University of Southern California


The University of Southern California is located in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1880, when Los Angeles was just a frontier town that lacked paved streets, electricity, and other cornerstones of modern society. Now, L.A. is a creative and cultural hotspot, sprawling with urban flair and grit, and USC is nestled in the heart of this vibrant city.
University of Southern California on

USC strives to enrichen L.A. and beyond through its student-, community-, and world-centered programs. The school’s central mission is to develop human beings and society by cultivating and enriching the human mind and spirit. It uses teaching, research, artistic expression, professional practice, and public service to do so. USC dedicates itself to constant improvement and evolution to fulfill its mission.

Here’s What’s Great About the University of Southern California

Beyond its mission, there are many great things about the University of Southern California.

Located in Los Angeles, a city of the arts, USC has a vibrant program called The USC lovine Young Academy for Art, Technology and the Business of Innovation. Jimmy lovine and Dr. Dre, two icons of the music industry, gave $70 million to USC to fund its creation. Its campus also hosts the country’s largest public literary festival, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. USC values its arts programs and gives students access to the arts in and out of the classroom.

Active Sports Programs

USC loves its sports. The school has 20 sports teams and numerous athletics programs and services. And, in 2016, USC sent 44 athletes to the Rio Olympics. They brought home 21 Olympic medals. Off campus, students might take their talents to the ocean to surf or to enjoy the city’s public skate parks, tennis courts, and parks (year-round). 

Diverse Student Body

USC values diversity. The university serves a diverse Los Angeles community and a large student body from throughout the U.S. and world. It also promotes study abroad and service learning opportunities throughout the world. On campus, students will find programming that promotes cultural, social, and political education and awareness.   

Invested in Research

USC spends nearly $700 million annually on research. As a research institution, it provides entities throughout the U.S. with new knowledge, art, and technology. Its computer science research program has a particularly high ranking, and its graduate programs in science, engineering, and health are all relatively large. The school places importance on research that makes a difference in communities and the world.

USC Faculty

USC prides itself in its distinguished faculty. Its scholars, researchers, teachers, and mentors include Nobel laureates and recipients of prestigious national honors such as:

  • 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

The student to teacher ratio at USC is 9 to 1. More than half of its classes have fewer than 20 students. The freshman retention rate is 97 percent, which could indicate students’ satisfaction.

USC has 3,900 fulltime faculty and 1,779 part time faculty. Of the fulltime 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. i

USC Admissions Requirements

USC’s admissions requirements vary by program level and type. The USC application deadline and associated fees also vary. However, we can give you a sense of USC’s general admissions requirements.

Undergraduate Admissions

Overall, USC looks at students’ personal and academic circumstances and achievements. For example:

  • Academic performance
  • Curriculum rigor
  • Writing ability
  • Standardized test scores
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Leadership service
  • Community service

To apply, first-year undergraduate students must submit the following:

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

In addition, applicants can apply for an interview (interviews are offered on a first come, first serve basis). Applicants must also demonstrate that they have high GPAs, a record of taking quality and high-level high school courses, and an overall ability to succeed academically.

For some programs, students might have to submit a resume, portfolio, or additional writing samples.  

Graduate Admissions

To apply to graduate programs at USC, students must submit the following:

  • Evidence of having earned 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
  • Official transcripts from all colleges you’ve attended
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Recommendation letters
  • Materials for specific programs such as writing samples or a portfolio

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

Whether applying for undergraduate or graduate programs, international and transfer applicants have to meet additional requirements. International applicants, for example, may have to submit TOEFL scores, documentation of financial support, and other materials. Additionally, each program, whether undergraduate or graduate, might require students to submit additional fees or materials. 

The University of Southern California Acceptance Rate and Other Numbers

In fall 2015, 51,924 undergraduate students applied to the University of Southern California. Of those students, 18 percent were accepted. U.S. News rates USC as “More Selective” in both 2015 and 2016.

97 percent of undergraduate students at USC attend full-time, according to additional 2015 data from U.S News. 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. 3 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.

The University of Southern California Ranking

According to U.S. News’ 2017 ranking, the 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).” A USC online degree, 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.”

Financial Aid for Students at the University of Southern California

In the 2014-2015 school year, 60 percent of all undergraduate students at USC received grants and scholarships from the government, USC, and other sources. 23 percent 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. Therefore, 37 percent of applicants received need-based financial aid.

Financial assistance may be available to individuals who qualify. USC encourages applicants to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Our Federal School Code is 001328.

The University of Southern California Accreditation Status

USC has regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Accreditation through this institution indicates that USC has met high standards for academic quality and educational effectiveness. Several of USC’s schools and programs have additional accreditation through specialized or professional accreditation institutions. USC’s regional, school, and program accreditations extend to USC’s online programming and a USC Online Degree. 


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

This school isn't currently accepting requests for information from our site. But, fill out the form below and get matched to the programs from our sponsored schools that may meet your needs!

Get Matched Now!