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.
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
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)
- Cinematic Arts Supplemental Materials
- 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.
- 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 Both the Common Application for General Admission and the USC Writing Supplement
Students wishing to apply for admission should submit the Common Application and the USC Writing Supplement, both of which can be accessed at The Common Application website.
Under "Academics" in the "Questions" section of the USC Writing Supplement, you will be asked to select the majors you wish to apply for. Upon selecting the Media Arts + Practice program, a box will appear indicating that you will be submitting a portfolio for consideration to the Media Arts + Practice program-a "Portfolio" link with instructions on where to submit your supplemental materials will appear on the left menu bar.
For additional information please visit 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.
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.
Short Answer Questions: (please answer in a sentence or two) Please upload in PDF format under the "Forms"
- 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.")
- 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.)
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.
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?
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.
- The Creators Project: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com
- Brain Pickings: http://www.brainpickings.org/
- Motionographer: http://motionographer.com/
- Designboom: http://www.designboom.com/
- Design Observer: http://designobserver.com/
- The Next Web: http://thenextweb.com/
- FlowingData: http://flowingdata.com/
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
Official transcripts from all high schools attended must be submitted to USC. Please request official transcripts to be sent directly from your high school to USC's Office of Undergraduate Admissions. 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: Submit Official SAT or ACT Test Scores
USC requires either SAT or ACT scores from all first-year applicants, including international students. For students who take the SAT more than once, USC records the highest scores for each section —even if achieved in different sittings — but will not combine section scores from the old SAT (prior to March 2016) and the redesigned SAT. For students taking the ACT, USC will record the highest composite score. 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)
International students are required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS or PTE exam, unless you fulfill the one of these two conditions:
- Your native language is English. This applies to native English speakers from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada (except Quebec) where English is both the only official language of the country and the language of instruction.
- You receive a 650 on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing exam or 27 on the ACT English exam.
If you are unsure if you need to take the language exam, please check with the USC Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Applicants must meet one of the minimum required scores below:
- Minimum required score: 100 on the iBT test
- Submit scores via ETS. When sending the scores, please indicate the institution code for USC, which is 4852 (no department code is required).
- Minimum required score: 7.0 overall band score
- To submit your IELTS results to USC, please select the "University of Southern California"
- Minimum required score: 68 on the PTE test
- Please request to have official scores sent electronically through the PTE website.
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.
The School of Cinematic Arts offers scholarships to incoming students; to learn more, please visit the SCA Scholarships page. Many financial aid and scholarship processes run concurrently with the admissions process. Therefore, please be sure to research and apply for financial aid and scholarships as you are applying for admission. For more information about applying for financial aid at USC, please contact the USC Financial Aid Office. Prospective students are also encouraged to consider USC Scholarships as the university maintains a number of prestigious scholarship programs.