USC Price School of Public Policy

Graduation Awards

The Price School of Public Policy (USC Price) recognizes outstanding graduate students at their annual awards ceremony during the week of Commencement. Listed below are USC Price Awards:

» Dean’s Certificate of Merit
» MPA Awards
» MPL Awards
» MPP Awards
» Dollinger MRED Awards
» Doctoral Awards
» Undergraduate Awards

Dean’s Certificate of Merit (Master’s students)

The Dean’s Certificate of Merit recognizes academic excellence of USC Price’s graduating master’s students. Those who have earned grade point averages in one of USC Price’s master’s programs that places them in the top 5% of their particular degree will be awarded Dean’s Certificates of Merit. Each spring, students who will receive degrees in May and August of that year as well as received degrees the previous December will be considered. These students will receive certificates at USC Price’s annual awards ceremony in May.

MPA Awards

The John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation Recognition Award
Awarded to the winning team of the USC Price MPA Case Challenge, for outstanding performance by an MPA student. Selection is made by the MPA Degree Committee.

Dr. Yan Tang Award For An Aspiring Local Government Professional
Awarded to a graduating MPA student who most exemplifies the commitment, enthusiasm, and spirit of service exemplified by Dr. Shui Yan Tang. This award recognizes a student who has a dedication to the furtherance of excellence in local government.

MPL Awards

MPL Comprehensive Examination Prize for Outstanding Achievement recognizes those who have earned honors on the MPL Comprehensive Examination. Selection is made by the MPL Degree Committee.

AICP Award
Awarded to a student for outstanding attainment in the study of planning. Selection is made by the MPL Degree Committee.

Gordon Whitnall Award
The Gordon Whitnall Award recognizes outstanding academic achievement in planning. Selection is made by the MPL Degree Committee

California Planning Foundation First-Year MPL Student Award
Awarded to a first–year MPL student and recognizes outstanding academic achievement and promise. Selection is made by the MPL Degree Committee.

California Planning Foundation Graduating MPL Student Award
Awarded to a graduating MPL student and recognizes meritorious achievement in the MPL program. Selection is made by the MPL Degree Committee.

Lewis Mumford Prize
Named after an urbanist and planner who advocated historical investigations as a first step toward understanding regional systems and the particularities of place. Awarded to a graduate student in planning for the most outstanding essay in Planning History.

Lowdon Wingo Prize
Awarded to the graduating Planning student for Exemplary Academic Achievement.

MPP Awards

Jane G. Pisano Award for Exemplary Community Service (PDF)
Awarded to an outstanding graduating MPP student in recognition of excellence in community service while pursuing the MPP degree.

Robert P. Biller Award for Best Policy Analysis
Awarded to the most outstanding group in the capstone MPP Practicum course in recognition for excellence in effective analytic support to a client. Selection is made by the MPP Degree Committee.

Dollinger MRED Awards

Master of Real Estate Development Comprehensive Examination Prize
Recognizes individuals who earned honors on the Dollinger MRED Comprehensive Examination. This award is in memory of Professor Rena Sivitanidou. Selection is made by the Dollinger MRED Degree Committee.

D. J. Moore Memorial Award
Awarded in memory of D.J. Moore, a Dollinger MRED student. This award exemplifies academic achievement and professional promise. Selection is made by the Dollinger MRED Degree Committee.

Market Analysis Award
Recognizes exemplary performance in Market Analysis. This award is in memory of Professor Rena Sivitanidou. Selection is made by the Dollinger MRED Degree Committee.

Doctoral Awards

Jack Dyckman Dissertation Award
The Jack Dyckman Award is given to the graduating doctoral student in planning who has produced the best dissertation.

Henry Reining Award
The Henry Reining, Jr. Dissertation Award is given to the graduating doctoral student in public administration who has produced the best dissertation.

Undergraduate Awards

Dean’s List in Policy, Planning, and Development
Awarded every fall and spring semester to students declared in the major who have completed a full academic load (at least 12 units) and achieved at least a 3.5 grade point average.

Departmental Honors
The Price School of Public Policy provides an opportunity for the school’s most outstanding undergraduate students to participate in an honors program. This program identifies the best students majoring in Public Policy, Management, and Planning during the second semester of their junior year and enables them to participate in an undergraduate honors class (PPD 498, offered in the fall semester only). This course, led by a full-time faculty member, is demanding in performance and culminates in an honors project. It is intended to prepare USC Price’s outstanding students for graduate work as well as enrich their undergraduate education.

In order to be eligible for the honors program, students must be in their senior year, have a grade point average (GPA) in PPD courses of 3.5, an overall GPA or 3.0, and be nominated by a USC Price faculty member. Students who complete the course with a grade of A or A- and who maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 in the major and a 3.0 overall will graduate with “Departmental Honors.”
Departmental honors are noted on academic transcripts, but not on the diploma.

University Honors
To be eligible for undergraduate honors at graduation, a minimum overall grade point average of 3.5 for cum laude, 3.7 for magna cum laude, and 3.9 for summa cum laude is required. Students must meet these averages, both on residence work attempted and on combined transferred and residence work attempted. The honors award is then determined by either the GPA for the residence work or the GPA for the combined transferred and residence work, whichever is lower. The university will not deviate from policies governing the calculation of the grade point averages required for graduation with honors through inclusion or exclusion of coursework. University honors are noted on academic transcripts and the diploma.

Class Valedictorian
Awarded to the graduating senior with the highest overall grade point average. Students should notify Undergraduate Programs Office (Lewis Hall, Room 102) of their pending graduation no later than February 1 of the year they plan to graduate, if their cumulative grade point average is at least 3.5 with a minimum of 108 semester units.

Dean’s Senior Certificate of Merit Award
Awarded to graduating seniors in USC Price’s degree programs who have maintained an overall grade point average of 3.5 or better with a minimum of 108 semester units. Students should notify Undergraduate Programs Office, Lewis Hall, Room 102, no later than February 1 of their graduating year.

Emery E. Olson Award
Awarded to the outstanding senior in recognition of excellence in scholarship, and leadership potential. Students should submit a resume, one–page essay and optional supportive materials to the Undergraduate Programs Office, Lewis Hall, Room 102 by February 1 of their graduating year.

Etzioni Bianchi Memorial Community Service Award
Awarded to the graduating senior in recognition of community service excellence. Students should submit a resume, one-page essay and optional supportive materials to the Undergraduate Programs Office, Lewis Hall, Room 102 by February 1 of their graduating year.