Office of Admission & Student Success
2025-2026 Admission
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Progressive degree program


pre-graduate School

Pre-Professional Programs

Your college major is the field of study in which you will earn a bachelor’s degree. In addition to a major, some students choose to add an area of focus that will prepare them for graduate studies. We call these pre-professional programs. It’s important to note that a pre-professional emphasis is not a major or a minor because students will not earn a degree in a pre-professional program. You can add a pre-professional emphasis by indicating one on your application for admission, just below your first-choice and second-choice majors. You can also add a pre-professional emphasis later on, by speaking with an academic advisor after starting classes as a USC student. There are no prerequisites or requirements to add a pre-professional emphasis, and you can combine any major with any pre-professional emphasis. Declaring a pre-professional emphasis simply ensures that you’ll be notified of advising sessions, workshops, events, and involvement opportunities related to your pre-professional emphasis.


Planning to enter a career in the healthcare professions? You can declare a pre-professional emphasis in one of our many pre-health areas. Pre-health is the umbrella term that encompasses health-related professions including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, veterinary medicine, nursing, and more. Because a pre-professional emphasis is not a major, you can add a pre-health emphasis to any major. Pre-health advisors will work with you to ensure you are completing the prerequisite courses needed for your specific type of health-related graduate program.
Download pre-health brochure


If you’re thinking about attending law school, you can add a pre-law emphasis to your existing area of study. Declaring a pre-law emphasis gives you access to specialized advisement and resources through our Office of Pre-Law Advisement. While there are no specific prerequisite courses needed for law school, the pre-law advising office can support you to become a strong and competitive law school applicant.
Download pre-law brochure

Pre-Graduate School

Students considering graduate school (not in healthcare or law) will add a pre-graduate school emphasis after starting classes at USC. Common paths for pre-grad students include doctoral (Ph.D.) degree programs and master’s degree programs in areas such as policy, social work, education, and business. A pre-graduate school emphasis gives you access to specialized advisors and keeps you informed of events tailored to support your future goals.

Progressive Degree Programs

USC’s progressive degree program (PDP) enables undergraduate students to begin work on a USC master’s degree while finishing up the requirements for their USC bachelor’s degree. This usually allows students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in a total of five years. Students are eligible to apply to a PDP as current USC students, as they approach completion of 64-semester units. Students usually begin exploring these programs after they have started their studies at USC.

Hear from pre-professional students

Hear from pre-professional students

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