Media Arts + Practice (MA+P) is an interdisciplinary storytelling program combining the study of contemporary digital media with hands-on production and research. Students learn to create experiences across several different platforms: still images, text, audio, video, interactivity, web-based interfaces, social media, mobile environments and physical computing. The curriculum focuses heavily on the exploration of emerging genres such as virtual reality, stereoscopy, transmedia storytelling and interactive performance. Core critical themes include data visualization, social change, remix, public interactivity, design fiction and worldbuilding. View the Media Arts + Practice website here.
The faculty admissions committee seeks students who share an excitement about the creative potential of emerging technologies, especially with regard to storytelling and narrative design. Applicants do not need extensive digital media experience — instead, their academic records and application materials should demonstrate strong critical thinking and writing skills; a creative and socially aware mindset; and a desire to experiment with new tools and platforms. 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 Media Arts + Practice B.A. program.
- The Common Application
- USC Writing Supplement
- SlideRoom Application
- Global Issues Statement
- Image Essay
- Aspirational Portfolio
- Audio Portrait
- Project Question 1
- Project Question 2
- Letters of Recommendation (3)
- Official High School and College Transcripts
- Official SAT or ACT Test Scores
- 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: "Media Arts + Practice 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.
- Global Issues Statement
How would a Media Arts + Practice major help you solve a global issue facing society in the 21st century? (200 words maximum)
- Image Essay
Create an image that effectively communicates your thoughts or feelings about an issue relevant to you or your community. It can be analog, digital or a combination — incorporating drawing, painting, photograph, collage, etc. — and can include both text and graphic components. You may use any software application to help create the image. (5MB maximum)
As part of this visual essay, include a written reflection (200 words maximum upload in PDF format only) on the image that you created, analyzing your creative process. How do your design choices communicate your intended message? (Please note: any design components that were borrowed from someone else should also be cited in your written reflection.)
- Aspirational Portfolio (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
Please curate a collection of three media projects (not made by you) that inspire your creative work. You may find these projects by perusing online media archives, digital magazines or journals, news sites, arts and culture publications, streaming platforms, museum catalogues, etc. This collection should represent what you hope your own portfolio will look like in 5-10 years.
For each selection, include the direct link to where you found the project, and a short paragraph (100-200 words) that critically engages with the work and why you consider the piece to be aspirational. Then write a 100-200 word summary paragraph thinking through the connections between the three works that you selected.
- Audio Portrait
Create a one-minute, audio-only recording (.mov, .m4v or .mp3 file) to introduce yourself to the admissions committee. What are your goals as a MA+P student? What particular areas interest you? Your recording may be a spoken narrative (whether you use your own voice or not), and you may include music and/or other sound effects as needed. As with the image essay, any borrowed assets should be cited in the “additional details” box. (30MB maximum)
- Project Question 1 (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
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)
- Project Question 2 (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
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)
- Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation in particular format are required. At least one letter of recommendation must be an academic reference. Please note: we will not accept letters of recommendation from USC Media Arts + Practice staff or faculty members. 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.