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.

Application Overview

The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the Media Arts + Practice B.A. program.

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 youSC portal and SlideRoom Application portal for the status of materials.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Admission: February 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 SCA Supplemental Application for Admission

To begin the application process, you must submit the online SCA Supplemental Application.

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 — Current USC Transfer 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
    Tell us who you are, what you're passionate about, and why you think the Media Arts + Practice program will help you reach your goals. (300 words maximum)
  2. 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)
  3. 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.)

  4. Aspirational Portfolio (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)

    Browse the websites below, or any other websites of your choice, and curate a collection of three media projects that inspire your creative work. This collection should represent what you hope your own portfolio will look like in 5-10 years. For each selection, include the direct link and a short paragraph (100-200 words) highlighting what you admire about it.

    • The Creators Project: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com
    • Brain Pickings: http://www.brainpickings.org/
    • Motionographer: http://motionographer.com/
    • Designboom: http://www.designboom.com/
    • Design Observer: http://designobserver.com/
    • The Next Web: http://thenextweb.com/
    • FlowingData: http://flowingdata.com/
  5. 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)

  6. 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)

  7. 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)

  8. Letters of Recommendation
    Three letters of recommendation in particular format are required. At least one letter of recommendation must be an academic reference. All letters of recommendation must 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: Submit a Copy of Your STARS Report

Please submit a PDF copy of your STARS report in the SlideRoom application.

You can save any document as a PDF (for free). Once you have your STARS Report ready to save as a PDF, click to print and then choose “Save as PDF” instead of selecting a printer.

View the step-by-step instructions here: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/how-to/print-to-pdf.html. Note: You will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer to do this; it is free download and available here: http://get.adobe.com/reader/.