M.S. in Digital Social Media Spring 2017

Degree Program Overview

This intensive one-year program focuses on developing strategies and practices essential for successful careers in digital and social media as well as the application of these principles to the business world. The sequence of classes will teach you to take a digital application (web and mobile) from conceptualization through launch; no engineering skills are required. Also, you will learn to create and curate content, manage conversations and communities, develop strategies, use third party platforms, manage technology teams (developers, designers, engineers), use analytics, conceptualize, and run digital marketing and PR campaigns. An internship arranged in collaboration with the faculty program director is highly recommended while enrolled in the program. A final project requires the development and launch of a working, dynamic, social media product (site, mobile app, etc.).

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is October 28, 2016. New students are admitted to spring term only. Late applications may not be accepted.

What content should be in my application résumé?

List all internships and paid employment. Provide the nature of work and dates of employment. Include academic and professional awards, honors, teaching experience, subject matter expertise and language(s) proficiency other than English. Your résumé may exceed one page.

What content should be in my personal statement?

This statement, which should convey your passion for the field, should be approximately 500 words, typed and double spaced. Care should be taken to submit a clear, concise and well-written essay.

  • Explain your interests in digital and social media.
  • Describe why the USC Annenberg School and the M.S. in Digital Social Media are especially suited to your academic and professional needs.

What type of writing sample is required?

The writing sample may be a news story, blog item, article, press release, or academic paper.

How many letters of recommendation are needed and from whom?

Two faculty recommendations are required. However, if you have substantial work experience, you may provide one professional reference (managers and supervisors only) in place of one faculty recommendation.

What test scores must I submit to apply?

Valid GRE General Test scores are required, even if you have earned a Master’s degree. No minimum score is required.

International applicants must submit valid TOEFL or IELTS test results.

All future test dates must be recorded in the online application.

Where do I find information about financing my graduate studies?

U.S. citizens and permanent resident applicants may visit USC Financial Aid at http://financialaid.usc.edu/graduates/prospective/how-much-wil-my-education-cost.html.

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

What are the opportunities to meet faculty 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 January 2012 or later.
  • International applicants must submit valid TOEFL or IELTS scores; scores are valid if taken January 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: