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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Accelerated Bachelors/Graduate Degree Program

  • Are you a USC undergraduate who has completed at least 90 hours of course credits?  

  • Do you have at least a 3.4 cumulative GPA?

  • Are you interested in continuing you education at USC with a graduate degree?

If yes, you may be able to accelerate your progress.  Continue your education and research experience at USC by combining your final year of your undergraduate degree with the first year of a graduate degree.

Get a Master’s Degree in One year!

As most graduate work involves independent research, the program is ideally suited for those wishing to continue for a graduate degree in SEOE (MS of PhD in Geological Sciences, MS or PhD in Marine Science, Master’s in Earth and Environmental Resource Management) and are already involved in research, or planning to do so during their senior year. For those interested in the MEERM internship option there is no research requirement.

Through this program:

  • You will take graduate-level courses during your fourth year of undergrad. 
  • You can count up to 12 credit hours of graduate coursework toward both your undergraduate and graduate degree at USC. 
  • Fall semester senior year, apply for Admission to the graduate program(*). 
  • You will earn your B.S. in 4 years, and then you can finish a M.S. degree in as little as 1 additional year (1.5 years for MEERM), assuming admission and successful progress through the MS requirements.

If interested, you should discuss the option with your research professor.

(*) NOTE: you do not have to apply for a graduate degree at USC to participate in the program. Other institutions may recognize a limited number of graduate transfer credits, but that varies by institution. USC however will recognize up to 12 credits through his program.


Next Steps

These credits will count towards both your bachelor’s degree and your graduate degree.  Carefully select the graduate courses you wish to take, keeping in mind the requirements of the graduate program you intend to  apply to. Discuss the course options with your academic advisor. Submit this form to the SEOE graduate office by emailing:

In your senior year, you apply for admission to the graduate school at USC.  It is highly advisable that you discuss your application with your academic advisor as well as the professor/mentor you wish to work with in the graduate program. The application process is through the USC graduate school.

You will participate in the SEOE graduate program along with other graduate students and fulfill the graduate degree program requirements for your degree. You can read more about the different graduate degrees and their requirements here.


Financial Support

While there is no guaranteed support for students in this program, you will be eligible for teaching assistant and research assistant support on a term-by-term basis if such support is available. You should discuss these possibilities with your prospective professor/mentor and with the Graduate Director.

In the absence of financial support, the Accelerated Bachelor's/Graduate Studies program should be viewed as an opportunity for you to gain quality research experience at the graduate level and earn a M.S. degree. A successful graduate research experience greatly enhances your prospects for admission into other competitive graduate program, strengthens your prospects for profession graduate degrees, or preparing your for the workforce. The program also serves as a valuable transition time, allowing you to refocus your interests and goals to your post graduate life.

How is this different than Senior Privilege?

Senior Privilege permits undergraduate senior in their final semester (who need less than a normal course load to complete their undergraduate degree requirements to take up to six hours of graduate credits. Senior privilege classes are applied to the undergraduate transcript but do not carry graduate credit. Students cannot participate in both Senior Privilege and the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Graduate Study plan. For more information on Senior Privilege, see the Senior Privilege (GS-19) form in the Graduate School’s Forms Library.



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