If You Change Your Mind: Internal Only Majors

One of the first things prospective students learn when visiting the USC campus is that almost all of our admitted students are admitted directly into a specific major.  We have over one hundred and fifty majors so there’s a lot of variety when it comes to picking one, and often students tell me they are a little overwhelmed with the options.  It’s also totally normal for the average seventeen year old to feel uneasy about committing to one academic subject immediately upon entering college. Luckily, the commitment is not one that lasts a lifetime, or even a full academic year.  Did you know that USC offers certain majors that aren’t available on the Common Application, because they are programs that students can only internally transfer into once they get here?  Many of these programs are pretty focused and specific, so it’s more common to discover these interests while studying for another major at USC.  For example….


Students at USC can add or change their major to Informatics, which is a Bachelor of Science, after studying a related field in our Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences (such as psychology, international relations, or political science).  Adding Informatics to any Bachelor of Arts degree can help students understand how computer-based information systems facilitate, enable and often define the relationships between corporations and consumers, buyers and suppliers, businesses of all sizes, social networks, citizens and their governments. Understanding these relationships and effectively addressing the collection, flow and distribution of information is vital to the effectiveness of any modern organization, enterprise or government agency.  The program teaches students to understand, design and implement effective solutions to meet organizational, societal and management needs for information and decision support.

As part of the major core requirements, students will explore classes like CSCI 102L: Introduction to Computation, CSCI 104L: Date Structure and Object Oriented Design, and CSCI 170: Discrete Methods in Computer Science.

Quantitative Biology

This program allows biology students to achieve a fuller background in the quantitative sciences that are essential for modern data-driven biological science such as computer science and statistics. The students will take an introductory seminar, participate in undergraduate research and write an honors thesis.  With a strong focus on data science, Quantitative Biology is not for students interested in medical school but better suits those interested in research and analytical skills needed to extract meaning from large amounts of raw data.  Students are trained to be both high-level biologists and high-level data analysts.  In the major, students will take advanced biology and chemistry courses in addition to CSCI 103L: Intro to Programming, Math 307: Statistical interference and Data Analysis, and BISC 478: Computational Genome Analysis.

Social Sciences, with an Emphasis in Economics

Students complete the majority of their major units in lower and upper division economics courses like Econ 203: Principles of Microeconomics, and Econ 205: Principles of Macroeconomics.  Additional courses are required from various social science departments including anthropology, geography, international relations, history, political science, psychology, or sociology.  Most students find their way to this major through an original interest in economics.

Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Media and Politics

The major in Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Media and Politics underscores the global reach and import of nations in the Americas, Europe and Africa, in which Spanish and Portuguese are spoken. By focusing on the study of language in Span 260 Advanced Spanish: Arts and Sciences, and the study of literature and cinema in classes like PORT 302 and 342: Introduction to Brazilian Literature and Brazilian Cinema, as well other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, students learn to think critically about the cultural, political, and historical questions involved in the study of Latin American and Iberian Societies.


And there’s more!  Students can study Social Sciences with an emphasis in Psychology or even Chemical Biology.  We have an Interdisciplinary Major Program that presents a special opportunity for students to take advantage of the University’s strengths in the professions and the liberal arts, by designing individual programs of study that cross the lines between traditional majors.  We want you to find whatever major is the best fit for you.  Whether that’s the major you start in as a first-year student or the major you pick sophomore year.  So don’t worry, pick a major now, and explore what the future holds.


6 thoughts on “If You Change Your Mind: Internal Only Majors”

  1. As a prospective student who is interested in majoring in economics, what is the difference between a major in Economics and a major in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Economics?

    1. Hi, Gabrielle! The econ major requires only econ courses (with the addition of a math and an information technology course). The social science with an emphasis in econ major requires the same, but three electives must be taken outside of econ and in the following departments: anthropology, geography, history, IR, polisci, psych, and sociology. The required courses for the latter are linked in the article and you can find the required classes for the econ major here: https://dornsife.usc.edu/econ/ba-economics/

  2. Is it possible to double major in psychology and business administration as an undergraduate at USC? If so, should I put business administration or psychology as my first choice major on my common application or does the order not matter?

    1. Hi, Alexis! Yes, you can double major in both degree programs. At USC, you start in your first choice major and then add on your second once you start here. Feel free to list whichever is the most appealing to you first and explain in your short answer essay that you want to double major (and tell us why).

  3. I applied to the engineering college at usc, but have decided I want to switch to more of a math based course (thinking actuarial science), is there a way I can switch my major before commiting?

    1. Hi, Keara! Please reach out to your admission counselor. They will be able to assist you in changing your major.

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