Graduate Student Identity

Inclusion. Diversity. Spirituality. Community. These words are bandied about so freely today as to nearly lose their meaning. At the University of San Diego, we articulate them with care, holding in each syllable with the regard we feel for the principles they represent.


Vigorous, unrestrained inquiry is a natural expression of USD’s Catholic identity and pursuit of academic excellence. As a cornerstone of our Catholic heritage, USD emphasizes freedom in teaching, research and service, all of which require free inquiry, free expression, intellectual honesty, respect for the academic rights of others and openness to change.

USD has a religiously diverse environment, where members of the community share their differing beliefs, both intellectually and spiritually, to the benefit of all, believing that a person's faith intensifies and deepens when enriched by understanding other religious traditions. This solidarity with others and their faith commitments grounds USD in its Catholic mission of education.

The university is dedicated to the fullest personal, academic and spiritual development of its students so that they, in turn, can serve as ethical and compassionate leaders in their chosen fields, dedicated to making a positive contribution to society, while ever working toward the common good.

Inclusion and Diversity

USD has long worked on being a welcoming place, a haven for people and for ideas. It is in our Catholic identity not just to accept, but to invite others from all cultures, all perspectives, all faiths, onto our campus and to hear them speak. This mixture of opinions and life experiences breathes life into the conversation and takes us into new, unimagined directions.

Projects in the 1990s targeted efforts to support diversity and develop cultural competence at USD. Since then, the community has been inspired to take that awareness to an even higher level, ultimately leading to the development of the Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CID). This center advances awareness by encouraging collaboration through forums, events and initiatives. The CID also fosters innovation by sponsoring inclusion and diversity grants for USD faculty and staff.


At USD, we are working carefully to build that comprehension through concentrated efforts in social justice and sustainability, interdisciplinary collaboration, and global engagement.

Service learning is emphasized in the USD community, and reflects our commitment to social justice and ethical conduct. The Center for Community Service-Learning, founded in 1986, offers students a broad spectrum of service and educational opportunities. USD’s standing as an innovator of university-community engagement has been recognized widely, including such honors as:

  • One of 76 campuses to receive the Carnegie Foundation's "Community Engagement" classification, and one of 62 recognized by Carnegie for curricular engagement as well as outreach and partnership.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for Distinction for Community Service.
  • Chosen as one of four California sites for a $120,000, three-year “Learn and Serve” grant from California Campus Compact.
  • Honored in a Princeton Review/Campus Compact book, Colleges with a Conscience: 81 Great Schools with Outstanding Community Involvement.