Academic Course Catalogs

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University of San Diego


The University of San Diego traces its origins to 15th-century Spain. Its patron saint, San Diego de Alcalá, was born in the Province of Seville circa 1400, became a Franciscan brother and served as a missionary in the Canary Islands. He later was an infirmarian at the Franciscan Monastery at Alcalá de Henares near Madrid where he died in 1463. The University of Alcalá, founded by Cardinal Cisneros in 1499, opened for teaching in 1508. Its Spanish Renaissance architecture and general setting inspired the design of the University of San Diego.

The Catholic university which, like our city, is named for San Diego de Alcalá, was founded in 1949 by Most Reverend Charles Francis Buddy, DD, who was also the founding bishop of the Diocese of San Diego. In establishing the university, he invited the Society of the Sacred Heart, under the leadership of Reverend Mother Rosalie Hill, RSCJ, to found the San Diego College for Women. St. Madeleine Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in France in 1800. It was brought to America by St. Philippine Duchesne in 1818. Today it has schools and colleges in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the two Americas.

The San Diego College for Women began classes in February 1952. The College for Men and the School of Law, the first professional division of the university, both began classes in 1954. Originally sponsored by the Diocese of San Diego, USD became the 12th diocesan institution of higher education in the United States. It soon became clear that distinct educational advantages would accrue to students if the curricula of these institutions were shared. In July 1972, the two colleges and the School of Law merged, forming a single, coeducational Catholic university. The governance of the university was transferred from the diocese to an independent Board of Trustees. USD is now organized into seven divisions: the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Business Administration; the School of Law; the School of Leadership and Education Sciences; the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies; the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering; and the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science.

In 2006, USD was reclassified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a doctoral and research university. This reclassification recognizes the strides the university had made in graduate studies and research. USD became the center of national attention on Oct. 16, 1996, when it hosted the United States Presidential Debate. In addition, in September 2011, USD was named an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, one of only 15 higher education institutions to earn the designation. Ashoka U is a program of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a nonprofit, global association of more than 2,500 leading social entrepreneurs.

The men and women who share the life of USD as students and contribute to its growth are a multi-talented group who have many options in their life’s choices. They have chosen USD for various reasons: most of them would like to acquire the power to think clearly and independently; to form sound and discriminating judgments; to satisfy a developing intellectual curiosity; and to accept as their own the values of authentic freedom, openness to change and responsibility to serve the society in which they live. They attend a Catholic university and the majority of them are Catholics who share certain commitments and wish to explore vital religious questions in a free, yet informed way; but a high percentage of students of other faiths ensures the presentation of a diversity of views, so characteristic of the pluralistic American society.

A friendly campus atmosphere, opportunity for close rapport between faculty and students, class sizes that facilitate personal attention and instructor accessibility–such are the elements creating the educational environment of USD.

Mission Statement

The University of San Diego is a Roman Catholic institution committed to advancing academic excellence, expanding liberal and professional knowledge, creating a diverse and inclusive community and preparing leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service.

Core Values

The University of San Diego expresses its Catholic identity by witnessing and probing the Christian message as proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church. The university promotes the intellectual exploration of religious faith, recruits persons and develops programs supporting the university’s mission and cultivates an active faith community. It is committed to the dignity and fullest development of the whole person. The Catholic tradition of the university provides the foundation upon which the core values listed below support the mission.

Academic Excellence

The university pursues academic excellence in its teaching, learning and research to serve the local, national and international communities. The university possesses that institutional autonomy and integrity necessary to uphold the highest standards of intellectual inquiry and academic freedom.


The university advances intellectual development; promotes democratic and global citizenship; cultivates an appreciation for beauty, goodness and truth; and provides opportunities for the physical, spiritual, emotional, social and cultural development of students. The university provides professional education grounded in these foundations of liberal learning while preparing students to understand complex issues and express informed opinions with courage and conviction.


The university is committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive and collaborative community accentuated by a spirit of freedom and charity and marked by protection of the rights and dignity of the individual. The university values students, faculty and staff from different backgrounds and faith traditions and is committed to creating an atmosphere of trust, safety and respect in a community characterized by a rich diversity of people and ideas.

Ethical Conduct

The university provides a values-based education that informs the development of ethical judgment and behavior. The university seeks to develop ethical and responsible leaders committed to the common good who are empowered to engage a diverse and changing world.

Compassionate Service

The university embraces the Catholic moral and social tradition by its commitment to serve with compassion, to foster peace and to work for justice. The university regards peace as inseparable from justice and advances education, scholarship and service to fashion a more humane world.

