its students, thus allowing our students some flexibility and room for creativity. Learn about your School’s capstone project criteria (see step #2).
  • Submit a brief reflective essay (up to 3 pages) in which they reflect upon their international experience and the transformative impact it has had upon their development and learning at USC. This essay should contextualize their experience abroad and can include thoughts on how their global experiences have impacted their plans for post-graduate study or employment.

4. Meet With Global Scholars Coordinator (optional)

Each USC School has a designated Global Scholars Coordinator that is knowledgeable about the Global Scholar distinction and the school’s specific submission criteria. Though this step is not mandatory, applicants are encouraged to be in touch with their School’s contact person to gain insight about the designation and feedback about their project submission format, content, and composition. Find your Global Scholars Coordinator.

For general questions about the USC Global Scholars distinction please, contact Academic Honors and Fellowships at (213) 740-9116 or

5. Have an Incredible Time Abroad!

6. Online Application and Project

The Global Scholars application deadline will occur in the spring semester of each academic year. Applications and supplemental materials must be submitted by one of two deadlines in order to be considered for the Global Scholars distinction:

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Deadline for candidates who wish to be considered for the Global Scholars distinction and Prize Competition.

Monday, April 23, 2018
Deadline for candidates who wish to be considered for the Global Scholars *honor only*

7. Project Evaluation and Prize Competition

Following each submission deadline, submitted capstone projects and reflective essays will be certified by a panel of experts within each respective school. Students will be notified of their Global Scholars certification status within approximately two weeks of each submission deadline.

For the Prize Competition submission deadline, each school will nominate a short-list of Prize Finalists to advance to the university-wide prize competition. It is a significant honor to be recognized as a Prize Finalist – this indicates that the submitted capstone project and reflective essay are among the most distinguished submissions by any student in the school. The Global Scholars Prize Selection Committee is comprised of faculty from across the University. The Committee will convene to make the final prize selections prior to Commencement.

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