The only program of its kind tied to a cinematic arts school, the Interactive Media & Games Division offers unprecedented opportunities for students to explore media convergence in an environment that leverages the natural advantages of its Los Angeles setting. Presenting a broad and deep curriculum, the division explores the methods and technologies that are shaping art and entertainment today, and provides leading edge research and a hotbed of ideas for future professional storytellers.

The Master of Arts degree program in Cinematic Arts (Media Arts, Games and Health) with emphasis on designing and evaluating interactive entertainment-based applications in neuroscience, public health and medicine is designed to be combined with other programs (e.g., social work, neuroscience, physical therapy, public health) of the student's interest.

The faculty admissions committee evaluates applications for originality, clarity, personal insight and artistic excellence. Considerable importance is placed on the Cinematic Arts personal statement, writing samples, portfolio list, creative work sample 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

All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree (or have a bachelor’s degree conferred before the start of the intended first time 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.

The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the Interactive Media M.F.A. program.

  • USC Graduate Application for Admission
  • SlideRoom Application
    • Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
    • Creative Portfolio List
    • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
    • Writing Sample (2-3)
    • Project Question 1
    • Project Question 2
    • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • Official Transcripts (From all academic institutions attended)
  • 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 youSC portal and SlideRoom Application portal for the status of materials.

View additional detailed information regarding graduate admission on the Office of Graduate Admission’s website.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Admission: November 15th (Application will open on August 20th)

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 General USC Graduate Application for Admission

The Graduate Application for Admission can be accessed here. If you experience technical issues, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions here.

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

Step 2: Submit Supplemental Materials via the SlideRoom Application

In addition to the Graduate Application for Admission, all applicants are required to submit supplemental materials via the SlideRoom Application. Please be sure to submit the SlideRoom Application titled: " Graduate Cinematic Arts (Media Arts, Games & Health) M.A. Program.” You may access the SlideRoom Application via the SlideRoom tab in the Program Materials section of the Graduate Application for Admission. All materials must be submitted via the SlideRoom Application and any materials sent by mail or email will not be considered.

  1. Personal Statement (Must be uploaded in PDF format only):
    The Personal Statement should describe your personal background, motivation for pursuing this degree, future goals, artistic or philosophical approach to work, major interests and prior collaboration experience. (1,000 words or less)

  2. Creative Portfolio List (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
    The Creative Portfolio List is a written record of the applicant's creative material. It should include a concise description of each project, the month and year the project was completed, the applicant's creative role and the purpose of the project. Portfolio list should have links and/or course work list that demonstrates competence in:
    • At least one major areas of cinematic arts expression (e.g., writing, interactive design, animation, production)
    • Some research methods experience (qualitative and/or quantitative)
    • Basic media arts literacy (e.g., digital art and design tools, visualization, media curation, website)
    • Basic procedural literacy (e.g., programming, wireframing, pseudocode)
  3. Curriculum Vitae or Resume (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)

  4. Writing Sample (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
    Submit two to three writing samples (e.g., research papers, technical reports, design documents, published work, blog). All samples should be uploaded in one document.

  5. 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)

  6. 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)

  7. 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: Send Official Academic Transcripts

Please review and follow transcript requirement and submission instructions detailed on the Transcript Requirements page on the Office of Graduate Admission’s website.

Official transcripts from all colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions attended must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions, not the School of Cinematic Arts. In addition, scanned copies of all official transcripts must be uploaded to the Graduate Application for Admission.

Electronic transcripts may be sent directly from the sending institution to etrans@usc.edu. Do not send any other materials or correspondence to this email address yourself.
If sending your transcripts via regular mail, use the following address:

University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915
If sending your transcripts via courier service, such as DHL or FedEx, use the following address:

University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission and Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street, Tyler 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

Step 4: Submit Official English Proficiency Test Scores (International Applicants Only)

Please carefully review English Proficiency requirements for international applicants on the English Proficiency page on the Office of Graduate Admission’s website.

The ability to communicate effectively in English — to read, write and speak the language fluently — is vital to your success as a university student. USC graduate applicants are therefore expected to demonstrate their proficiency in English as part of the application process.

Graduate international applicants should 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.

Applicants must receive the minimum required score to be considered. Official scores must be received directly from the testing service and dated no earlier than 2 years (24 months) prior to the start of your intended first term at USC.

International applicants are exempt from submitting English-proficiency scores under the following circumstances:

1) You hold a bachelor’s degree completed in its entirety in the United States or another Anglophone country.

The bachelor’s degree should be earned at a regionally accredited university located in the United States, or at an officially recognized university in another country where English is both the language of instruction and the only officially recognized language of the country. Please note that the entire program needs to have been completed in the qualifying country.

Note: Dual-degree holders who completed part of their degree in the U.S. do not qualify for this waiver
.

2) Your native language is English.

This applies to native English speakers from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (except Quebec), where English is both the only official language of the country and the language of instruction.

USC does not waive the English-proficiency requirement based on any other consideration such as work experience, ESL enrollment, etc. It also cannot be waived for undergraduate programs taught in English in non-Anglophone countries, or for graduate degrees earned in the U.S. or other qualifying countries.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

The School of Cinematic Arts offers scholarships to incoming students. To learn more, please visit the SCA Scholarships page. The SCA Scholarship application is a part of the SlideRoom Application for graduate applicants. 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. 

Learn more about costs and financial aid here.

Proof of Financial Support & Passport Copy (International Applicants Only)

International applicants (those who are, or will be, in the United States on a non-immigrant visa) must submit proof of financial support that prove you have sufficient resources to stay in the United States during the course of your academic program at USC. The U.S. government requires that all international student applicants provide proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses for themselves and their dependents (if applicable) before a formal letter of admission and an I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility can be issued. The financial support must be sufficient to cover the student's estimated expenses for one academic year as determined by USC. All documents should be issued and dated no more than a year from the start of your intended first term at USC.

To learn about the guidelines for submitting documents, including a list of expenses for the upcoming academic year, please visit the Financial Documentation page on the Office of Graduate Admission’s website.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

The School of Cinematic Arts offers scholarships to incoming students; to learn more, please visit the SCA Scholarships page. Many financial aid and scholarship processes run concurrently with the admissions process. Therefore, please be sure to research and apply for financial aid and scholarships as you are applying for admission. For more information about applying for financial aid at USC, please contact the USC Financial Aid Office. Prospective students are also encouraged to consider USC Scholarships as the university maintains a number of prestigious scholarship programs.

Proof of Financial Support (International Applicants Only)

International applicants (those who are, or will be, in the United States on a non-immigrant visa) must submit documented evidence of financial support. The U.S. government requires that all international student applicants provide proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses for themselves and their dependents (if applicable) before a formal letter of admission and an I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility can be issued. The financial support must be sufficient to cover the student's estimated expenses for one academic year (9-12 months) as determined by USC. To learn about the guidelines for submitting documents, including a list of expenses for the upcoming academic year, please visit USC's Graduate Admissions web page for submitting financial documents.