The John C. Hench Animation & Digital Arts Admission Committee reviews applications for originality, clarity, personal insight and artistic excellence. Considerable importance is placed on the Cinematic Arts personal statement, portfolio, résumé and letters of recommendation. There are no admission interviews. By limiting the evaluation to the items listed, the committee ensures that all applicants are judged by the same criteria.
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.
This section includes information needed to apply to the Animation & Digital Arts MFA Program. Please read all the following information carefully.
All candidates must have a bachelors' degree from an accredited institution. Applicants whose prior study was outside the United States must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree.
The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the Animation & Digital Arts MFA program.
- USC Graduate Application for Admission
- Cinematic Arts Supplemental Materials
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
- Letters of Recommendation (3)
- Official Transcripts (From all Academic Institutions Attended)
- Official TOEFL 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 online 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.
Graduate Animation & Digital Arts
- Fall Admission: December 1
Note: Spring admission is not available for the Animation & Digital Arts program.
View all Application Deadlines.
Cinematic Arts Supplemental Materials
All of the following materials must be submitted through the University's Graduate Online Application. Materials sent by mail will not be accepted. The online system may have provision for materials required by other programs, but we only require submission of materials specified herein. Clearly title all documents with the appropriate supplemental document title.
- Graduate University Application
The application to the USC Graduate School is through the online application system (USC Graduate Application). On this system, the applicant must upload the following materials required by the Animation & Digital Arts program.
If you experience any technical issues, please contact the Apply Yourself Help Center by email at email@example.com.
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
The Cinematic Arts personal statement should reflect the applicant's individuality and explain why he or she would like to study Animation and Digital Arts at USC. The Animation Admission Committee will review this statement as a measure of the applicant's creativity, intelligence, self-awareness, determination and vision. The statement should be a page and a half, and it should give the committee a sense of the applicant's long-term goals and artistic ambitions.
- Portfolio (please submit a URL)
All portfolio materials must be placed online. Applicants are required to submit a direct link (URL) where the Portfolio can be viewed. The portfolio may consist of life drawing or painting examples, 2D organic and digital art work as well as traditional and/or 2D/3D digital animation, integrated live action or motion graphics work or any other samples that represent the applicant's aesthetic sense and capabilities. Please ensure that the portfolio is no longer than 15 minutes in length (12-15 still pieces). It is required that a student submit his/her portfolio online, by creating a personal website or uploading materials to a third party site, such as VIMEO or Flicker, and providing us with a direct URL. If submitting a joint project, please clarify your role in the production. Any materials that are sent by mail will not be considered.
A record of the applicant's background and experience, listing creative projects in which he or she has participated. Formal recognition - such as awards, publications, jobs and exhibitions - should be noted.
- Letters of Recommendation (One letter must be an academic reference)
Three letters of recommendation are required. Applicants must submit their letters electronically through the "Recommendation" system on the online application. Recommenders who are unwilling to use the online recommendation process may send their letters to USC Graduate Admissions. Applicants are responsible for verifying that the letters have been received.
English Proficiency Criteria (International Students Only)
International students are required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) unless you fulfill the one of these two conditions:
- You hold a bachelor's degree completed in residency in the United States or other English speaking country, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada (except Quebec). The bachelor's degree should come from a regionally accredited university located in the United States or officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program must have been completed in the qualifying country. USC will not waive the English-proficiency requirement based on either a graduate degree from a university in the U.S. or other qualifying country or an undergraduate program taught in English in a non-English speaking country.
- 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.
If you are unsure if you need to take the TOEFL or IELTS, please check with the Graduate Admission office.
The minimum required TOEFL score is: 250 on the CBT (Computer Based Test), or 100 on the IBT (Internet Based Test). The minimum required IELTS score is 7. 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.
If you are sending TOEFL scores, the institution code for USC is 4852 (no department code is required).
If you are sending IELTS scores, please choose "University of Southern California, Graduate Programs" from the list of available institutions of where to send your scores on the day that you sit for your test. Please do not enter the name and contact information for the USC School of Cinematic Arts. USC will only accept electronic IELTS scores. Paper scores are not considered official.
Official transcripts from all Colleges or Universities attended must be submitted for review. Request original copies of official transcripts to be sent directly from your institution to USC Graduate Admissions at:USC Office of Graduate Admissions
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915
It is recommended that you send your official transcripts to USC's Office of Graduate Admissions at least 3 weeks before the application deadline.
Additionally, please upload a copy of your transcripts into the online application system. This will assist us in processing your application. When scanning transcripts into the online system, be aware there is a limit on the size of file you can upload.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Many financial aid and scholarship processes run concurrently with the admissions process. Be sure to research and apply for financial aid and scholarships as you are applying for admission. There are many grants and scholarships that are available through the University of Southern California. Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for specific information or if you have any questions.