Our ideal is to help students develop the kind of intellectual flexibility needed for life in the 21st century that the best thinkers of the European Renaissance displayed.
The Renaissance Scholar distinction honors students whose broad interests help them excel academically. Like Leonardo da Vinci, who was equally adept in the arts and the sciences, Renaissance Scholars are students whose majors and minors are from widely separated fields of study.
About Renaissance Scholars
Undergraduate students at USC have the flexibility to pursue academic study in disparate fields. This curricular freedom allows students to select a major and a minor (or two majors) in widely separated fields of study. USC has a comprehensive array of undergraduate majors and minors that span the arts and humanities, the social and natural sciences, and the professions. In fact, the range of undergraduate minors is the broadest of any university in the country.
To recognize students who excel in two or more unrelated disciplines, the University has established the Steven and Kathryn Sample USC Renaissance Scholars distinction. The honor was endowed in the name of former University President Steven Sample, who founded the distinction in 2000, and his wife Kathryn, upon the President’s retirement in 2010.
Undergraduates can combine a major in history with a minor in business, or a major in engineering with a minor in cinema, or a double major in physics and classics, or majors and minors in scores of other pairs of disparate fields.
The objective is not just breadth in the conventional sense – not just well roundedness. Rather, the objective is breadth with depth, and the extraordinary release of intellectual energy that often occurs when two widely separate fields of thought are brought together in the same mind. Students educated in this way will be especially well prepared to confront the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. All USC undergraduates are encouraged to pursue this honor.