University of Southern California
black horizontal bar for print styles

About USC

USC Today

Located near the heart of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is one of the top private research universities in the United States.

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

Today, USC and its graduates carry forward this heritage of leadership — developing innovative opportunities for learning, exploring new fields of scholarship and 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 — and at USC teaching takes place in the classroom, studio, laboratory, seminar room and on the playing field, as well as where students live. USC is committed to promoting lifelong learning and to the principle that education 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, USC has been a member of the Association of American Universities, the elective body that unites the 60 premier research universities in the United States and Canada.

The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Ave., Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001. Students may review USC's accreditation documents by contacting Robin Romans, associate provost for undergraduate programs.

Throughout its history, USC has performed a wide variety of roles in service to its constituencies — contributing to the welfare of its own students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as to Southern California, the nation and the world. In particular, the university's network of affiliated hospitals and its partnerships with business and nonprofit organizations help to make USC's expertise available to the community at large.

Academic Programs

The University of Southern California upholds 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 95 undergraduate majors as well as master's, doctoral and professional degrees in 134 areas of study. Hand-in-hand with this wide array of majors, USC has developed 147 different academic and professional minors — the broadest selection of any U.S. university — to encourage students to study subjects across widely separated fields. Students may select from a variety of degree combinations under the direction of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School and the university's 17 professional schools.

The heart of the university's liberal education program is the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The largest of USC's academic divisions — in terms of both student enrollment and faculty — the college serves more than 6,400 undergraduates and more than 1,500 graduate students, and offers some 57 academic fields of study. In addition to the undergraduate degrees offered by the college, many of the university's professional schools also offer bachelor's degree programs.


USC's full-time faculty numbers nearly 3,200. In addition, more than 4,000 volunteer faculty members are affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and some 430 volunteer faculty are affiliated with the USC School of Pharmacy. Research, teaching and service are supported by a staff of 8,200.

USC's faculty includes members of the National Academy of Sciences (11), National Academy of Engineering (25), Institute of Medicine (12) and American Academy of Arts and Sciences (19). 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. More recently, University Professor Kevin Starr received the National Humanities Medal in 2006, and Professor Morten Lauridsen received the National Medal of Arts in 2007.


Diversity is a hallmark of the USC student community. USC students come from all 50 states, 12 territories and 110 countries. There are 33,500 students enrolled at the university, including 16,500 undergraduate and 17,000 graduate and professional students. In fall 2007, 52 percent of new freshmen were from California. Approximately 37 percent of the university's total enrollment is composed of American minorities; a further 17 percent are international students. For six consecutive years, USC has been at the top of American universities in terms of international enrollment. Among undergraduates, 50 percent are men and 50 percent are women.

The middle 50 percent SAT range of the 2007 enrolled freshman class was 1910-2180. The average unweighted GPA was 3.71; weighted was 4.07. In fall 2007, there were 236 National Merit and National Achievement 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. According to the most recent data available, USC ranks 12th among private universities receiving government funding for research and development support and 21st among all universities — with a 2007 total of $432 million.


The USC Libraries house more than four million volumes, three million photographs, six million microforms and subscribe to more than 50,000 serials and 33,000 electronic journals.

The largest of USC's libraries is the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library, which contains the research collections for most of the humanities and social sciences. Doheny Memorial Library also houses the Cinematic Arts Library, the Music Library, the East Asian Library and Special Collections.

In addition to Doheny Library, the USC Libraries include a number of specialized research libraries that serve the unique research needs of the campus. Three libraries also are devoted to 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 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, librarians and staff provide 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 and Korean studies, among others. 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 libraries and updated 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 and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Library. For more information about the libraries' lending policies, visit the Web site at

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 Scholars Portal enables simultaneous searching of selected research databases, including HOMER and core bibliographic tools in all major subject areas. The USC Libraries are also engaged in numerous digital initiatives, such as the USC Digital Archive and the Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archives. 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

Students must be registered for classes or have paid their tuition deposit and certified that they will be attending USC in order to access computing services. Students must also activate their free USC account at Complete information about the resources and services provided is available online at

Anti-Virus and Other Software
The university offers a range of software, including free anti-virus software for on-campus and home computers. Software is available for use in USC's public computing centers, as well as for free download or purchase, depending on the application. To learn more, visit

Google Apps at USC
Through USC's partnership with Google, students are eligable for special accounts that allow them to send and receive Gmail using their email address. In addition to more than 6 gigabytes of online storage, these accounts provide access to Google's online word processing and spreadsheet programs, shareable calendars and more. For information, see

The Blackboard Web site ( is the online portal used by many USC professors to provide electronic copies of course materials, syllabi, reading materials and handouts. Blackboard allows students to participate in an online discussion or take a quiz with automatic grading and immediate feedback.

