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 top private research universities in the United States, attracting students from around the globe and operating an integrated academic medical center that serves more than a million patients each year.

Since its establishment in 1880, USC has conferred degrees on more than a quarter-million students — leaders who have helped Southern California emerge as an international 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 62 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 hospitals, affiliated hospitals and partnerships with business and nonprofit organizations help 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 more than 150 undergraduate majors, and, as of fall 2009, graduate students were enrolled in more than 340 master’s, certificate, doctoral and professional degree programs. Hand in hand with this wide array of majors, USC has developed some 150 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 some 6,250 undergraduates and 1,650 graduate students, and offers nearly 60 undergraduate majors, 80 undergraduate minors, 25 doctoral degree programs and 20 master’s programs. 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 more than 3,200. In addition, more than 4,400 volunteer faculty members are affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and more than 430 volunteer faculty are affiliated with the USC School of Pharmacy. Research, teaching, patient care and community service are supported by a staff of nearly 10,800.

USC’s faculty includes Nobel laureate George A. Olah (1994), National Humanities Medal winner Kevin Starr (2006), National Medal of Arts winner Morten Lauridsen (2007), National Medal of Science winner Andrew Viterbi (2007), Turing Prize recipient Leonard Adleman (2003) and University Professor Michael Waterman, co-developer of the Smith-Waterman Algorithm (the cornerstone of computational genomics). 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 Department of Homeland Security, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Also on the faculty are members of the National Academy of Sciences (13), National Academy of Engineering (32), Institute of Medicine (14) and American Academy of Arts and Sciences (24).


Diversity is a hallmark of the USC student community. USC students come from all 50 states, seven territories and 150 countries. There are 35,000 students enrolled at the university, including some 17,000 undergraduates and 18,000 graduate and professional students. In fall 2009, nearly 52 percent of new freshmen were from California. Over 43 percent of the university’s total enrollment is composed of American minorities; a further 10.6 percent are international students. For eight consecutive years, USC has been at the top of American universities in terms of international enrollment. Among undergraduates, approximately 50 percent are men and 50 percent are women.

The middle 50 percent SAT range of the 2009 enrolled freshman class was 1930–2150. The average unweighted GPA was 3.70; weighted was 4.05. In fall 2009, there were 232 National Merit Scholars.

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

Research Support

USC is one of a small number of premier research institutions upon which the United States depends for a steady stream of new knowledge, art and technology. The university has more than $520 million in annual research expenditures. The most recent Top American Research Universities report ranks USC 10th among private universities and 17th among all U.S. universities in federal research support.


The USC Libraries develop collections and services that support and encourage the academic endeavors of faculty, students and staff; build a community of critical consumers of information; and help develop engaged world citizens. With more than 4 million volumes, 3 million photographs, 6 million microforms and subscriptions to more than 50,000 serials and 33,000 electronic journals, the USC Libraries actively support the discovery, creation and preservation of knowledge.

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.

The USC Libraries include a number of specialized libraries that serve the unique research needs of the USC community. 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. 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, and 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

USC’s electronic resources, available online at, include a collection of databases, electronic books, 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 USC Libraries are also engaged in numerous digital initiatives, such as the USC Digital Library. To access these resources and learn about additional services, visit

USC Libraries’ Ask-a-Librarian service provides 24-hour-a-day professional reference assistance to students, faculty and staff. Patrons receive expert answers in person, via phone, email and online chat sessions. Ask-a-Librarian is located online at

Computing Resources

Before activating their USC computing account, students must be registered for classes or have paid their tuition deposit and certified that they will be attending USC. Students must also agree to observe the university’s computing policies, which are available at Students should go to to activate their USC computing account.

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

Information Technology Services (ITS) provides a variety of resources to help students understand how peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs function and the risks involved in using them. P2P file sharing is a complicated technology, and there are significant differences in the ways that P2P programs operate. For more information, see

USC’s Wireless Network
Most common areas at USC are configured for wireless technology. For more information, see ITS recommends that students use USC’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) software to protect their personal information when using the wireless network. For more information, see

All the rooms in USC residence halls are connected to ResNet, USC’s high-speed residential computer network. For more information, see

USC students are eligible for special Gmail accounts that provide more than 7 gigabytes of online storage and allow them to use their email address. These accounts, which are called Google Apps at USC accounts, also provide access to Google’s online word processing and spreadsheet programs, sharable calendars and more. Once students have completed the first login process, they can visit for more information, or go directly to to set up their Gmail account.

