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Academy Minors

The Academy offers several minor options for non-majors who wish to specialize in cross-disciplinary theory and application. Each minor provides access to the Academy's unique and extensive maker facilities, as well as the breadth of Academy faculty expertise. The minors include courses of study in Product Design, Designing for Live ExperiencesDesigning for Digital Experiences, Multimedia for Designers and Entrepreneurs, and Disruptive Innovation. In partnership with USC Keck MESH Academy, the Academy is offering the minor, Health Innovation.  In Fall 2020, the Academy launched the News and Information Innovation Minor in partnership with USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Full descriptions of the minors are provided below. 

For questions about the Academy minors, please contact Bria Bourgeois, Academic Advisor at briabour@usc.edu. You may also join our minor interest list here.

How to Apply

The Spring 2021 minor application is now available here. The deadline to apply is Monday, March 8 2021. Students who meet the eligibility requirements will be notified of their admission to the minor by mid-March.

Eligibility Requirements:
In order to be admitted to an Academy minor, students must meet the following:
• A minimum 3.0 cumulative USC GPA
• A minimum of 12 USC units must be completed at the time of the minor application

important information

• All courses for the minor must be taken for a letter grade, with a minimum "B-" grade earned in each course. 

• If a grade below "B-" is earned in a required minor course, the student will be placed on probation. Any further grade below a "B-" (beyond one) in a required minor course will result in removal from the minor.
• A minimum of 16 units must be unique to the minor and not overlap with requirements for your major or another minor.
• Some courses for the minors are sequential and may require pre or co-requisites. In some cases, students may petition to substitute classes taken in other schools that may cover the pre-requisites.
• It is recommended that you meet with your major advisor to ensure that you have enough elective space to complete a minor.
• Any outstanding minor requirements will prevent the awarding of the degree for your major. If you are unable to complete the minor by your graduation term, it is your responsibility to alert the Iovine and Young Academy advisor so that the minor can be removed from your record.

Minor Descriptions

News and Information Innovation Minor

Technology has disrupted the news and information sphere at a frenetic pace. Almost anyone with a message now has the means to distribute it widely, but competition is fierce, attention spans are short and trust is low. The surge of information has weakened traditional journalistic gatekeepers and emboldened actors unconcerned with the public good. Solving the most important challenges of our time, including climate change, rising levels of inequality and global instability, will require citizens armed with accurate and reliable news and information. The News and Information Innovation minor combines Annenberg's journalistic expertise with the innovation fostered at the Iovine and Young Academy to give students from across the university the mindset and skills needed to be thought leaders and change agents in the information ecosystem. Through this minor, students have the opportunity to think differently about how journalism functions in order to innovate the practice through human-centered-design, product innovation, entrepreneurial mindsets and service design.

See the USC Catalogue for the complete information on the News and Information Innovation Minor.

Health Innovation Minor

The potential for innovation at the intersection of health, medicine, design and technology is exploding. In order to take full advantage of the entrepreneurial and research opportunities in this space, a new style of undergraduate education is necessary for a new generation of learners – agile and adaptive thinkers who cross easily from discipline to discipline, steadily advancing the role that technology plays in our present and our future. Because of their strong interdisciplinary foundations, the USC Iovine and Young Academy and the USC Keck MESH Academy are uniquely poised to take the lead in the design and implementation of such a curriculum, one that will provide the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the emerging field of health innovation.

See the USC Catalogue for the complete information on the Health Innovation Minor.

Product Design Minor

A minor in Product Design offers USC students a deep understanding of the design process leading to the creation of consumer goods and services, including the fundamentals of design thinking and human-centered design as they relate to successful ideation and implementation. Students will learn the method by which conclusions are made through study and application of acquired knowledge and skills in the areas of user research, market opportunity, consumer insights, competitive analysis, ideation, 3D form development, production methodologies, branding, packaging, marketing, and distribution. Course work will focus on the process by which decisions are made regarding not only a physical object's function and aesthetic qualities, but also if it is solving a problem, how it is solving that problem better than the competition, and whether or not it is a problem worth solving in the first place.

See the USC Catalogue for the complete information on the Product Design Minor.

Multimedia for Designers and Entrepreneurs Minor

Entrepreneurs, content creators and experience designers in today's tech-rich market environments must understand how multimedia arts platforms interconnect. Facility with state-of-the-art visual and audio tools, and the ability to combine and integrate them successfully to create compelling and persuasive experiences, is essential. The learning approach in this minor combines design-driven, user-focused theory with hands-on, practical tools and production skills. Within a studio critique model, technology fundamentals are combined with entrepreneurial and design thinking perspectives. These skills and techniques will augment and enhance the knowledge students learn in their home domains and majors, and in virtually any future field of endeavor.

See the USC Catalogue for the complete information on the Multimedia for Designers and Entrepreneurs Minor.

Disruptive Innovation Minor

Disruptive innovation results from an invention or discovery that radically changes an existing eco or social system. Invariably, that change requires new learning and new, sustaining innovations in response. Lasting innovation, then, requires both creativity in generating fresh, bold new ideas and an understanding of the constant interplay of economic, technological, cultural and social forces that drive the use and consumption of products, goods and services. Innovators who maintain success and momentum over long periods have learned to anticipate and adapt to trends by focusing on the needs and opportunities presented by the customer, the citizen, the community and the user. The Iovine and Young Academy utilizes the techniques of human-centered design and a uniquely interdisciplinary, hands-on approach to provide students with the knowledge and skills to understand, nurture and drive innovation. The course work in this minor delivers a range of fundamental theories, frameworks and experiences to augment and enhance the knowledge students are gaining in their majors with an understanding of the techniques, methods and methodologies of the world's greatest innovators.

See the USC Catalogue for the complete information on the Disruptive Innovation Minor.

Designing for Live Experiences Minor

The Designing for Live Experiences minor provides USC students, in all fields of study, the opportunity to gain essential knowledge and skills as related to human-centered interactivity and learning in and with our physical environments. Courses focus on the practical tools needed to assess, interpret, ideate, and solve for successful interactions and memory making. Benefits of considered physical experience design solutions lead to a repeat customer base, meaningful community engagement, and relevance in the competitive landscape of service and education design. This minor is of particular interest to students wishing to expand their understanding of user interactions with spatial design and how to capture prolonged, and repeat engagement.

See the USC Catalogue for the complete information on the Designing for Live Experiences Minor.


The Designing for Digital Experiences minor provides students in all fields of study an opportunity to gain essential knowledge and skills in interaction design. Courses focus on the tools required to implement powerful interactive visual and touch experiences, as well as the conceptual and theoretical knowledge necessary to apply universal standards for human-centered design. The minor is of particular interest to students wishing to further develop highly sought-after specializations such as interaction design, data visualization, app design, social media marketing and digital art direction.

See the USC Catalogue for the complete information on the Designing for Digital Experiences Minor.