About the Price School

Aerial shot of the RGL building

The mission of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy is to improve the quality of life for people and their communities, here and abroad. We achieve this mission through education and research that promote innovative solutions to the most critical issues facing society.

As the 21st century unfolds, strands and textures of society intersect in unexpected ways. Much of this occurs across booming urban populations — in America and around the world — giving rise to new challenges or further complicating those that have not been adequately solved.

For nearly 90 years, the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy has earned the public trust by creating path-breaking research and scholarship. We believe it is our ethical responsibility to continue serving our global community at the highest level of excellence.

Dean Jack H. Knott headshot

“At USC Price, faculty and students alike share a common concern for the public good and a vision of a better tomorrow. We are committed to producing innovative research and improving communities here and abroad.”

Jack H. Knott
C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Dean and Professor
About Dean Jack Knott

Sustainability, health care, immigration, infrastructure, urban development, social policy, affordable housing, and governance – these are just a few of the modern challenges that require leaders who look beyond their area of expertise to find the most effective solutions. And they are challenges that call on a new generation of creative thinkers to explore beyond the status quo.

Solving societal issues of such complexity requires not only great minds but also great action. USC Price fosters collaboration and partnerships to better understand problems through varied perspectives. We use the vast influence of California and greater Los Angeles as a resource for setting new paradigms. And we translate research into communities by working directly with the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

USC Price faculty and students are bold. They ask difficult questions and question longstanding answers. They are leaders in their fields and deeply engaged citizens. But most of all, they are inspired by the fact that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity.

If you’re ready to join in conversations that advance knowledge and civic action serving the global public good, look no further than USC Price.

History of the Price School

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First three graduates of the Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration
First three graduates of the Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration in 1932.

With a history spanning almost 90 years, the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy has earned a distinct reputation for excellence in creating scholarship that serves the global public good.

In 1929 the USC School of Citizenship and Public Administration opened its doors, becoming one of only two programs of this kind in America. It was by no means the multifaceted institution that stands today, but it contained seeds of a bold vision that would become the foundation for decades of progress.

In addition to a degree in public administration, the School of Citizenship and Public Administration offered classes in urban and regional planning, which eventually led to the urban and regional planning degree and school at USC. Over time, public administration formed the health administration program and the public policy program, while the urban planning school developed a real estate program.

A key milestone for the school was reached in 1998 when these various strands came together. A single, multidisciplinary entity was formed: the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

In November 2011, the school received a transformative $50 million naming gift from the Price Family Charitable Fund to endow and name the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. The gift honors the life of Sol Price, founder of Price Club. Known for his savvy decision-making, civic engagement, and commitment to social responsibility, the legacy of Sol Price aligns with so many of the values we strive to uphold at the USC Price School of Public Policy.