Tulane University vs USC: A Comprehensive Overview

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Teacher talking to students while in a computer room.

Tulane University vs USC: A Comprehensive Overview

Choosing the right university can be a daunting task, especially with so many options available. In today’s article, we will explore two renowned universities: Tulane University and the University of Southern California (USC). We will compare and contrast essential factors such as location, student life, admissions process, academic programs, faculty and staff, etc. By the end of this article, you should have a comprehensive understanding of Tulane University vs USC, which will help you make informed decisions concerning your academic future.

Location and Campus: Tulane University vs USC

Tulane University is located in New Orleans, Louisiana, while USC is located in Los Angeles, California, two cities with different vibes, cultures, and environments. While New Orleans is known for its unique music, delicious seafood, and exciting nightlife, Los Angeles is known as the entertainment capital and home to Hollywood and a diverse culture. Tulane’s campus spans over 110 acres and is situated in the residential Uptown area, surrounded by beautiful trees, brick buildings, and green spaces. USC’s campus is located in Downtown Los Angeles and spreads over 226 acres of urban landscape, featuring modern architecturally-designed buildings.

USC main entrance

Despite their differences, both Tulane and USC offer students a vibrant campus life with a variety of extracurricular activities and opportunities for personal growth. Tulane’s campus is home to over 200 student organizations, including Greek life, club sports, and community service groups. USC also offers a wide range of student organizations, including cultural clubs, academic organizations, and sports teams. Additionally, both universities have state-of-the-art facilities, such as libraries, fitness centers, and research labs, to support students’ academic and personal pursuits.

Student Life: Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC offer a vibrant student life, with continuous opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities, social events, and service learning programs. Tulane boasts over 200 student organizations, including Greek life, sports clubs, volunteer programs, and leadership organizations. Similarly, USC offers numerous organizations, including sports teams, cultural clubs, fraternities and sororities, and student government. Additionally, both universities host numerous social events throughout the academic year, including concerts, themed parties, and student festivals.

However, there are some differences in the student life experience at Tulane and USC. Tulane is located in the heart of New Orleans, a city known for its vibrant music scene, unique cuisine, and rich cultural heritage. This provides students with endless opportunities to explore the city and immerse themselves in its culture. On the other hand, USC is located in Los Angeles, a city known for its entertainment industry and diverse population. This provides students with opportunities to network and gain experience in their desired fields. Additionally, USC has a strong emphasis on community service, with over 80% of students participating in service projects each year.

Admissions Process: Tulane University vs USC

Getting into Tulane or USC requires a competitive application process, including academic achievements, extracurricular activities, essays, recommendation letters, and test scores. Tulane’s admission rate is approximately 13%, while USC’s admission rate is around 16%. Both universities consider a holistic approach to admission, looking beyond the academic numbers to consider factors such as character, leadership potential, and community engagement.

One key difference between the admissions process at Tulane and USC is the emphasis placed on standardized test scores. While both universities require SAT or ACT scores, Tulane has adopted a test-optional policy, allowing students to choose whether or not to submit their scores. USC, on the other hand, still requires test scores for admission.

Another factor to consider is the availability of financial aid and scholarships. Both Tulane and USC offer need-based and merit-based aid, but the specific programs and requirements vary between the two universities. It’s important for prospective students to research and compare the financial aid options at each school to determine which one may be a better fit for their financial situation.

Academic Programs: Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC offer a wide range of academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Tulane has eight undergraduate schools and five graduate schools, including schools of liberal arts, business, law, public health, and medicine. USC has 22 undergraduate schools and divisions and 27 graduate schools, including schools of architecture, cinema, journalism, public policy, and social work. Both universities are known for their strong academic reputation, research opportunities, and experiential learning programs.

However, there are some differences in the academic programs offered by Tulane and USC. Tulane is known for its strong programs in the humanities and social sciences, while USC is known for its programs in the arts and entertainment industries. Tulane also has a strong focus on public health and medicine, with its School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine being one of the top-ranked in the country. USC, on the other hand, has a highly regarded School of Cinematic Arts, which is consistently ranked as one of the best film schools in the world. Overall, both universities offer a diverse range of academic programs that cater to a wide variety of interests and career paths.

Faculty and Staff: Tulane University vs USC

Tulane and USC have highly experienced and qualified faculties with diverse backgrounds and expertise, providing students with excellent academic support and mentorship. Tulane has over 1,000 full-time faculty members, 95% of whom have a terminal degree, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1. USC has over 4,200 full-time faculty members with numerous accolades and achievements and a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1.

