Major Mondays: History

Happy Major Monday! If you have been following along on the blog, you already know that Mondays mean we are going to be talking about one of the awesome majors USC has to offer. I’m extra excited to talk about the History major at USC because this was my major during my time as a Trojan.  

Major: The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History is housed in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. This major is available both to first-year and transfer applicants. History majors can go into many different career fields, but popular ones are law, education, or politics.  

Overview: Through high school, everyone has a general idea of what studying history looks like. The question is: What does it mean to be a history major at USC? It means being able to dive deeper into your historical interests more than ever before! You will have your choice of a myriad of classes focused on specific geographical regions and time periods or general historical genres. You will also be taught how to write, think, and argue critically.  

Student Perspective:  I really enjoyed being a History major for several reasons. For one it only takes 10 classes to get the major (if you want to get a Honors in History it’s 14). There is also a lot of crossover with USC’s General Education curriculum and with our Exam Credit for AP courses that it made the History major really flexible for me. Due to the flexibility, I was able to double-major in Human Biology (B.S.) and minor in Spanish during my 4 years at USC.  

I also liked how diverse the classes were. I was able to take coursework in modern Japanese History, colonial Spain, medieval Europe, and much more! Lastly, I had so many small class sizes in the History department, it really enriched the overall learning experience.  

Student Opportunities: There are plenty of opportunities at USC to take your love for History beyond the classroom. During the spring semester, HIST 395 Sex and the City: Constructing Gender in London has students travel to London for a week at the end of the term to dive deeper into the topic of gender in London from 1700-1900.  

Then there are our Clio and Phi Alpha Theta student organizations that organize events and excursions into the LA area to help students connect with history in the real world. Some past events of theirs have included fun activities as movie nights and trivia events!  

Want to Learn More? 

Now I’m sure after hearing all this you’re clamoring to learn more. Please go visit our History Department’s amazing website here. If you want to hear how USC History alumni Tracy Walder used her degree towards a career in the CIA and FBI check this out! 

Written by: Alexander Castro – Assistant Director, USC Office of Undergraduate Admission



Major Mondays: Linguistics

Major: The Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics is housed in the Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences. A minor in Linguistics is also available for students from all majors at USC, and requires just five additional courses. The USC Department of Linguistics enjoys a national and international reputation for excellence in the scientific study of language. The major is open to both applying first-year and transfer students. 

Overview: Linguistics is the scientific study of language and its structure, focusing on how the human mind organizes, processes, and acquires language. It also examines how similar communication goals are met by diverse means in the languages of the world. While many linguists are polyglots (individuals who speak multiple languages), linguistics is not the study of different languages – rather, it is the study of the science of language itself. It can include topics such as how children acquire language, the unconscious knowledge of language that humans have, and how language influences the way we interact with one another and the world.  

Notable Research: The range of research that linguists conduct is vast- from analyzing how computer systems such as Google Translate model natural language (computational linguistics), to how words give language meaning (semantics). A group of PhD students in our Linguistics department conducted research on the science of beatboxing by utilizing MRI scanners. They have recruited five different beatboxers to produce sounds while an MRI machine recorded their heads and mouths. With this research, they are interested in studying the intersection of language and music, and how the sounds produced in beatboxing might help understand the limits of what humans can accomplish linguistically!  

Notable Info: Linguistics is a highly interdisciplinary field. At USC we offer several combined programs in Philosophy, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Cognitive Science, and Computational Linguistics. We also offer a minor in Linguistics, which is valuable for all students interested in language. A major or minor in Linguistics can be a great starting point and foundation for students interested in pursuing careers in diverse areas, such as education, law, government, computer science, anthropology, business, and more.  

Unique Academic Opportunity: The field of Linguistics is incredibly broad and diverse, but is central is learning about different cultures and languages around the world. As a result, there are a multitude of study abroad opportunities that Linguistics students can take advantage of during their time at USC. One of our Linguistics students who is passionate about studying endangered languages went abroad to Santiago, Chile, where they took a course on Mapuche language from a Mapuche professor! They were able to learn more about the endangered language, known as Mapudungun. Fieldwork is vital in linguistics, and USC invites all of our students to participate in hands-on cultural experiences abroad.  

Want to Learn More? 

To learn more about Linguistics at USC and the Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences, register for one of our ongoing Virtual Programs! The Dornsife department session as well as the live virtual tours and student panels provide more insight into the major and school.  

Written by: Rachel Cho – Assistant Director, USC Office of Undergraduate Admission



Major Mondays: Global Health

Major: The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Global Health is one of two undergraduate programs housed under the Department of Preventative Medicine in the Keck School of Medicine at USC. The program is open to applying first-year and transfer students. 

Overview:  The Bachelor of Science in Global Health is a multidisciplinary program that provides students with insight and knowledge about public health in a global context. With a focus on policy and global health issues, students take courses within Health Promotion and Disease Prevention studies and International Relations. Students are able to take the knowledge and background gained through this program and apply it not only globally, but locally as well. This is a great program for students interested in medicine, pharmacy, public health, epidemiology, international relations, and other health careers. 

Students can also take advantage of the Progressive Degree Program (PDP) at USC, allowing undergraduates to complete their master’s degree simultaneously. Undergraduate students studying within the Department of Preventative Medicine have the opportunity to pursue graduate degrees in:

  1. Master of Public Health 
  1. Master of Science in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology 
  1. Master of Science in Global Medicine 
  1. Master of Science in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine 
  1. Master of Health Administration (partnered with the USC Price School of Public Policy) 

Research: The program provides students with the opportunity to work alongside their professors and gain research skills through the “Directed Research” course requirement, HP490. Although only required for one semester, it is very common for students to partake in multiple directed research projects. Research topics include, but are not limited to: maternal and child health, diabetes, HIV, and global epidemiologic research. 

Alumni/Faculty: 
Laura Ferguson, PhD, SM, MA is an assistant professor as well as the program director of Global Health and Human Rights at USC. Her research is focused  on societal factors and their effect on health, as well as the importance of human rights for better health outcomes. She has collaborated with the United Nations, non-government organizations, and universities worldwide and has spent a large portion of her career working in under-resourced countries, including sub-Saharan Africa. 

Claradina Soto, PhD, MPH (Navajo/Jemez Pueblo) is an assistant professor in the Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research at USC. Her work has focused on reducing and preventing mental health disparities, cancer prevalence, and substance use and opioid use disorders. She has worked with urban and Tribal communities in California as well as with American Indian and Alaska Native populations for over twenty years.  

Want to Learn More? 
The USC Global Health Travel Blog has great blogs about the different opportunities and experiences students within the program have had. 

The Keck Student Ambassadors are a group of student representatives majoring in Global Health and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. They provide great insight and support regarding these two majors at USC. 

Interested in learning more about the Progressive Degrees available to students through the Keck School of Medicine? Make sure to visit the Progressive Degree Program website! 

Written by Jennifer Donis Gonzalez, Assistant Director of Admission