Welcome to USC Thornton School of Music, where our three exceptional divisions offer cross-genre experiences unique among the country’s top music schools. Scroll down to access our overview and interactive viewbook.
USC Thornton student playing the violin, seated.


As the music profession changes, the USC Thornton School

of Music offers an innovative education that prepares students for careers at the highest level as performers, composers, educators and industry leaders. We do this while making the most of our location in Los Angeles, the nation’s center for creativity and original art of all kinds.

Our three exceptional divisions offer cross-genre experiences unique among the country’s top music schools. As a leading international research institution, USC offers students a rigorous, global education that enriches their artistic and musical development.

Thornton Perspectives

USC Thornton graduates reflect on their time at the School of Music.

Portrait of Courtney Fortune
There is no linear path for a musician these days. A strings player in Los Angeles may be scoring movies, playing with the L.A. Phil, recording on a hip-hop album, and playing in a band at
Courtney Fortune (Music Industry ’12; Arts Leadership, MA ’21)
Image of a student smiling at the camera.
“I was able to broaden the scope of what I was studying at Thornton. I was really surprised by the kinds of skills I was able to acquire, things I didn’t think I’d be working on when I entered.”
Adam Karelin (BM ’22, MS ’23)

Engaging with the World

Classical Performance and Composition

Classical music is as vibrant as it has ever been, but the profession is changing as musicians develop multifaceted careers. Our curriculum recognizes the importance of breaking down the silos between musical styles and genres, while challenging students to develop a distinct artistic voice to create healthy, thriving lives and careers.

Collaborating across Genres

Contemporary Music

From Popular Music to Screen Scoring to Jazz Studies, the programs in the Division of Contemporary Music are among the industry’s best and most celebrated. Students in these programs are musical trailblazers, marked by their embrace of new technology and creative collaborations with new media, dance, theater and musicians globally.

Research that Matters

Scholarly & Research

USC Thornton integrates leading-edge research in our coursework, from an award-winning podcast on pop, deep dives into Early Music and jazz, the nation’s only Polish Music Center, and innovative strategies in arts leadership. Alumni are working on and off the stage – in higher education and K-12 classrooms, archives, studios, and leadership positions throughout the arts.

USC Thornton Viewbook

Peruse our interactive view book with hyperlinks to stories, websites, and contact information. Hover or click on the desired article to read the full text online.

Solo performer in a blue blazer sings onstage under a spotlight.

Student Ambassadors are currently enrolled undergraduate USC Thornton students and are a great point of contact for prospective and admitted students.

Contact the Office of Admissions with any questions or next steps for applying to USC Thornton School of Music.

USC Thornton student Elaine Kong leans against a brick wall on campus.

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 have your finger on the pulse of what is happening at USC Thornton and the music scene in Los Angeles.