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University of Southern California



THE World Ranking: 65



For many who want to move to a new country to continue their studies, California is a dream location, and the University of Southern California (USC) is a dream school. USC is the oldest private research university in the state. Since 1880, it has been developing, innovating and making new research discoveries. With an average acceptance rate of 16 per cent, USC accepts hard-working, talented students and gives them everything they need to succeed academically and professionally.


Tutors and lecturers at USC are constantly updating course content to match current industry standards and make things as interactive and practical as possible for students. Almost 50,000 students are currently enrolled, all contributing to research, focusing on their education and moving closer to their professional goals.


The USC student community is welcoming and diverse, with almost a quarter of current students from an international background (23.8 per cent). Any person who is willing to work hard and learn can get a very high-quality education at USC. Background doesn’t matter, and learning equality is a big priority.


Over 20 different academic schools, the university’s programmes and courses are able to give something to everyone, from business to music and from accounting to dance. The thing that all USC courses have in common is the high quality of teaching delivered and the easy-to-access collection of student facilities and resources.


USC’s main park campus is right in the middle of the large, exciting city of Los Angeles. Though LA life can be expensive, it’s also filled with amazing extracurricular and professional opportunities for students. A bright future begins at USC, and any academically talented student should think about applying if they’d love to study in a sunny US state.


Teaching Quality

USC’s approach to education offers students a great standard of teaching quality across all courses. The university is proud to give its students all the resources and facilities that only a large urban institution can but is also proud to be as focused and caring as a smaller college, with the academic and support staff doing everything they can to keep students happy and on track to succeed.


The student-to-faculty ratio at USC is only around eight to one, and the average class size is 26. This means that no individual studying at the university can ever be left behind or forgotten. Students develop strong connections with their peers and lecturers, and they always have a place to turn with academic questions/to receive academic support. This is a big part of USC’s ability to provide consistently high-quality teaching. The mentality is that every student matters, and this goes a long way.


As even more evidence of the quality teaching at USC, the university ranked 19th in a comprehensive 2022 university ranking from The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. It was one of three California higher education institutions to be listed in the top 20, and it came third out of all the universities in the western US.


USC’s rankings show the dedication and passion of the staff and the high standards of research and overall education at the university. Students enrolled can access some of the best teaching in the USA while enjoying all the benefits of university life in Los Angeles.


Entry Requirements

The undergraduate university entry requirements for international students at USC ask for a high-school level of qualification or the international equivalent. The institution will usually only admit students who can show strong academic performance across all their subjects (although specific grade and subject entry requirements will change between courses and programmes of study). Students must also be able to prove that they have a minimum level of English language understanding.


For postgraduates, there are different but similar university requirements. Rather than being educated to a high-school level, applicants will need to have previous university qualifications to be eligible for entry, usually at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject from a recognised higher education institution.


The USC acceptance rate is under 20 per cent, so all applicants should make sure they do a lot of research and take lots of time to complete their application. This way, they will give themselves the best possible chance of being admitted. For more information on overseas equivalent qualifications, applicants can visit the USC website and find a full guide covering what is expected for entry consideration.


English Score Required

Like most universities, USC expects a certain English proficiency standard from each applicant. If this proficiency can’t be proven in any other way (for example, via a student’s previous education), an applicant will need to take an English test and get a minimum English score to be considered for admission.


USC accepts a range of proficiency testing methods, including the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Pearson Test of English (PTE), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). As this university can be very competitive, students are encouraged to aim for higher than the minimum scores for each testing method to give themselves the best chance of getting in.


The minimum IELTS overall band score requested is 7, and the minimum TOEFL online score requested is 100, with no section scores below 20. To give an example of accepted USC applicants’ average scores, the TOEFL average is 111 with no section scores below 25.



The university admission journey at USC is more personal than a lot of other institutions make it. This is an institution that cares about academics, but it’s also an institution that cares about welcoming students from a wide range of backgrounds. As a core part of the student admission application, an essay and a short questionnaire are involved. These give the university a better idea of who each applicant is and how they would add to the culture on campus.


Applications for admission can be made online. Students fill out a form and then send over all the requested supporting documents to finalise their application. Documents commonly asked for (specifics may change between courses) include academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, resumes, portfolios and application affirmations (available through the USC student portal once a student’s application has been received).


