Become a Global Scholar

The Global Scholar distinction recognizes graduating seniors who have excelled in their studies both at USC and abroad. Learn more about the history of the Global Scholar distinction here.

Step 1: Determine Eligibility 
Step 2: Review Project Requirements
Step 3: Apply for Global Scholars

1. Determine Eligibility

To qualify for the Global Scholar distinction, graduating seniors must:

  • graduate with a 3.5 minimum cumulative GPA (with University Honors)
  • graduate within 5 years of matriculation at USC
  • spend at least 10 weeks outside of the U.S. during undergraduate experience. Programs can be combined to reach 10 week minimum as long as they are founded in academic study, work experience, or service learning. Programs must be administered by USC or a alternative external organization. Student-run international programs will need to be verified for quality by the student’s USC school. 

2. Review Project Requirements for Global Scholars

To be considered, applicants must submit a capstone project and reflective essay based on criteria set by each USC School.


Capstone Project or Research Paper

The project must demonstrate learning and validate the depth and quality of the student’s experience abroad.

Tip: School Criteria may be reviewed before traveling abroad to help conceptualize capstone project; however, prospective applicants should avoid using criteria as the sole lens through which to see their experience.

Personal Reflection Essay

  1. Brief essay (no more than 3 pages, double-spaced, 12pt font)
  2. Response should reflect the following points:
    • Using the USC Global Scholars Learning Outcomes as a guide, what was the transformative impact of your time abroad? How have these experiences impacted your academic life at USC?
    • How does your capstone project relate to experience(s) abroad? If you spent time in more than one country, how did each experience connect to one another? If applicable, why is your capstone project tied to one specific study abroad experience?
    • How has the project been continually developed since you returned to the U.S.? For example: have you conducted additional research, discovered new application of your project based on lessons learned, etc.?
    • How have you continued exploring different global perspectives after your time abroad?

For general questions about the USC Global Scholar distinction, contact Academic Honors and Fellowships at For capstone project requirements, contact School Coordinator(s).

3. Apply for Global Scholars

Graduating seniors must apply during the spring semester of their final academic year in order to graduate with the distinction. May and August graduates apply in their final spring semester. December graduates apply after graduation.

Application Opens: October 21, 2019

Final Deadline for Distinction and Prize Competition: February 10, 2020

After submitting an application, students should closely review emails from Academic Honors and Fellowships for notifications regarding status of distinction, follow-up for prize nominations, and instructions for receiving a medallion at the beginning of May.

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Open Advising: October – January
For general information only – see above for School Criteria & School Coordinators
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