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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

The Graduate School recognizes diversity, equity, and inclusion as systemic issues that affect student wellbeing, the health of communities across campus, and the future of the professions and society.

USC Graduate School actively strives to diversify the graduate student body, to promote equity in our graduate programs, and to support the full inclusion of all students as they progress toward their professional goals. We offer direct support for current students, and partner with units across campus that are committed to the same. We also administer initiatives that widen the pathways into graduate programs at USC, as well as long-term efforts that facilitate more equitable policies, practices, and cultures within those programs.


Equity in Graduate Education Consortium

USC is a founding partner and the institutional home of the Equity in Graduate Education Consortium. The Consortium brings together change-ready universities, graduate programs, and leaders with a goal of aligning policies and practices with commitments to graduate education. It provides faculty with professional development and support for institutional change, creating opportunities to rethink standard practices and institutionalize new ways of selecting and serving graduate students.

Outcomes of participation in the Consortium’s pilot phase included increases in the number and fraction of racially minoritized applicants, admittees, and enrolled students; increases in the number and fraction of women admitted and enrolled; increased use of inclusive recruitment and admissions practices; 3+ years of sustained changes to policies and practices.


Partner PhD Programs at USC

  • Physics, 2019-2024
  • Marine and Environmental Biology, 2022-2024
  • Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 2022-2024
  • Craniofacial Biology, 2022-2024
  • Chemistry, 2019-2022
  • Molecular Biology, 2018-2022
  • Psychology, 2018-2022

Learn more about the Equity in Graduate Education Consortium and its impact on their website:

You can also contact project manager, Yasmin Kadir, at

Pathways to the PhD - JumpStart Program

USC’s Graduate Initiative for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) aims to increase the pool of diverse PhD applicants by providing academic and financial support and professional development opportunities. JumpStart works with USC schools and programs to invite diverse candidates from outside institutions to apply for 10-week summer research opportunities in various PhD disciplines. Available opportunities range from lab-based research to mentored participation in other types of faculty projects.

Program Benefits

The Graduate School provides accepted JumpStart students with a stipend and health coverage. Those who successfully complete the program will also have their application fees waived if they apply to USC PhD programs.

To complement their summer research experience, JumpStart students will participate in Graduate School-sponsored sessions on professional development and PhD funding, and an end of summer research presentation.


Students completing their sophomore or junior year at outside institutions prior to the summer are encouraged to apply through JumpStart for available research opportunities. Click here for current opportunities for students from four-year institutions.

In addition, there are research opportunities open to highly motivated, underrepresented community college students who have completed 30 transferrable units. Click here for current opportunities for students from community colleges.

Applications for research positions through JumpStart are available
here. Applications generally accepted in Spring.  Please contact the program coordinator at  for specific dates.

Academic Support, Professional Development, & Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Programs

Please check the Graduate Events Page for upcoming academic support, professional development, and diversity inclusion programs.

The PhD External Fellowship Boot Camp

is an intensive writing workshop in which students prepare a funding application. In the fall, the Boot Camp is targeted to students pursuing the National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. In the Spring, Boot Camp is designed for advanced PhD students in the humanities and social sciences who will be applying for a variety of kinds of support. Participants may be eligible for a research award of up to $1,000 if they submit a complete proposal to one of the identified fellowships. 

The PhD External Fellowship Boot Camp Boosters

are one-day skill-building workshops for alumni of the Boot Camp. The workshops will provide opportunities for students to continue to pursue external funding and develop additional professional and academic skills

Academic Professional Networking Events

provide professional development and community building opportunities, include PhD Careers Series, skill-development seminars and other networking events.

Provost's Fellowship Top Off

The Graduate School provides Provost’s Fellowship top off to the stipends for incoming PhD students whose combination of background and training will make a substantive, documentable, and unique contribution to the program as assessed by faculty. Provost’s fellowship top off recipients are students who excel through their academic or professional contributions and contribute to diversity and/or the reduction of salient inequalities in the program and/or field.

Additional USC Programs

The USC Women in Science and Engineering Program (WiSE)

The USC Women in Science and Engineering Program (WiSE) is a groundbreaking effort to increase the representation and success of women in science and engineering at USC through a series of creative programs that enable women to thrive at every stage of their careers.

The USC Research Gateway Scholars Program

The USC Research Gateway Scholars Program is a student academic services initiative sponsored by the University of Southern California, Office of Academic Programs

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation initiative geared to increase the commitment to diversity in the faculty ranks of colleges and universities. Fellows work with faculty mentors to develop their scholarly interests into research projects.

Academic Support, Professional Development and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs