University of San Diego


Located on nearly two hundred acres overlooking Mission Bay and the city of San Diego, the University of San Diego was established in 1969 by The Society of the Sacred Heart, a Roman Catholic organization. The school offers over sixty bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a plethora of areas. The school is situated close enough to town so that students who wish to explore can spend time in downtown San Diego or spend the day at the beach.

There are over seventy-five student organizations and an active Greek life on campus. Students are eligible to pledge to one of the sororities or fraternities after completing a semester at the school. These organizations are active in the community and sponsor such programs as beach clean-up days and numerous fun charity events that not only benefit the community but provide an entertaining way for students to learn leadership and humanitarianism.

The University of San Diego is also home to numerous special interest organizations such as the Best Buddies program that strives to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing employment opportunities and peer interaction.

For students that particularly enjoy the outdoors, the Outdoor Club may be just the thing. The club takes advantage of holidays and weekends by camping, hiking in the nearby Seirra Nevada mountain range or skiing at the Big Bear Ski Resort. There is also the Torero school spirit club, the Frontline Fan, that cheers on the teams at games and frequently gets to travel to away games with the teams.

Regardless of a student’s educational goals or social aspirations, there is probably at least one program at the University of San Diego that will be of interest.


Information Summary

Ranks 17th in California and 211th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 92.3
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $67,498
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 30 / 1360
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 15 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 90% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 9,073


The University of San Diego offers nearly forty bachelor’s degrees in numerous concentrations, three doctorate degrees, several law degrees and over thirty master’s degrees. The programs are organized into schools, which are then broken down into majors. All students are required to take the university’s core liberal arts curriculum in which the student will learn critical thinking skills and gain intellectual stimulation in a variety of areas.

College and Schools

Many of the schools and colleges found at USD offer undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs so it is possible for a student to complete their entire education right at the university. Students must still meet the requirements of the programs to which they are applying but there are advantages to attending the same university for an entire educational career such as building relationships with other students and faculty and becoming familiar with the school policies and procedures, as well as with the the campus.

College of Arts and Sciences

This is the school that is most historic to the university. It offers nearly thirty majors and several master’s programs and is the largest program that the university offers. Students seeking a degree from this college may choose from such undergraduate degrees as psychology, architecture, computer science, chemistry, history and political science. Master’s degrees are available in history, marine science, international relations and dramatic arts. Students studying in these programs may choose to participate in over twenty professional and honor societies.

School of Business Administration

Accredited by the Association to Advance Colllegiate Schools of Business, the programs offered in this school seek to develop globally aware, innovative business minds that will go forth and become leaders in their fields. Undergraduates my choose from several different bachelor’s degree programs in areas such as economics, business administration, marketing, real estate and international business. Master’s programs include such areas of study as global leadership, business administration, real estate and accountancy. The School of Business Administration consistently ranks among the top business schools in the country. The MBA program was also ranked 21st in the world by the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes study for integrating social and environmental issues.


The Engineering school offers the only automatic dual Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts degree in the country. The University of San Diego emphasizes hands-on learning to their engineering students and provides opportunities for students to participate in real projects in such areas as health care technology and alternative energy in order to prepare them to be the innovators and professionals within their industry. They are consistently ranked as one of the top non-doctorate programs in the country.

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science

The University of San Diego’s nursing program rates in the top ten percent of graduate nursing programs in the country according to leading reports. The school has the only Nursing Clinical Simulation Laboratory in the state of California and was awarded the largest research grant in the university’s history. Students that graduate from this school leave as experts in their field that are trained extensively in both research and clinical practice. Graduates of USD are making a global impact as leaders and trail-blazers in their fields. As an example, for the first time in history, six student nurses boarded the US Naval Ship Mercy in Vietnam and joined its mercy cruise in 2006. They treated thousands of people along the way and set a shining example of the humanitarianism encouraged by the university.

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

Established in 2003, this school has established itself as a proponent of world peace as a profession. Students can either choose to minor in Peace and Justice Studies for their undergraduate degree or pursue a Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies. It is a multidisciplinary program and strives to produce world leaders that will go into war-torn countries and advocate for peace.

