FAQs: Student Life

What housing options are available at USC?

USC is truly a residential campus. Nearly all first-year students live on campus, even though they are not required to. Housing is guaranteed to incoming first-year students for their first two years and is available to continuing students, provided they meet all deadlines.

First-year and transfer students should visit the USC Housing website to submit their applications online by May 1.

First-year and transfer students admitted to spring semester can submit their housing applications beginning July 1. Applications received before July 1 will be grouped with those received on July 1.

Spaces fill quickly, so we encourage you to apply for housing as soon as possible, even if you have not yet decided to attend USC. Housing for transfer students is especially limited and cannot be guaranteed. Many transfer students choose to live off campus in privately owned apartments.

The university operates more than 40 different housing facilities, including residence halls, apartments, houses and residential colleges. Eleven facilities are located on campus, the remainder in the local neighborhood. First-year students are housed on campus, in residential colleges with faculty masters in residence. They can choose from a variety of floor plans and apply to various academic and special interest floors.

Continuing and transfer students can choose to live on campus or off, many of them preferring to live in apartments or Greek houses in the surrounding North University Park area.

Regardless of which option students choose, they find plenty of places to study, eat, do laundry and meet people.

You can learn more about all of USC's housing options by visiting the USC Housing website.

Is living on campus mandatory?

No. USC students are not required to live on campus or in campus-owned housing.

Does USC provide housing or special accommodations for students with disabilities?

Yes. If you have a disability and would like more information about housing accommodations, please visit the office of Disability Services and Programs at www.usc.edu/disability. You must register with DSP before requesting special accommodations in USC Housing.

What study abroad programs does USC offer?

USC offers numerous programs on five continents, and study abroad has been integrated into the requirements for several undergraduate degrees. Please visit the Globalization website for a detailed list and more information.

How do I get involved in student life on campus?

We encourage you to explore your interests outside the classroom through our wide range of clubs and organizations, Undergraduate Student Government, the fine and performing arts, athletics and numerous campus activities offered throughout the year. Interest fairs are held each semester for student who wish to explore their options and sign up for specific clubs or activities. Whatever your passion, chances are you will find your niche at USC.

What student organizations are available?

USC offers more than 750 clubs and organizations, covering a wide array of academic, professional and recreational interests. Please visit Student Organizations for more information.

How do I find out more about the fine and performing arts on campus?

Our six fine and performing arts schools offer numerous theatre, dance and musical performances; film screenings; and art exhibits throughout the year. The Visions and Voices arts and humanities initiative brings world-class writers, artists and speakers to campus each year. And the USC Spectrum series presents nationally and internationally known performers and speakers to USC and the community. For more information, please visit the Arts at USC or the Undergraduate Education: Arts and Humanities page.

What is it like to live in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles has grown from an Old West town to become a dynamic world center, home to industry leaders in fields as diverse as entertainment and biotechnology, where more than 200 languages are spoken. The Southern California region boasts an ideal climate with 329 days of sun each year. Mountains, beaches and walking trails are all within a day’s drive of the USC campus. For USC students, Los Angeles becomes an urban laboratory and playground, offering an endless array of academic, professional and recreational opportunities. For more information, visit our Los Angeles pages or the Discover Los Angeles website.

How easy will it be to get around campus or Los Angeles if I don’t have a car?

Though Los Angeles is famous for its “car culture,” students often find they don’t need a car. USC buses can help you get around campus or between the USC main campus and the Health Sciences Campus. Los Angeles bus and light-rail service can also get you where you need to go, quickly and inexpensively. For more information, please visit our Transportation page.

What kinds of dining options are available on and around campus?

USC students can choose from a wide range of options, from meals prepared in our residential dining facilities, to retail cafes and restaurants, to grab ’n’ go fare. We also offer vegetarian and kosher meals, as well as fast-food favorites.

In the surrounding neighborhood, students will find a number of restaurants offering everything from gastropub fare, to pizza and sub sandwiches, to Mexican and Asian food. For more information, visit the USC Hospitality website.

What exercise and workout facilities are available?

The Lyon Recreation Center on the USC main campus offers a wide range of options, including a traditional gym, basketball courts, swim facilities and workout classes. Workout facilities are also offered in some on- and off-campus residence halls and apartments. And many students choose to join one of our more than 50 club and recreational sports teams. For more information visit the Lyon Recreation Center page, the Housing website, or the Recreational Sports page.

How and where do I find an internship?

Several resources are available to help you find an internship. Start with your school or academic department, or visit the Career Planning & Placement Center on campus. Career and job fairs, student organizations, and students, staff and family members within your personal network can also help you find an appropriate internship. Please visit careers.usc.edu for more information.

Is it possible to receive compensation for an internship?

An internship can be paid or unpaid (volunteer), involve academic credit or not, and be structured as a full or part-time arrangement. It is possible to get paid as well as receive academic credit.

  • Stipend: An amount of money paid to the student in a variety of ways, such as one-lump sum of money paid at the end of the internship or as money to cover transportation or meal costs.
  • Work-Study Funds: If a student is eligible for Federal Work-Study funds, it is possible to earn the allotment through the internship. The internship site becomes an off-campus work-study site. See a staff member in the Financial Aid Office for more information.
  • The typical wage for paid internships is approximately $7 to $20 per hour.
What resources are available for finding internships across the country and abroad?
  • If you are looking for an internship in the United States, you can go online to view the USC internship listings. USC is a member of an Internship Consortium with Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Northwestern Universities. Our online listings include internship opportunities shared by these universities, and opportunities exist in areas near these universities.
  • Search the Trojan Network, an excellent networking resource, comprising USC alumni who have volunteered to provide career-related advice and industry-specific information to USC students. (Please note: They are not internship providers.)
  • Visit your academic unit and talk to advisors and professors about finding internships.
  • View online resource links to internship websites.
  • Check the International and Internship Indexes for overseas opportunities in the Experiential Learning Office at the Interview Center in STU B-1.
What about campus safety?

USC strives to maintain a safe and secure environment for its students, staff, faculty and visitors and employs one of the largest university law enforcement agencies in the nation. The Department of Public Safety operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with more than 280 full-time members and up to 15 part-time workers. DPS serves the 226-acre University Park Campus and patrols the surrounding North University Park neighborhoods, covering an area of 2.2 miles.

The university’s Campus Cruiser service provides a “safe ride home” for students and staff after dusk, within a one-mile radius of campus. Students are also encouraged to sign up for the free TrojansAlert emergency notification system, which provides real-time updates via e-mail or text message in the event of a campus emergency or natural disaster.

Crime prevention and campus safety are a shared responsibility between DPS; city resources such as the LAPD; and students, staff, faculty and visitors. DPS depends on the campus community to help promote best practices, encourage responsible behavior and report suspicious activity or crimes in progress.

Students should report emergencies to DPS at (213) 740-4321, and non-emergencies to DPS at (213) 740-6000. For more information, please visit the Department of Public Safety website.