If you’re looking at colleges in Los Angeles, then a look at USC vs UCLA will be of value to you. Even though the University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles are located in the same city, there are more than a few ways in which they start apart from one another.

University of Southern California (USC, nicknamed the Trojans) is a private R1 research university located in downtown Los Angeles. Known for its programs in communication, film and media, technology, business and the arts, USC ranks 28th in the country and attracts students from all over the globe.

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA, nicknamed the Bruins) is a public university under the University of California system that includes other campuses such as Berkeley, Davis, San Diego and others. Often referred to as a public Ivy League, UCLA stands 15th in the country and is known for its programs in languages, literature, psychology, medicine and engineering among others.

So, this article delves into a detailed comparison of these two top notch universities in the Golden State. This article covers –

USC vs UCLA: A Quick Glance

“Is UCLA better than USC?”, “Is USC prestigious?”, “Is USC a private school?” are some of the questions commonly asked by students who are researching options for higher education in Los Angeles.

To put it simply, the answer to the first question is – it depends on what you want to study. For the other two, the answer is yes. Even though UCLA ranks higher at a global level, USC is a prestigious private university and the oldest research university in California. Here is a quick look at some significant points in the USC UCLA debate.

1. Ranking and Prestige:

UCLA ranks higher overall when compared to USC but some of the schools of USC (such as communication, film studies, business and journalism) are deemed world class and are some of the most prestigious in the country.

2. Ownership and Location:

Both are located in Los Angeles, California. However, one of the key differences between the two is that USC is a privately owned not-for-profit university while UCLA is funded by the state of California under the University of California system. This difference is also reflected in the tuition fees, wherein even the full tuition at UCLA for a non-California resident is lower than that of a private university.

3. Campus size and vibe:

UCLA has the larger campus while USC’s is divided between University Park and Health Science Campus. With both located in the city, the vibrance of the city is reflected in the campus vibe. In addition to academics, athletics and extracurriculars are a significant part of campus life.

4. Acceptance Rate and Student Population:

While the acceptance rates of the two universities are almost equal, USC has the larger grad student population while UCLA has more undergraduates. The following table gives you a clear look at the numbers to compare both universities.

5. Academics:

Both universities are renowned for their academic excellence and research opportunities. USC is more sought after for business, performing arts, film studies, and communication while UCLA has a reputation for medicine, engineering, and other science and tech related fields. USC follows a semester system while UCLA divides its academic years into quarters.

UCLA vs USC at a glance

Established in 1880 1919
Ownership Private research university Public land-grant research university
Mascot Traveler, a white horse with a Trojan warrior astride Joe and Josephine Bruin, Brown Bear
School Colours Cardinal red and Gold Blue and Gold
Nicknames Trojans Bruins
US News National Rank 28 15
Bachelor’s Degree Majors 200+ 125+ majors
Number of Master’s Degrees Offered 400+ 130+
Popular Areas of Study
  • Journalism and Communication
  • Film Studies
  • Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Social Sciences
  • Engineering
  • English Language and Literature
  • Anthropology
  • Modern Languages
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Geography
  • History
Fees and Scholarships
Average Tuition Fee for BA/ BSc per year $60,904 $15,154 (for CA residents)
$49,354 (for non-residents
Average Tuition Fee for MA/ MS per year $66,000 $16,847 (for CA residents)
$31,949 (for non-residents)
Average Financial Aid Around $48,959 Around $22,000
Eligibility Criteria
Average High School GPA 3.71 – 4.0 3.93
Median SAT/ ACT Test Scores for admission SAT: 1430 – 1550
ACT: 32 – 35
(Test Optional)
English Language Requirements TOEFL iBT: 100
IELTS: 7.0
TOEFL iBT: 100
IELTS: 7.0
Acceptance Rate ~ 10% ~ 9%
Student Population
No. of undergraduate students in 2023 21,000 32,423
No. of graduate students in 2023 26,000 14,007
Average Early Career Salary of Graduates $80,000 $76,000
Student Faculty Ratio 9:1 19:1
Average Class Size Around 62% of classes have fewer than 20 students 47.8% of classes have fewer than 20 students
Campus Location Los Angeles Los Angeles
Campus Type Urban Urban

USC vs UCLA: Academics

The first point to be addressed, if you are wondering “Is USC or UCLA better?” is academics. Both are highly ranked universities located in Los Angeles, California. Both USC and UC Los Angeles offer undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees to its students in varied disciplines. Both universities are internationally recognised. Then how do they stand apart from one another? What makes USC better than UCLA or the other way around? Let us dive in.

