University of Southern California
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About USC

USC Today

Located near the heart of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is one of the nation's top private research universities.

Since its establishment in 1880, USC has conferred degrees on more than a quarter-million students -- leaders who have helped Southern California grow to become a national trendsetter in public policy, economic and business affairs, urban planning and engineering, scientific research, health care and the arts.

Today, USC and its graduates are continuing this tradition of leadership -- developing innovative classroom techniques, exploring new fields of scholarly investigation, and establishing a widening network of service and partnership among the nations of the Pacific Rim.

The traditional function of the university is to teach students -- in the classroom, studio, laboratory, seminar room, on the playing field, and where they live. USC is committed to the principle that this educational mission is most effectively carried out in a context that encourages the creation of new knowledge.

USC places a premium on research and scholarship and on the professional and scholarly credentials of its faculty. Since 1969, the university has been a member of the Association of American Universities, the elective body that unites the 62 premier research universities in the United States and Canada.

USC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Ave., Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001. Students may review the university's accreditation documents by contacting Jerome Walker, Associate Provost.

The university has traditionally performed a wide variety of roles in service to its communities -- contributing to the welfare of its own members, as well as to Southern California and the nation. In particular, the university's network of affiliated hospitals and its partnerships with business and community organizations enable USC to make its expertise available to the community at large.

Academic Programs

The University of Southern California maintains a tradition of academic strength at all levels -- from the earliest explorations of the undergraduate to the advanced scholarly research of the postdoctoral fellow.

USC offers bachelor's degrees in 89 undergraduate majors as well as master's, doctoral and professional degrees in 236 areas of study. Students may select from a variety of major degree combinations in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, in the Graduate School and under the direction of the university's 17 professional schools.

The heart of USC's liberal education program is the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The largest of USC's academic divisions -- both in student enrollment and faculty -- the college encompasses more than 30 academic departments and programs serving over 5,900 undergraduates and more than 1,500 graduate students. In addition to the undergraduate degrees offered by the college, many of the university's professional schools also offer bachelor's degree programs.


USC has more than 3,000 full-time faculty. In addition, approximately 3,180 volunteer faculty members are affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and 430 volunteer faculty are affiliated with the USC School of Pharmacy. Research, teaching and service are supported by a staff of 7,900.

USC's faculty includes members of the National Academy of Sciences (10), National Academy of Engineering (25), National Academy of Public Administration (6), and the Institute of Medicine (10). More than 200 faculty members have received prestigious academic and professional awards from organizations as varied as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1994, USC Professor George A. Olah received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.


Diversity is the hallmark of the USC student community. USC students come from all 50 states and nearly 150 countries. There are 32,000 students enrolled at the university including 16,500 undergraduate and 15,500 graduate and professional students. In fall 2004, 54 percent of new freshmen were from California. Approximately 32 percent of the university's total enrollment is composed of American minorities; a further 17 percent are international students. USC is consistently near the top among American universities in international enrollment. Among undergraduates, 50 percent are men, 50 percent are women.

The average SAT score of the 2004 enrolled freshman class was 1350. The average GPA was 4.0. In fall 2004, 179 freshmen were National Merit Scholars, 14 were National Achievement Scholars and 33 were National Hispanic Scholars.

USC students consistently earn nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships including Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright and Truman scholarships.

Research Support

Each year, USC's distinguished faculty and modern facilities attract substantial external funding for educational and scientific research. USC currently ranks in the top 10 among private universities receiving government funding for research and development support and in the top 20 among all universities -- with a 2004 total of nearly $420 million.


The USC libraries house over 4.2 million volumes, more than 3 million photographs, and just over 6 million microforms, and subscribe to nearly 30,000 current journals.

The largest of the USC libraries is the Doheny Memorial Library, which contains the research collections for most of the social sciences and humanities materials. The Doheny Memorial Library also houses the Research Services Center, Cinema-TV Library, the Music Library and Special Collections.

