University of Southern California Top Questions

What are the academics like at University of Southern California?


For all of the classes I have taken, the academics have been a good balance of challenging and accomplishable. There has been the occasional 'difficult' professor, but practically all of my TAs have been some of the kindest and most accommodating people one could hope to have leading discussions and grading papers.


Classes are generally under 30 people, aside from general education courses. Professors do know you by name, or at least recognize your face. Class participation is common. Students are competitive especially in the hard science and business majors. But not so much for the social sciences.


Most of my professors manage to remember every student's name and manage to pronounce them right. My favourite class in USC is the writing class. It helped my a lot about how to write academically and its rigorous grading criteria only made me want to excel in it more. I student every day though people study differently based on their preference. Class participation is common, I tend to discuss intellectually with my friends. Students aren't specifically competitve despite their willingness to win group projects in order to get good grades.


A great thing about USC is the small class size. Lectures are typically only 50 people even for freshman classes, which is amazing when you have many schools out there that have lectures that are a few hundred people. So, you will get the personalized attention from professor. Most of our professors are also extremely nice (I have not had a class where the professor is not nice until now) and they will more than welcome you when you go for their office hours. The same can be said for our TAs, and with all these nice people around, you are never short of resources when you have questions in your academics. In short, while USC may seem like a large private school, you can be sure that you are taken care of, academically.



Your schedule would most likely consist of both small and large classes with small classes and discussions being the majority. In small classes professors usually remember your name but if you go to the office hours for the large classes, you can get to know the professor better.


The great thing about USC is the great balance between social life and academics. A lot of kids worry that they have to give up one to have the other, but it's not hard to balance both. As long as you choose classes you think you're going to be interested in (and not just ones you take for the easy A) you'll learn a lot. All of the professors are easy to get along with and if you go to office hours, they'll know your name for sure. In smaller classes, they'll know your name regardless. The only thing I don't like about USC's academics are the GE requirements. I don't feel like I got much out of them, but I know the school is working to improve the system.


Academics are top notch at USC. Even in huge lecture hall with the notable Dr. Drew Casper, I found that even he knew my name simply by participating the first class in his Intro to Film class. It is by far the most notable class experience that I've had and I look forward to two more classes with Casper next semester. My major has been difficult and I must admit that it was not what I first expected. I am currently seeking a a transfer to the School of Cinematic Arts, the reason that I've began to transfer into the SCA. Studying is not the most time-consuming thing for the USC course curriculum.


Academics at USC are quite diverse. Throughout your four years at USC you are almost guaranteed a class of about 18 students and a large lecture hall sometimes comprised of nearly 200 students. I have been fortunate enough to have professors that not only know my name but also whom if they see me around on campus are not afraid to say hello. I have learned that attending office hours are a vital part of being successful at USC and also a way to better get to know your professor on an individual basis. My favorite classes at USC thus far have been my Communications classes, which as a Communications major makes sense. They have been rigorous classes that challenged my way of thinking about things and the way in which I approach certain situations. In both of my communications classes participation by students was quite common, and also a significant part of our final evaluations. My academic advisor is absolutely amazing and has provided me with fantastic class recommendations. I do not think I would have enjoyed USC as much without her. While some may complain about the General Education requirements, overall I think the option of classes are diverse enough to entertain most students for a semester. As a top research university, academics are a very important part of the university, but this being said, it is not the only part of college, and the social life is just as much a part of everyday life as the academics are.


The good thing about USC is how close the professors get with their students. The latest class I had was about 25 students. My favorite class was Media Consumption at the Annenberg School for Communication. My least favorite was Writing 340, which is a writing requirement at USC. Students student constantly. Because there is no set calendar for midterms, etc, each course has a different schedule. Class participation is very common. Sometimes participation is a major component of the overall class grade. Students get along very well outside of class and meet up most of the time to discuss assignments and projects. While USC is a very competitive academic institution, it is very uncommon for students to go head to head. The most unique class I've taken at USC thus far was Diversity and the Classical Western Tradition which emphasized diversity it classical Greece and Rome. I am a communication major at the Annenberg School for Communication. At Annenberg, there is an emphasis on communicative tendencies and the importance of interpersonal interaction in the business and personal realm. I frequently visit my professors' office hours to get help on a particular assignment or before an exam or sometimes just to chat. I believe that while general education is important at the university level, I feel it becomes a hindrance because of the academic difficulty. USC prides itself on its broad networks in every field imaginable. USC ensures that after graduation, students have the ability to apply and secure great jobs.