Overall and Subject Ranking

The rank of the university is often one of the first things that one looks into when researching prospective schools. If you are looking at the overall metrics, then UCLA stands much ahead of USC, ranking 15th in the country (U.S. News and World Report) and 42nd globally (QS World University Ranking 2025). USC ranks 28th in the United States and 125th in the world, as published by the same ranking organizations.

That said, the focus should not entirely be on the overall ranking of the university but rather on where the schools stand when it comes to specific subjects of your choosing. For instance, UCLA is the higher ranked institution world renowned for its programs in medicine, engineering, literature, psychology and the humanities. USC, on the other hand, is known for courses in business programs, game development, economics, communication and media studies, performing arts, sociology and social policy. Moreover, USC is also home to the School of Cinematic Arts, one of the oldest and most prestigious film schools in the country.

Here is a table that lists the subject rankings of both institutions.

University of California Los Angeles University of Southern California
Overall National Rank US News: 15 Overall National Rank US News: 28
Times Higher Education WUR: 18 Times Higher Education WUR: 74
QS WUR 2025: 42 QS WUR 2024: 125
Subjects and Other Ranking (Source: QS and US News)
  • #3 in Psychology
  • #5 in Film and Theatre
  • #7 in English Language and Literature
  • #7 in Anthropology
  • #7 in Bioinformatics
  • #8 in Modern Languages
  • #12 in Communications
  • #12 in Medicine
  • #13 in Biological Sciences
  • #14 in Economics
  • #17 in Undergraduate Engineering
  • #21 in Engineering and Technology
  • #25 in Most Innovative Schools
  • #35 in Top Performers on Social Mobility
  • #37 in Business and Management Studies
  • #45 in Performing Arts
  • #1 in Game Simulation and Development
  • #2 in Communication and Media Studies
  • #8 in Business Programs (National)
  • #25 in Undergraduate Engineering
  • #26 in Economics
  • #43 in Performing Arts
  • #45 in Social Policy and Administration
  • #53 in Accounting and Finance
  • #90 in Economics and Econometrics
  • #93 in Top Performers on Social Mobility

From the table, it is clear that both universities have their strength areas where they rank higher than the other. Due to their reputation and academic standing, both schools are highly competitive and attract a large amount of applications from students all over the world. Simply put, higher the ranking means stiffer the competition.

As you keep ranking in mind during your decision making process, it is also equally important to look into the course curriculum, the teaching methodology, academic rigour, campus vibe, and a host of other factors of your particular department in the university before making your choice.

Constituent Schools

The courses at USC are offered by

  • USC Alfred E. Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
  • USC Bovard College
  • USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
  • Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
  • USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance
  • USC Gould School of Law
  • Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
  • USC Iovine and Young Academy
  • Keck School of Medicine of USC
  • USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
  • USC Leventhal School of Accounting
  • USC Marshall School of Business
  • USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
  • USC Roski School of Art and Design
  • USC Rossier School of Education
  • USC School of Architecture
  • USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • USC School of Dramatic Arts
  • USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
  • USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
  • USC Thornton School of Music
  • USC Viterbi School of Engineering

The schools and colleges that constitute UCLA are

  • School of Arts and Architecture
  • The College
  • School of Dentistry
  • School of Education and Information Studies
  • Samueli School of Engineering
  • School of Law
  • Anderson School of Management
  • David Geffen School of Medicine
  • Herb Albert School of Music
  • School of Nursing
  • Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • Fielding School of Public Health
  • School of Theatre, Film and Television

Degrees and Class Sizes

Another important factor in choosing UCLA or University of SoCal is the difference in size – be it in terms of student population, number of programs or class sizes.

