The Bachelor of Fine Arts in the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television is a unique, four-year program for students who seek intensive professional preparation for a career in screen and television writing. This rigorous program emphasizes small, workshop-style classes, an attracts students from all over the world. Students attend a variety of guest speaker presentations, take high level industry internships, are provided with mentors and taught by world-class professors.
The faculty admissions committee places considerable importance on the autobiographical character sketch, story ideas, writing samples, portfolio list and letters of recommendation during the application review process. 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.
*Note: The undergraduate Writing for Screen & Television program is a four-year sequential program of study. Thus, transfer students will be required to study at USC for four years to complete program. General education and elective units may be accepted toward the degree based on USC credit evaluation.
Autobiographical Character Sketch (must be uploaded in PDF format)
Write a creative essay or short story that evokes an understanding of how you became who you are. We are looking for a sense of you as a unique individual and how your distinctive experiences, identities, values, and/or views of the world have shaped who you are. It's not a resume. (1-2 pages in length)
Creative Challenges - Both A & B are required: (must be upload in PDF format)
Two scenes with assigned parameters:
- Write a scene between two very different kinds of people who get stuck in an elevator on New Year's Eve. Please use screenplay format. (2-5 pages in length)
- Write a scene between two people (e.g., a parent and child, roommates, spouses, etc.) who live together. The first character strongly desires to go out; the second desperately wants the first to stay home. Emphasize visual elements as well as dialogue. Please use screenplay format. (2-5 pages in length)
- Most Challenging Moment: (must be upload in PDF format)
Convey in writing the greatest challenge you have faced and how you responded to it. The challenge may be of any kind you care to write about -physical, emotional, moral, creative, personal, professional or some other sort. (1-2 pages in length)
Commitment Prompt: (must be upload in PDF format)
When did you want to be a writer? Why do you want to be a writer? What keeps you writing? (No more than 300 words)
Writing Sample: (must be upload in PDF format)
One sample of your creative writing. This may be an excerpt with a note explaining the context. Writing in script form is not required. Please only include original material-do not submit a television spec episode of an existing television show. (Maximum of 10 pages. If you send more than 10, only the first 10 will be read)
Creative Portfolio List (must be upload in PDF format)
A list of all significant creative projects in which the applicant has participated, noting the role the applicant has played. Formal recognition such as awards, publications, and exhibitions should also be noted. An example of the Creative Portfolio List is below:
- July 2019, 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 2020, Doorways, a series of 5 black-and-white photographs. Position: photographer. "Second Prize Winner" in the Des Moines Sunday Journal photo contest.
- February 2021, Cellomorphosis, short story. Position: writer. A variation on the novella by Franz Kafka; published in Writing, vol. IV, 2021, at Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.