The Campus

The campus name, Alcalá Park, refers to Alcalá de Henares, a town near Madrid, Spain, founded by the Greeks. The Moslems renamed the town Al Kala, “the castle,” and it later became the site of San Ildefonso university. Like its namesake, USD is on a prominent hilltop where it attains landmark status in the city. The USD campus, consisting of 182 acres, is at the western end of Kearny Mesa, commanding views of the Pacific Ocean, Mission Bay, San Diego Bay and the surrounding mountains. The campus is in America’s seventh largest urban area, ideally close to the business, research, cultural, residential and recreational centers of California’s birthplace and second largest city.

Appropriate to its classical origins, the academic and administrative buildings are situated on the highest mesa within the campus. Alcalá Park’s buildings include: The Immaculata parish church; the School of Law (Warren Hall); the Katherine M. and George M. Pardee, Jr. Legal Research Center; the Helen K. and James S. Copley Library; the School of Business Administration (Olin Hall); the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science; the Author E. and Marjorie A. Hughes Administration Center; the Ernest and Jean Hahn University Center; the Student Life Pavilion, the Manchester Executive Conference Center; Loma Hall; Founders Hall; Camino Hall, including the Shiley Theatre; The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice; The Donald P. Shiley Center for Science and Technology; Mother Rosalie Hill Hall; the Degheri Alumni Center; several other administrative and classroom buildings; and residential areas.

Located near the east end of campus are the Alcalá Vista Apartments; Mission Housing Complex; University Terrace Apartments; Presidio Terrace Apartments; Manchester Village; the Manchester Family Child Development Center; the Jenny Craig Pavilion; and the University Student Sports Center. Located near the west end of campus are the Avila, Barcelona, Coronado and Durango buildings.
Here in Southern California, students find a truly fascinating variety of leisure-time activities, including visits to the city’s outstanding zoo, the museums, the old Spanish mission, the theater, swimming, boating, surfing, tennis, golf and much more. Proximity to Mexico provides an excellent opportunity for gaining a first-hand insight into Mexican culture.

A Nonprofit Corporation

The University of San Diego is a California nonprofit corporation. Subject to any limitations contained in the general nonprofit corporation law of the State of California, the powers of the USD corporation are exercised, its property controlled and its affairs conducted by a Board of Trustees.

Official Recognition and Accreditation

The University of San Diego is incorporated under the laws of the State of California and is invested with full power to confer degrees. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501; (510) 748-9001) and is approved for veterans.

The USD Department of Chemistry is on the list of colleges and universities approved by the American Chemical Society (1155 Sixteenth St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 872-6066).

The undergraduate and graduate programs of the School of Business Administration are accredited by the AACSB International–The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (777 South Harbour Island Blvd., Suite 750, Tampa, FL 33602-5730; (813) 769-6500). The dual BS/BA degree programs in Electrical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering and Mechanical Engineering are accredited by the ABET-Engineering Accreditation Commission (111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012; (410) 347-7700).

The Marital and Family Therapy program in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) (112 South Alfred St., Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 838-9808).

The Professional Education Unit (PEU) in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) (2010 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 466-7496). This accreditation includes Learning and Teaching, School Counseling, Special Education and School Leadership programs. NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit programs for the preparation of teachers and other professional school personnel.

The School Counseling specialization in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), 1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 510, Alexandria, VA 22314).

The Predoctoral internship in Professional Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The university is authorized by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) (1900 Capitol Ave., Sacramento, CA 95814; (916) 445-7254) to recommend candidates for the Multiple Bi-lingual, Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development (BCLAD) emphasis teaching credential, Multiple Subject and Single Subject teaching credentials, the Education Specialist Teaching Credential (Special Education, Mild to Moderate Disabilities), the Administrative Services Credential and the Pupil Personnel Service Credential.

The Special Education program in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences is nationally recognized by The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) (1110 North Glebe Rd., Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201; (703) 620-3660).

The programs of the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, D.C. 20036-1120; (202) 887-6791) and are approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).

The School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association (750 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60611) and is a member of The Order of the Coif and the Association of American Law Schools.


