University of Southern California (USC) Alumni Average Salary

Combining good value and great education, the University of Southern California is ranked in the top 19 percent of universities by return on investment. Alumni report high financial returns compared to the tuition they paid to attend this a university based in Los Angeles, Calif. It would be a misnomer to cast the University of Southern California as a die-hard sports school only: University of Southern California students study hard as they cheer on the Trojans. History majors are among the most popular majors at the University of Southern California, and the university is home to some of the brightest students in the country. The information for this snapshot was generated by alumni responses to the PayScale salary survey.

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Early Career Salary 


Mid-Career Salary 


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52 %

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University of Southern California (USC) Alumni

Median Salary by Job

National Salary Data 
Software Engineer
22 salaries
Senior Software Engineer
15 salaries
Mechanical Engineer
12 salaries
Financial Analyst
11 salaries
Senior Systems Engineer
7 salaries
Attorney / Lawyer
7 salaries
Project Engineer
7 salaries
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Nov 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 880
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About This School

University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089


Private School, Research University, For Sports Fans

91 %

13 %

76 %

18 %

Freebase CC-BY Source: Freebase, licensed under CC-BY; IPEDS (As of January, 2015)


Graduates of the USC work in a variety of sectors including the education industry, the software development industry, and the consulting industry. The most popular field is the aerospace and defense industry. Students of USC go on to make comfortable salaries after graduation, a trend consistent with the high graduation rates and above-average SAT scores reported by this group. The average starting salary for a graduate of the USC is $82K.


There is a sizable difference between men's post-college salaries and women's: the median for the former is approximately $90K, but the median for the latter is only $70K.


Former USC students with an interest in making money consider becoming Senior Systems Engineers, the highest-paying gig (average earnings amount to $133K) among this alumni group. Other well-paid jobs include Senior Software Engineers (about $116K) and Software Engineers ($99K). Mechanical Engineers wrap up the bottom of the pay scale, earning around $72K.


Los Angeles, Calif. keeps the largest number of USC grads among cities despite the fact that it offers the lowest median compensation (approximately $74K). By comparison, the top-paying city popular with USC alumni is San Jose, Calif., which offers a median salary of around $116K. Nearby San Francisco, Calif. is also a top pick for USC grads, as is San Diego, Calif.

Degree Major

USC students with a Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Jurisprudence, or Master of Law (LLM) can expect to make the most money ($142K on average per year) compared to their fellow graduates. On the other end of the spectrum, those with a master's in social work tend to do the worst in terms of salary, making an average $50K per year.


Project Management is a popular skill among USC alumni, with approximately one in six grads reporting using it on the job. Competency in C++ translates into above-average pay for former Trojans — they earn 26 percent more than their fellow graduates. Experience with Microsoft Excel, Data Analysis, and Microsoft Office is highly valued as well.

Benefits and Perks

Only one in three grads earn paid vacation and just one in four survey participants get paid sick time. A large number of graduates receive health insurance, and a fair number of alums get dental coverage. A large number of former students save up for retirement through a 401(k) plan. University of Southern California grads also enjoy benefits like a casual working environment, life insurance, a company-subsidized cell phone, and tuition reimbursement.

Related Schools

Among alumni of similar schools, Rice University grads (who make an average of about $81K) earn salaries most similar to USC alumni. The California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Tulane University of Louisiana are also similar to USC.

University of Southern California (USC) Job Listings

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Test Scores

Academics 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Scores 1920 2230
ACT Scores 29 33

Key Stats for University of Southern California (USC)


42 %
58 %
$39,796 - $97,476
$48,919 - $120,983
Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 243 votes.
$71,111 - $138,795
$91,750 - $149,350
$50,000 - $132,000
$54,045 - $98,684
$40,468 - $103,124
$55,045 - $129,221
$95,421 - $137,918
$50,335 - $127,171
$52,161 - $117,656

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