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The primary goals of the Film & Television Production program are to develop the student’s ability to express original ideas and to instill a thorough understanding of the technical and aesthetic aspects of motion pictures and television. Students learn all aspects of the art of storytelling and develop the ability to take audiences on emotional journeys using a wide array of cinematic skills. Students learn to access this unique power by working in many forms - from traditional large-screen films to those designed for the smallest cell phone screens, to episodic content across multiple formats. Courses in production provide individual and group filmmaking experiences and the opportunity to learn all aspects of filmmaking in a collaborative environment.

The faculty admissions committee evaluates applications for originality, clarity, personal insight and artistic excellence. There are no admission interviews but applicants may be contacted for more information or clarification of submitted materials. 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 Film & Television Production B.F.A. program.

  • The Common Application
  • USC Writing Supplement
  • SlideRoom Application
    • Cinematic Arts Personal Statement
    • Writing Sample (Prompt A or B or C)
    • Creative Portfolio List
    • Collaboration Question
    • Video Introduction
    • Media Sample (Video or Photo Option)
    • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • Official High School and College Transcripts
  • Official SAT or ACT Test Sscores
    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: " Film & Television Production B.F.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 will be read by the admissions committee as a measure of creativity, self-awareness and vision. We are looking for a sense of you as a unique individual and how your distinctive experiences, characteristics, background, values and/or views of the world have shaped who you are and what you want to say as a creative filmmaker. We want to know about the kind of stories you want to tell. Bear in mind that enthusiasm for watching films, descriptions of your favorite films and the involvement in the filmmaking process is common in most candidates. As a result, we encourage that you focus on your individuality. Note that there is no standard format or correct answer. (1,000 words or less)

  3. Writing Sample - Choose One (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
      1. A description of a four-minute film that contains no dialogue. It can be fiction or non-fiction. The story has to be communicated visually. (No more than two pages)
      2. A dialogue scene between two people. Provide a one-paragraph introduction describing the two characters in screenplay format. (No more than three pages)
      3. Describe a concept for a feature-length movie, fiction or documentary, which you would like to develop. (No more than two pages)


    • Creative Portfolio List (Must be uploaded in PDF format only)
    • The portfolio list is a written record of the applicant's creative materials. 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. The material, which does not need to be film- or television-related, should give an idea of the range and depth of the applicant's creative ability. Formal recognition - such as awards, publications, jobs and exhibitions - should be noted. The name of the institution or publication should be included when listing creative materials prepared for a class or publication. An example of the portfolio list is below:

      • July 2008, A Day in the Life, digital video, 12 minutes. Position: writer/director. A documentary on a homeless Iraq vet who has lived on the streets since his return from the military. Created for senior-year multimedia term project, San Raphael High School, Miami, Florida.
      • March 2008, Doorways, a series of 5 black-and-white photographs. Position: photographer. "Second Prize Winner" in the Des Moines Sunday Journal photo contest.
      • February 2007, Cellomorphosis, short story. Position: writer. A variation on the novella by Franz Kafka; published in Writing, vol. IV, 2007, at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.

    • Collaboration Question
    • Describe a project that you worked on with multiple collaborators that left you feeling proud and fulfilled. Discuss your role in the project and explain why this collaboration was successful. Then, describe another collaborative project that left you unsatisfied. Discuss your role in the project and explain why this collaboration frustrated you. Finally, summarize what you learned from each of these experiences and describe the lessons you learned that inspire your future collaborations. (No more than two pages)

    • Video Introduction
    • Submit a 30-60 second video of yourself speaking directly to the camera, in a single take with no edits, introducing yourself and explaining what will make attending SCA a successful experience for you and others.

    • Media Sample (choose one) (Upload in Portfolio Section)
      • Video Option: Create a narrative video that is no longer than five minutes in which you had a major creative role. The video can be live-action or animation, fiction or documentary, but it should reflect your aesthetic tastes and intellectual and emotional interests. You must specify what role(s) you played. Submit only one video. Multiple submissions will cause your application to be rejected.
      • Photo Option: Prepare a series of eight photographs you have taken which, when viewed in a specific sequence, portray a unique and original character or which tell a simple narrative story. Also include a one-page narrative about the character being portrayed in the photos. The images may either be black-and-white or in color. Please upload the photos in order of sequence. The one-page narrative must be uploaded in PDF format only.

    • Letters of Recommendation
    • 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 Duolingo English Test score of 120 (Please note that although the Duolingo English Test may be submitted to demonstrate English proficiency, it will not waive the ISE requirement)

    USC is unable to accept TOEFL ITP Plus for China at this time.

    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.