University-Wide Centers

Academic Centers and Institutes

The university’s academic centers and institutes bring faculty and students together to pursue research, service and outreach on scholarly and social topics that provide direct benefits and services to the San Diego, national and international communities.

School of Business

For centers and institutes within the School of Business, see here.

School of Leadership and Education Sciences

For centers and institutes within the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, see here.

Institute of College Initiatives

The Institute of College Initiatives (ICI) oversees the USD TRiO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education: Upward Bound, McNair Scholars and Student Support Services. ICI also collaborate with local educational institutions that include Expanding Your Horizons (science, math and technology conference for 6th through 10th grade girls), Botball and Global Leadership Connection (for high school juniors) among other programs and liaisons. The USD TRiO Upward Bound program supports low-income, first-generation college students from Kearny High School in Linda Vista in their preparation for college entrance education through academic advising, tutoring, SAT preparation, college admissions and financial aid guidance and a five-week summer residential academic program on USD’s campus. The USD McNair Scholars program prepares high-achieving undergraduate students for doctoral study through research and scholarly activities with faculty mentors in their discipline. Student Support Services (SSS) serves over 300 USD students from low-income and/or first generation backgrounds and/or who have documented disabilities through advising, financial aid and personal counseling, instructional support, peer networking, mentoring and post-BA planning.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Ahlers Center for International Business

Go to for full details.

Global Center

Go to for full details.

Institute on International and Comparative Law

The School of Law offers international law courses in Barcelona, Florence, London and Paris. Each course is conducted in English by a full-time law professor with guest lectures by local officials, faculty and lawyers.

The programs provide intensive training in international law while introducing American students to the legal institutions of another country. Students from around the world attend and benefit from exposure to different cultural milieus, guest faculty viewpoints, foreign legal institutions and international history through tours and simulated legal proceedings. Graduate students in international relations or international business may be accepted into this program. Contact the program coordinator at (619) 260-7460, fax (619) 260-2230, or go to

International Center

The University of San Diego is committed to actively promoting awareness, appreciation and respect for the complexity of cultural, political, environmental and social issues worldwide while creating a campus environment that builds theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in today’s global society. To that end, the USD International Center houses both the Office of International Studies Abroad and the Office of International Students and Scholars, which collaborate with various units across campus to help internationalize the USD campus.

Office of International Studies Abroad

USD students in good standing may apply for a variety of international study abroad programs affiliated with the university. Each of the individual schools and colleges offer graduate level study abroad opportunities. For more information about these opportunities, please see above. To contact the Office of International Studies Abroad, please call (619) 260-4598 or go to www.sandiego/edu/international.

Office of International Students and Scholars

The Office of International Students and Scholars is responsible for all immigration matters that affect international students and exchange visitors attending USD on non-immigrant visas. It serves as the liaison between USD, the Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of State. It also monitors USD and its international students’ and exchange visitors’ compliance with federal and state immigration laws and regulations and the academic progress of all international students on F-1 and J-1 visas.

The Office of International Students and Scholars is in close contact with foreign governments, embassies and international organizations. The office provides immigration advising for international students, exchange visitors and all departments at USD that engage in research and academic exchanges with institutions outside the United States.

The Office of International Students and Scholars is also responsible for the welfare of all its international students and scholars. The office acts as a resource and support to international students and scholars in the transition to a new culture and environment. Assistance and advising is provided regarding the procedures, expectations and requirements of the U.S. academic system and the opportunity for the entire campus community to interact in order to promote and encourage globalization. The Office of International Students and Scholars provides a myriad of educational, informational and social programs that include but are not limited to:

  • International Student/Scholar Orientation
  • Health care issues in the U.S. and health insurance enrollment
  • Career planning and employment issues in the U.S. as a non-immigrant
  • Opportunities for Community Service
  • International Coffee Hours
  • International Dinners
  • International Movies
  • Holidays Celebrations

The Office of International Students and Scholars is housed in the International Center located in Serra Hall, Room 315;(619) 260-4598; go to

International Student Applicants

See here.

International Study Resources

  • Ahlers Center for International Business
  • Hahn School of Nursing International Programs
  • Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
  • School of Leadership and Education Sciences Global Center

English Language Academy

The USD Division of Continuing Education, English Language Academy (ELA) offers an intensive English language proficiency and cross-cultural program.

The ELA courses for undergraduate or graduate students include language skills for academic and professional purposes. The program currently offers five levels of academic and TOEFL preparation courses. It is a year-round program with small class sizes and a cultural component. Students will be tested and placed in courses appropriate to their skill level, needs and goals. For more information, contact the English Language Academy at (619) 260-8887.