Campus Size 229 + 79 (University Park + Health Science Campus) 419 acres
Undergraduate Population ~21,000 32,423
Graduate Population ~26,000 14,007
Number of Undergraduate Options 200+ majors 125+
Number of Graduate Options 400+ 130+
Student – Teacher Ratio 9:1 19:1
Classes with fewer than 20 students Around 62% 47.8%

From the table, it is clear that

  • UCLA has the larger campus but also has a significantly higher number of undergraduate students when compared to USC.
  • USC has a bigger grad student body when compared to UCLA.
  • USC offers more choice of courses when compared to UCLA, at both the bachelor’s and master’s level.
  • USC also has fewer students in a class when compared to UCLA and also a much lower student to faculty ratio. This can be a pro or a con depending on your preference. Some students thrive in a smaller set up where there is more chance of individual attention from professors while some prefer larger, more competitive classrooms with more scope for independent study and learning.

Key Dates for Application

In this section, we will be looking at the key dates for application and admission into undergraduate programs to get a sense of the timeline. It is also recommended that you verify with the specific department / school that you are applying to, just to ensure they do not follow a different cycle.

Important Dates USC UCLA
Early Action Deadline November 1 N.A.
Regular Application Deadline December 1 for for majors requiring a portfolio or audition

January 15 for all other majors

November 30
EA admission decisions Posted in Mid to Late January N.A.
Regular Decision Posted in April 1 End of March
Deadline to accept offer of admission May 1 May 15
Acceptance Rate ~ 10% ~ 9%

Admission Options to be considered in the USC UCLA debate

  • USC’s Early Admission Pathway is both non-binding and non-restrictive. Applicants who want to be considered for some of the USC scholarships and aid are required to apply by the EA deadline. However, this deadline is not applicable for courses that require you to audition or submit portfolios.
  • UCLA, and all the other University of California campuses, do not give the option of EA or ED. All applicants apply through a common regular admission channel.
  • USC accepts the Common Application along with the supplemental essay. None of the UC schools accept the Common App. UC applications are completed through UC Apply.
  • One advantage is that you can apply to as many UC campuses as you like with only one application form. Each of the campuses will receive your application and evaluate them separately and simultaneously. For example, you can apply to UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara, all in one application. However, an offer letter from one campus does not imply or guarantee an admission into another UC campus.

Semester vs Quarter

USC follows a semester system while UCLA follows a quarter system. The academic year at UCLA is divided into three quarters (Fall, Winter and Spring), each lasting about 10 weeks. If students want to work through summer to graduate early or take up extra courses, there is also a summer term.

USC follows an academic calendar divided by semesters spreading through Fall (August/ September – December) and Spring (January – April/ May). USC also has a shorter summer term during which some academic activities take place.

Pros of a Quarter System:

  • One of the biggest benefits a student has in a quarter system is that it gives you the flexibility to choose more courses and interact with more faculty members. On average, a student studying in this model graduates with 18 more credits (6 more courses) than a student in a semester cycle.
  • The course load is smaller, allowing students to focus better.
  • Switching majors or raising GPA is comparatively easier than in a semester since course weight is more distributed in quarter terms.

Cons of a Quarter System:

  • The main disadvantage is that quarters do not give a student enough time to settle into a course of study. While a course may be short, the level of the coursework might be intense to cover the required material in 10 weeks. Essentially, it gives you less time to study.
  • It can be harder to schedule internships, co-ops, or study abroad programs since most of them are scheduled around the semester timeline.

What are the top three courses to study at USC?

1. Communication and Journalism

The Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California is one of the most prestigious schools of the university. It has been ranked 2nd in the world for Communication and Media Studies, overtaking Harvard, Stanford, UPenn and NYU (Source: QS Subject Ranking 2024). At the bachelor’s level, you can choose to major in Communication, Journalism or PR and Advertising. The school also has numerous postgraduate programs and a doctoral degree in communication. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the school works closely with media and technology partners that include industry giants such as Buzzfeed, Spotify, Bloomberg, ABC News and others.

