Graduate Application Instructions

A graduate applicant must hold a bachelor's degree (or have a bachelor's degree conferred before the start of the intended first term at USC) from a regionally accredited institution in order to be considered for admission. Applicants who studied overseas should review USC's country-specific requirements for more information about degree equivalency.

Please carefully review and follow the application instructions for graduate admission on the Office of Graduate Admission's website.

Fall Semester:

  • Application Deadlines:
    • November 15th: Animation + Digital Arts MFA, Cinematic Arts (Media Arts, Games & Health) MA, Film & Television Production MFA, Expanded Animation MFA, Interactive Media MFA, Game Design and Development MS, Peter Stark Producing MFA, Writing for Screen & Television MFA
    • December 1st: Cinema & Media Studies MA and PhD and Media Arts + Practice PhD
  • Admission Notification Date: By mid-March

Spring semester (Film & Television Production only):

  • Application Deadline: August 15th
  • Admission Notification Date: By mid-October

In order to be considered for admission, all required applications and materials must be submitted by the deadline. Late applications will not be considered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all materials are submitted.

The School of Cinematic Arts cannot verify receipt of any application materials. Applicants may check the youSC portal and SlideRoom Application portal for the status of materials.

    Graduate applicants must submit the following materials:
  1. USC Graduate Application for Admission

  2. Official Academic Transcripts

    Please review USC’s guidelines on transcript submission here.

  3. Official English Proficiency Test Scores (International Applicants Only)

    Please carefully review English Proficiency requirements for international application here. Graduate applicants to the School of Cinematic Arts must earn:

    • 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

    English-proficiency scores must be dated within 2 years (24 months) of the date you submit your graduate application. For example, a prospective student applying to Fall 2024 who submits their USC application in December 2023 must have taken the test no earlier than December 2021.

    International students are exempt from submitting English proficiency scores only if one of the criteria in the English-Language Test Waiver on the English Proficiency website is met. No other waiver criteria will be considered.

  4. Financial Documentation (International Applicants Only)

    All international applicants are required to submit financial documentation in order to be admitted to USC. Please review financial documentation guidelines and instructions here.

  5. Letters of Recommendation

    Applicants are responsible for requesting letters of recommendation as well as confirming that they have been submitted by the deadline. Letters must only be requested and submitted via the SlideRoom Application references system only. The letters of recommendation requirement varies by program:

    • Animation + Digital Arts MFA, Cinematic Arts (Media Arts, Games & Health) MA, Film & Television Production MFA, Expanded Animation MFA, Interactive Media MFA, Game Design and Development MS, Writing for Screen & Television MFA
      • Two letters of recommendation required (at least one academic reference)
    • Cinema & Media Studies MA & PhD, Media Arts + Practice PhD
      • Three letters of recommendation required (at least one academic reference)
    • Peter Stark Producing
      • Three letters of recommendation required. Rather than letters, recommenders are to complete each section of the “SlideRoom Recommendation Form” including the information about the recommender and the confidential questions about the applicant. The recommender should not upload a letter. Uploaded letters will not be read.

        Recommendations should come from diverse sources. Two from the same job or internship count as only one. You should ask no more than one academic recommender. These are least helpful to us, and therefore to you. Recommenders should know you well and be familiar with your work, commitment, and achievements. Do not ask for recommendations from relatives.

  6. SlideRoom Application

    All applicants are required to submit supplemental materials via the SlideRoom Application. Please be sure to submit the correct SlideRoom Application for the program you intend to apply for and your incoming status. You may find specific SlideRoom Application requirements for your program below.

    You must access the SlideRoom Application via the "Go to SlideRoom" link in the SlideRoom tab in the Program Materials quadrant of the Graduate Application for Admission. The SlideRoom Application should only be accessed via this button in order for your applications to be linked and successfully submitted.

    You may apply to up to three graduate programs. If you apply to more than one SCA program, you must submit a SlideRoom Application and Graduate Application for each program.

    Select the program(s) you intend to apply for to view SlideRoom Application instructions.