Thank you for your interest in the Media Arts + Practice program within the School of Cinematic Arts! MA+P is an interdisciplinary storytelling program combining the study of contemporary digital media with hands-on production. Students learn to create experiences across several different platforms: still images, text, audio, video, interactivity, web-based interfaces, social media, mobile environments and physical computing. The curriculum focuses heavily on the exploration of emerging genres such as virtual reality, stereoscopy, transmedia storytelling and interactive performance. Core critical themes include data visualization, social change, remix, public interactivity, design fiction and worldbuilding.

Admission to the Media Arts + Practice program does not require extensive digital media experience. Instead, our faculty members are looking for creative, inventive students who have a desire to experiment with new tools and platforms. Potential MA+P students are those who share an excitement about the creative potential of emerging technologies, especially with regard to storytelling and narrative design.

Please use your written statements, image assignment and curated project list as an occasion to demonstrate a) your creativity and b) your ability to think critically and innovatively. Incomplete applications, or applications not submitted as requested, cannot be considered. View the Media Arts + Practice website here.

Application Overview

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The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the Media Arts + Practice B.A. program:

  • The Common Application
    • USC Writing Supplement
  • SlideRoom Application
    • Cinematic Arts Supplemental Materials
      • Audio or Video Statement
      • Short Answer Questions
      • Still Image Assignment
      • Process Description for Still Image
      • Curated Project List
      • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • Official High School Transcripts
  • Official SAT or ACT Test Scores
  • Official English Proficiency Test Scores (International Students Only)

All matters relating to admission are the applicant's responsibility. When submitting an application, make sure you have completed all screens of the online process. The application system allows you to check your application to verify your application materials have been uploaded and submitted. Incomplete applications, or applications not submitted, will not be considered.

Each year, we strive to develop a well-balanced cohort of students for each of our programs. As such, we do not grant admission deferrals and we recommend that applicants apply for a future term when certain they can accept admission.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Admission: December 1

View all Application Deadlines.

All applicants wishing to be considered for admission must complete the following steps in the application process (where applicable):

Step 1: Submit the Common Application for General Admission and the USC Writing Supplement

The Common Application and USC Writing Supplement can be accessed at The Common Application website. Please note that the Common Application and USC Writing Supplement are two separate submissions. Both must be submitted by the deadline in order to be considered for admission.

Please carefully review and follow the application instructions for first-year applicants on USC's Undergraduate Admission website.

Step 2: Submit Supplemental Materials via the SlideRoom Application

As part of the application process, all students looking to be considered for admission to the Media Arts + Practice program are required to submit supplemental materials to support their application. These supplemental materials must be submitted via the SlideRoom Application. Please submit the SlideRoom Application titled: "Media Arts + Practice B.A. Program - First-Year/Freshmen Applicants".

The following supplemental materials are required for admission consideration to the Media Arts + Practice B.A. program.

  1. Audio or Video Statement: Please upload under the "Media" section
    Please create a one-minute video or audio recording that speaks to your goals as a student in the MA+P program. What particular areas interest you? Please upload a .mov, .m4v or .mp3 file.

  2. Short Answer Questions: (please answer in a sentence or two) Please upload in PDF format under the "Forms" section
    1. While the Media Arts + Practice program does not require previous experience in digital media authoring, many students enter the program with some basic authoring skills. If you have any relevant software, hardware, or programming knowledge, please describe below. (If you do not have any experience, please write "No prior experience.")
    2. What courses have you taken, either during high school or college, that have inspired you to pursue media arts as a profession? (These courses do not need to be media- or art-specific; if you were inspired by a literature, sociology, or engineering course, feel free to include this in your answer.)
  3. Still Image Assignment: Please upload in JPG format under the "Media" section
    Representation refers to the use of language and images to create meaning about the world around us. With this definition in mind, create an image that effectively communicates your thoughts or feelings about an issue relevant to you or your community. The image can include photographs, graphic components and text. You may use Pixlr or any other software application to help create the image. Please upload as a JPG file. Maximum size: 5 MB.

  4. Process Description for Still Image: Please upload in PDF format under the "Forms" section
    Referring to the image you created for the Still Image Assignment, write a 200-word reflection on the still image that you created, addressing both your creative process and your design choices. What did you create? How did you create it? And why did you make the choices you made?

  5. Curated Project List: Please upload in PDF format under the "Forms" section
    Using the sites below, curate a collection of three media projects that inspire you in some way related to images, interactivity, play, design, architecture, media art and/or culture. For each selection, include the direct link and a short paragraph highlighting what you admire about it. Think of this as a collection that tells us a little about who you are relative to Media Arts + Practice.
    1. The Creators Project:
    2. Brain Pickings:
    3. Motionographer:
    4. Designboom:
    5. Design Observer:
    6. The Next Web:
    7. FlowingData:
  6. Letters of Recommendation (One letter from an academic reference)
    Three letters of recommendation (no particular format) are required. Letters can be submitted via the SlideRoom references system. Any letters submitted via the Common Application may be used towards the three letters of recommendation required and do not need to be resubmitted via SlideRoom. Applicants are responsible for requesting letters of recommendation as well as confirming that they have been received.

Step 3: Send Official Academic Transcripts

First-year applicants should submit official transcripts of all high school and college coursework completed to USC's Office of Admission, not the School of Cinematic Arts.

Transcripts can be sent electronically via the Common Application or sent by mail to:

University of Southern California
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0911

Step 4: Send Official Test Scores

Arrange for the testing agency to send your SAT or ACT scores directly to USC.

The essay portion of the ACT is optional. The essay portion of the SAT will be optional for students taking the redesigned test in March 2016 or after.

Step 5: Submit Official English Proficiency Test Scores (International Applicants Only)

Academic success at USC depends on your ability to communicate effectively in English. All international applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency in the following manner:

First-year international applicants should earn:

  • Minimum score of 600 on the SAT Critical Reading exam (previous SAT) or 650 on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing exam (redesigned SAT) or 27 on the ACT English exam; OR
  • A minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL iBT (with a minimum score of 20 in each section); OR
  • A minimum IELTS score of 7; OR
  • A minimum PTE score of 68.

Applicants must receive the minimum required score to be considered. Official scores must be received directly from the testing service and date no earlier than 2 years (24 months) prior to the start of your intended first term at USC.

Please carefully review and follow the application instructions for first-year international applicants on USC's Undergraduate Admission website.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

The School of Cinematic Arts offers scholarships to incoming students. To learn more, please visit the SCA Scholarships page. The Office of Student Affairs will notify all students who submit a completed application for admission information about the SCA scholarship application process. Please note that in order to be considered for SCA scholarships, domestic students are required to apply for Financial Aid at USC. Therefore, please make sure to complete your application for financial aid on time. 

Prospective students are also encouraged to consider USC Scholarships as the university maintains a number of prestigious scholarship programs. Learn more about costs and financial aid here.