The University of San Diego holds membership in the following:
AACSB International–The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
ACCED–I Membership (Meeting Excellence on Campus)
Air and Waste Management Association
Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology, Inc.
American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business
American Association for Paralegal Education
American Association of Affirmative Action
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Inc.
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Bar Association
American Camping Association
American College Health Association (ACHA)
American College Personnel Association (ACPA)
American Council of Learned Societies
American Council on Education (ACE)
American Football Coaches Association
American Institute of Architects
American Payroll Association
American Society of Comparative Law
American Society for Engineering Education
American Society of Engineers
American Society Training and Development
American Volleyball Coaches Association
ASIA Network
Association for College & University Auditors (ACUA)
Association for Financial Professionals
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
Association of American Colleges and Universities
Association of American Law Schools
Association of Borderlands Studies
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU)
Association of College Administration Professionals (ACAP)
Association of College and University Housing Officers–International
Association of College Unions International
Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors
Association of Continuity Planners
Association of Corporate Counsel
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
Association of Graduate Schools in Catholic Colleges and Universities
Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers
Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU)
Association of International Education Administrators
Association of NROTC Colleges and Universities
Association of Rocky Mountain College and University Mail Services (ARMCUMS)
Association of Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities
Association of the U.S. Army
Balboa Art Conversion Center
Better Business Bureau
California Association of College Stores
California Association of Colleges of Nursing
California Campus Compact
California College and University Police Chief’s Association (CCUPCA)
California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education (CaCCCHE)
California Restaurant Association
California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL)
Campus Computer Resellers Alliance
Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management (CSHEMA)
Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA)
Center for Academic Integrity
Charter 100
College and University Professional Association (CUPA)
College Board (College Entrance Examination Board and Scholarship Service)
Collegiate Athletic Business Management Association
Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association
Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Connect 2 One
Consejo Latinoamericana de Escuela de Administracion
Consorcio para la Colaboración en la Educación Superior en América del Norte
Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC)
Corporate Directors Forum
Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
Council for Higher Education Accreditation (WASC)
Council for Opportunity in Education
Council on Undergraduate Research
Family Firm Institute (FFI)
Greater San Diego Employers Association
Higher Education Publications
Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC)
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)
Hispanic Summer Program
Independent College Bookstore Association
Independent Colleges of Southern California (ICSC)
Info Ed International
Information Systems Audit and Control Association
Institute of Internal Auditors
Intercollegiate Tennis Association
International Association of Assembly Managers
International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
International Association of University Presidents
International Federation of Catholic Universities
International Leadership Association
International Parking Institute
International Special Events Society San Diego Chapter (ISES San Diego)
Japan Society of San Diego
Leadership Alliance
Meeting Planners International San Diego Chapter (SDMPI)
Mountain Pacific Association of Colleges and Employers
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
National Alliance of Business
National Association for Campus Activities (NACA)
National Association for Law Placement
National Association for President’s Assistants in Higher Education
National Association of Athletic Development Directors
National Association of Basketball Coaches
National Association for Campus Activities (NACA)
National Association of Campus Card Users
National Association of College Admission Counselors
National Association of College and University Attorneys
National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
National Association of College and University Food Service
National Association of College and University Mail Services
National Association of College Stores and Campus Computer Resellers Alliance
National Association of Colleges and Employers
National Association of Collegiate Concessionaires
National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics
National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators
National Association of Convenience Stores
National Association of Educational Procurement
National Association of Foreign Student Affairs (NAFSA)
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)
National Association of Women in Higher Education
National Athletic Training Association
National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Collegiate Honors Council
National Communication Association
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
National Council for Research on Women
National Fastpitch Coaches Association
National Fire Protection Association
National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association
National Letter of Intent Program
National Restaurant Association
National Soccer Coaches Association of America
National Strength and Conditioning Association
North American Association of Summer Sessions
Order of the Coif
Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce
Pacific Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
Phi Beta Kappa Society
Pacific Coast Softball Conference
Phi Delta Kappa
Pioneer Football League
Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education
Risk & Insurance Management Society
Rotary Club of San Diego
San Diego Business Journal
San Diego City Schools University & College Police Chiefs Association
San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau
San Diego County Alcohol Policy Panel
San Diego Economic Development Corporation
San Diego Law Enforcement Training Managers Association (SDTMA)
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
San Diego World Affairs Council
Society for College and University Planning
Society for Collegiate Travel Management
Society of Human Resource Management
South California Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
Southern California Consortium on International Studies
Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA)
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
The Trusteeship
Tuition Exchange
Unique Venues
United States Naval Institute
University Risk Management and Insurance Association
Urban League
Used Book Association
West Coast Conference
Western Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
Western Association of College and University Housing Officers
Western Association of Graduate Schools
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Western College Association and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Western Athletic Conference
Western Economic Association International
Western Institute of Nursing
Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association
Women’s Basketball Coaches Association

Reservation of the Right to Modify