University of Southern California


The University of Southern California isn’t just a top-ranked private research institution. It’s also an internationally-recognized school offering quality education in over a hundred potential areas of study.

USC offers:

  • an interdisciplinary liberal arts education
  • a diverse global perspective
  • academic rigor
  • a vibrant campus culture
  • and more.

All in sunny Los Angeles, California. And with the addition of the University of Southern California online programs, you could pursue that world-class education from the comfort of your own home, if you so choose.
University of Southern California on

About the University of Southern California

The University of Southern California, popularly called USC, is located in Los Angeles, California. When it first opened in 1880—back when LA was still a frontier town—it only had 53 students and 10 instructors. Today, it’s a much different picture. USC now boasts over 41,000 students and 3,800 faculty members. Not to mention the prestige that comes with the USC family’s many accomplishments.

Despite its international influence, USC is also deeply rooted in the Los Angeles community it calls home. In fact, USC aims to use its influence to make that community a better place, through its student, community and world-centric programs.

The school’s central mission is to develop individuals and society by cultivating and enriching the human mind and spirit. USC uses teaching, research, artistic expression, professional practice, and public service to work toward this goal. And USC itself isn’t exempt from this development. The school also dedicates itself to constantly improving the services and offerings it provides.

University of Southern California Online

The University of Southern California is dedicated to providing students with the top-notch education they’re looking for—even if they’re not living in LA. USC online degree programs makes this education accessible not only to local students, but to people across the country, without their having to relocate. So students could earn USC online degrees from wherever you are, on your own schedule.

USC’s online program adheres to the same academic rigor as their campus programs, so you won’t compromise quality by choosing to earn your degree online. In fact, USC has a ton of experience in the remote learning space. They’ve been offering distance education since 1972, before the internet even came into being. Currently, the University of Southern California offers 88 online graduate programs. This includes both USC online masters and doctoral programs.

The specific requirements of each program may vary.

USC Graduate Programs & Undergraduate Programs

Studying at the University of Southern California, it might seem like the possibilities are endless. Degree and certificate programs span from undergraduate to doctorate, making it a possibility for students at every post-secondary level, if they meet the admission criteria.

USC undergraduate and graduate programs are divided into schools. Each school may offer a variety of related degree majors and minors, as well as certificate programs. The largest of these is the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Other USC schools focus on the following subjects.

  • Architecture
  • Art & Design
  • Arts, Technology & Innovation
  • Business
  • Cinema
  • Communications & Journalism
  • Dance
  • Dentistry
  • Dramatic Arts
  • Engineering
  • Gerontology
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Music
  • Neuroscience
  • Occupational Sciences
  • Public Policy
  • Pharmacy

University of Southern California Faculty

USC faculty are responsible not just for the quality of the education you might receive in your courses. They also engage in influential research, arts and culture projects, writing, and more. This high standard means students have the opportunity to learn from the best. Some honors members of the USC faculty have earned include the following.

  • The MacArthur “Genius” Award
  • The Guggenheim Award
  • The National Medal of the Arts
  • The National Humanities Medal
  • The National Medal of Science
  • The National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • The Pulitzer Prize

Despite its large size, the University of Southern California maintains a relatively low student-teacher ratio of USC is 9 to 1. In fact, most classes have fewer than 20 students. The freshman retention rate is also 97 percent, which could indicate students’ satisfaction.

USC has 3,900 full-time faculty and 1,779 part-time faculty. Of the full-time faculty members, 1,603 are researchers and public servants. The school has 1,988 graduate assistants; 1,221 work in research, and 767 are instructional.

Applying to the University of Southern California

Getting into the University of Southern California is somewhat competitive, though this may vary based on your residence, selected program, degree level, and other factors. Specific admissions requirements (including any necessary fees and deadlines) vary by program level and type. International applicants, may have to submit TOEFL scores, documentation of financial support, and other materials.

Below is a general guide to what you might expect if you apply to USC.

Undergraduate Admissions

A lot goes into the admissions process, both on the applicant’s end and the school’s. They try to evaluate students holistically, looking at a wide range of factors that impact student achievement. This could include things like their overall academic performance and how rigorous that curriculum was, how well they write, their life experiences, test scores, activities, and more.

To apply, first-year undergraduate students must submit:

  • High school transcripts
  • SAT and ACT test scores
  • An activities summary
  • Essays, short answers, and “quick takes”
  • A “Common Application School Report”

Applicants might also apply for an interview. These opportunities are first-come, first-serve. For some programs, students might also have to submit a resume, portfolio, or additional writing samples.  

