Become an Academy Member


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.


Academy programs are structured around disciplined discussion and active inquiry. This presumes that not only the faculty-presenter but the students as well are in the process of acquiring knowledge in a given field and are sensitive to the interconnectedness of that field with other fields, methodologies, and modes of presentation. Whether in lab workshops, a book club meeting, or a Pizza session, Harman activities are vibrant forums for thinking and learning together.


There are two avenues for participating: Academy Member and Academy Fellow. To become an Academy Member, simply sign up using the form below. An Academy Fellow is awarded to a student who successfully completes ten Harman sessions over the course of their enrollment at USC whether at the Lab or in Doheny. Polymathic Making Workshops at the Ahmanson Lab cannot count for more than half of those ten sessions. Students may also count participation in Ahmanson Lab Collaboratories and other special Harman programming toward their Fellow requirements on a case by case basis. Students become eligible for the Fellow designation provided that their participation in these ten encounters is intelligent, vigorous, and sustained, as judged by faculty or staff participants. Of the ten qualifying events, the student is required to attend two Quadrant sessions, which will be offered once per semester. These ten required sessions represent a minimum—not a limit. Students are encouraged to participate in as many events as they find useful.  In addition to the participation requirement, the fellow candidate will be asked to meet with the Academy’s Director or an Advisory Board member shortly before graduation.  In this conversation, the candidate will 1) demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of polymathy and 2) reflect upon their application of polymathic principles in scholarly work during their tenure at USC.


  • The Academy Member has the opportunity to regularly engage senior scholars and eminent thinkers in an in-depth yet relaxed setting. Members receive early notice of special events.
  • Outside pre-scheduled Academy events and during Doheny’s regular hours, Academy Members are given full access to Harman Academy Hall, DML 241, for their personal study space. Additionally, Academy Members can use equipment and other resources from the Ahmanson Lab in Leavey Library during scheduled lab hours.
  • After successfully completing ten sessions and an exit interview, Academy Members are eligible for an Academy Certificate and the distinction of being an Academy Fellow, joining our distinguished cohort of alumni.
  • A certified Academy Fellow will be honored at commencement in a special ceremony with distinctive honorary regalia.   

We are currently accepting applications. To apply, fill out and submit the form. If you prefer, download the printable application form, fill it out and mail to:
Dr. Karin Huebner

    USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study
    Doheny Memorial Library
    University Park Campus
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-0185