Is USC a good school? If you have been wondering this about the University of Southern California, you aren’t alone. USC is a dream school for many students, and USC ranks as one of the most prestigious schools in California. Many people even wonder if USC is Ivy League.
Keep reading to learn what USC is known for and what students are saying about the University of Southern California. We’ll cover USC rankings and USC reviews, as well as top programs, the median salary for USC graduates, and tips for the admission process.
- Campus Location(s): University Park Campus and Health Sciences Campus in Los Angeles
- Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission
- Acceptance Rate: 13%
- Graduation Rate: 92%
- Annual Undergraduate Tuition: $61,503
- Annual Graduate Tuition: $60,446
The University of Southern California is a private research university that was founded in 1880. USC offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a large number of study areas through its 23 schools and academic units. The student body is diverse and 23 percent of first-year students are the first person to attend college in their families, according to the school’s official website.
While some may know of USC as a party school with a strong Greek life presence, it does have strong academic programs and impressive research activity. The University of Southern California also has an excellent platform for online education, with more than a hundred online master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and graduate certificates.
Where Is USC?
USC has two campuses, both located in Los Angeles. On-campus students will get to experience living in beautiful Southern California and the second-largest city in the US. Given LA’s connection with the film and entertainment industry, USC is a popular school for film students and theater majors.
What Is USC Known For?
USC is known for being a selective school with creative programs and a high graduation rate. Students are taught by distinguished faculty, and graduates go on to build successful careers in academia, industry, and government. USC is known for its research opportunities for students at all levels, from first-year students to graduate students.
Is USC Ivy League?
No, USC isn’t an Ivy League school, but it is a prestigious university. USC offers many of the same benefits as an Ivy League school such as specialized education, state-of-the-art research facilities, and small class sizes.
How Big Is USC?
USC is a large school with 49,500 students in total. Of the total student body, 21,000 are undergraduate students and 28,500 are either graduate students or professional students. The student body is made up of students from all over the world, with almost 24 percent or around one in every five students being from outside of the US.
Is a Degree From USC Good?
Yes, a degree from USC is very good. Students will learn from experts in the field, find meaningful research opportunities, and become strong candidates for competitive jobs. According to US News & World Report, USC is ranked 27th in their list of the best national universities.
How Much Does USC Cost?
USC costs $61,503 per year for undergraduate tuition. Graduate students pay an average tuition of $60,446 along with $950 in fees. The annual cost of attendance for students will vary based on specific program fees, books, and living expenses.
USC Financial Aid
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 76 percent of students receive financial aid in one form or another at USC. All prospective students who are US citizens should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what federal grants and loans they qualify for. USC will also offer students additional financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants.
A great advantage of applying for financial aid at USC is that your financial status is not a factor in their assessment, and USC offers generous financial aid packages to students with different backgrounds. Students can discuss their financial options with a USC financial aid advisor to make an informed decision about how to pay for school.
- USC First Generation Scholarship Program. This $2,000 scholarship is offered by USC Student Affairs for current first-generation undergrad students who are taking on an unpaid internship.
- USC Rossier School of Education Dean’s Superintendents Advisory Group (DSAG) Scholarship. This is a $10,000 scholarship for students in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program who want to become superintendents of a school district.
- USC Alumni Association Intersorority Parents’ Council (ISPC) Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate student in their senior year who is an active member of a Panhellenic sorority and who has a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- USC Leonard Shoninger Endowed Scholarship Study Abroad Grant. This award is available to undergraduate students who are embarking on their first study abroad program through USC. The $2,000 award can help students cover the cost of plane tickets, passport fees, and vaccinations.
- USC Richard and Kathy Leventhal Scholarship. Undergraduate students with high financial need and a high academic standing level can receive this $5,000 award up to three times during their bachelor’s degree program.
One way to learn more is to check out USC reviews and USC rankings. We have compiled relevant rankings from US News & World Report, Times Higher Education, Center for World University, QS World University, and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Across these various lists, USC is ranked as a top-choice university.
USC US News & World Report Ranking
According to US News & World Report, USC is 70th on the list of Best Global Universities. This ranking system considers the top 1,750 universities in the whole world and assesses them in thirteen key indicators. US News & World Report also ranks USC 37th in Regional Research Reputation.
USC Times Higher Education Ranking
If you consider the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking, USC is the 63rd best university in the world. THE evaluates universities in different aspects including teaching, research, citations, and international outlook. USC excels in citations with a high score of 90.3 out of a possible 100 points.
USC Center for World University Rankings
The Center for World University Rankings is a global list of the top 2,000 universities in the world, and USC ranks 50th on this list. It earned the highest scores in the categories for national reputation and faculty excellence.
USC QS World University Rankings
According to the QS World University Rankings, a highly sought-after ranking system, USC is in the 112th position in World University Rankings for 2022. One of the key ranking factors for this organization is employability outcome. They found USC ranks 59th for graduate employability and earned an employment outcome score of 94.8 out of 100.
USC Academic Ranking of World Universities (AWRU)
Academic Ranking of World Universities, published by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, puts USC in 61st place for best universities worldwide and in 32nd place for best university in the US. According to these rankings, the best programs that USC offers include finance, computer science, and communications.