The Humanities Center

The Humanities Center is dedicated to the exploration of the human condition and the limitless ways in which human beings understand and interact with our world. Opened in 2016 and occupying a central place on campus, the center's activities are divided into five, often overlapping elements: Collaborative Research, Digital Humanities, Interdisciplinary Curriculum, Public Humanities, and the Humanities Center Gallery. All are welcome at the Center's many events. Visit us in Serra Hall 200, and keep up to date with our events by visiting our website:

United Front Multicultural Center

The United Front Multicultural Center plays an important role in the university’s plan for developing a community that is culturally diverse and responsive to changing local, regional and national demographics. For over ten years, the United Front Multicultural Center has raised awareness of issues of diversity and inclusion, successfully advocating for policy change and securing the university’s commitment to an ethnic studies program. There are currently ten multicultural student organizations housed in the center. Each of these groups present programs that celebrate their culture and serve to educate the campus. The offices for the director and assistant director of the multicultural center are located in this area.

For more information about the United Front Multicultural Center go to the Student Life Pavilion, Room 418, call 619-260-2395 or go to

The university’s three university-wide centers are described below. In addition, the university has academic centers and institutes that are offered within the College and schools that bring faculty and students together to pursue research, service, and outreach on scholarly and social topics. The academic centers and institutes can be viewed at Centers and Institutes.

Center for Ethics, Economics and Public Policy

The mission of the Center for Ethics, Economics and Public Policy is to shed light on social and political issues by bringing together rigorous teaching and scholarship from the disciplines of economics, moral philosophy, and political science. In support of this mission, the center sponsors a biannual debate series featuring nationally-renowned scholars engaging in conversation on matters of public importance. The aim of these debates is not only to help produce a better-informed community, but to model civil and respectful dialogue in an age of increasing political polarization. In addition to its debate series, the center also sponsors various lectures, panel discussions, reading groups, and conferences open to students, faculty, and the broader San Diego community. For more information, please visit the center’s webpage. For videos of past events, please view our YouTube page.

Center for Inclusion and Diversity

The Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CID) at the University of San Diego serves the campus by coordinating, advocating, and assessing diversity and inclusion efforts across the institution. As a community of inquiry, the CID cultivates questions of difference and mutuality across curricular and co-curricular contexts. The University of San Diego holds deep commitment to developing and sustaining a diverse campus community in the broadest sense, including differences in gender, race, ethnicity, generational history, culture, socioeconomic class, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship status, political perspectives, geographic origin, and physical ability. The center is located in the University Center, Room 225 or go to Center for Inclusion and Diversity.

Center for Christian Spirituality

The USD Center for Christian Spirituality (CCS) fosters the exploration and the development of Christian spirituality in dialogue with other spiritual traditions in four areas: personal enrichment, professional life, academic life and social justice. Center activities include:

  • workshops and seminars in spirituality and professional life;
  • courses in spirituality and spiritual direction preparation; and,
  • collaborative initiatives in social justice both within and outside the USD community.

Open to all. Student participation is welcome. For information, contact the Center for Christian Spirituality, Maher Hall, Room 253, or (619) 260-4784.

Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture

In essence, the CCTC’s mission is concerned with helping USD and its neighbors to explore, understand and celebrate everything it means to participate in a university community that calls itself Catholic in the twenty-first century. 

The Role of the Center

In its mission to enable and foster the engagement between USD’s Catholic identity and its academic mission, the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture seeks to:  

  • Develop thought-provoking programs that will engage the university and local community in critical dialogue with the Catholic intellectual and cultural traditions
  • Promote Catholic Social Teaching and its integration into the academic and institutional life of the university community
  • Organize conferences, liturgical and cultural events and exhibits that showcase the Catholic Church’s rich heritage and its contributions to the arts, letters and sciences and to all which ennobles humans to pursue what is right and just
  • Provide faculty with opportunities and support for development and to create quality courses that expose students to the Catholic intellectual and cultural traditions
  • Showcase and Facilitate the many exciting and important areas of USD life that embody the foundational ethos, vision and ongoing mission of the University through collaborative and bridge-building ventures across campus and beyond

  • Contribute to key discussions pertaining to the Christian cultural, ecclesial, intellectual and social life at local, national and international level through research initiatives, projects and the ongoing core activities of the Center

From its inception, the Church has been a community of faith and service. Historically, Catholicism has also always been a community of inquiry, learning and reasoned discourse. The catholicity of the University of San Diego is aptly captured in the gospel-inspired principle ‘all are welcome’. Though the focus of CCTC’s programs and cultural events is Catholic, people of all faith traditions and people of none, are most welcome to attend CCTC sponsored events and benefit from the exchange of ideas.