Computing Assistance
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.

Network Connections
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 enjoy free, high-speed (10-megabit-per-second) Internet access.

USC also has modems that off-campus students may dial into for Internet access. More information on connecting to the USC network 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 wireless locations is available at

To ensure the security of wireless connections, Information Technology Services recommends the use of USC's Virtual Private Network (VPN) software at all times. This program can be downloaded at For more information about the VPN client, visit

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

Hospitals and Patient Care

The schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy, together with the divisions of biokinesiology and physical therapy and of 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, USC University Hospital, USC Healthcare Consultation Centers I and II and the Doheny Eye Institute. The 411-bed University Hospital is an ultra-modern facility offering many specialized services and procedures that are beyond the scope of most community hospitals.

The Keck School of Medicine of USC also provides medical staffing for the adjacent Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, which is one of the largest academic medical centers in the country and the largest single provider of health care in Los Angeles County. Owned and operated by Los Angeles County, the medical center treats over 28 percent of the region's trauma victims. In addition, it operates one of only three burn centers in the county, a Levil I trauma center and one of the few Level III neo-natal intensive care units in Southern California. At LAC+USC, Keck School faculty direct the care for half of the AIDS patients and half of the sickle cell anemia patients in Southern California. They also provide special clinical care programs for patients with multiple sclerosis, diabetes and other diseases.

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 (USC CCR) assists the university's academic and administrative units in implementing five major 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.

USC CCR provides and helps facilitate 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. USC CCR also administers the USC School for Early Childhood Education, the USC Educational Opportunity Programs Center and the Los Angeles Metro Minority Business Enterprise Center.

More than 250 community service programs sponsored by or affiliated with USC and partner institutions serve more than 430,000 persons and provide volunteer opportunities for more than 40,000 USC students, faculty, staff, 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, service learning, and 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, USC Community Health Fair, FUENTE Initiative, USC Health Science Expo, USC Community Education Academy, Community Based Learning Collaborative 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.

From 1994 to 2007, USC faculty and staff contributed more than $9 million through the USC Good Neighbors Campaign, of which more than $7.1 million has benefited 290 USC-community partnership projects.

Information about these community service programs and data about the USC neighborhoods can be obtained at, and

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

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 about cultural events at USC, call the University Ticket Office at (213) 740-7111 or visit the arts and events 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: 21 women's team titles and 86 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, 362 Trojan athletes have participated in the Olympic games, accumulating a total of 112 gold, 66 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 automatically members of the USC Alumni Association, dedicated to serving the university's more than 200,000 alumni, lifelong and worldwide. Members of the Trojan Family live in all 50 states and around the world and are leaders in their chosen fields. Distinguished USC alumni include former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, astronaut Neil Armstrong, architect Frank Gehry, opera singer Marilyn Horne, comedian Will Ferrell and film director George Lucas.

The USC Alumni Association offers a broad range of programs and services to help alumni stay connected to USC and one another. These include Fight On!Line, our searchable alumni directory; inSCircle, an alumni social networking program; a worldwide network of alumni clubs; free lifetime email forwarding; career assistance; Trojan Travel including the Young Alumni Travel Program; signature events such as Homecoming and Alumni Awards; football weekenders; class reunions; volunteer opportunities; and much more.

Founded in 1923, the Alumni Association is headquartered in Widney Alumni House, USC's original structure and the oldest university building in Southern California. For more information, call (213) 740-2300 or visit the USC Alumni Association online 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 226 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 196 buildings and residence halls totaling approximately 8.4 million gross square feet, not including a new home for the USC School of Cinematic Arts slated to open in December 2008. 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 61-acre Health Sciences campus is home to the region's first and oldest medical and pharmacy schools, as well as to acclaimed programs in biokinesiology and physical therapy and in occupational science 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 Orange County Center, State Capital Center and the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island.

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

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

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

In addition, the USC Office of Federal Relations, located in Washington, D.C., serves as the liaison between USC and the federal government.

USC Federal Relations (202) 824-5860, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 540, Washington D.C., 20004