University of Southern California: Quick Overview
- Year founded1920
- Number of students enrolled44,000
- Average cost (in total)Undergraduate - $72,273
- Acceptance rate17.7%
- Application dateDec 1 - Merit Scholarship
- Application dateJan 15 - Final first-year
History and mission
Beginning in 1880, the University of Southern California has since grown to become one of the top universities in the United States. The university began with a bold mission: “the development of human beings and society as a whole through the cultivation and enrichment of the human mind and spirit.” This would be done through real-world training, educating students on both the principles of business and the practical application of those aforementioned principles.
In those early years, enrolment was small; for example, only about 300 students were admitted to the business school’s inaugural class. However, the college soon established itself, growing in the process. In 1926, USC erected its accounting building, which now houses the Leventhal School of Accounting. While the school would not establish an official School of Accounting until 1979, this building held classes related to accounting for students pursuing a bachelor’s in Business Administration, the closest related major at the time. This building and its complement, Bridge Hall, were designed by John Parkinson and his son Donald, and are now considered architectural landmarks in Los Angeles.
After the building of Bridge Hall, constructed from a bequest of Dr. Norman & Mrs. Mae Manford Bridge, the school’s expansion remained dormant until 1960 when, spurred by then-president Topping’s “Master Plan for Enterprise and Excellence in Education,” the university underwent considerable growth. Thirty new buildings were built, thanks in large part to the initiative’s goal of doubling the university’s endowment by the end of the sixties. Sensing Los Angeles’ potential growth as a tech and business hub, Topping pushed to have his university on the cutting edge of contemporary business and technology. In this one year, both the School of Business Administration and the Graduate School of Business Administration were established. This marked the beginning of the modern University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, though it would not hold that name until many years later.
From this point, the university continued to innovate. Their experiential learning center opened in 1967, which allowed students to actually apply the theories and techniques they were learning in their business classes. In 1996, the School of Accounting was officially dubbed the Elaine and Kenneth Leventhal School of Accounting, and just one year later, Gordon S. Marshall endowed the university’s business school with the largest endowment a business school at the time had ever received.
All of this was done in service of the school’s mission of creating leaders who drive innovation and provide diverse perspectives on the world.
Areas of Study
USC offers many different courses of study for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Undergraduate accounting studies at USC provide students with a comprehensive understanding of accounting and its place in the modern world. It does this through research and immersive training, where students are confronted with real-world examples and encouraged to work out solutions to the issues they are presented.
Another undergraduate program, Business Administration studies inform students of the ins-and-outs of the contemporary business world. With plenty of hands-on courses and knowledgeable professors, Business Administration training at USCs prepares students for the business world and gives them a framework upon which they can build.
World Bachelor in Business
A truly unique degree offering, the World Bachelor in Business involves studies in three different cities around the world: Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Milan. This program is designed to expose students to three different kinds of business environment, and at the end, they will have a global understanding of business that will be advantageous in the working world.
Master of Science in Business Analytics
Business analytics is an emerging field with a lot of promise. This Masters program gives students an understanding of analytics, big data, data management, security, and more. In an increasingly digital age, this degree is a must for those who wish to focus on the data side of business.
Master of Science in Finance
A three-term program, the Master of Science in Finance is designed to train students so that they can immediately apply what they have learned into an early-stage finance job. Coursework involves analytical studies, as well as application of financial and business theories in the real world.
These are just a selection of the courses of study offered at USC. For a full selection, visit the university’s website.
Rather than simply uploading already existent courses to a rudimentary web platform, USC opted to build a range of online programs and majors from the ground up, optimizing every part of their college experience for internet consumption.
To better introduce online students to their new study environment, USC has a one-week introductory period where future online students must be on campus. Online USC students are treated as normal USC students, meaning they receive USC ID cards and have access to almost all of the school amenities. Besides this one-week introductory period, studies can be undertaken wherever a student has internet access and a webcam.
To apply for these programs, one must complete an application on the school’s website. Other classes at USC may have web-centered components, but these are different from the entirely web-based majors.
How do I apply to University of Southern California?
To apply for USC, one must complete the USC application. This must be submitted through the Common Application, and the university requires a special writing supplement to be completed with the application. This supplement is university-specific, and prospective students are asked to answer several questions relating to the university, its values, and how its values overlap with the potential acceptee. In previous years, these questions have asked students to discuss their interests outside of their academic purview, as well as imploring them to discuss their blind spots and areas where they could improve. This supplement is detailed and should not be taken lightly.
Besides submission of the Common App, USC requires some additional information before acceptance can be considered. Transcripts from all previous high school and college coursework must be submitted in addition to a letter of recommendation. For some students, for example, those who wish to pursue a World Bachelor in Business, further work is requested, the exact nature of which can be discovered by contacting the admissions office. Finally, once fall semester grades are available, they must be submitted to the university.