Both Tulane and USC also have dedicated staff members who work tirelessly to support students in various aspects of their academic and personal lives. Tulane’s staff includes academic advisors, career counselors, and health professionals, while USC’s staff includes librarians, technology specialists, and financial aid advisors. These staff members are an integral part of the university community and contribute to the overall success of the students.

Student Support Services: Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC offer comprehensive student support services, including academic advising, career counseling, health and wellness services, tutoring, disability services, and international student services. Tulane has a comprehensive support system, including a student health center, a career center, and a robust disability services office. USC provides student support through its student health center, career center, and the Disability Services and Programs office.

Female student looking intently on her laptop.

However, there are some differences in the student support services offered by Tulane and USC. Tulane has a dedicated Office of Multicultural Affairs, which provides support and resources for students from diverse backgrounds. USC, on the other hand, has a dedicated Center for Women and Men, which provides resources and support for issues related to gender and sexuality. Additionally, USC offers a unique program called the Trojan Guardian Scholars, which provides support and resources for students who have experienced foster care or homelessness.

Athletics and Sports Programs: Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC have a strong tradition of athletics, with extensive sports programs, including football, basketball, soccer, and baseball. Tulane competes in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), while USC is a member of the Pacific-12 Conference (PAC-12). Tulane’s football team has won three conference championships, while USC’s football team has won 11 national championships and produced multiple NFL stars.

However, Tulane has a unique program that sets it apart from USC. Tulane offers a varsity sport called beach volleyball, which is not commonly found in other universities. The team competes in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) and has had success in recent years, finishing in the top 10 nationally. USC, on the other hand, has a strong water polo program, with both the men’s and women’s teams consistently ranked in the top 5 nationally.

Alumni Network: Tulane vs USC

Tulane and USC have extensive alumni networks, with numerous networking opportunities available to graduates. Tulane alumni are known for their philanthropy and community engagement, with notable alumni including former U.S. President Gerald Ford and musician Wynton Marsalis. USC alumni are known for their success in a range of fields, including film, entertainment, and business, with notable alumni including actor Will Ferrell and director George Lucas.

However, Tulane’s alumni network is particularly strong in the healthcare industry, with many graduates holding leadership positions in hospitals and healthcare organizations. This is due in part to Tulane’s highly regarded medical school and public health programs.

On the other hand, USC’s alumni network has a strong presence in the technology industry, with many graduates working for major tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple. This is in part due to USC’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley and its strong computer science and engineering programs.

Career Opportunities and Job Placements: Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC provide excellent career services, including job search resources, career fairs, and employer networking events. Tulane graduates have a high job placement rate, with alumni securing positions in diverse fields, including healthcare, education, and finance. USC graduates also secure employment in a range of industries, including entertainment, technology, and law.

However, there are some differences in the types of career opportunities available at each university. Tulane has a strong focus on public service and social justice, with many graduates pursuing careers in non-profit organizations and government agencies. USC, on the other hand, has a reputation for producing successful entrepreneurs and business leaders, with many graduates starting their own companies or working in high-level corporate positions.

Student Diversity and Inclusion: Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC promote diversity and inclusivity, offering numerous opportunities for individuals from different backgrounds to connect and engage. Tulane has a diverse student body, with 40% of its students identifying as minorities and 7% as international students. USC also has a diverse student population, with 47% of its students identifying as minorities and 14% as international students.

Students laughing around while sitting.

However, the two universities differ in their approach to promoting diversity and inclusion. Tulane has a strong focus on community engagement and social justice, with various student organizations and initiatives dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus and in the wider community. USC, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on academic diversity, with a wide range of academic programs and research centers focused on issues related to diversity and inclusion.

Despite these differences, both universities are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. They offer a range of resources and support services, including counseling and mental health services, career development programs, and cultural centers, to help students from diverse backgrounds thrive academically and personally.

Campus Safety and Security Measures: Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC have comprehensive safety and security measures in place to ensure the wellbeing of their students. Tulane has a 24-hour campus patrol service with over 100 members, an emergency notification system, and safety escorts available on request. USC has a dedicated department of public safety with over 300 members, a campus emergency response team, and an active shooter program.

However, there are some differences in the safety and security measures between Tulane and USC. Tulane has a strong focus on community policing, with officers trained to build relationships with students and promote a safe and welcoming campus environment. USC, on the other hand, has a larger security presence with more officers and a greater emphasis on technology, such as surveillance cameras and access control systems. Both approaches have their benefits and drawbacks, and ultimately it is up to individual students to decide which campus safety and security measures align best with their personal preferences and needs.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid Options: Tulane University vs USC

Attending Tulane or USC requires a significant financial investment, with tuition fees, housing costs, and other expenses. However, both universities provide financial aid options to support students in need. Tulane’s tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year is $60,760, while USC’s tuition is $60,275. Tulane provides need-based and merit-based scholarships, while USC offers need-based aid, merit aid, and federal financial aid programs.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance goes beyond just tuition fees and housing costs. Students should also consider expenses such as textbooks, transportation, and personal expenses. Tulane estimates these additional costs to be around $3,000 per year, while USC estimates them to be around $2,000 per year. Both universities offer work-study programs to help students offset these costs, allowing them to gain work experience while earning money to cover their expenses.