To make sure their programme has no extra requirements, students should check the admission checklist and do all the research they need to. They should also get to know all the dates and deadlines that will be important to them so that they don’t miss anything important.


USC will deliver a decision on a student’s application as soon as possible, and students should check the student portal/their emails regularly to make sure they stay up to date. For the best chance of getting into a very competitive and highly respected American university like USC, students should take their time when completing their application, especially when filling out the essay and questionnaire sections mentioned above. The better a student’s application is, the more likely they are to get in.


Scholarships & Funding

For students who are high academic achievers and/or in need of education funding support, USC offers a range of university scholarships. Unlike loans, scholarships don’t need to be repaid. They can reduce tuition fees a lot without gathering interest or requiring anything from the student (beyond continuing to meet certain academic standards).


To qualify for USC scholarships, students will need to meet certain criteria, usually academic merit or athletic talent. USC wants to make life easier for students and reward talent and student success, this is how it’s able to do both things at once. If students put their all into their studies and achieve a lot, they can expect their accomplishments to be respected and rewarded at this university.


To give an example, USC Merit Scholarships are available to some lucky students who are achieving great things academically and demonstrating important leadership qualities. A Merit Scholarship’s value can be anywhere from USD 1,000 to 2,000 up to a full tuition fee waiver.


Other types of financial aid are available, beyond scholarships, for students who need some help funding their studies and managing their fees. Aid options include loans, emergency funds and need-based grants. USC believes that every student deserves the chance to get a great learning experience, and it wants to help students in any way possible so that even people from disadvantaged economic backgrounds can enjoy a great standard of life at USC.


University Structure

There are hundreds of programmes and degree options at USC, as well as lots of research institutes and study divisions. The choices are nearly endless, but things are well-organised into 23 academic units to keep everything running smoothly and effectively structured. The academic units are as follows:


  • The Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
  • The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
  • The Keck School of Medicine of USC
  • The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
  • The USC Bovard College
  • The USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
  • The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance
  • The USC Gould School of Law
  • The USC Iovine and Young Academy
  • The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
  • The USC Leventhal School of Accounting
  • The USC Marshall School of Business
  • The USC Mrs T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
  • The USC Roski School of Art and Design
  • The USC Rossier School of Education
  • The USC School of Architecture
  • The USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • The USC School of Dramatic Arts
  • The USC School of Pharmacy
  • The USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
  • The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
  • The USC Thornton School of Music
  • The USC Viterbi School of Engineering


Innovative research at USC is regularly increasing human understanding of the world, the creatures that live on the planet and the wider universe. Examples of amazing USC research centres and institutes, home to some of the best researchers in America, are the Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute, the Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine and the Systems Engineering Research Centre.


Many, many subject areas and research topics are covered by these centres and institutes. To learn more, students can view the university’s website and browse the research section. The more they discover, the more they’ll see that if they choose to enrol at USC, they can then choose to get involved in some life-changing research efforts.



The USC campus is a busy and exciting student life centre in California, a place for entertainment and community as well as learning and studying. Students on this campus can benefit from lots of different learning facilities, social facilities and fitness facilities (including several large student recreation centres, stadiums, fields and clubs full of modern, high-quality sports and exercise equipment).


After a workout, students can enjoy the long list of convenient food and drink options at USC. Campus restaurants and cafés include Panda Express, Starbucks and more. Great meals are never hard to access for people living and learning at USC, and there are even more restaurants outside of campus close by in popular, exciting Los Angeles.


Academically, there are also lots of great amenities, facilities and student activity centres. There are 18 libraries in total that are really helpful for students, offering them a huge amount of resources and learning materials as well as lots of valuable independent study spaces and bookable group study rooms. Many library resources are physical, but many more are digital (there are digital books, journals and archives). USC students can access digital resources from anywhere for extra convenience and flexibility.


All teaching rooms and lecture theatres are well-designed to be comfortable, modern and filled with the right technology. There are also lots of great specialist spaces and industry-standard laboratories. There’s nothing a USC student will need for their studies that they won’t be able to find on campus, from specialist equipment to independent study space. It’s all available.



