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 61 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 associate provost Robin Romans.

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 162 undergraduate majors, and, as of fall 2011, graduate students were enrolled in nearly 380 master’s, certificate, doctoral and professional degree programs. Hand in hand with this wide array of majors, USC has developed 155 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 USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School and the university’s 17 professional schools.

The USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is at the heart of the university’s commitment to teaching and research in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. The largest and most diverse of USC’s academic divisions — in terms of both student enrollment and faculty — the college serves nearly 6,700 undergraduates and 1,700 graduate students, and offers more than 130 undergraduate courses of study and a full range of master’s and doctoral degree 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 nearly 3,400. In addition, more than 4,500 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 more than 11,800.

USC’s faculty includes Nobel laureates George A. Olah, Murray Gell-Mann and Daniel McFadden as well as National Medal of Arts winner Morten Lauridsen, National Humanities Medal winner Kevin Starr, National Medal of Science winner Andrew Viterbi, Turing Prize recipient Leonard Adleman, Pritzker Prize honoree Frank Gehry, MacArthur fellows Elyn Saks and Luis Alfaro, renowned violinist Midori Goto, Michael Waterman (a founder of computational genomics), Manuel Castells (interpreter of the Internet age), and Antonio Damasio (pioneer in the neural bases of emotions). 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 (15), National Academy of Engineering (35), Institute of Medicine (14) and American Academy of Arts and Sciences (28).


Diversity is a hallmark of the USC student community. USC students come from all 50 states, five territories and 115 countries. There are 38,000 students enrolled at the university, including some 17,500 undergraduates and 20,500 graduate and professional students. In fall 2011, nearly 50 percent of new freshmen were from California. Approximately 40 percent of the university’s total enrollment is composed of American minorities; a further 19 percent are international students. For 10 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 2011 enrolled freshman class was 1970–2180. The average unweighted GPA was 3.72. In fall 2011, there were 247 National Merit Scholars.

USC students consistently earn nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships, including Fulbright, Luce, Marshall, Truman, Rhodes and Churchill 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 $600 million in annual research expenditures and has ranked among the top 10 private universities in federal research activity.


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.edu/libraries.

USC’s electronic resources, available online at usc.edu/libraries, include a collection of databases, electronic books, electronic journals and visual materials. USC’s online library catalog, 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 digitallibrary.usc.edu.

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 usc.edu/libraries/services/ask_a_librarian.

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 usc.edu/its/policies. Students should go to usc.edu/firstlogin 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.edu/its/copyright.

USC’s Wireless Network

Most common areas at USC are configured for wireless technology. There are two ways to connect to the USC wireless network: USC Wireless and USC Wireless Plus.

USC Wireless

USC Wireless is an open network. You can connect without entering your USC username and password. Because USC wireless is an open network, ITS recommends that you use USC’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) software to protect your personal information when using this network. See usc.edu/its/vpn for instructions.

USC Wireless Plus

USC Wireless Plus is a faster, encrypted network, available only to USC account holders. When connecting to USC Wireless Plus for the first time, you may need to configure your wireless device. For instructions, see usc.edu/its/wireless/plus.


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


USC students are eligible for special Gmail accounts that provide more than 7 gigabytes of online storage and allow them to use their @usc.edu 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 usc.edu/its/google for more information, or go directly to getgoogle.usc.edu to set up their Gmail account.

Antivirus and Other Software

For free antivirus, firewall and other software, visit software.usc.edu. (A USC login is required.) An overview of software resources is available at usc.edu/its/software. For tips on secure computing, go to usc.edu/its/security.


The Blackboard Website (blackboard.usc.edu) is the online learning management system used by USC professors to provide students with digital copies of syllabi, other course-related resources and hosted discussion forums. Blackboard allows students to upload assignments, take quizzes, communicate with classmates and track progress in their classes.


MyUSC is the university’s portal, designed to provide personalized access to wide-ranging campus resources in a single location.These include university and departmental announcements, along with national news, online registration, Blackboard and other services. MyUSC is available at my.usc.edu.


USC students have free access to Lynda.com, an online training provider offering more than 1,100 video-based courses on a broad range of computing and technology topics, including Google Apps, Adobe products, Microsoft Office, Web design and development, audio/video production, computer programming and mobile devices. For more information, visit usc.edu/its/lynda.


USCmobile (mobile.usc.edu) provides access to a broad range of USC content from Internet-enabled phones, including campus directories, maps, news, events, tram routes and arrival times, and more.

Computing Documentation, Network Alerts and ITS Announcements

In addition to documentation on connecting to the USC network and using supported software programs, the ITS Website provides information about network performance issues and announcements about scheduled maintenance. Visit usc.edu/its.

USC Computing Centers

USC’s computing centers offer technology- enhanced collaboration spaces, computers, wireless networking and wireless printing services for USC students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit usc.edu/its/spaces/computing_centers.