2. Film Studies

USC School of the Cinematic Arts is one of the oldest and most prestigious film schools in the country. It was established in agreement with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927. The school has seven academic divisions ranging from animation and digital arts to interactive media, gaming and film production. Its location in the land of Hollywood also helps provide its students with varied opportunities to explore the real-world demands of the industry.

Since 1973, at least one alumnus of SCA has been nominated for an Academy Award every year, totaling around 256 nominations and 78 wins. The school also has a very long list of notable alums including George Lucas, Shonda Rhimes, Judd Apatow, and many others. Steven Spielberg even has an honorary degree from USC SCA. The school draws creative talent from all over the world, and is highly selective with an acceptance rate of around 3%.

3. Business and Entrepreneurship

Besides humanities and the creative arts, another field of study that is highly renowned at USC is business and entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business. Ranked 18th out of 124 b-schools in the country by U.S. News, this school enables students to combine an in-depth knowledge of the theory and practice of business with liberal arts and social sciences to apply in use-case scenarios. The emphasis is on tech fluency, human leadership and real-world learning.

In addition to a host of graduate-level programs, Marshall School of Business also offers several undergraduate business programs, including AI for business, real estate finance and development, and business of cinematic arts.

What are the Top Three Courses to Study in UCLA?

1. Psychology

UCLA’s psychology program is one of the best in the nation and is known for its groundbreaking research in human behaviour and cognitive processes. The department’s faculty includes leaders in various subfields of psychology, providing students with comprehensive learning and research opportunities. QS ranks its psychology department in the 9th spot in the world for its programs.

2. Film, Television, and Digital Media

Situated in the global film and media hub of Los Angeles, UCLA offers unparalleled resources and industry connections. The program emphasises both creative expression and critical analysis, preparing students for successful careers in the entertainment industry. If you look at the larger domain of media and communications, the university ranks 21st in the world, according to QS Subject rankings.

3. Engineering

Ranked 21st in the world, UCLA’s engineering school is recognized for its innovation in areas like robotics, computer science, and bioengineering. The program encourages practical experience through internships and collaborative projects, often partnering with tech giants in nearby Silicon Valley. The Samueli School of Engineering offers numerous research opportunities, right from the undergraduate level, and also enables a thriving group of engineering student organizations that foster collaborations and friendships.

Notable Faculty, Alumni and Research Facilities

Both USC and UCLA are home to Nobel laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and numerous other distinguished scholars. While the LA campus has 16 Nobel laureates associated with it, the USC campus has only 6. USC is also the alma mater of astronaut Neil Armstrong, entrepreneur Sol Price, founder of Price Corp (now Costco), director George Lucas, film producer Susan Downey, actors Tom Selleck, Patric J Adams, LeVar Burton, Lily Collins and many others.

Both are cutting edge R1 research universities that encourage every student’s desire to push the boundaries of their discipline. They both raise over $1 billion when it comes to research funding. Each campus hosts state-of-the-art research facilities. UCLA is home to the Broad Stem Cell and the Urban Democracy Lab Each, just to name a few while USC houses the Agilent Center of Excellence in Biomolecular Characterization, the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center, and the Spatial Sciences Centre.

Academics –  Key Similarities and Differences
1. Both are distinguished universities with a global presence. UCLA is ranked higher overall but USC is more renowned for business, communication, media studies and journalism.

2. UCLA is a state-funded school and part of the University of California system, while USC is a private, not-for-profit university.

3. UCLA has a much higher undergraduate student body, while USC has a higher graduate student population. USC has a much lower student-to-faculty ratio than UCLA.

4. USC’s academic year is divided into semesters while UCLA’s is divided into quarters.

5. Both schools offer numerous study abroad options that allow students to attend a semester or a year abroad in their partner institutions.

6. Both schools offer compulsory core curriculum for students of all majors to build an intellectual foundation and develop well-rounded skill sets.

USC vs UCLA: Fees and Scholarship Opportunities

In addition to academics, the next important difference between the University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles is the cost involved. The cost of attendance (tuition) and additional expenses such as books, student fees, insurance, and housing must be taken into account before making a choice.

