University of Southern California
#39 Overall Influence#30 Desirability Rank

University of Southern California

Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

About This School

How does this school stack up?

By James Barham, PhD

The University of Southern California (USC) was founded as the first private research university in the state (five years before Stanford) largely through the efforts of Judge Robert Widney, one of the most prominent citizens of Los Angeles at that time.

Widney’s vision was of an inclusive institution that would serve all sectors of the already-diverse LA community. Accordingly, the board of trustees he assembled included a wealthy Protestant businessman, a Catholic former-governor, and a Jewish banker. While USC was officially affiliated with the Methodist church during its early years, from the beginning its charter provided that no student would be denied admission on the basis of race.

Today, USC enrolls more than 48,000 students, of whom around a quarter (some 12,000) are international students—one of the highest percentages of any university in the country. Half of all students are undergraduates, while the other half are pursuing graduate or professional training.

Nine Nobel Prize laureates have been connected with USC, including the:

  • Physicist, Murray Gell-Mann
  • Chemist, Arieh Warshel
  • Economists, James Heckman & Angus Deaton

USC faculty member Leonard Adleman, who has a joint appointment in computer science and molecular biology, is a Turing Award–recipient.

Among its many other notable faculty and alumni, we may mention:

  • Astronaut, Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon
  • Architect, Frank Gehry
  • Electrical engineer and entrepreneur, Andrew Viterbi
  • Actors John Wayne, Tom Selleck, LeVar Burton, Cybil Shepherd, Daryl Hannah, Will Ferrell, & Forest Whitaker
  • Television producer and film director, Judd Apatow
  • Film directors, Robert Zemeckis, John Singleton, Ron Howard, & George Lucas
  • Mohamed Morsi, the former president of Egypt
  • Shinzō Abe, the current prime minister of Japan

Admissions

What does this school look for?

Annual Applications

64,352

Acceptance

13%

Graduation Rate

92%

Median SAT Score

1440

Median ACT Score

32

Costs

How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)

$55,320

Fees (in-state)

$842

IncomeAverage Net Cost
0-30K$15,210
30K-48K$15,032
48K-75K$21,572
75K-110K$29,793
110K+$51,487

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings

$88,800

Employed

91%

Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body

37K

Under-Grads

20K

Graduates

17K

The Campus

Where will you be attending?

Location

University Park, Los Angeles CA 90089

Influence Rankings by Discipline

How’s this school influential?

#8 World Rank #7 USA Rank
Social Work
#15 World Rank #14 USA Rank
Business
#15 World Rank #14 USA Rank
Communications
#21 World Rank #17 USA Rank
Engineering
#27 World Rank #24 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#27 World Rank #21 USA Rank
Political Science
#30 World Rank #23 USA Rank
Computer Science
#32 World Rank #23 USA Rank
Medical
#34 World Rank #16 USA Rank
History
#34 World Rank #25 USA Rank
Education
#61 World Rank #31 USA Rank
Literature
#62 World Rank #35 USA Rank
Law
#73 World Rank #39 USA Rank
Economics
#78 World Rank #26 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#81 World Rank #32 USA Rank
Chemistry
#88 World Rank #45 USA Rank
Biology
#89 World Rank #51 USA Rank
Psychology
#96 World Rank #49 USA Rank
Sociology
#100 World Rank #76 USA Rank
Nursing
#156 World Rank #74 USA Rank
Anthropology
#182 World Rank #64 USA Rank
Physics
#192 World Rank #93 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#205 World Rank #79 USA Rank
Philosophy
#234 World Rank #93 USA Rank
Mathematics

Influential People

Who are University of Southern California's Most influential alumni?

University of Southern California's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Social Work, Business, and Communications. University of Southern California’s most academically influential people include Neil Armstrong, Frank Gehry, and George Lucas.

Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong

American astronaut and the first human to walk on the moon

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Frank Gehry
Frank Gehry

Canadian-American architect

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George Lucas
George Lucas

American film producer and director

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John Wayne
John Wayne

American actor

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Gene Roddenberry
Gene Roddenberry

American television screenwriter and producer

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Ralph Nieders

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Jim Lovell
Jim Lovell

American astronaut

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Andrew Viterbi
Andrew Viterbi

Italian-born American electrical engineer and businessman

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Ron Howard
Ron Howard

American film director, producer, and actor

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Robert Ballard
Robert Ballard

United States Navy officer, oceanographer and underwater archaeologist

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Martha Chase
Martha Chase

American biochemist

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Thom Mayne

American architect

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