What does the admission committee look for in an applicant?
The committee is looking for well-rounded, creative students. A strong academic background is essential. However, the committee places great consideration on the requested supplemental materials. These materials give applicants an opportunity to detail their interests, talents and goals. The committee is looking for clarity, continuity and creativity in the writing samples.
What should I include on my Portfolio List?
The Portfolio List is simply a listing of all creative endeavors undertaken by an applicant. The list may include any activities you consider creative, such as sculpting, pottery, acting, and poetry. The objective is to display your creativity, including but not limited to any film, television, or new media experience you may have.
What if I am not admitted to my first choice major, but I am accepted to USC?
If you are denied by your first choice major, the University may admit you as an undeclared major or to your second choice major. You may then attend USC, pursue your general education and elective requirements and reapply to your choice of major. The School of Cinematic Arts offers many non-major courses and some major requirements that are open to all USC students.
When may I transfer to SCA?
We accept applications from incoming freshmen and transfers. However, consideration for transfers in the Film and Television Production program is reserved for applicants with 48 transferable semester units (excluding AP & IB, but may include units in progress during the fall or spring semester).
What courses should I take in preparation of transferring to the school?
Undergraduate applicants are strongly recommended to complete the equivalent to USC's General Education requirements (see the Office of Admission Website). You may take electives in whatever areas interest you. If you take cinema classes they may only be transferred for elective credit.
If I do not have an undergraduate degree in the same field of study, may I apply for a graduate degree in Cinematic Arts?
The school encourages applicants of all backgrounds. It is not a prerequisite to hold a bachelor's degree within the cinematic arts. Please see the appropriate sections regarding the individual USC School of Cinematic Arts programs.
How is the Undergraduate curriculum organized for Cinematic Arts students?
The curriculum varies according to program, but is generally broken down as follows:
BFA Production students use their first three semesters to complete their General Education (GE) and Critical Studies requirements. Beginning the first semester sophomore year, they commence the production sequence: four sets of courses that concentrate intensively on writing, producing, and editing short films. Students transferring to the BA program in Production will begin the Production sequence in their first semester.
Critical Studies students are free to begin work on their division requirements when they begin the freshman year. Students usually begin by taking CTCS 190: Introduction to Cinema, concurrently with their GE requirements. These students also must complete a production course, CTPR 290, which is normally taken in the Spring semester of either Sophomore or Junior year.
Writing students have a rigorous schedule that immediately begins with screenwriting courses while completing the GE requirements. These students must also take CTPR 290 during their junior year.
Interactive Entertainment students begin their coursework with a broad introduction to both cinematic concepts and interactive gaming. Students are required to complete the beginning production CTPR 290 sequence as well as the CTIN 484L: Intermediate Game Development and CTIN 489: Intermediate Game Design Workshop.
Animation & Digital Arts students will immediately begin intensive Animation courses, starting with CTAN 101: Introduction to the Art of Animation, concurrently with their GE Requirements. Animation students must also complete a Senior Project in their chosen concentration. Concentrations include: character, experimental, interactive and 3-D digital animation, as well as visual effects and science visualization.
What kinds of Internships are available to Cinematic Arts students?
USC students have unique opportunities to work and intern with some of the most high profile and interesting film production companies and executives in Hollywood. In the past, students have found internships with DreamWorks, Focus Features, Ron Howard, and Marvel. The Office of Student-Industry Relations also maintains an internship database that students can utilize to search for internships appropriate to their skills and career goals.
What kinds of careers are available?
The School of Cinematic Arts Office of Student/Industry Relations offers career guidance for graduating students and recent alumni. Our graduates often move on to become writers, directors, producers, film historians, archivists, animators, video game designers, executives,and professors both in the fields of cinema and television as well as other visual media. The extensive internship opportunities available through the school also provide students with opportunities to meet prospective employers.
Is it possible to double-major?
For Critical Studies students, a double major is encouraged to broaden the scope of analyses of the film medium. It is imperative that students meet with advisors from both disciplines each semester to ensure that all requirements are completed for both degrees. Writing for Screen and Television and Film and TV Production students may find it difficult to plan out a second major due to the structure of the program. However, many students are able to complete a minor with the aid of their respective academic advisors. Animation and Interactive Entertainment students are able to double major, but are encouraged to seek academic planning advice from their respective counselors as soon as possible after deciding to pursue a double major. It is also possible to combine Interactive Entertainment and/or Animation with one of the other majors.
Are there any study abroad options for Cinematic Arts students?
Although there are no study abroad programs directly affiliated with the School of Cinematic Arts, many of our students do participate in the various programs offered by the USC Office of Overseas Studies. Cinematic Arts students are required to receive approval from their advisors before enrolling in a study abroad program. Up to two cinema courses may be transferred (with departmental approval) to the major from a study abroad program. Substitution options and restrictions will vary by major, as such students are required to meet with their Cinema advisor prior to applying for Study Abroad.
Does the School of Cinematic Arts offer any scholarships?
There are a limited number of Cinematic Arts scholarships available to incoming students. We offer numerous scholarships (both need- and merit-based) to Cinematic Arts majors who have completed at least one semester in their degree program. A separate application is required and is generally available online at the end of January. Some of the available scholarships include: the Frank Sinatra Scholarship, the Jack Nicholson Scholarships in Directing & Writing and the Gene Autry Fund for Student Support.
Can Cinematic Arts students partake in the Thematic Option?
Yes; many of our students participate in the Thematic Option (TO) program, which essentially replaces the typical General Education curriculum with honors courses. Students in TO must meet with advisors from both programs every semester in order to determine their schedules.
Is it possible to take film courses without being a student in the School of Cinematic Arts?
The school encourages non-majors to enroll in the wide variety of courses available to them. The Cinematic Arts Course Offerings for the Non-Major brochure is published online each semester.