Graduate Admissions

Interested in USC masters programs or doctoral programs? To apply to graduate programs at USC, students must submit the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited school
  • An online application
  • An application fee of $90. Some programs have higher application fees.
  • Official GRE, GMAT, or other test scores, which may vary by program
  • Official transcripts from all colleges you’ve attended
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Recommendation letters

Graduate students might have to submit additional materials depending on their programs. The application deadlines and program start dates vary by program.

USC Acceptance Rate Numbersi

According to US News, the University of Southern California is “more selective.” For example, in fall 2015, USC received 51,924 undergraduate applications. Of those applications, 18% were accepted.

97 percent of undergraduate students at USC attend full-time, while 78 percent of graduate students attend full-time. 20 percent of all graduate students at USC are enrolled in USC Graduate programs, including USC Online Masters Programs, offered completely online. Three percent of undergraduate students are enrolled in hybrid programs or attend some USC online classes.

The overall graduate rate for students who began their studies in 2009 is 92 percent. This number includes full-time, first-time degree, and certificate-seeking students.

Financial Aid at USC

In the 2014-2015 school year, 60 percent of all undergraduate students at USC received grants and scholarships. These could include federal and state programs, institutional aid (including merit-based scholarships), and other organizations. 23 percent of undergraduate students received Pell grants. 36 percent received federal student loans.

According to U.S. News’ 2017 evaluation, 49.5 of the students at USC applied for need-based aid. Of those students, 97.9 percent had their needs fully met.

Financial assistance may be available to individuals who qualify. USC encourages applicants to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For more information about need-based and merit-based aid, visit or contact the Financial Aid Office.

University of Southern California Accreditation

USC has regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Several of USC’s schools and programs are accredited through specialized or professional institutions. USC’s regional, school, and program accreditations extend to USC’s online programming and a USC Online Degree.

Why Consider Attending the University of Southern California

USC is known for its school pride and diverse achievements across every discipline. Plus, it’s in Los Angeles! That alone could be enough to convince some students to attend.

USC is also deeply rooted in LA’s famous arts culture. Inn fact, USC has a program called The USC lovine Young Academy for Art, Technology and the Business of Innovation. It was conceived when Jimmy lovine and Dr. Dre, two icons of the music industry, gave $70 million to USC to fund its creation. USC also hosts the country’s largest public literary festival, the LA Times Festival of Books. USC values its arts programs and gives students access to the arts in and out of the classroom.

Here are a few other reasons you might want to consider taking classes from USC.

  • Passionate Sports Culture
    USC is well known for its athletics. In addition to their powerhouse NCAA division 1 football team, the USC Trojans have a record of accomplishment across multiple sports. In fact, the school has 20 sports teams and numerous other athletics programs and services. USC sent 44 athletes to the Rio Olympics, who together brought home 21 Olympic medals.
    Not competitive? Off campus, students might spend their free time surfing, or to enjoying the city’s public skate parks, tennis courts, and parks.
  • Diverse Student Body
    Diversity is essential to USC. 40% of students at USC are white, with 21% of Asian descent, 15% Hispanic/Latinx, and 14% non-resident alien students. But that just scratches the surface. A full 18% of undergraduate students come from foreign countries.
    USC also promotes study abroad and service learning opportunities throughout the world, to help students build a diverse and international perspective of the world. On campus, students will find programming that promotes cultural, social, and political education and awareness.
  • Invested in Research
    USC is a research institution. It spends nearly $700 million on research every year. Its computer science research program has a particularly high ranking. Graduate programs in science, engineering, and health are also all relatively large. The school especially values research that makes a difference in communities and the world.

USC Rankings

According to the U.S. News college rankings in 2017, University of Southern California’s online programs tied for #1 in “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs,” #1 in “Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs,” and #6 in “Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA).” The USC Online MBA program tied for #12 in “Best Online MBA Programs.”

Overall, USC was ranked #23 in “National Universities,” #13 in “Best Colleges for Veterans,” and #56 in “Best Value Schools.” It tied for #19 in “Most Innovative Schools.”

Apply to the University of Southern California

For more information about USC, reach out using the form here! You could also read more about USC’s history, programs, campus life, and more on Schedule your campus visit, and submit your application!


Student Reviews

“What the program's done for me. I use every class that I've taken in my current role. There's not one class that I have not taken within this program that I have not used something from, some material from, some learning from, something that I've been able to apply in my job even just, the way I approach strategy, the way I approach working with a very diverse, global, high-powered, intense group of people, I'm able to sit there and execute successfully.”

— Alexis Santoro, May 2016 Graduate

Request Information
Find Schools