About USC Thornton

The USC Thornton School of Music prepares students for successful careers in the 21st century, drawing upon an unparalleled history of artistry and scholarship established alongside the City of Angels.


Founded in 1884, the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music prepares students for successful careers in the 21st century. Our mission is defined by the pursuit of musical excellence, collaboration, and support.

USC Thornton blends the rigors of a traditional conservatory-style education with the intellectual ambition of a leading research university, students thrive as artists, performers, educators, and professionals while taking classes in other schools at USC. They often add a double major or a minor, and learn from esteemed faculty and students beyond the musical classroom and across the university.

With our location in the heart of Los Angeles, opportunities abound and students often build careers before they graduate. We are unique among our peers in the sheer diversity of music that is taught here—from early music to popular music, orchestral performance, screen scoring, jazz, composition, music industry, and more—all at the highest levels. Scroll down to learn more about USC Thornton.

Facts & Figures

Students: 1,012

USC Thornton serves just over 1,000 students as of Fall 2022 across all degrees & departments.

Degree Completion

USC Thornton undergraduates complete their degrees 10 – 23% faster than national rates.

Faculty: 171

USC Thornton supports 86 full-time faculty & 85 part-time faculty at the school of music, as of Fall 2022.

Alumni Satisfaction

94% of recent alumni surveyed would likely enroll at USC Thornton if they could to do it again.


USC Thornton offers courses for everyone whether you are embarking on a degree, earning a graduate certificate or artist diploma, considering a minor, or rounding out your electives.

Develop your skills with a graduate or undergraduate degree in our classical, contemporary, or scholarly & research programs.

Regardless of your major or level of experience, we invite you to study and create music at USC Thornton.

Image of student holding a viola.

Designed for artists concentrating on the full-time development of their discipline, holding an undergraduate music education or its equivalent.

Join the Conversation

Attend an in-person or virtual information session with USC Thornton Office of Admissions to learn more about the application process.

Start Here. Go Anywhere.

Whether you dwell in the city or study abroad, USC and the Thornton School of Music offer resources to support your journey.

Student playing lute outdoors on campus.

Los Angeles is home to over nine million people from more than 140 countries. USC Thornton’s location allows you to engage with this dynamic city via scholarship and practice.

USC Thornton belongs to a consortium of international schools of music and conservatories, creating global gateways for students.

Jason King

Dean, Thornton School of Music

Jason King, Dean of the USC Thornton School of Music, is a multi-talented Canadian-American scholar, journalist, author, musician, performer, producer, songwriter, radio and video host and event curator. King earned his PhD in performance studies from New York University, and formerly served as chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at Tisch School of the Arts.


Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

USC Thornton recognizes that it is imperative for musicians and scholars to acknowledge systemic racism and the historical exclusion of marginalized peoples in music. Learn about the J.E.D.I. Committee and university resources committed to equity in our classrooms, concerts & communities.


USC Thornton Senior Leadership

Senior Leadership is responsible for managing institutional operations at USC Thornton through administrative units and channels. Additionally, the Faculty Council, Staff Council, and Student Council have power to make studies, reports and recommendations to the Dean and to Senior Leadership in matters pertaining to their constituencies.

USC Thornton History

As the oldest continually operating cultural institution in Los Angeles, USC Thornton celebrates over a centennial of artistry and scholarship.

Image of a woman seated in a celebratory hall.

Philanthropist and arts patron Flora Laney Thornton is the namesake of USC’s Thornton School of Music.

Black and white image of a building from the early 20th century.

The Thornton School of Music produced nearly half of USC’s first 100 graduates in 1884.

Photo of Robert Cutietta standing on a spiral staircase looking up at the camera.

Dean Cutietta’s two-decade tenure expanded USC Thornton’s definition of a music school’s purpose.

Stay Connected

Each week, we send a recap of the latest events, news and updates at the USC Thornton School of Music. From student and alumni spotlights to our “Pick of the Week,” this is a great way to stay connected with USC Thornton and the Los Angeles music scene.