The University of Southern California has an acceptance rate of 17.7%, making entry into the school particularly difficult. Many factors are considered when determining a student’s acceptance, including transcripts, the university application itself, its supplement, extracurriculars, rigor of previous coursework, and much more.
Student life at University of Southern California
Situated in warm and ever-active Los Angeles, it is no surprise that USC always has a lot going on. Student life at the university capitalizes on both its location and the talents of its student body. In just USC’s business school alone, there are over forty different student organizations, ranging from community outreach groups to career-focused groups to special interest societies and more. Some of these clubs work to connect students with people in industries of interest; as an example, the school’s Healthcare Leadership Association examines broad issues related to healthcare and society, using the discussions as inroads into potential business and career opportunities. There are also clubs not related to business, including a wine club and several sports-specific organizations.
Students at USC are proud Trojans. Whenever possible, students will gather to see the Trojan teams play any number of sports, including baseball, basketball, soccer, and, of course, football. The USC Trojans are the school’s pride and joy, and students take every chance they can get to see their football team shine.
Outside of the university, students have access to the breadth of Los Angeles, fostering an environment ripe with opportunity for both fun and collaboration. The university will frequently sponsor events, either bringing industry professionals into the university to give talks about how they made their success or inviting students to venture out into the city to discover what treasures it has to offer. It is not uncommon to see movie stars and famous musicians wandering around campus, either as a part of a school event or just because they want to see the university up close.
USC is home to a number of professional fraternities, including Alpha Kappa Psi and Delta Sigma Pi. Unlike some other colleges in large cities, Greek life can be a significant part of the USC experience for those who want it to be. Frats hold both professional and personal parties, and the “Row,” the street where most of the fraternity buildings are housed, is notorious at USC for holding the wildest parties in the area.
University of Southern California (Marshall) Campus
USC’s Los Angeles location may tempt more adventurous students to frequently trek out into the city, but for those who opt to stay on campus, they will be pleasantly surprised by what the school has to offer. The school is located in University Park, just two miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. The campus is renowned for its buildings, most of which are built in a striking Romanesque Revival style. One of the buildings, the Widney Alumni House, is the oldest university building in Southern California, constructed in 1880. The university is home to two libraries, the Doheny Library and the Leavey Library.
One of the campus’ most striking features sits atop the Von KleinSmid Center of International and Public Affairs. The tallest building on campus, the building has a single tower with a metal globe at its apex. The globe is purported to weigh approximately 5,500 lb, and its peak can be seen from many places on campus.
Costs of studying at University of Southern California (Marshall)
As USC offers a range of courses at many different levels, determining exact numbers for tuition can prove difficult. This numbers can also be deceptive; two thirds of USC students receive some form of financial aid, and about 20% received a merit-based scholarship last year. In the last recorded year, the total cost of attendance at USC at the Marshall School of Business was $72,273. Of that, approximately $54,323 went to tuition, with the remaining dollars put toward various university costs. Here is how all of those costs break down.
- Tuition and Fees $54,323
- Room and Board $14,886
- Miscellaneous expenses and transportation $1,864
- Books and supplies $1,200
With limited public transit, having a car at USC will make one very popular. The school caters to car drivers, with over 13,000 parking spots, 10 parking structures, and 40 parking lots across its two campuses. The school also has its own bus service, which takes students from the dorms to various parts of the university. Additionally, the school organizes many programs for students who wish to travel, including ride shares and short-term car sharing.
No matter the difficulty, students always find a way to get to Los Angeles, which is a manageable two miles away.
Q: How much money will I make with a University of Southern California degree?A: For those who have completed graduate studies at USC, the median base salary is around $125,000, with a plurality finding their job through connections made on campus. For undergraduates, exact data is lacking, though independent reports claim the average for degree holders ranges from around $55,000 to $70,000.Q: How does the accreditation process work?A: The University of Southern California is a fully-accredited school. The school offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, though application requirements differ between the two. For graduate programs, applicants are required to have previously completed bachelor’s degree studies. The application also requires other submissions, including a personal essay and previous transcripts. The exact details about what is needed for the application can be found on the university’s website.Q: Is USC safe?A: USC ensures that its students are safe at all times, both on and off campus. While its proximity to Los Angeles can sometimes bring in unfamiliar and unwelcome characters, university officers work around the clock to make sure that students have access to all of the resources they require to both be and feel safe while enrolled. Q: Does USC offer programs for part-time students?A: Yes. Depending on the program, the course of study for many of USC’s majors can be completed on a part-time schedule. For all of the details and to check if a desired major can be completed part-time, contact the school’s admissions office or the specific program head under whom you wish to study.