Public Relations and Advertising (MA) Fall 2024

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline was November 15, 2023 for international applicants. Late applications will not be accepted. The U.S. citizen and permanent resident application deadline is January 5, 2024 for admission and scholarship consideration. Admissions to the MA in Public Relations and Advertising is limited to the fall term only.

What content should be in my application résumé?

List positions held, including internships, nature of work and dates of employment. Include academic and professional awards, honors, association memberships, subject matter expertise, language(s) other than English, and your familiarity with any research or communications technologies, i.e. software for design, audio/video production, blogging, data analysis, content development, presentations, etc

What content should be in my personal statement?

The MA in Public Relations and Advertising provides students with applied knowledge and skills for a career in the greater communication space, including, but not limited to, public relations, advertising, digital communication, influencer relations, brand activations, corporate communications, etc.

The admissions committee will include your responses to these questions in evaluating your application for graduate admission. In two- to four-page persuasive essay, respond to the following:

  • Why are you interested in studying public relations and advertising at the graduate level?
  • What area(s) within the greater public relations and advertising space interests you?
  • What makes you an exceptional candidate to study public relations and advertising at USC Annenberg?
  • What is it about the Public Relations and Advertising degree program that inspired you to apply?

The statement must be your original words and work. Avoid using ChatGPT or other generative AI tools.

What type of writing sample is required?

The writing sample may take various forms: a report for your organization, news releases for clients, articles or a series of blog posts, a set of substantial memos to your superiors successfully arguing for a particular position, or an academic paper for a college or university course. The writing sample may not exceed 10 pages.

*OPTIONAL: Audio and video content may be uploaded to the USC Graduate application in SlideRoom. Content must be solely created by you. You will access the SlideRoom application under the “Programs Materials” section of the UCS CAS application. To ensure that your USC and SlideRoom applications sync properly, it is important that you access SlideRoom via the USC Graduate application only.

The writing sample must be your original work. Avoid using ChatGPT or other generative AI tools or another person to write on your behalf.

May I submit audio or video content?

The submission of audio or video content is optional. Audio and video may be uploaded to the USC Graduate application in SlideRoom. Content must be solely created by you. You will access the SlideRoom application under the “Programs Materials” section of the UCS CAS application. In order to ensure that your USC and SlideRoom applications sync properly, it is important that you access SlideRoom via the USC Graduate application only.

How many letters of recommendation are needed and from whom?

Two online letters of recommendation are required and professional recommendations are expected. If you are a recent college/university graduate, submit one academic reference and one professional reference. You must provide recommenders’ names and e-mail addresses on the online application and they will receive online recommendation forms. Your recommenders must submit a letter of recommendation online in addition to completing the digital recommendation form.

What admission test scores are required?

The USC Annenberg School has suspended the GRE requirement for all graduate applicants for admission to the 2024 admission cycle. All international student applicants whose native language is not English are expected to demonstrate adequate spoken and written English-language proficiency. To learn more about how to satisfy this requirement, click here. Also, review the USC Graduate Admission video tutorial titled, “English Proficiency Requirements for International Students” for more details.

What if English is my second language?

The USC Annenberg MA in Public Relations and Advertising is a very language-intensive program that requires excellent English-language skills. Only applicants who demonstrate the ability to speak and write in English on a professional level will be considered for admission. For that reason the graduate admission committee expects students to have significantly higher scores in standardized English-language tests than listed here.

All students whose native language is not English will be asked to complete writing and speaking assessments as part of the application process. Applicants who do not feel comfortable taking language assessment tests are not encouraged to apply to the MA in Public Relations and Advertising.

Are English classes required? 

Based on demonstrated English language proficiency, some international applicants may be required to complete a USC International Academy Intensive English Program before admission to the MA in Public Relations and Advertising. Visit for more information.

What financial support is available?

Departmental merit scholarships and fellowships are competitively awarded. All completed applications are considered for admission and departmental awards. The MA in Public Relations and Advertising is a Yellow Ribbon-designated degree program.

All US citizens and permanent residents are urged to submit a FAFSA after the admission application deadline.

International student applicants will find critical information at

Application Guidelines

The online USC Graduate Admission Application opens October 1, 2023. Go to to access the application.

Assemble the following documents and program materials which must be uploaded to your application:

  • CV or Résumé
  • Personal Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • Copy of Official Transcript(s)

All program materials must be in English and uploaded to the online application. Note: Once your application has been submitted, you may not add, edit or change any document or program material. Also, all submitted documents and program materials become the property of USC and will not be returned.

Official Transcripts

Copies of a registrar-issued official transcript (with registrar’s signature, stamp or seal) from all colleges and universities attended (including USC) must be uploaded to your application in the Academic History section. If you do not possess copies of your registrar-issued official transcripts, request to have official transcripts with legend or grading scale emailed to you from your previous colleges/universities.

After submitting your online application, request to have e-transcripts sent from your degree conferring institutions to USC Graduate Admission at


  • International transcripts must include the original language and the English translation as one document.
  • Transcripts from your institution’s student portal are unacceptable.


Create online profiles in the Program Materials section of the application by providing names and email addresses of your recommenders. Instructions and forms will be emailed to your recommenders. Only recommendations submitted through the online process are accepted.

Graduate Admission Testing

GRE scores are not required for admission to fall 2024.

Valid TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores (taken August 2022 or later) are required from international student applicants unless waived; see below for the exception. To be considered official, USC must receive scores electronically from the testing service. Photocopies or paper copies of scores are unacceptable.

  • For TOEFL, request to have your scores sent to the USC institution code 4852.
  • For IELTS or PTE, select “University of Southern California” from the list of available institutions when you register for the test. Alternatively, provide this information to your testing center after you have taken the test.

Exception: If you completed your entire bachelor’s degree in the United States or another Anglophone country (i.e. where English is both the language of instruction and the only official language of the country), TOEFL and IELTS are waived.

Note: Completing a master’s degree In the United States or another Anglophone country will not waive TOEFL or IELTS.

Video Interview

All applicants are required to complete a recorded video interview via Kira Assessments. The recorded video response is an opportunity for the faculty admissions committee to get a sense of your potential and how you think on your feet. No advance preparation is required.

A desktop or laptop computer with a functioning webcam, microphone and internet connection are required. You may complete unlimited practice sessions prior to starting the interview. Once started, applicants will have one opportunity to respond (no exceptions).

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

Review the fee waiver requirements at USC Graduate Admission website: Applicants seeking a fee waiver must start the online application and then wait for the fee waiver approval before submitting the application.