Antivirus and Other Software
For free antivirus, firewall and other software, visit (A USC login is required.) A range of software is available for use in USC’s computing centers. See for more information. For tips on secure computing, go to

The Blackboard Web site ( is the online portal used by USC professors to provide students with digital copies of syllabi, handouts and other resources. Blackboard allows students to upload assignments, take quizzes and track their progress in their classes.

Computing Documentation, Network Alerts and ITS Announcements
In addition to documentation on connecting to the USC network and using supported software programs, the ITS Web site provides information about network performance issues and announcements about scheduled maintenance. Visit

USC Computing Centers
USC’s computing centers offer technology- enhanced collaboration spaces, computers, wireless networking and printing services for USC students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit

Getting Help
Research and computing assistance is available 24 hours a day during the academic year (except Saturday midnight-Sunday 9 a.m.) in the Leavey Library Information Commons, located on the lower level.

Hospitals and Patient Care

The schools of medicine, pharmacy and dentistry, 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 USC University Hospital, the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, 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 teaching hospitals 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 more than 28 percent of the region’s trauma victims. In addition, it operates one of only three burn centers in the county, a Level I trauma center and one of the few Level III neo-natal intensive care units in Southern California. At LAC+USC, Keck School faculty care for patients and train more than 900 medical residents and fellows.

The Doctors of USC is the private medical practice in which more than 500 physicians who are faculty members of the Keck School of Medicine provide care in a wide range of medical specialties from the most complex diagnoses and treatments to primary care for the entire family. Besides seeing patients on the Health Sciences campus, faculty doctors have private practice offices at The Doctors of USC Downtown, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and other locations throughout Los Angeles and Southern California.

The USC School of Pharmacy operates pharmacies in the Gwynn Wilson Student Union on the University Park campus and the Medical Plaza Pharmacy (in Healthcare Consultation Center I building) on the Health Sciences campus. These pharmacies provide full pharmacy services including disease screenings, immunizations, medication therapy management, medication compounding and an international travel clinic. School of Pharmacy faculty, residents and students also provide pharmacy services and patient consultations at the USC University Hospital, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, the LAC+USC Medical Center and other hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home health care agencies and pharmacies throughout Southern California.

Faculty, students and residents of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC practice at the Norris Dental Science Center on the University Park campus (UPC) and faculty see patients at the USC Oral Health Center located in University Village adjacent to UPC and other locations throughout Southern California.

Biokinesiology and physical therapy faculty see patients at the USC Physical Therapy Associates clinics in University Village, at USC University Hospital and clinical offices in the Health Research Associates building adjacent to the Health Sciences campus.

The USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice sees patients at USC University Hospital and in the Clinical Sciences Center on the Health Sciences campus. The faculty also offers a number of lifestyle redesign programs at both the University Park and Health Science campuses.

Community Relations

USC has been a university in the city and of the city for more than 125 years. Having grown, and grown up, with Los Angeles, USC places a high value on being a good neighbor and on programs that have a positive and visible impact on the neighborhoods adjacent to both the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.

Toward this end, USC President Steven B. Sample in 1992 articulated five university-community initiatives aimed at strengthening the neighborhoods around USC’s campuses, deepening USC’s ties to these diverse communities and fostering positive relations between USC and the people who are most directly affected by USC’s presence there. Implemented in partnership with community agencies, leaders and public officials, the initiatives: (1) provide special educational, cultural and developmental opportunities for children who live in the immediate neighborhoods; (2) work with neighbors, city and county officials, and the Los Angeles Police Department to provide safer streets in the areas surrounding the two campuses; (3) encourage more entrepreneurs, and especially minority entrepreneurs, to establish businesses in the immediate vicinity of the campuses; (4) encourage more USC employees to own and occupy housing in the immediate vicinity of the campuses; and (5) strive to employ at USC more persons who live in the immediate neighborhoods.