In addition to the Doheny Library, the USC libraries include a number of specialized research libraries that serve the unique research needs of the campus. Most of these are located near the school or department they serve. Three independent campus libraries are devoted to specialized collections for their respective professions: the Asa V. Call Law Library, the Eileen and Kenneth T. Norris Medical Library and the Jennifer Ann Wilson Dental Library and Learning Center.

The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Library, one of the most technologically sophisticated libraries in the world, features: a core collection of books and journals, two electronic information commons with nearly 200 computer workstations, more than 50 collaborative workspaces, two hands-on learning classrooms, a multimedia auditorium, and more than 1,400 reader seats in a variety of formal and informal arrangements. Designed to support undergraduate learning, Leavey provides faculty and students with tools to accomplish research using both traditional and electronic resources. Within Leavey, the James Irvine Foundation Center for Scholarly Technology provides faculty with assistance in using technology and information resources to develop materials for instruction and scholarly research.

The USC libraries have noteworthy collections in the areas of cinema, international and public affairs, American literature, regional history, marine science, philosophy, Latin American studies, and Korean studies. The Feuchtwanger Memorial Library features an extensive collection of Lion Feuchtwanger's own works along with the rarest books from his library. The USC libraries are also home to the Boeckmann Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies, as well as an extensive collection of photographs chronicling the history of Southern California. A complete list of all USC libraries and updated library hours is available online at

The USC libraries are the administrative hub of the Southern California Electronic Libraries Consortium. USC is a member of the Research Libraries Group, an international association of major universities and research institutions. In addition, USC maintains borrowing agreements with Hebrew Union College, the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Library, California State University, Los Angeles, Caltech and UCLA.

USC's digital library resources, available online at, include a collection of article indexes, catalogues, dictionaries, encyclopedias, electronic journals and visual materials. USC's online library catalogue, Homer, provides a list of books, periodicals, government documents and dissertations held in libraries on the University Park campus. The new Scholar's Portal enables simultaneous searching of selected research databases, including Homer and core bibliographic tools in all major subject areas. To access these resources and learn about additional services, visit

USC's Ask-A-Librarian service provides professional reference assistance to students, faculty and staff. Patrons receive expert answers -- via phone, email, online "chat" sessions or in person. Ask-A-Librarian is located online at

Computing Resources

The Information Services Division (ISD) oversees the university's libraries, computer resources, telecommunications services, licensed database and software collections, and public computing centers and networks.

ISD is responsible for serving the community's technology needs for instruction and research, access to the Internet, email, and print and digital library resources at public computing centers. These centers are equipped with the latest technology to ensure that the USC community has access to the resources it needs.

In order to access computing services and library privileges, new students must obtain a USCard. Students may obtain this identification card at the USCard customer service office located in the Commons lobby. Students must also activate their free USC account at Complete information about any of the resources and services provided by ISD is available online at

Home Connection
All the rooms in USC residence halls, as well as some areas of Leavey Library and the Marshall School of Business, are connected to ResNet, a high-speed computer network. The ResNet connection allows students to bypass their modem and enjoy free, high-speed (10 megabits per second) Internet access.

Students who live off-campus may access the Internet via a computer. USC has more than 1,000 modems that students may dial into for access to the Internet, free of charge. USC's Virtual Private Network (VPN) client is available to access restricted USC resources for students who use another Internet service provider. This application can be downloaded at Information on connecting to USC can be found at

USC Wireless
Most common areas at USC -- including libraries, auditoriums and eateries -- are configured for wireless technology. New locations are being added continuously. An updated list of the locations where students can connect without plugging in is available at

To access the new wireless technology, users need an activated USC account and a wireless card, available at the University Bookstore. For ISD-supported cards, documentation is available at The wireless card must then be registered at a public computing center or library and configured with virtual private network (VPN) software, which may be downloaded free-of-charge from The following computer platforms are currently configured to access the USC wireless network: Windows XP and 2000, and Mac OS 9.0.4 through Mac OS X.

