Watch an information session on the USC Scholar Distinctions
About the Global Scholar Distinction
Is this a scholarship?
No. The Global Scholar distinction is an academic honor, awarded upon graduation to students who meet the criteria. The ten Global Scholar Prizes awarded to students each year are for the purpose of post-baccalaureate study. Prize recipients must show evidence of enrollment in a graduate program of study. Students have up to five years after completing the Bachelor’s degree to request disbursement of the Prize.
Can graduate students apply for the Global Scholar distinction?
No. Only undergraduates who are enrolled in an undergraduate major may apply for the Global Scholar distinction.
Can I submit my capstone project in a discipline other than my major?
Yes, in principle you may submit in any discipline. However, in order to qualify, a submission outside the major should be comparable in scope and substance to a capstone project within the other discipline. Ideally, non-major submissions should be linked to a declared minor or honors program.
May I earn the Global Scholar, Discovery Scholar and Renaissance Scholar distinctions?
Yes, if you meet each distinctions set of program requirements you may earn two or even all three distinctions. However, to earn both the Global Scholar and Discovery Scholar distinctions, you must submit two completely separate projects for consideration.
In addition, you may be considered for each program’s Prize Competition; however, no student will be awarded more than one prize.
Eligibility and the Project Submission Process
What does it take to be designated as a Global Scholar?
A detailed description of how to become a Global Scholar can be found on our Become a Scholar page. In short, to become a Global Scholar, students must have spent a minimum of ten weeks abroad as part of their undergraduate experience. Global Scholars applicants are expected to complete a capstone paper, project, or research paper and a reflective essay about their international experience. Eligible students must graduate in no more than five years at USC with a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average.
When can I apply for the Global Scholar distinction and for the $10,000 prize?
You may apply for the Global Scholar distinction during the spring semester of your final year at the University. All applicants interested in being eligible for both the Global Scholars distinction and the Prize Competition must submit their materials by the Primary Submission Deadline. Following the submission deadline, the Office of Undergraduate Programs will then distribute submission materials to the respective schools. Each school will nominate a short-list of Prize Competition Finalists from the roster of Global Scholar candidates within that school. A university panel will then select the Prize Awardees from the list of Prize Competition Finalists.
If I graduate in the fall semester, can I apply for the Global Scholar distinction and prize competition to be awarded the May before I graduate?
No. If you graduate in the fall semester, you must apply for the Global Scholar distinction and prize competition to be awarded in the Spring after your graduation. Be sure to keep apprised of and comply with all of the deadline requirements and updates that are published on the Global Scholars website for the appropriate term in order to ensure your eligibility.
What is the Global Scholar Prize Selection Committee looking for from submitted projects or essays?
The Global Scholar Prize Committee is composed of faculty members from departments across campus. They have compiled their suggestions and expectations here to help you compile a cohesive and complete project submission.
My Global Scholar project is research-based in nature; can I submit the same project for Discovery Scholars consideration?
No, to earn both the Global Scholar and Discovery Scholar distinctions, you must submit two completely separate projects for consideration.
If you submit the same project for both programs, your school will certify you for just one of the distinctions based on which program criteria (if any) best fits your submitted work.
School Contacts and Criteria
Whom do I contact if I have questions about the capstone criteria for my school?
You can find the list of Global Scholars Coordinators and the Capstone Criteria for each school listed here. Global Scholars Coordinators will help you gain insight about the distinction and feedback about project submission format, content, and composition. For general questions, please contact Academic Honors and Fellowships at firstname.lastname@example.org
When will I know if I have been nominated as a Prize Competition Finalist?
The deadline for Schools to submit Prize Competition Finalist nominations to Academic Honors and Fellowships is at the beginning of March. You will be notified whether you are a Prize Competition Finalist soon afterward.
When does the selection of Prize Awardees take place?
A university-wide panel will select the Prize Awardees by the end of March.
I plan to take time off to do something else before graduate school, such as a job, or the Peace Corps. Do immediate post-graduation plans have to be concrete, or can the prize be deferred?
Your immediate plans do not have to be concrete. Once your undergraduate degree has been awarded, you have up to five years to request disbursement of your prize. Global Scholar prize recipients must demonstrate evidence of enrollment in a graduate program in order to receive the prize amount.