Renaissance Scholars, Discovery Scholars, and Global Scholars are academic honors that recognize graduating seniors. Interested USC undergraduates may apply and receive the distinction upon commencement. Scholars will receive a medallion to wear at graduation, have their distinction noted on their final transcript from the University, and can apply for consideration for the Prize Competition. Each year, ten students from each of the three distinctions are selected for a $10,000 prize towards graduate study.
In honor of former University President Steven Sample and his wife Kathryn, the Renaissance Scholar distinction recognizes undergraduate students who have excelled in their studies while completing a major and a minor (or two majors) in widely disparate fields of study. The objective is to achieve breadth and depth in two widely separate fields of thought.
The Global Scholar distinction honors students who excel in their studies both at home and abroad. Students must spend at least 10 weeks abroad during their undergraduate studies and complete a capstone project related to their international experiences. Global Scholars participate in activities that expose them to new perspectives, and challenge the status quo.
The Discovery Scholar distinction honors undergraduate students who excel in the classroom while demonstrating the ability to create exceptional new scholarship or artistic works in any major concentration offered at the University.
Application Timeline for Graduating Seniors
When to Apply: May and August graduates apply during their final spring semester. December graduates apply the spring following their graduation (defined by degree completion, not walking). Follow all deadlines and updates published for each Scholar Distinction application.
Scholar Distinction Prize Competition
Each distinction hosts a Prize Competition selecting ten graduating seniors each from all three categories for a $10,000 prize. Students can only be awarded one Prize. Winners can use funds for graduate school anywhere in the U.S. or abroad, and may be able to propose creative projects relevant to career goals. Review each Scholar Distinction page for Prize Competition application requirements. More general Prize Competition information can be found on the FAQ page. View previous winners here.