University of Southern California

About USC

A Leading Private Research University

The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international business, USC’s diverse curricular offerings provide extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study and collaboration with leading researchers in highly advanced learning environments.

In a comprehensive new ranking, The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked USC 15th among 1,061 public and private universities. Representing California, only USC, Stanford, and Caltech appear in the top 25, and among 150 colleges and universities in the western United States, USC ranks third. In student and faculty diversity, USC tied for second with Columbia among the top 25 nationally ranked universities.

USC’s distinguished faculty of 4,000 innovative scholars, researchers, teachers and mentors includes five Nobel laureates, and dozens of recipients of prestigious national honors including the MacArthur “Genius” Award, Guggenheim Award, the National Medal of the Arts, the National Humanities Medal, the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and Pulitzer Prize.

Student enrollment statistics from the 2016-2017 academic year (rounded):

Undergraduates 19,000
Graduate and professional students 25,000
Total 44,000
16.6% of 54,282 freshman applicants were admitted
229 National Merit Scholars, 2016 freshman class
pie chart
Female 55%
Male 45%
13% of freshmen were first-generation college students
3.75 average unweighted GPA for entering freshman class

Find more statistics in USC Facts and Figures.

USC first opened its doors to 53 students and 10 teachers in 1880, when the newly founded “city” still lacked paved streets, electric lights, telephones and a reliable fire alarm system. Today, USC is home to 44,000 students and 4,000 full-time faculty, and is located in the heart of one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world.

Timeline Click the photos to learn more.

For more, see the full timeline of key events in USC's history.

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, USC’s University Park campus is part of the city’s Downtown Arts and Education Corridor and is home to the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and many professional schools. The Health Sciences campus, northeast of downtown Los Angeles, is home to the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the School of Pharmacy, three major teaching hospitals, and programs in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and in Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. USC also has programs and centers in Marina Del Rey, Orange County, Sacramento, Washington, D.C., Catalina Island, Alhambra and around Southern California. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, staffed by USC faculty from the Keck School of Medicine, is often referred to as USC’s third campus.

USC photo stream

For more photos, visit USC on Flickr.