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.

Application Overview

The following items must be submitted to be considered for admission to the John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television B.F.A. program.

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.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Admission: December 1st (Application will open on August 1st)

View all Application Deadlines.

*Note to Transfer students: The undergraduate Writing 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.

All applicants wishing to be considered for admission must complete the following steps in the application process where applicable:

Step 1: Submit the SCA Supplemental Application for Admission

To begin the application process, you must submit the SCA Supplemental Application online.

Step 2: Submit Supplemental Materials via the SlideRoom Application

In addition to the SCA Supplemental Application for Admission, all applicants are required to submit supplemental materials via the SlideRoom Application. Please be sure to submit the SlideRoom Application titled: "Writing for Screen & Television B.F.A. Program — Current USC Transfer Applicants". All materials must be submitted via the SlideRoom application and any materials sent by mail or email will not be considered.

  1. Autobiographical Character Sketch (must be upload in PDF format)
    Write a creative essay or short story that evokes an understanding of how you became who you are. This should reflect your individuality. It's not a resume. (1-2 pages in length)

  2. Creative Challenges - Both A & B are required: (must be upload in PDF format)
    Two scenes with assigned parameters:
    1. 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)
    2. 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)

  3. 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)

  4. 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)

  5. 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)

  6. Creative Portfolio List (must be upload in PDF format)
    The Creative Portfolio List is 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.

  7. Letters of Recommendation
    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: Submit a Copy of Your STARS Report

Please submit a PDF copy of your STARS report in the SlideRoom application.

You can save any document as a PDF (for free). Once you have your STARS Report ready to save as a PDF, click to print and then choose “Save as PDF” instead of selecting a printer.

View the step-by-step instructions here: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/how-to/print-to-pdf.html. Note: You will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer to do this; it is free download and available here: http://get.adobe.com/reader/.