Today, academic and administrative units across the university are involved with some 340 community service programs that are making a real difference in the lives of USC’s neighbors. Through the USC Family of Schools, for example, the university partners with 15 local schools, improving the classroom experience for more than 17,000 K-12 students. Since 1997, the Neighborhood Academic Initiative has offered a college-preparation program that now serves nearly 500 middle- and high-school students each year; of the 533 scholars who have completed the program, more than 180 are now attending or have graduated from USC with full financial assistance. Kid Watch, launched in 1996, brings together the university, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles School Police Department and more than 950 community volunteers to watch over more than 8,500 students as they walk to and from school. The FUENTE initiative provides poison prevention and education to first-grade students and their parents through the USC School of Pharmacy. Since its inception in 1996, the USC Homeownership program has helped nearly 150 university employees purchase homes in the neighborhoods surrounding the University Park and Health Sciences campuses. And the USC Local Vendor program and Small Business Development Office help create economic opportunities for neighborhood residents as well as small and minority-owned businesses.

Additionally, since 1994, faculty and staff have lent their support to the university-community initiatives by making voluntary contributions to the annual USC Good Neighbors Campaign. As of 2009, the campaign has raised more than $11 million, of which $9 million has benefited 365 university-community partnership projects.

For more information about these community service programs and USC’s neighborhoods, visit USC’s community Web site (

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 USC Thornton School of Music is the most active producer of live music performances in the city, presenting more than 500 concerts annually. The USC School of Theatre produces a full schedule of performances as well, the USC Fisher Museum of Art regularly offers exhibitions ranging from contemporary works to antiquities, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts presents a wide variety of film screenings and other events, many of which are open to the public. In addition, USC’s storied Doheny Memorial Library hosts lectures, readings, conferences, concerts and special exhibits. For up-to-date information about cultural events at USC, call the University Ticket Office at (213) 740‑7111 or visit the online arts and events calendar (


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: 22 women’s team titles and 89 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, 388 Trojan athletes have participated in the Olympic games, accumulating a total of 122 gold, 76 silver and 60 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

With more than 300,000 members worldwide, the USC Alumni Association’s mission is to support the overall advancement of USC. In support of this mission, the USC Alumni Association strives to engage all alumni for life, build a culture of philanthropy among the Trojan Family and be a representative voice for all alumni.

With more than 100 affiliated alumni clubs, alumnae support groups and multicultural alumni associations, the USC Alumni Association distributes more than $1 million each year in scholarships to USC students, annually hosts more than 250 events and programs around the world, and provides benefits and services to all USC alumni.

Every summer in July and August, alumni clubs around the world host SCend Offs, a USC tradition, welcoming new students and connecting current students, families and friends to the Trojan Family. The student outreach program, Society 53, offers programs and events that link students to USC’s vast alumni network. The USC Alumni Association also offers SCions, students who are descendents or siblings of USC alumni, scholarships as well as volunteer opportunities. To learn more about the USC Alumni Association and its student programs, visit or call (213) 740-2300.


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 159 buildings and residence halls totaling approximately 8.2 million gross square feet, including the newly opened USC School of Cinematic Arts complex as well as the Ronald Tutor Campus Center slated to open in fall 2010. Some 70 additional university buildings are located off campus, in the immediate vicinity.

Health Sciences Campus
Located three miles northeast of 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 highly respected programs in biokinesiology and physical therapy and in occupational science and occupational therapy. Medical care is provided by the Doctors of USC at two fully owned hospitals — the state-of-the-art USC University Hospital and USC Norris Cancer Hospital — as well as at the Doheny Eye Institute and the adjacent Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, the primary teaching hospital for the Keck School of Medicine for more than a century. The acclaimed Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, staffed by Keck School faculty, is often referred to as USC’s third campus. Health sciences faculty, residents and students also provide services at affiliated hospitals and health-care providers throughout Southern California, and at the USC University Park campus, a collaborative partner in numerous health sciences-related programs.

Other Locations
USC’s other teaching facilities include the Orange County Center, State Capital Center and 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 Washington, D.C., Center, located in the nation’s capital, houses the Office of Federal Relations, which serves as the liaison between the university and the federal government, and the Washington, D.C., Office of Research Advancement, which strengthens ties between the university’s investigators and federal as well as philanthropic research sponsors.

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