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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, projection mapping, motion graphics, virtual reality, visual effects, research, 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.

Application Overview

The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the Animation + Digital Arts B.F.A. program.

  • The Common Application
  • USC Writing Supplement
  • SlideRoom Application
    • Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
    • Portfolio
    • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • Official High School and College Transcripts
  • Official SAT or ACT scores
    Due to disruptions in testing schedules caused by COVID-19, prospective first-year students may apply to USC for the 2021-2022 Academic Year without submitting SAT or ACT scores, although students may still choose to submit SAT or ACT scores if they wish.
  • 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.

Application Deadlines

  • 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.

  1. Cinematic Arts Personal Statement (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
  2. 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.

  3. Portfolio List (Upload in Portfolio section)
  4. 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.

  5. Letters of Recommendation
  6. Three letters of recommendation in no 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

Due to disruptions in testing schedules caused by COVID-19, prospective first-year students may apply to USC for the 2021-2022 Academic Year without submitting SAT or ACT scores, although students may still choose to submit SAT or ACT scores if they wish.

For students who submit test scores, USC records the highest scores for those who have taken tests more than once. For the SAT, the highest scores for both the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and the Mathematics section will be recorded, even if achieved in different sittings. For the ACT, USC will just consider the highest composite score. USC does not require the writing section for either the ACT or the SAT general test.

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; OR.
  • A minimum Duolingo English Test score of 120 (Please note that although the Duolingo English Test may be submitted to demonstrate English proficiency, it will not waive the ISE requirement) (Please note that although the Duolingo English Test may be submitted to demonstrate English proficiency, it will not waive the ISE requirement)

USC is unable to accept TOEFL ITP Plus for China at this time.

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.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

All applicants are invited to apply for scholarships funded by the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). Applicants must complete the scholarship application included in the SlideRoom application to be considered for SCA scholarships if admitted. Scholarships are open to both domestic and international students. A scholarship application will never impact admission consideration. USC is need-blind in its admission process-a student’s financial need will never influence an admission decision.

You may learn more about SCA scholarship opportunities on the SCA website.
Please note that in order to be considered for SCA scholarships, domestic students are required to apply for financial aid at USC. Instructions on how to apply may be found here.

Prospective students are also encouraged to consider USC Scholarships as the university maintains a number of prestigious scholarship programs. Learn more about costs and financial aid here.