Research Opportunities at Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC are research-intensive universities, with numerous research opportunities available to students and faculty. Tulane has several research centers and institutes, including the Tulane National Primate Research Center and the Newcomb Institute for Women’s Leadership. USC is a leader in research, with over $1 billion in annual research grants awarded and numerous research centers and institutes, including the USC Institute for Global Health and the Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study.

In addition to the research centers and institutes, Tulane and USC also offer undergraduate research programs that allow students to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. These programs provide students with valuable hands-on experience and the opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research in their field of interest.

Furthermore, both universities have strong partnerships with industry leaders and government agencies, providing students and faculty with access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources. These partnerships also offer opportunities for collaboration on research projects that have real-world applications and impact.

Campus Sustainability and Environmental Initiatives at Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC are committed to sustainable practices and environmental initiatives, ensuring that they reduce the environmental impact of their activities. Tulane has a comprehensive sustainability program, including sustainable dining options, energy-efficient buildings, and a bike-sharing program. USC has a robust sustainability plan, including a zero-waste initiative, sustainable transportation programs, and investments in renewable energy sources.

Group of students talking while walking in the campus.

In addition to these initiatives, Tulane has also implemented a program to reduce water usage on campus, including low-flow showerheads and faucets, and a rainwater harvesting system. The university also has a community garden where students can learn about sustainable agriculture and participate in growing their own produce.

USC has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint by implementing a green building policy, which requires all new construction and major renovations to meet LEED certification standards. The university also offers a variety of sustainability-focused courses and research opportunities for students, including a sustainability minor and a research center dedicated to studying environmental issues.

International Study Opportunities at Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC offer numerous international study programs, providing students with opportunities to study abroad and gain intercultural experience. Tulane offers programs in over 60 countries, with immersion programs in China, France, and South Africa. Similarly, USC offers over 400 study-abroad programs in over 50 countries, with immersion programs in Italy, Japan, and Spain.

Additionally, both universities offer language immersion programs for students who want to improve their language skills while studying abroad. Tulane offers language immersion programs in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. USC offers language immersion programs in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. These programs provide students with the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the language and culture of the country they are studying in, enhancing their language proficiency and cultural understanding.

Community Engagement and Service Learning Opportunities at Tulane and USC

Both Tulane and USC emphasize community engagement and service learning, encouraging students to give back to their communities while building their leadership skills. Tulane has a robust service learning program, including volunteer opportunities, community-based research, and alternative break programs. Similarly, USC has numerous community engagement programs, including service trips, civic leadership opportunities, and internships with local nonprofits.

At Tulane, students can participate in the Center for Public Service, which offers a variety of programs and initiatives that connect students with community organizations and social justice issues. The center also hosts events and workshops to educate students on topics such as poverty, education, and environmental sustainability.

Meanwhile, USC has a unique program called the Joint Educational Project (JEP), which provides service learning opportunities for students in partnership with local schools and community organizations. Through JEP, students can tutor and mentor children, teach classes, and participate in community service projects.

Reputation Comparison of Tulane University vs USC

Both Tulane and USC have strong reputations, with high academic standards, strong alumni networks, and numerous accolades. Tulane is consistently ranked among the top national universities by U.S. News and World Report, with a strong reputation for its medical school and environmental programs. USC is also highly ranked, with a strong reputation for its business school, school of cinematic arts, and engineering programs.


Choosing between Tulane University and the University of Southern California can be a difficult decision, with both universities offering unique opportunities and experiences. We hope that this comprehensive overview has provided you with valuable insights into these two renowned institutions, informing your academic journey. Whether you choose Tulane or USC, we are confident that you will receive an excellent education and graduate as a successful and well-rounded individual.

Two students walking in the hallway talking about how to transfer colleges

It is important to note that while both universities have their strengths, they also have their weaknesses. Tulane University is located in New Orleans, which is known for its vibrant culture and nightlife, but also has a higher crime rate compared to USC’s location in Los Angeles. On the other hand, USC has a larger student body and may feel more impersonal compared to Tulane’s smaller community. Ultimately, it is important to consider your personal preferences and priorities when making a decision between these two great universities.

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