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The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international business, USC's diverse curricular offerings provide extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary study, and collaboration with leading researchers in highly advanced learning environments. With a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education, USC fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge.
Viterbi School of Engineering
The USC Viterbi School of Engineering is innovative, elite and internationally recognized for creating new models of education, research and commercialization that are firmly rooted in real world needs. The school’s first priorities are the education of outstanding students and the pursuit and publication of new research.
As the school’s faculty and students extend the frontiers of engineering knowledge through their research, they also apply engineering and technology to address societal challenges. The school stimulates and encourages qualities of scholarship, leadership, ambition and character that mark the true academic and professional engineer — to serve California, the nation and the world. At USC Viterbi, we call this the enabling power of Engineering+.
- Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
- Astronautical Engineering
- Biomedical Engineering
- Computer Science
- Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
- Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering
- Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
- The Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
The University of Southern California was founded following the efforts of Judge Robert M. Widney, who helped secure donations from several key figures in early Los Angeles history: a Protestant nurseryman, Ozro Childs, an Irish Catholic former-Governor, John Gately Downey, and a German Jewish banker, Isaias W. Hellman. The three donated 308 lots of land to establish the campus and provided the necessary seed money for the construction of the first buildings. Originally operated in affiliation with the Methodist Church, the school mandated from the start that "no student would be denied admission because of race." The university is no longer affiliated with any church, having severed formal ties in 1952.
When USC opened in 1880, tuition was $15.00 per term and students were not allowed to leave town without the knowledge and consent of the university president. The school had an enrollment of 53 students and a faculty of 10. The city lacked paved streets, electric lights, telephones, and a reliable fire alarm system. Its first graduating class in 1884 was a class of three—two males and female valedictorian Minnie C. Miltimore.
The colors of USC are cardinal and gold, which were approved by USC's third president, the Reverend George W. White, in 1896. In 1958 the shade of gold, which was originally more of an orange color, was changed to a more yellow shade. The letterman's awards were the first to make the change.
During World War II, USC was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.
USC was ranked tied for 23rd in U.S. News & World Report's 2016 annual ranking of national universities.Among top 25 universities, USC was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as having the 4th most economically diverse student body. In the Niche Best Colleges rankings, USC ranked 10th overall for 2016 based on academics and quality of student life.USC is ranked 32nd among universities in the Americas and 49th in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 13th (tied with seven other universities) among national universities by The Center for Measuring University Performance. In 2015, USA Today ranked USC 22nd overall for American universities based on data from College Factual.
The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism was ranked 1st in 2014 by USA Today. In its 2016 rankings, U.S. News & World Report rates USC's School of Law tied for 20th, the Marshall School of Business tied for 10th in undergraduate education with the USC Leventhal School of Accounting 6th, the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies 3rd, and the MBA program tied for 25th; the Keck School of Medicine of USC was ranked tied for 31st in research and tied for 72nd in primary care. U.S. News & World Report in 2016 further ranked the Viterbi School of Engineering tied for 10th, the Rossier School of Education 15th, the Roski School of Fine Arts graduate program 36th, the Sol Price School of Public Policy 6th, the USC School of Social Work 11th, and the USC School of Pharmacy 10th.USC's graduate programs in occupational therapy and physical therapy are both ranked the nation's best for 2016 by U.S. News & World Report.
The Princeton Review ranked USC video game design program as 1st out of 150 schools in North America. The university's video game design programs are interdisciplinary, involving the Interactive Media & Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts and the CS Games program in the Department of Computer Science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
The Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2015 ranked USC's combined departments of engineering and computer sciences as 10th in the world, social sciences 31st, and economics and business departments 29th.