About USC Thornton

Founded in 1884, the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music prepares students for successful careers in the 21st century. By blending the rigors of a traditional conservatory-style education with the intellectual ambition of a leading research university, students excel as elite 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 world-class faculty and students outside music. They grow as artists and as people.

With our location in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world’s centers for art and the entertainment industry, opportunities abound and students often build careers before they graduate.

Our history is defined by the pursuit of musical excellence, and 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. We expect a lot of ourselves, but the environment is one of collaboration and support. Students often speak of their departments or studios as family.

We’re designed for the modern musician. Scroll down to learn more about USC Thornton.

Facts & Figures

Students: 1,044

USC Thornton serves just over 1,000 students as of Fall 2021 across all degrees & departments.

Degree Completion

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

Faculty: 176

USC Thornton supports 91 full-time faculty & 85 part-time faculty at the school of music, as of Fall 2021.

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 at USC.

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

Electives & Minors

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

Doheny Memorial Library
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Graduate Certificates

Designed for artists concentrating their energies on the full-time development of their discipline, who hold an undergraduate education in music 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 USC Thornton School of Music offer pathways and resources to support your journey.

Live in the City of Angels

Los Angeles is home to over nine million people from more than 140 countries. Reside in one of its historic districts or apply for USC campus housing.

International Networks

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


Contributions to leadership exist at all levels at USC Thornton, stewarding our university culture, people, and programs.

Jason King

Dean, USC Thornton School of Music

Jason King, renowned musician, journalist and scholar, will begin his tenure as Dean at the USC Thornton School of Music on July 1, 2023. King earned his PhD in performance studies from NYU, though his musical interests and accomplishments span many genres. He currently serves as chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at Tisch School of the Arts.

Senior Leadership

USC Thornton School of Music

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.

Josh Kun

Interim Dean, Thornton School of Music

Josh Kun, the interim dean at the USC Thornton School of Music, is a professor and chair in cross-cultural communication at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. An acclaimed cultural historian, critic and curator, Kun works at the intersection of arts, culture & politics, with an emphasis on music.


USC Thornton History

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

Flora L. Thornton

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

Historical Highlights

As the first USC professional school, the Thornton School of Music produced nearly half of USC’s first 100 graduates in 1884.

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Robert Cutietta

During Dean Cutietta’s two-decade tenure, USC Thornton expanded the definition of what it means to be a music school.

Get in Touch

Searching for contact information on a specific office or department? Visit our comprehensive contact page for details.

Image of a choir on a grassy field in concert dress.