The Film & Television Production program emphasizes exploration of the student filmmaker's creative voice through hands-on filmmaking. Students learn all aspects of cinematic storytelling from writing and producing to directing, post-production and cinematography.
The faculty 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 BA program.
- The Common Application
- SlideRoom Application
- Cinematic Arts Supplemental Materials
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
- Writing Sample (pick one: A or B or C)
- Visual Sample (Video or Photo Option)
- Creative Portfolio List
- Letters of Recommendation (3)
- Official High School & College Transcripts
- 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 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.
- Fall Admission: February 1
*Note to Transfer students: Admission is granted on a space available basis. In order to be considered for admission, you must first obtain 48 transferable semester units (excluding AP & IB, but may include units in progress during the fall or spring semester).
View all Application Deadlines.
USC Application Process
In an effort to streamline the application process, USC now uses the Common Application exclusively. Students wishing to apply for admission to the 2014-2015 academic year should submit the Common Application and the SlideRoom Application, both of which can be accessed at The Common Application website.
Under the "Questions" section in the USC Supplemental Application, please be sure to indicate that you will be submitting an art supplement. Once you indicate that you will be submitting an art supplement, a link to SlideRoom will appear on the left menu bar.
To better prepare for all Cinematic Arts majors, it is recommended that students complete General Education courses, including USC's General Education Categories I, II, III and V, Diversity, Writing and Foreign Language requirements. For additional information, please visit USC's Undergraduate Admission website.
Cinematic Arts Supplemental Materials (Clearly title all documents)
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.
The following supplemental materials are required for admission consideration to the Film & Television Production BA program. Please submit all written materials in PDF format.
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement (please upload in PDF format under the "Forms" section)
- Writing Sample (choose one) (please upload in PDF format under the "Forms" section) Clearly title which writing sample you choose
- An outline for 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 via the "Media" 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.
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)
- 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.
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.
Three letters of recommendation (no particular format) are required. Any letters submitted as part of your University application can be used towards the three letters of recommendation required for the Cinematic Arts application. Please submit any letters of recommendation online via the Common Application. If your recommender is unwilling to submit their letters online, please have them mail your letters to USC's Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Applicants are responsible for verifying that letters of recommendation have been received by USC.
Official transcripts from all High Schools and Colleges attended must be submitted to USC. Request official transcripts to be sent directly from your schools to USC's Office of Undergraduate Admissions at:University of Southern California
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0911
English Proficiency Criteria (International Students Only)
International students are required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) 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 600 on SAT Critical Reading, or 27 on ACT English. Applicants that meet either of these scores are presumed to be proficient in English and are exempt from completing the TOEFL exam.
If you are unsure if you need to take the TOEFL, please check with the USC Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
The minimum required TOEFL score is: 250 on the CBT (Computer Based Test), 100 on the IBT (Internet Based Test), or 600-603 on the PBT (Paper Based Test). 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.
When sending the TOEFL scores, please indicate the institution code for USC, which is 4852 (no department code is required).
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 email@example.com for specific information or if you have any questions.