At the outset, there is one key difference that has to be kept in mind. USC is a private university and therefore does not have any subsidised or higher rates for any of its students. Since UCLA is funded by the state of California, in-state students have highly subsidised rates while students from out of state or country must pay the full fee for tuition. As a public university, UCLA’s full fee is also significantly lower than that of USC’s.

Annual Tuition (Bachelor’s) $69,904 $15,154 (for CA residents)
$49,354 (for non-residents)
Average Annual Tuition (Master’s) Around $66,000 $16,847 (for CA residents)
$31,949 (for non-residents)
MBA Tuition $73,851 $85,000 – $92,000
Housing (yearly, room and board) $19,541 to $21,785 $18,369
Types of Financial Aid 1. University Grants
2. Federal Pell Grant
3. Can Grants including Cal Dream Act
4. Scholarships
5. Departmental Awards
6. Athletic Awards
7. Federal Work-Study
8. Loans[Combination of merit and  need-based aid]
1. Scholarships
2. Grants
3. Loans
4. Part-time student jobs[Mostly need-based aid]
International student scholarships
  • Not eligible for federal or USC financial aid
  • Can apply for merit scholarships and other departmental awards
  • Can apply for any of the external scholarships
  • UCLA does not award scholarships or financial aid to undergraduate students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Average need-based aid Around $48,959 $24,920
Percentage of undergrad students receiving some form of financial aid ~ 66%
21% receive merit scholarships
~ 51%
Admission Decisions Need blind Need blind
Demonstrated Need Cover 100% 100% (About 45% of undergrads pay no tuition at all)

1. The tuition fees are average figures, calculated for a typical academic year of 9 months. The fee will be higher should you choose to take extra courses in the summer months.

2. The tuition fee amounts in the table are indicative of only the cost of attendance. It does not include books, student health insurance and other expenses. Student insurance alone can cost between $3,000 – $7,000 a year.

3. While most of UCLA’s aid is based on financial need, the UCLA Regents Scholarships and the UCLA Alumni Scholarships are two of the most popular merit-based scholarships in the university.

4. If you are an international student, it is important to note that UCLA does not provide any aid to those who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

5. USC does not allow international students to apply for need-based aid but has numerous merit scholarship options for overseas applicants.

USC vs UCLA: Student Life and Post Graduation Opportunities

Here are a few other factors that can make you prefer UC Los Angeles to USC, or the other way around. We normally begin this section by comparing locations, but it does not apply in this case since both universities are located in Los Angeles.

With a population of around 3.8 million, the city is known for its vibrant and diverse culture, attracting people from all over the world. The entertainment capital of the world, the city has also hosted the Summer Olympics for two years, and is slated to host again in 2028. In addition to its culture, it is also rapidly growing as a tech capital, keeping up with its northern neighbours. It also has a Mediterranean climate with mostly pleasant days throughout the year that draws a lot of students.

The university’s campus life and the extracurricular activities available can also become important points of consideration, especially if the universities are otherwise well-matched. So, here are a few other factors that will help you decide when looking at UCLA vs USC.

1. Campus


Source: USC

The University of Southern California campus is divided into two parts – the University Park campus and the Health Sciences Campus. The main University Park Campus spans 229 acres and consists of the university’s 23 prestigious academic schools and units.

Situated just 3 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, this location is a green respite in the middle of a busy city. Right next to the campus is the historic Exposition Park, known for its array of captivating museums and recreational activities. The University Park campus is known for its historic brick architecture and peaceful lawns.

About 6 miles Northeast is the Health Sciences Campus which is a major centre for clinical biomedical research in the fields of cancer, gene therapy, the neurosciences, and transplantation biology, among others. This 79-acre campus is also home to the Keck School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy programs as well as the world-class Keck Medical Centre.


Source: UCLA

Spanning around 419 acres, the UCLA campus is located at the base of Santa Monica Mountains, a mere 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean. With over 170 buildings, it has a vibrant atmosphere, a fitting microcosm of LA’s spirit. UCLA students often go to shop, dine out, or explore a social life off campus in the neighbouring Westwood Village.