Top Programs at USC
Now that you know what is USC known for, let’s cover some of the most popular academic programs offered at USC. In these undergraduate and graduate level programs, you’ll learn from professors who are researchers, scholars, field experts, and active industry professionals.
Bachelor’s Degrees at USC
USC offers diverse undergraduate programs taught by award-winning faculty that are able to guide and advise students for successful learning and careers. Below are three of the top bachelor’s degree programs offered at USC.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art
The program is ideal for students with an interest in visual art and storytelling. The curriculum has 128 credits with 52 credits in major courses, and students have the flexibility to choose a concentration in character animation, environmental design, visual effects, 3D pipelines, and interactive animation.
Bachelor of Science in Accounting
This undergraduate program is offered by the Leventhal School of Accounting, and the program is designed for flexibility so students can double major. The curriculum is designed to encourage team building, networking, and leadership. It offers an immersive study of the accounting profession and prepares students for a master’s degree or to enter the workforce.
Bachelor of Arts in Communication
USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication that covers how messages are created and shared across different platforms for cultural and rhetorical purposes. According to the school, this popular program has over 1,000 undergraduates and 99 percent of program graduates are employed after 12 months of completing their degree.
Master’s Degrees at USC
There are plenty of master’s programs at USC that are offered on-campus or online. Students studying at USC find numerous opportunities to get involved in research at the University of Southern California’s excellent research centers, labs, and institutes.
Master of Laws
This program is offered both online and on-campus by the Gould School of Law. The online program to acquire a Master of Laws (LLB) degree has a unique curriculum because it allows students to create their own concentration. Graduates of the program can find successful careers in law as government officials, attorneys, and legal consultants.
Master of Science in Business Analytics
This is a specialized master’s program combining business strategy with data science. The curriculum helps students develop a well-rounded skill set including programming, statistics for machine learning, operational methods, soft skills, and business specialization. Students learn through real-world projects and examples.
Master of Fine Arts in Acting
This graduate program combines actor training and a physical approach to acting. Students are able to complete the program in three years and work on their acting craft with the help of actors and mentors. Alumni of USC have found their way to television series on various channels or in productions at theaters across the US.
Other Top Programs at USC
Some other highly respected programs at USC are postdoctoral and doctoral programs in the School of Pharmacy, pre-college programs in the School of Architecture, and graduate certificates in the Keck School of Medicine. Below are some of the top programs at USC that you can benefit from at different academic levels.
PhD in Biomedical Engineering
This is a 60-credit doctorate program with a dissertation and advanced research. It takes most students five years to complete. Master’s students from USC in the same discipline can transfer up to 30 credits from their master’s coursework. Students will produce original research that will advance current knowledge in their sub-field.
Graduate Certificate in Software Architecture
Students can choose between a full-time and part-time schedule to earn this 15-credit graduate certificate. The program provides an introduction to software development and engineering, which can be a helpful foundation for students without a computer science background who want to pursue a graduate-level degree in computer science.
Food Industry Management Program
This is a 16-week certificate program for competitive-level food industry professionals to learn more about leadership and management. Because the program is limited to 35 food executives, participants gain an instant network of peers.
How to Apply to USC
- Explore the program offerings. Explore the USC website to learn more about the areas of study. Research the requirements of the program you are interested in, and make sure you have the experience needed. If you are an international student, you might have some additional requirements.
- Fill out an application. Fill out an online application through the Common Application and complete the USC Writing Supplement.
- Pay the application fee. The application fees vary from $90 to $175, depending on the program and school. Application fee waivers are available for certain categories of students.
- Submit required documents. Send in your standardized test scores, official transcripts, recommendation and reference letters, and a supporting portfolio.
- Apply for financial aid. Fill out the FAFSA to learn more about your eligibility for financial assistance. If you are accepted, the financial aid office will reach out with further instructions.
How Much Do USC Graduates Earn?
USC graduates earn an average salary of $87,000 annually, according to PayScale. The most common ways that USC graduates find their first jobs after school is through internships, on-campus career fairs, and networking.
Is USC a Good College?
Yes, USC is a good college because it offers a great academic experience with lots of research opportunities. At USC, the average class size is small with a student-to-faculty ratio of nine-to-one, which is one of the key indicators of a supportive learning environment. USC is an amazing school to help you build a strong base for your bright future.
Is USC a Good School? FAQ
USC is a popular school because it has a reputation for academic excellence and satisfied students. It is also known for its art school and law school, as well as for creating strong educational paths for student athletes. Not to mention, students love USC because it is located in sunny downtown Los Angeles and has a classic Southern California vibe.
USC is pretty hard to get into. The acceptance rate is 12.5 percent, which means that only one student is accepted for every eight students who apply. To improve your chances this application season, create a personal portfolio to show your potential and save plenty of time to write and edit your personal statement essay.
UCLA is one of the public universities in the University of California System, and UCLA ranks higher than USC in most rankings. California residents get much better tuition rates at UCLA than at USC, but the difference in cost isn’t so large for out-of-state students. Students at both schools get to enjoy the vibrant city life that Los Angeles offers.
The kinds of students who get into USC have a high GPA, extracurricular commitments, and a strong personal statement. The USC admissions committee looks for students who have leadership skills, professional goals, strong personality traits, and academic potential.