M.A. Specialized Journalism (The Arts) Summer 2017

Degree Program Overview

The M.A. in Arts Journalism is intended for:

  1. Arts journalists, reporters and critics who work in any medium;
  2. Recent college graduates holding a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a demonstrated knowledge of at least one art form or holding a bachelor’s degree in an art form;
  3. Experienced arts practitioners (musicians, directors, actors, dancers, painters, playwrights, screen writers etc.).

Ideal students wish to magnify their arts interests and knowledge in an interdisciplinary, collaborative 24/7 newsroom at USC Annenberg, while following an individually-designed curriculum outside of Annenberg. Electives are required from five of USC’s art schools. Full-time students complete the degree program in 9 ½ months (late July to May).

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline was January 31, 2017 for admission and scholarship consideration. Applications for admission consideration only will be accepted until June 1, 2017.

What content should be in my résumé?

List all employment (paid and unpaid) including nature of work and dates of employment. Also, include academic and professional awards, honors, teaching experience, subject matter expertise, language(s) proficiency other than English, and your familiarity with research or communications technologies, e.g. web design, television or radio production, video editing, podcasting, etc. 

What should I address in my personal statement?

Consider the following prompts:

  • How do you foresee the future of arts journalism?
  • Imagine the role you will play in the arts ecosystem as a key player in our digitally-connected age. What is most important to you and why? How will you make a difference? What do you need to learn?
  • Provide an anecdote about having your mind changed, your assumptions challenged and how this connects to your decision to apply to this graduate program.

Your statement should be no more than 1,750 words (single or double spaced). Aim to produce at least one original idea. Show wit, gravitas, an understanding of facts and your best writing. 

What pieces comprise the professional portfolio?

For journalists, submit both of the following:

1. A bibliography of up to 10 - and no fewer than three - published, broadcast or online works in journalism.
2. Samples of work in journalism that are the equivalent of five reviews or two longer feature or magazine stories from one or multiple platforms. Provide live links to recent work (two years old or less) within the bibliography. If live links are unavailable, upload the samples as attachments.

If you are an editor or producer, supply up to 10 – and no fewer than three – samples of work with an explanation of your contribution.

For arts practitioners (artists) and recent graduates, submit five recent (within the past two years) examples of your writing, each being no less than 550 words and not more than 1,100. Written work unrelated to the arts is accepted, but there should be no more than two of these. Blogs are considered published work. Academic papers will also be accepted. If you want us to look at your body of work as an artist, submit no fewer than five links to your recent work (from three years ago max). In addition, show us written work samples, as per instructions above.

How many letters of recommendation are needed and from whom?

Two professional recommendations are expected. If you are a recent college or university graduate with no work experience, submit one academic recommendation and one recommendation from an internship supervisor.

What test scores are required?

Valid GRE scores are required for all applicants. In addition, international applicants must submit valid TOEFL or IELTS scores based on where the bachelor’s degree was completed.

What financial support is available?

Departmental merit scholarships and fellowships are competitively awarded. All completed applications are considered for admission and departmental awards.

For information about financing your USC graduate education, domestic and permanent resident applicants may visit USC Financial Aid at http://financialaid.usc.edu/graduates/prospective/how-much-wil-my-education-cost.html.

International student applicants will find critical information at http://gradadm.usc.edu/international-students-financial-documentation.

What are the opportunities to meet faculty, current students and admissions officers?

Annenberg Admissions provides multiple opportunities to visit campus, participate in webinars or meet admissions officers in various cities around the US. Please visit our website to learn about available options. http://annenberg.usc.edu/admissions/visit-us-graduate.

Application Guidelines

Go to https://usc.liaisoncas.com to apply.

The online USC Graduate Admission Application opens August 1, 2016.

Upload official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (including USC) to the Academic History section of the application.

  • Include the legend for domestic institutions and the grading scale for international institutions.
  • International transcripts should include the original language and the English translation as one document.
  • Do not upload transcripts from your student portal.

Upload the following documents before submitting your application:

  • CV/ Résumé
  • Personal Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • Copy of your official passport (International Applicants only)
  • Proof of Financial Support (International Applicants Only)

Official Transcripts

After receiving your USC ID*, mail official transcripts (original language and English translation) from all colleges and universities attended and any study abroad programs to:

University of Southern California
Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower St., Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915

*USC Graduate Admission will send your USC ID via email 2-3 days after you submit your online graduate admission application.

All program materials must be submitted online with the application in English. Once the application has been submitted, you may not upload or change any program materials. Once submitted, all materials and documents become the property of USC and will not be returned.


Create online profiles in the Program Materials section of the application by providing names and email addresses of your recommenders. Your recommenders will be sent instructions on how to submit a recommendation. USC Annenberg only accepts online recommendations.

Testing Requirements

Valid test scores must be reported electronically from the testing agency to USC (code 4852 for GRE and TOEFL. For IELTS, select University of Southern California Graduate Programs).

  • GRE scores are valid if taken July 2012 or later.
  • International applicants must submit valid TOEFL or IELTS scores; scores are valid if taken July 2015 or later.
  • International applicants who completed their entire undergraduate degree in the United States or another Anglophone country where English is both the language of instruction and the only official language of the country are exempt from submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores. Completing a graduate degree in an Anglophone county does not exempt you from submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores.
  • Complete all admission testing as early as possible and no later than one month prior to the application deadline. 

Application Fee

Pay the $90 non-refundable application fee with a credit card or request an application fee waiver prior to submitting an application. Fee waiver requirements may be found at USC Graduate Admission website: