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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.

Application Overview

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
    • 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: "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.

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

  3. Writing Sample (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
  4. 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.

  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.

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.