Inspired by one of the most inventive and prolific Disney artists and Imagineers, the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts embraces diversity of genre, topics, culture and animation approaches. The program focuses on creative collaboration and critical thinking and attracts top students from around the world who aspire to be the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers. Here, you will learn the many facets of the art, from hand-drawn and stop-motion animation to digital design and effects. You can take courses in character animation, performance capture, research, visual effects, and more.
The faculty admissions committee reviews applications for originality, clarity, personal insight, artistic excellence and collaborative spirit. Considerable importance is placed on the Cinematic Arts Portfolio, Personal Statement, responses to all application questions 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.
The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the Animation & Digital Arts B.A. program.
- The Common Application
- USC Writing Supplement
- SlideRoom Application
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
- Project Question 1
- Project Question 2
- Letters of Recommendation (3)
- Official High School and College Transcripts
- Official SAT or ACT Test Scores (If Applicable)
- Official English Proficiency Test Scores (International Students Only)
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 their USC Applicant portal and SlideRoom Application portal for the status of materials.
No specific high school curriculum is prescribed or required, though students offered admission typically pursue the most rigorous program available to them in English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language and the arts.
View additional detailed information regarding first-year admission on the Office of Admission’s website.
- Fall Admission: December 1st (Application will open on August 1st)
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 the Common Application for General Admission and the USC Writing Supplement
The Common Application and USC Writing Supplement can be accessed at The Common Application website. Please note that the Common Application and USC Writing Supplement are two separate submissions. Both must be submitted by the deadline in order to be considered for admission.
Please carefully review and follow the application instructions for first-year applicants on USC's Undergraduate Admission website.
Step 2: Submit Supplemental Materials via the SlideRoom Application
In addition to the Common Application and USC Writing Supplement, all applicants are required to submit supplemental materials via the SlideRoom Application. Please be sure to submit the SlideRoom Application titled: "Animation & Digital Arts B.A. Program - First-Year/Freshmen Applicants." All materials must be submitted via the SlideRoom application and any materials sent by mail or email will not be considered.
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
- Portfolio List (Upload in Portfolio section)
- Project Question 1 (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
- Project Question 2 (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
- Letters of Recommendation
The Cinematic Arts Personal Statement should reflect the applicant's individuality and explain why he or she would like to study Animation & Digital Arts at USC. The faculty admissions 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.
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). If submitting a joint project, please clarify your role in the production.
Provide an example of a project that you have contributed to or led. Choose a project that left you feeling proud. Please describe the context of the project (e.g. the people involved the goals, etc.) and also describe your role in the project. Finally, state what about your role in the project gave you a feeling of pride. (No more than one page)
Describe a project that you have worked on that was a failure. Describe the situation in which the project took place, the objectives of the project and others (if any) who were part of the project team. Be clear about your role in the project. Describe how and why the project failed. Finally, summarize what you learned from the project and what you would do differently next time. (No more than one page)
Three letters of recommendation in particular format are required. At least one letter of recommendation must be an academic reference. Any letters submitted via the Common Application will be used towards the requirement and do not need to be resubmitted via SlideRoom. Any additional letters may be submitted via the SlideRoom references system. Applicants are responsible for requesting letters of recommendation as well as confirming that they have been submitted by the deadline.
Step 3: Send Official Academic Transcripts
First-year applicants should submit official transcripts of all high school and college coursework completed to USC's Office of Admission, not the School of Cinematic Arts.
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: Send Official Test Scores
Arrange for the testing agency to send your SAT or ACT scores directly to USC.
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)
Academic success at USC depends on your ability to communicate effectively in English. All international applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency in the following manner:
First-year international applicants should earn:
- Minimum score of 600 on the SAT Critical Reading exam (previous SAT) or 650 on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing exam (redesigned SAT) or 27 on the ACT English exam; OR
- 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.
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.
Please carefully review and follow the application instructions for first-year international applicants on USC's Undergraduate Admission website.
The School of Cinematic Arts offers scholarships to incoming students. To learn more, please visit the SCA Scholarships page. The Office of Student Affairs will notify all students who submit a completed application for admission information about the SCA scholarship application process. Please note that in order to be considered for SCA scholarships, domestic students are required to apply for Financial Aid at USC. Therefore, please make sure to complete your application for financial aid on time.