TOTALe (Blackboard)
The Trojan Online Teaching and Learning Environment (TOTALe) Web site ( is the online learning portal used by many USC professors to provide electronic copies of course materials, syllabi, reading materials and handouts. TOTALe, also known as Blackboard, allows students to participate in an online discussion or take a quiz with automatic grading and immediate feedback.

Computing Assistance
ISD's Information Technology Services ( offers online computing documentation on a variety of topics. Printed guides are available in public computing centers and the Leavey Library Information Commons.

Software at USC
The university offers a wide range of software available for download, for purchase and for use in ISD's public computing centers. To learn more, visit

Computer Workshops
Adventures in Information, an ongoing series of non-credit workshops on computer software and operating systems, is offered throughout the academic year at no cost to students ( The hands-on training sessions cover popular topics including Web page creation, image editing and statistics software.

For more information about computing resources, users may contact the Customer Support Center by calling (213) 740-5555 or emailing Additional assistance also is available at the service desk of any public computing center.

Hospitals and Patient Care

The schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy, and the health professions departments of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, and Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy train professionals in the health care fields, conduct original research in all aspects of biomedicine and health care and provide high quality patient care to the Southern California community.

Health care facilities on the Health Sciences campus include the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, the USC University Hospital, the USC Healthcare Consultation Centers I and II and the Doheny Eye Institute. The 293-bed University Hospital is an ultra-modern hospital that offers many specialized services and procedures that are beyond the scope of most community hospitals.

The Keck School of Medicine also provides medical staffing for the nearby Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, which is one of the nation's largest teaching hospitals. Owned and operated by Los Angeles County, the medical center's specialized facilities include a state-of-the-art burn center, a Level III neo-natal intensive care unit, a Level I trauma service and an HIV/AIDS outpatient center that annually cares for more than 4,000 patients.

Community Relations

USC is an active partner in efforts to enhance the social, economic, physical and cultural aspects of the neighborhoods adjacent to both the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.

To carry out these efforts, USC Civic and Community Relations (USCCCR) assists USC academic and administrative units to implement the five university community initiatives in partnership with community agencies, leaders and public officials. These initiatives encourage more entrepreneurs to establish businesses in the immediate vicinity of the two campuses; provide special educational, cultural and developmental opportunities for children who live in the immediate neighborhoods; work with neighbors, city and county officials, and the Los Angeles Police Department to provide safer streets in the areas surrounding the two campuses; encourage more USC employees to own and occupy housing in the immediate vicinity of the two campuses; and strive to employ at USC more persons who live in the immediate neighborhoods.

USCCCR provides resources that strengthen the communities around USC's campuses, deepen USC's ties to these diverse communities, and foster positive relations between USC and those people who are most directly affected by USC's presence in these neighborhoods.

More than 265 community service programs administered by USC and affiliated institutions serve more than 430,000 persons and provide volunteer opportunities for more than 40,000 USC students, faculty, staff and alumni and friends each year. These volunteers contribute more than 1.2 million volunteer hours. Areas of activity include arts and culture, athletics and recreation, child care, children and family, business and economic development, communication and media, criminal justice and legal education, employment, environmental, health, housing, human relations, legal, literacy, older adult, public safety, scholarships and awards, technology, volunteer and community service.

Model programs such as the USC Family of Schools, the USC Joint Educational Project, Kid Watch, USC Mission Science, USC After School Sports Connection, and the Neighborhood Academic Initiative are a few of the innovative university-community partnerships that are making a real difference in the lives of the university's neighbors.

Information about these community service programs and data about the USC neighborhoods can be obtained on USCCCR's Web site ( and

From 1994 to 2002 USC employees contributed nearly $4.8 million through the USC Good Neighbors Campaign, which benefited 141 USC-community partnership projects.

USC is committed to working in partnership with its neighbors to build a thriving and safe social and physical environment in Central and East Los Angeles.