Considering its location, the breath-taking scenery of UCLA, both within and outside the campus is a given. It is also known for convenient housing facilities, renowned dining options (including 3 all-you-can-eat residential dining halls), academic and research resources that are state-of the-art, and numerous extracurricular and recreation centres for its students.

The campus builds a strong sense of community among its students as they often come together for sports and other events. Along with the mascots, Joe and Josephine Bruin (male and female brown bears), the campus instils a fierce sense of pride while creating a fairly relaxed atmosphere.

2. Student Population

USC: In the academic year 2023-24, USC had around 21,000 undergraduates and around 26,000 graduate students bringing the total student population up to around 47,000 (rounded to the nearest 500). Students from California make up around 42% of the first year class. As of Fall 2023, the campus had the most number of overseas students, with around 27.1% of the student body composed of students from outside the United States. Caucasian students made up around 23% of the student body and Hispanic and African American students together made up around 22%. USC’s student body also makes it one of the most economically diverse universities in the country.

UCLA: The university has an undergraduate population of 32,423 and a graduate student body of 14,007, out of which 77% are from the state of California. Of the 46,430 students, over 5,200 are international students from over 106 countries. About 78% of the undergraduate students are from California. If you are looking at student diversity by gender, about 60% is female, 39% male and 1% non-binary. With a diverse student body, the university creates a multicultural learning environment.

3. Housing

USC: USC does not require freshmen to necessarily stay on campus. In campus residence options include dorms, suites and apartments for both undergrad and grad students. In-campus housing costs around $19,541 to $21,785 per year. However, due to its large student body, typically around 36% of students stay on campus while the others look for housing outside.

For freshmen applicants, May 1 is the deadline to be guaranteed a space in campus housing, although it does not guarantee a particular space. Early receipt of a housing application simply increases your chances of being assigned one of your choice. Due to heavy demand, the university does not guarantee housing.

UCLA: UCLA also does not require freshmen to stay on campus even for the first year of study. However, they do offer many housing options for the students who choose to live on campus. Typically, around 43% of UCLA students choose to live on campus.

At the undergraduate level, you have four types of accommodations – classic, plaza, deluxe and suite. They are essentially shared rooms with amenities provided either communally or individually. They all include communal study spaces and lounging areas to build a sense of community. The annual cost of housing can range between $17,500 and $22,000, depending on the style and the number of occupants. Meal plans are included in on-campus residences.

Graduate housing is typically located in Westwood or in the Palms area. Students staying out of campus can make use of the dining halls at an extra cost.

4. Sports and Extracurriculars

USC: The University of SoCal usually dominates athletics. The USC team, referred to as the Trojans, participates in the Pac-12 Conferences and has won over 135 National Championships. Among all sports, football games are treated with reverence and the USC Trojans are one of the finest teams in the country. USC’s Caleb Williams was selected No. 1 overall by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday. The Women of Troy are also stepping into the Big Ten Conference playing college basketball against their rivals.

In short, the Trojans are considered one of the most successful athletic programs in the country. Besides teams that compete at the national level, the Recreational Club Council at USC has over 50 club sports that enable students to participate at different levels. Moreover, the university has over 1,000 student organizations that cater to varied interests.

UCLA: Competing neck to neck with USC, UCLA continues to live up to its name of being a national leader in intercollegiate sports. It is the first school to win over 100 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Championships. The university has produced 410 Olympic Athletes (270 medals) and a record number of professional athletes such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Troy Aikman, Arthur Ashe, Eric Karros, Reggie Miller, Corey Pavin, Jackie Robinson, and Natalie Williams. UCLA competes as ‘the Bruins’ proudly wearing the colours of blue and gold. The school also has 15 multipurpose workout facilities and six pools spread throughout campus.