The School of Law

Students seeking law degrees at the University of San Diego may choose from three different programs depending upon what area of the law they want to practice in. The school offers a Juris Doctor (JD), a Master of Laws (LLM) and Master of Science in Legal Studies (MS in Legal Studies). The law school is a member of the Order of the Coif and is ranked by several leading publications as one of the top tax law schools in the country. The LSAT average is very high and the law school is extremely competitive. Alumni consistently score higher than average on the California bar exam.

School of Leadership and Education Sciences

This school prepares graduate students for professions such as family therapists, school and mental health counselors and special education teachers. Students will learn how to serve a community that is diverse by focusing on quality of life and human dignity. There are master’s degrees, doctorates and professional certificates awarded by this school.

In addition to these specialized schools, the University of San Diego also offers an array of professional programs and post-graduate certificates. There are also seminars, work shops and non-degree classes available to those who seek to further their education or stay abreast of changes in their careers. Students interested in learning more about these types of programs should contact the Professional and Continuing Education division at the university.

Most Popular Fields of Study


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Admissions requirements at the University of San Diego vary depending on the student and the program to which they are applying. First time freshman, transfer students, graduate students and international students all have separate application processes so students should be sure to follow the correct application process for their status. It should be noted that applications are never considered until all required documents have been received by the university.

Undergraduate Students

American students who have never attended college before shall apply as freshmen and will be required to submit several items in order for their application to be considered. The first step to applying to USD is to complete the online Common Application, an application that is accepted by many schools and can be sent to multiple institutions after completion. After completing the Common Application, students will need to submit the application fee.

Next, students will need to submit official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. The test scores must be sent directly to the university from the testing board. One letter of academic recommendation is required as well as a student essay. For more information about the essay, refer to the Common Application. A separate, optional resume outlining athletic achievements, community service or employment may be submitted in order to give the school a better glimpse of the student.

Transfer Students

Students wishing to transfer to the University of San Diego may do so by submitting all of the materials required by entering freshmen as well as transcripts from all institutions of higher learning that they have attended. There are minimum credit and GPA requirements and students with good grades and a large number of credits will be given preference.

International Students

Students who are neither permanent residents or citizens of the U.S. will need to apply as international students. In addition to the requirements for incoming freshmen, international students may be required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score in order to prove proficiency in the English language. Speaking, reading, writing and understanding English is imperative to student success at USD. These tests are available online. International students do not need to submit the ACT or SAT test scores unless they wish to be considered for a merit-based scholarship.

Graduate Students

Students wishing to apply to a graduate program or to the law school at University of San Diego should be aware that admissions is competitive and based on the student’s potential ability to succeed in graduate school. Each program has its own admission process and students should refer to their program of choice for application requirements. Applications for each of the programs are available on line as is a list of requirements for each program.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to both undergraduate and graduate students in the form of scholarships, grants, federally subsidized loans and work programs. Both merit-based and need-based scholarships are available. Students should begin the process of obtaining financial aid by completing the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) online. The application is available in January and students should be aware that financial information for both the applicant and family will be necessary to complete the form and should have that documentation ready prior to starting the application.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 3301st for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in California.


The USD Toreros are an NCAA Division I club that offers fifteen varsity sports teams for their athletes to compete with including rowing, cross country, basketball, women’s volleyball, baseball, softball, football, men’s golf, track and field and soccer. The university offers top-notch facilities for the athletes to play in including the Jenny Craig Pavilion (JCP), Cunningham Baseball Field, Manchester Canyon Field and the newly renovated Torero Stadium. All of the facilities are within a quarter-mile of the university and the JCP also houses a fitness center that is open to all students and faculty.

In addition to the varsity sports, the University of San Diego offers club sports including equestrian teams, rugby, water skiing and lacrosse and compete against other schools on the west coast. Intramural sports are also available in a wide range of sports from baseball to table tennis. Students may also earn credit by participating in the campus fitness program.


  • University of San Diego. University of San Diego. 2011. Web. 3 May 2011.
  • “University of San Diego.” The Princeton Review. 2011. Web. 3 May 2011.
  • Toreros University of San Diego. CBS College Network. 2011. Web. 3 May 2011.

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