The University of Southern California (USC, SC, or Southern Cal[a]) is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880 by Robert M. Widney, it is the oldest private research university in California.
The university is composed of one liberal arts school, the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and twenty-two undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, enrolling roughly 21,000 undergraduate and 28,500 post-graduate students from all fifty U.S. states, and more than 115 countries. USC is ranked as one of the top universities in the United States and admission to its programs is considered highly selective.
USC was one of the earliest nodes on ARPANET and is the birthplace of the Domain Name System. Other technologies invented at USC include DNA computing, dynamic programming, image compression, VoIP, and antivirus software.
USC’s notable alumni include 11 Rhodes scholars and 12 Marshall scholars. As of January 2021, 10 Nobel laureates, six MacArthur Fellows, and one Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the university. USC has conferred degrees upon 29 alumni who became billionaires, and has graduated more alumni who have gone on to win Academy and Emmy Awards than any other institution in the world by a significant margin, in part due to the success of the School of Cinematic Arts.
USC sponsors a variety of intercollegiate sports and competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Members of USC’s sports teams, the Trojans, have won 107 NCAA team championships, ranking them third in the United States, and 412 NCAA individual championships, ranking them third in the United States and second among NCAA Division I schools. As of 2021, Trojan athletes have won 326 medals at the Olympic Games (153 golds, 96 silvers and 77 bronzes), more than any other university in the United States. In 1969, it joined the Association of American Universities. USC has had a total of 537 football players drafted to the National Football League, the second-highest number of drafted players in the country.