Cultural Life

USC and its graduates play an important role in making Los Angeles one of the world's great centers for the arts. The schools of Music and Theatre produce a regular series of concerts, operas, musicals, plays and other events. There are three major music, drama and cinema theatres on campus. For up-to-date information on cultural events at USC, call the University Ticket Office at (213) 740-7111 or visit the arts Web site (


USC sponsors nine varsity sports for men and 10 for women, involving more than 500 of the nation's top-ranked athletes. In their pursuit of athletic and academic excellence, USC varsity teams have won more national championships than all but two NCAA member institutions: 20 women's team titles and 85 men's team titles -- including 11 unofficial football titles. USC is one of only three universities in intercollegiate athletic history to win at least five national championships in one year (1962-63 and 1976-77). Fifty USC athletes have been awarded NCAA postgraduate scholarships.

In Olympic competition, USC has fielded more athletes than any other institution. Since 1904, 357 Trojan athletes have participated in the Olympic Games, accumulating a total of 112 gold, 64 silver and 58 bronze medals.

At least one USC athlete has won a gold medal in every summer Olympiad since 1912, making USC the only university in the world with this distinction.

USC Alumni Association

All USC graduates are members of the USC Alumni Association, which is dedicated to serving the university's close to 200,000 alumni, lifelong and worldwide. Trojan alumni span all 50 states and virtually every region of the world and are leaders in their chosen fields. Distinguished alumni include former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, astronaut Neil Armstrong, architect Frank Gehry, opera singer Marilyn Horne, symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, film director George Lucas, baseball legend Mark McGwire and comedian Will Ferrell.

The USC Alumni Association offers a broad portfolio of programs and services to help alumni stay connected to USC and one another. These include: a worldwide network of alumni clubs, career assistance, a searchable online alumni directory, free lifetime email forwarding, organized volunteer opportunities, alumni travel programs and class reunions.

The association was founded in 1923 and is headquartered in Widney Alumni House, the oldest university building in Southern California. For more information, call (213) 740-2300 or visit the USC Alumni Association Web site at


University Park Campus
Located at the same site since USC's establishment in 1880 on eight acres of land in the city of Los Angeles, the University Park campus has grown to its present size of 235 acres. Situated three miles south of the Los Angeles Civic Center, the campus is adjacent to the museums and recreational facilities of Exposition Park and is served by a network of freeways that provides access to most cultural, business and recreational areas of Southern California.

The University Park campus consists of 201 major buildings and residential halls totaling approximately 7.9 million gross square feet. Additional university buildings are located off campus, in the immediate vicinity.

Health Sciences Campus
Located three miles from downtown Los Angeles, the USC Health Sciences campus is a focal point for students, patients and scientists from around the world. Here a blend of clinical, classroom and laboratory resources combines to form a dynamic, interactive environment that is shaping the future of health care.

The 50-acre Health Sciences campus is home to the region's first and oldest medical and pharmacy schools, as well as acclaimed programs in biokinesiology and physical therapy and occupational therapy. In addition to Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, the primary teaching hospital for the Keck School of Medicine for more than a century, the campus includes several state-of-the-art patient-care facilities, among them USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, USC University Hospital and Doheny Eye Institute. Activities of USC faculty, residents and students also extend beyond the campus -- to affiliated hospitals and health care providers throughout Southern California, and to the USC University Park campus, a collaborative partner in numerous health sciences-related programs.

Other Locations
Other teaching facilities include the Hawaii Center, Orange County Center, Sacramento Center, and the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Santa Catalina Island.

Hawaii Center (808) 423-3123, 900 Hanger Avenue, Building 2060, Hickam Air Force Base, HI 96835-5246, Education.

Orange County Center (949) 437-0000, 2300 Michelson, Irvine, CA 92612, Business, Education, Pharmacy and Social Work.

Sacramento Center (916) 442-6911, 1201 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, Policy, Planning, and Development and Education.

Wrigley Marine Science Center at Catalina (310) 510-1364, Wrigley Marine Science Center, P.O. Box 5069, Avalon, CA 90704.