Getting Help

For help with network connectivity and software, contact the ITS Customer Support Center at 740-5555 or consult@usc.edu. Walk-in support is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, in Leavey Library’s Information Commons, on the lower level. For more information, see usc.edu/its/csc.

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.

The Health Sciences Campus is home to the newly-named Keck Medical Center of USC. The medical center includes university-owned Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital, Healthcare Consultation Centers I and II and the Doheny Eye Institute. The 411-bed Keck Hospital of USC 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.

USC Care Medical Group, Inc. 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, clinical satellites exist in downtown Los Angeles, La Cañada, Beverly Hills and Pasadena.

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 Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Cancer Hospital, 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 Keck Hospital of USC and clinical offices in the USC Clinical Research Organization building adjacent to the Health Sciences Campus.

The USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice sees patients at Keck Hospital of USC 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.

Civic Engagement

The oldest research university in Southern California, USC has been an integral part of its community for more than 130 years. Today, USC is the largest private employer in Los Angeles and is renowned for innovative university-community partnerships aimed at strengthening the neighborhoods around its University Park and Health Sciences campuses, deepening its ties to these diverse communities and fostering positive relations between the university and the people who are most directly affected by USC’s presence there. Implemented in partnership with community agencies, leaders and public officials, USC’s university-community initiatives focus on providing special educational, cultural and developmental opportunities for children who live in the immediate neighborhoods; working with neighbors, city and county officials, and other agencies to provide safer streets; encouraging more entrepreneurs, and especially minority entrepreneurs, to establish businesses in the immediate vicinity of the campuses; and striving to employ at USC more persons who live in the areas surrounding the two campuses.

Today, academic and administrative units across the university are involved with some 400 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 16,000 K-12 students. Since 1997, the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI), a six-year pre-college-enrichment program designed to prepare low-income neighborhood students to succeed in college, has graduated more than 640 students, 100 percent of whom have earned their high school diplomas and 99 percent of whom have gone on to college. NAI graduates who are accepted to USC receive a full financial package, minus loans. Kid Watch, launched in 1996, brings together the university, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department and more than 950 community volunteers to watch over more than 8,500 students as they walk to and from school.

Additionally, since 1994, employees, alumni and friends have lent their support to the university-community initiatives by making voluntary contributions to the annual USC Good Neighbors Campaign. As of 2011, the campaign has raised more than $13.9 million, funding 459 university-community partnership projects.

For more information about USC’s community-engagement efforts, visit usc.edu/community.

Cultural Life

USC and its graduates play an important role in making Los Angeles one of the world’s great centers for arts and culture. The USC Thornton School of Music is the most active producer of live music performances in the city, presenting more than 500 music events annually. The USC School of Dramatic Arts 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 film screenings and other events, many of which are open to the public. USC’s storied Doheny Memorial Library also hosts a wide variety of lectures, readings, conferences, concerts and special exhibits. In addition, Visions and Voices, USC’s campus-wide arts and humanities initiative, attracts nearly 30,000 students each year to theatrical productions, music and dance performances, conferences, lectures, film screenings, and other activities both on and off campus. For up-to-date information about cultural programming at USC, call the University Ticket Office at (213) 740‑GOSC (4672) or visit the online arts and events calendar (usc.edu/calendar).


USC sponsors nine varsity sports for men and 12 for women, involving more than 600 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: 23 women’s team titles and 93 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-one USC athletes have been awarded NCAA postgraduate scholarships.

In Olympic competition, USC has fielded more athletes than any other institution. Since 1904, 393 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

The USC Alumni Association’s mission is to support the overall advancement of the University of Southern California by engaging all alumni for life, building a culture of philanthropy among the Trojan Family, and being the representative voice for all USC alumni.

With more than 300,000 members worldwide, the USC Alumni Association supports more than 100 affiliated alumni clubs, alumnae support groups, and multicultural and generational alumni communities. These groups collectively distribute more than two million dollars each year in scholarships for USC students. The USC Alumni Association annually hosts hundreds of 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. Our student outreach program, Society 53, offers programs and events that link students to USC’s vast alumni network. These events include the Trojan SCuppers – alumni-hosted dinners with students. We also offer great benefits to students such as a car rental program and test preparation discounts. To learn more about the USC Alumni Association and its student programs, visit alumni.usc.edu/students 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 261 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 155 buildings and residence halls totaling approximately 8.1 million gross square feet. Some 69 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, physicians and scientists from around the world. Here a blend of clinical, classroom and laboratory resources forms a dynamic, interactive environment that is shaping the future of health care.

The 72-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 faculty physicians in outpatient clinics and at two university-owned hospitals — the state-of-the-art Keck Hospital of USC 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 Children’s 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 (Irvine), State Capital Center (Sacramento) and Wrigley Marine Science Center (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, Public Policy 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