About the Academy

The USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study is an intellectual space where students and eminent faculty learn to integrate multiple fields of learning through exploration and dialogue.  Located in its own quarters on the second floor of Doheny Memorial Library and in the Ahmanson Lab in Leavey Library, the Academy offers a series of conversational encounters, student-led activity, and hands-on workshops intended to intensify polymathic (integrated interdisciplinary) awareness and skill sets.  All programming is anchored in and structured by the Quadrants of Polymathic Inquiry: critical and integrative thinking, study of leading polymaths, tapestry, and communication.


Upcoming Events

There are currently no upcoming events.

Become a Fellow of the Academy 

Students who participate in approved series of Academy activities and events can qualify to become Academy Fellows. Those achieving Fellowship status will be awarded an Academy Certificate, recognized at graduation in a special ceremony featuring distinctive honorary regalia, and become part of our esteemed group of alumni.

Requirements for becoming an Academy Fellow

Get Involved

  • Catalina Retreat

    A three-day student initiated and designed workshop held at the USC Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island. A student cohort in collaboration with invited faculty engage a topic from multiple, polymathic modes and perspectives.
    Catalina Retreat
  • Image of a workshop

    The Ahmanson Lab

    Through workshops on design, digital authoring, physical computing and other creative endeavors, students at the Ahmanson Lab explore the value of making to polymathic inquiry with a roster of faculty, artists, and designers.
    The Ahmanson Lab
  • screen shot of LA Polymathic Class

    Our Course

    In this course, professors William Deverell and Karin Huebner, and distinguished Los Angeles experts guide students through a two-part, yearlong polymathic inquiry into Los Angeles as fact and imaginative creation.
    Los Angeles: A Polymathic Inquiry
  • Closeup of pizza with cheese, tomatoes and sauce.'

    Polymathic Pizzas

    Every semester the Academy hosts a series of informal yet directed undergraduate encounters with invited faculty who demonstrate polymathic approaches to their scholarship and teaching. Pizza and soda are always provided.
    Polymathic Pizzas

Project Spotlight

  • bunker hill flyover

    Historic Bunker Hill 3D Experience

    A research-driven 3D reconstruction of Bunker Hill from the late 1930s and early 1940s. Included in the reconstruction are 3D models of 202 buildings, terrain, and street features for 16 contiguous blocks of the historic neighborhood.
    View Project
  • Text & Terrain

    The Path Ahead

    An immersive 3D/VR experience that turns the subtext of ideology into literal text that has the power to shape the natural and built environment. The project was designed and built by Ahmanson Lab staff, students in our California Text + Terrain: Visualizing Ideology and Environment, and directed by creative technologist Erik Loyer.
    View Project