USC’s beautiful campus in Los Angeles has some great student accommodation options, including freshman residence halls, freshman suites, freshman apartments, undergraduate apartments and graduate housing. New students get a lot of choices about where they’ll be spending their academic year, so every student can find an accommodation option that suits them well.


Settling into university accommodation and making a new space feel like home isn’t always easy, but it’s easier at USC because this university puts a lot of focus on making every student house or shared student flat feel like a real home. Dozens of choices help students express their individuality and personality, and there is also a lot of room for students to decorate when they arrive.


Information about each individual residence option at USC can be found on the housing section of the university’s website, and students are urged to take a look for themselves to gain a better understanding of how varied their accommodation options are.


To explain one housing example in full, there are four freshman residence halls: Birnkrant Residential College, Marks Tower, Pardee Tower and New North Residential College. Birnkrant is an eight-storey building on campus with four single rooms (USD 7,080 per semester), 39 triple rooms (USD 5,420 per semester) and 216 double rooms (USD 5,253 per semester). Marks Tower has seven single-gender floors and 188 double rooms, all charged at USD 5,253 per semester.


Pardee Tower is an eight-floor co-ed hall with 280 double rooms, all charged at USD 5,253 per semester (like Marks Tower). New North is a four-building community with 13 single rooms (USD 7,080 per semester), 360 double rooms (USD 5,253 per semester) and a further 186 rooms with sinks (13 single for USD 7,080 per semester and 162 double for 5,890 per semester).


Student Support

The wellbeing of USC students is the first priority for this university. Student comfort and happiness create space for student success and achievement, and USC wants to make sure that its student support programme allows everyone enrolled to have the best possible experience during their studies. Academic student support services are available through lecturers and helpdesks.


Administrative student support is easy for disabled students to access so they can discuss their accessibility and learning needs (and for international students to access so they can get help with the student visa and immigration process).


Student services at USC also cover physical and mental health, managed through the Student Health department. Via this department, students can access medical care and mental health care, including one-to-one counselling sessions with a qualified and experienced student guide who will listen to their concerns and help them to handle their issues. From depression and anxiety to academic stress and homesickness, trained USC counsellors can help (online and in-person, whichever is easiest).


Graduate Outcomes

USC builds and develops its students from day one, preparing them for the world of work and giving them everything they need to be ready for their future careers. Job prospects are great for USC students and the university actually has the best graduate employment rate in the state. 90 per cent of USC graduates find employment within six months of leaving the university.


This high employment rate is achieved because students are held to high standards in the classroom and taught important current practical skills, but it’s also achieved because students can access a lot of very helpful career services outside of classes. These services can do everything, from helping students explore their career options and plan their professional path to showing them how to write the perfect resume and prepare for job interviews. Employment services include:


  • Employability and employment skills workshops
  • Career counselling sessions and one-to-ones with a career guide
  • Online job listing portals
  • Online portals full of useful career and professional resources and development tools
  • Work placement and internship programmes
  • Specialised career support for certain student groups (international students, disabled students, LGBTQ+ students and so on)
  • Career fairs
  • Networking events with employers and successful alumni


The step from education to professional life doesn’t have to be a difficult and stressful one for USC students. Great job opportunities wait for graduates, and USC degrees are highly valued by employers across a wide range of industries and professions. Every USC student, wherever in the world they come from, leaves the university fully prepared for a successful working life in America or anywhere else across the globe.



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Subjects you can study at University of Southern California

  • Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
  • Applied and Pure Sciences Applied and Pure Sciences
  • Architecture and Construction Architecture and Construction
  • Business and Management Business and Management
  • Computer Science and IT Computer Science and IT
  • Creative Arts and Design Creative Arts and Design
  • Education and Training Education and Training
  • Engineering Engineering
  • Health and Medicine Health and Medicine
  • Humanities Humanities
  • Law Law
  • Personal Care and Fitness Personal Care and Fitness
  • Social Studies and Media Social Studies and Media

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

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Key facts and figures at University of Southern California


Hotcourses Diversity Index (What is this?)

Source: IIE

121 International student nationalities at this university

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023
Source: THE


QS World University Rankings 2023
Source: QS


Academic Ranking of World Universities 2022
Source: ARWU


Student life in numbers

Source: College Board


Source: College Board







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