The Film & Television Production review committee panel evaluates applications for originality, clarity, personal insight and artistic excellence. There are no admission interviews but applicants may be contacted for more information or clarification of submitted materials. The committee ensures that all applicants are judged equitably by limiting evaluation to the items listed. Incomplete applications, or applications not submitted as requested, cannot be considered.
The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the Film & Television Production B.F.A. program.
The Common Application
- USC Writing Supplement
- Cinematic Arts Supplemental Materials
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
- Writing Sample (A or B or C)
- Visual Sample (Video or Photo Option)
- Creative Portfolio List
- Letters of Recommendation (3)
- Optional: Scholarship Application Questions
- 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 Film and Television Production program, a box will appear indicating that you that you will be submitting a portfolio for consideration to the Production 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 Film & Television Production 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: "Film & Television Production B.F.A. Program - First-Year/Freshmen Applicants".
The following supplemental materials are required for admission consideration to the Film & Television Production B.F.A. program. Please submit all written materials in PDF format.
Cinematic Arts Personal Statement (please upload in PDF format via the "Forms" section)
The personal statement will be read by the Film & Television Production Admission Committee as a measure of creativity, self-awareness and vision. We are looking for a sense of you as a unique individual and how your distinctive experiences, characteristics, background, values and/or views of the world have shaped who you are and what you want to say as a creative filmmaker. We want to know about the kind of stories you want to tell. Bear in mind that enthusiasm for watching films, descriptions of your favorite films and the involvement in the filmmaking process is common in most candidates. As a result, we encourage that you focus on your individuality. Note that there is no standard format or correct answer. (1,000 words or less)
Writing Sample (choose one) (please upload in PDF format under the "Forms" section)
- A description of a four-minute film that contains no dialogue. It can be fiction or non-fiction. The story has to be communicated visually. (no more than two pages)
- A dialogue scene between two people. Provide a one-paragraph introduction describing the two characters in screenplay format. (no more than three pages)
- Describe a concept for a feature-length movie, fiction or documentary, which you would like to develop. (No more than two pages)
Visual Sample choose one (Please submit under the "Portfolio Section")
Please submit one of the two visual samples. It is essential that you specify what role(s) you have played in your visual sample.
- Video Option: Create a brief narrative video in which you had a major creative role. The video can be either live-action or animation, fiction or documentary, but it should reflect your aesthetic tastes and intellectual and emotional interests. (No longer than five minutes.) Please submit only ONE video. Multiple submissions WILL NOT be reviewed.
- Photo Option: Prepare a series of eight photographs you have taken which, when viewed in a specific sequence, portray a unique and original character or which tell a simple narrative story. Also, include a one-page narrative about the character being portrayed in the photos. The images may either be black-and-white or in color. Please upload the photos in order of sequence (1-8). Please upload the required one page narrative into the online application.
Creative Portfolio List (please upload in PDF format under the "Forms" section)
The portfolio list is a written record of the applicant's creative materials. It should include a concise description of each project, the month and year the project was completed, the applicant's creative role and the purpose of the project. The material, which does not need to be film- or television-related, should give an idea of the range and depth of the applicant's creative ability. Formal recognition - such as awards, publications, jobs and exhibitions - should be noted. The name of the institution or publication should be included when listing creative materials prepared for a class or publication. An example of the portfolio list is below:
- July 2008, A Day in the Life, digital video, 12 minutes. Position: writer/director. A documentary on a homeless Iraq vet who has lived on the streets since his return from the military. Created for senior-year multimedia term project, San Raphael High School, Miami, Florida.
- March 2008, Doorways, a series of 5 black-and-white photographs. Position: photographer. "Second Prize Winner" in the Des Moines Sunday Journal photo contest.
- February 2007, Cellomorphosis, short story. Position: writer. A variation on the novella by Franz Kafka; published in Writing, vol. IV, 2007, at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Letters of Recommendation (One letter must be 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.
Optional Scholarship Application Questions:
The scholarship application questions within SlideRoom are optional and are not required for admission consideration. However, all students who wish to be considered for scholarships must complete the scholarship application questions. Selections are based on the scholarship application questions, the application for admission to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and financial need. Recipients may renew this award as long as they satisfy the scholarship eligibility criteria each year.
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 scores from the SAT or the ACT (with the optional writing component) from all freshmen applicants, including International Students. For students who take the SAT more than once, USC records the highest scores for each section - Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing -- even if achieved in different sittings. For students taking the ACT, USC will record the highest composite score.
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.