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

University of Southern California

Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

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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

From Wikipedia

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880 by Robert M. Widney, it is the oldest private research university in California.The university is composed of one liberal arts school, the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and twenty-two undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, enrolling an average of 19,500 undergraduate and 26,500 post-graduate students from all fifty U.S. states and more than 115 countries. USC is ranked among the top universities in the United States and admission to its programs is highly selective.

Source: Wikipedia


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How much does it cost to attend?

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What's it like to attend this school?

The People

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The Campus

Where will you be attending?


University Park, Los Angeles CA 90089

What is University of Southern California known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#16 World Rank
#17 World Rank
#24 World Rank
Computer Science
#25 World Rank
#34 World Rank
#59 World Rank
#21 World Rank
#25 World Rank
#23 World Rank
Political Science
#21 World Rank
#71 World Rank
#41 World Rank
#95 World Rank
#33 World Rank
#46 World Rank
#87 World Rank
#77 World Rank
#38 World Rank
#73 World Rank
Religious Studies
#44 World Rank
#6 World Rank
Social Work
#19 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#79 World Rank
Earth Sciences

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 Business, Engineering, and Computer Science. University of Southern California’s most academically influential people include Edward L. Masry, Carlos I. Noriega, and Edwin S. Shneidman.

Edward L. Masry

American lawyer

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Carlos I. Noriega
Carlos I. Noriega

Peruvian astronaut

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Edwin S. Shneidman
Edwin S. Shneidman

Thanatologist and co-founder of suicidology

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Raphael Soriano

American architect

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Michele Tafoya
Michele Tafoya

American sportscaster

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Stephanie Miller
Stephanie Miller

American comedian and political commentator

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George V. Chilingar
George V. Chilingar

American geologist

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Willie Soon

American astronomer

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Willie Soon

American astronomer

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Willie Soon

American astronomer

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Gordon Fee

Bible scholar

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Gregory Ain

American architect

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