The Honors in Multimedia Scholarship program is a dynamic and innovative honors program offered to undergraduate students who are interested in exploring new forms of scholarship and research. Students encounter the creative and critical use of new media tools, learning how to express ideas through images, sound, video, text, networks, games and interactivity.
Students begin by developing a conceptual and technical foundation for multimedia scholarship, with an introduction to still image manipulation, video capture, editing and interactivity. In subsequent courses, students explore topics and tools in greater depth, developing the ability to communicate across multiple media platforms. More advanced courses in web design, social media and tangible computing are designed not only to hone the students’ technical skills, but also to promote the integration of multimedia into an academic or professional setting.
In their senior year, students complete the Honors Program by creating a media-rich thesis project within their major course of study, which increases and displays their understanding of new media within the context of the discipline they have chosen. Past projects include a dynamic mapping of the national security budget allocation, a web-based analysis of toxin-antitoxin pairing mechanisms, a “spatialized argument” in the virtual world of Second Life analyzing the use of space in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and an interactive documentary on the history of Alexander the Great made with the Korsakow System.
At the IML, Honors students join a dynamic community of scholars that provides unique opportunities for personal and professional growth. In classes, laboratories and apprenticeships, students take the lead in developing new forms of expression, working individually and in groups to create increasingly complex multimedia projects. IML Honors students leave USC with an Honors designation on their transcripts, as well as a competitive edge in a workplace where the demand for multimedia is rapidly growing.
To maintain small classes and allow for extensive discussion and project development, the Honors in Multimedia Scholarship program requires students to be highly motivated; there is extensive reading, writing and multimedia authoring. While students will immediately begin to use multimedia tools, the Program does not require pre-requisites, nor does it expect prior experience with multimedia. Any student with a desire to push the creative boundaries of academic practice is welcome.
Declaring the Honors Program
Most students choose to declare the Honors program after taking their first IML course – students may also wait longer if necessary, but it is not encouraged. Declared students will receive first priority in advising, as well as first consideration in student research opportunities.
To declare an IML program, please contact the IML advisor, or make an advising appointment (see “Advising” section).
Students in Honors in Multimedia Scholarship enroll in seminar-style classes in an innovative, technologically enhanced learning environment. These classes are smaller and engage with new media more intensively than ordinary USC courses. The program requires a total of 16 units in a course of study that is typically completed over four years.
IML 104 Introduction to Digital Studies, 2 units AND
IML 140 Workshop in Multimedia Authoring, 2 units OR
IML 201 The Languages of Digital Media, 4 units
IML 346 Methods in Digital Research, 2 units
IML 440 Thesis Project I, 4 units
IML 444 Thesis Project II, 4 units
2 units (minimum) from the following:
IML 295L Race, Class and Gender in Digital Culture, 4 units
IML 309 Integrative Design for Mobile Devices, 4 units
IML 340 The Praxis of New Media: Digital Argument, 2 units (max 4 units)
IML 388 Computational Thinking and Design, 4 units
IML 400 Creative Coding for the Web, 4 units
IML 404 Tactical Media, 4 units
IML 420 New Media for Social Change, 4 units (max 8 units)
IML 422 Information Visualization, 4 units
IML 466 Digital Studies Symposium, 4 units
* Students in good standing may elect to take graduate (500-level) IML courses, pending departmental approval.
Upon completion of the Honors program, students graduate with the designation “Honors in Multimedia Scholarship” on their academic transcripts. Cumulative portfolios of their scholarly multimedia work will demonstrate an intellectual breadth and skill-set commensurate with the changing nature of knowledge production in a digital age. Participation in the many opportunities and programs of the IML will provide Honors students with a distinct advantage as they move into graduate programs or professional careers.
Do I need to have prior experience with multimedia in order to undertake the Honors Program?
No! The program does not require previous experience, and in general emphasizes conceptual issues rather than specific technical skills. Our 100-level courses introduce the basic theory and practice of still image manipulation, video production and editing and interactivity; subsequent classes build on this foundation, and all Honors students are able to utilize one-on-one tutorials to hone specific skills with various tools and software applications. That said, the program does require the desire to push the boundaries of traditional academic work and to discover new ways to conduct research and make arguments using media.
Are certain majors more conducive to the Honors Program than others?
No, the Honors in Multimedia Scholarship Program enrolls students from every corner of the campus; students create interactive projects related to biology, engineering, international relations, psychology, sociology, cinema, business, theater, and more.
May I still have a minor if I am in the Honors Program?
Yes, definitely. Many Honors students have double majors and/or a minor. The Honors program allows students to work in their own field with more complexity than is possible otherwise.
Do you accept sophomores and juniors to the program?
We highly recommend you begin the program within your first three semesters of coursework at USC. Although the program does not require a large number of units to complete, it does work on a “foundation” basis in which you build your skill level with time over a period of three or four years. Juniors who are interested in participating in the program or taking IML courses should seek an appointment with the Honors Program Coordinator.
What are some of the benefits of the Honors in Multimedia Scholarship Program?
Good question! Beyond the depth of subject matter mentioned above — the depth that comes from deploying sound, image and interactivity in addition to text — Honors students experience a sense of community at the IML where they have access to state-of-the-art computers and equipment, as well as generous “face time” with IML faculty and staff.
Does the program offer financial assistance?
Honors in Multimedia Scholarship is not a financial award program and offers no financial assistance to its participants. However, Honors students will be well-positioned to pursue academic awards and scholarships outside the IML.
Does Honors in Multimedia Scholarship cost extra money?
Honors students pay no extra cost beyond normal USC tuition and fees.
How will my participation in this program be recognized?
Upon satisfactory completion of the Honors program, the designation “Honors in Multimedia Scholarship” will appear on students’ University transcripts. In addition, all courses taught by IML faculty will be recognized in the transcript as Honors courses.
What if the Thematic Option program or an honors program in my home department also accepts me?
Students may participate concurrently in Honors in Multimedia Scholarship and the Thematic Option program or a discipline-based honors program. Please speak with the Academic Program Coordinator for more information.
Further questions: please contact Sonia Seetharaman, Academic Program Coordinator (see Advising section).