Live: Residential Life

Life at USC

Living on campus puts you close to your classes, USC libraries, and the student organizations and events that make campus life rewarding.

USC’s freshman housing is designed to create communities where students live and study together, socialize over meals in our residential dining facilities and adjust to college life. Numerous programs and activities keep residents involved, help them expand their academic and leadership skills, provide ways to relax and have fun, and help them make friends.

For freshmen leaving home for the first time, living in a residence hall or suite-style building can provide the most welcoming transition to campus life.

Visit USC Housing for detailed housing descriptions, floor plans, fees, and more information about housing options and life in USC housing.

The USC Housing Advantage

  • No commute
  • Faculty involvement
  • Community activities and programs
  • Rent payable via university student account
  • A Department of Public Safety (DPS) that operates 24 hours a day
  • A computerized entry-monitoring system
  • Live-in staff available seven days a week
  • Free cable TV and Wi-Fi connections
  • No extra rent to pay if your roommate leaves
  • Easy access to libraries, the Lyon Recreation Center and other facilities
  • Free USC bus and ride-share service
  • Maintenance service available 24/7 for emergency repairs
  • Multiple workout areas with state-of-the-art equipment
  • Laundry facilities

Types of Housing

Should you live in a suite or in a residence hall? Your preference will depend on the lifestyle you enjoy. Both types of housing provide resident assistants, faculty in residence and special interest communities. Keep in mind that no matter where you live, the quality of the experience depends largely on your participation.

Residence Halls
Living here offers the traditional collegiate housing experience. Students stay in double-occupancy rooms, share community bathrooms, lounges, study rooms and workout areas. This format, along with the rich history of some of these buildings, makes residence halls a very popular choice.

Suites can accommodate up to eight residents, with four double-occupancy rooms and two bathrooms.

Apartments—units with one or two double-occupancy bedrooms and a full kitchen—enable students to lead a more independent lifestyle, with more space and privacy.

Visit USC Housing to learn more.

Residential Colleges

First-year students are housed in residential colleges, with faculty in residence and a staff of resident assistants. Offering an array of special on- and off-campus activities, from dinners with guest speakers to community service opportunities, each residential college encourages students to continue their education outside the classroom, meet new people and hone leadership skills.


Birnkrant Residential College
The smallest, and many believe the friendliest, of the residential colleges, Birnkrant offers programs that introduce students to Los Angeles’ food, cultures and art. Learn more at USC Housing.


Parkside Arts & Humanities Residential College
Parkside Arts & Humanities Residential College gives students the opportunity to express themselves in these fields. Designed to create a space where students and faculty can form a strong scholarly community centered on the arts and humanities, the Parkside Arts & Humanities Residential College connects students with the cultural offerings of the campus and Los Angeles area. Learn more at USC Housing.


South Residential College
This residential college comprises two traditional residence halls, Pardee Tower and Marks Tower. Residents participate in special events and benefit from programming emphasizing personal growth and leadership. Learn more about Pardee Tower and Marks Tower at USC Housing.


McCarthy Honors Residential College
Located in the USC Village, McCarthy offers a vibrant and enhanced living experience for many of our merit scholars in a suite-style living environment. This program is designed to inspire students to reach their full potential as agents of global change. Learn more at USC Housing.

New North Residential College
A hub of freshman life, close to libraries, dining facilities and the McCarthy Quad, New North is noted for its vibrant atmosphere and strong personal and academic support network. Learn more at USC Housing.


Parkside International Residential College
The Parkside International Residential College serves as a campus focal point for dialogue about global issues. Living at Parkside will allow you to participate in intellectual, cultural and social exchanges with people who have a wide range of backgrounds and interests, in one of the most attractive locations on campus. Learn more at USC Housing.


West Residential College
West Residential College is home to Webb Tower, which offers apartment living for freshmen. Close to many of USC’s facilities devoted to physical activity, including the Lyon Recreation Center and Uytengsu Swim Stadium, this residential college is developing wellness-based initiatives. Learn more at USC Housing.


Living Learning Communities

USC Living Learning Communities attract students who want to make the most of their college years, bringing together students and faculty to share in cultural and academic programs. Each community offers something different. Some bring together students with similar career or academic interests. Others attract people interested in a particular culture or lifestyle. Some communities are small, whereas others are quite large. These communities feature activities and programs, both formal and informal, that enhance and expand your university life.

Birnkrant Residential College
APIDA Leaders Community (Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American)
First-Generation Plus Living Learning Community
Learn more >

South Residential College
Latinx Floor
Somerville Place (African-American/Black interest)
Learn more >

Parkside International Residential College
WiSE (Women in Science & Engineering) Program
Learn more >

Communities in Primarily Upperclassmen Housing

Century Apartments
Rainbow Community (LGBTQ+)
Learn more >


One of the most important parts of your residential experience at USC will be what you choose to eat. USC Hospitality is delighted to offer you award-winning options in alignment with our first-rate culinary and nutrition standards to provide delicious, socially responsible cuisine for the Trojan Family. From traditional dining halls to a mix of restaurants, cafés and convenience stores, our program is designed to meet the unique needs and tastes of our student body.

Meal plans are assigned based on housing location and class standing. Students whose residential location does not require a meal plan may choose to opt in to any plan.

Visit USC Hospitality for a full, up-to-date list and description of our meal plan options.

Residential Safety

With a 24/7 Department of Public Safety, a dedicated staff of Community Service Officers, and a variety of other resources, USC maintains one of the safest campuses in the nation.

Residential Verification Program

As part of our effort to make USC housing safer for our students, we have 24/7 security in every on-campus housing facility, as well as biometric verification stations and security surveillance cameras. Residents are required to use their USC ID cards to enter the facility and complete a biometric scan to verify that they live there.

Prior to picking up their keys, all incoming freshmen need to have their picture taken and their biometrics registered at their Customer Service Center. All resident information is stored locally and is not accessible to the public or via the internet.

USC Lyft Rides Program

USC Lyft Rides offers students free travel within the established campus geofence during program hours. The program operates 6:00 p.m-2:00 a.m., seven days a week. (Times subject to change during campus events, home football games, or special periods such as finals week.) For more information, please visit and click on “USC Lyft Rides Program.” Invitations to join the program are sent the week before fall semester starts.
Learn more >

Department of Public Safety (DPS)

As the central coordinating office for USC’s security programs, the primary goal of DPS is to ensure a safe environment in which the social and academic endeavors of the university can be realized. DPS operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You should call DPS to report any emergency, including serious accidents, crimes, suspicious circumstances, fires and safety hazards.

The DPS office deploys security personnel on and around campus. DPS Officers patrol on and off campus in cars, on bicycles and on foot; conduct preliminary investigations of reported crimes; and file Los Angeles Police Department crime reports. Community Service Officers patrol all university-owned residential facilities and monitor the Access Network 24 hours a day.

Nearly 300 emergency telephones, identified by a blue light on top of the booth, are strategically located around campus, in many buildings and on each level of every parking structure. These phones provide a direct line to the DPS office and should be used only in emergencies.

Trojan Mobile Safety App

All students are also encouraged to download the new Trojan Mobile Safety App (LiveSafe), which provides immediate access to DPS and a “Safewalk” feature for any time you may have to walk somewhere alone.