Besides the athletic spirit that binds the students together, the school is also home to over 1,200 clubs and student organisations that enable the Bruins to pursue varied interests. The UCLA Marina Aquatic Center, located in Marina Del Rey, even offers instruction and equipment for rowing, kayaking, sailing, surfing, windsurfing and paddle boarding. Student government, Arts and Culture, Greek life, Entrepreneurship, or Volunteering in the community are also chapters of campus life that bring students together.

5. Internships

In both the schools, the career cell is the ideal place to begin your research for internships in any location. With internships, you can gain more credits, boost your resume and experience the real world demands of your profession. While listings are available throughout the year, it is expected that you plan your internships around your coursework.

While there are no parameters to decide how many internships one must do during the course of their study, Dornsife students typically complete 2 internships during the time of their undergraduate study. The USC Career centre coordinates and enables students to sign up for internships.

At UCLA, About 73% of undergraduate students complete at least one internship during the course of their study. Be it the entertainment industry, aerospace, biosciences, IT, or finance, numerous internship opportunities are made available for students. The university also offers ‘Professional Minors’ that include internships as part of the curriculum. UCLA’s career centre also runs a global internship program giving students opportunities worldwide.

6. Employability

USC:  Among the undergraduate class of 2022, 93% were either employed or continuing education six months after graduation. Top industries that USC graduates went into include finance, consulting, advertising/ marketing and programming. Top recruiters include USC, Deloitte, EY, Amazon, KPMG and Microsoft. The average starting salary of a USC graduate is around $80,000.

UCLA: Ranked 20th for graduate employability by the Times Higher Education in 2023, the university has a 93% six-year graduation rate for freshmen and transfers at the undergraduate level. Top recruiters at UCLA include Accenture, Amazon, Apple, Bloomberg, Cisco Systems, County of Los Angeles, Deloitte, Getty, Google, Kaiser Permanente, KPMG, Mattel, Microsoft, NBCUniversal, Oracle, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SpaceX, Target Corporation, Teach for America and Walt Disney Company. The starting salaries of UCLA graduates vary widely depending on the domain, previous experience and scope of work.


Deciding between USC and UCLA is not a simple task. It involves considering various factors such as academic strengths, campus life, financial implications, and career prospects. Both universities offer unparalleled opportunities, but your decision should align with your personal and professional goals. Here is a summary of what these two universities have to offer.

USC is a better fit if

  • You do not attach much weight to the overall rank but rather focus on the courses and their curricula.
  • You want to pursue any of the film, journalism or media related courses and explore a media-related career in the heart of Hollywood.
  • You want to be a part of a campus with fewer undergraduate students than UCLA.
  • You prefer studying on a campus with a lower student-to-faculty ratio.
  • You want to apply to a university that does not prioritise any group of students over the other.
  • You prefer staying off-campus since housing at USC can be competitive.
  • You want to avail their numerous merit scholarship options in addition to need-based aid.
  • Athletics is an important part of your university experience.

UCLA is the better choice if

  • You are looking for the higher-ranked of the two universities.
  • You want to study in a public university under the prestigious University of California Banner.
  • You want to pursue a career in the field of medicine, engineering, or any of the STEM related subjects.
  • You want to take advantage of the lower cost of tuition, even if you are not a resident of California.
  • As a resident of California, you want to apply to a university that prioritises in-state applicants.
  • You function better in a quarter system than a semester system.
  • You thrive on a campus where there are more undergraduates than grad students.

While these can be factored into your decision, the ultimate call rests on whether the course curriculum and the learning outcomes meet your career plans. The most significant part of your research is to compare courses, syllabi, electives, faculty and research facilities of your preferred degree program, speak to current students, and then decide on which school better suits your needs.

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Our platform enables students to study anywhere in the world in just a few steps. From search and discovery and finding the right course fit for you, to applications, visas and departure – we see you through it all.

To move forward with us, download our app or visit tcglobal.com and sign in to create an account on our student platform and onboard with us in quick, easy steps.! 🚀

Then simply set up a visit Calendly.com/tcglobal to pick a Relationships Team closest to you and choose a slot to meet with a Relationship Member. Be it USC vs UCLA or any such debates, our experts will be with you every step of the way to help you decide.

Let’s shape your future together.