The Division of Cinema & Media Studies provides an education in the cultural, historical, industrial and narrative dimensions of both new and traditional media. Cinema & Media Studies students study various media and the processes behind their creation, while they also have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and experience of film, television and interactive media by taking hands-on production courses.
The faculty admissions committee favors applicants with academic records and personal statements that indicate strong writing skills, creativity and a diversified liberal arts and humanities background. The committee is also interested in experiences and activities that show a continuing or recent involvement in film and television studies, the arts or criticism. There are no admission interviews. The committee ensures that all applicants are judged equitably by limiting evaluation to the items listed.
The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the Division of Cinema & Media Studies B.A. program.
- The Common Application
- USC Writing Supplement
- SlideRoom Application
- Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
- Writing Sample
- 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: "Cinema & Media Studies 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)
- Writing Sample (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
- 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 be a carefully prepared explanation of the applicant’s interest in joining the Division of Cinema and Media Studies that focuses on the unique elements the applicant will bring to our community. It should present a clear and accurate picture of the applicant, outline objectives in the area of cinema and media studies, and explain how attending the School of Cinematic Arts is vital to the applicant’s long-term goals.
The Writing Sample should be an analysis of some aspect of film, television, or new media; a discussion or application of critical theory; or a published article. We are especially interested in writing that illustrates your capacity for critical thinking and scholarly analysis.
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.