Public Relations and Advertising (MA) Fall 2021

When is the application deadline?

Admission to the MA in Public Relations and Advertising is limited to the fall term. The application is currently open and may close at any time.  Applicants are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible.

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?

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.

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 test scores must I submit to apply?

USC has suspended the GRE requirement for all graduate applicants for admission to the 2021 admission cycle. All international student applicants are expected to demonstrate adequate 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? 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

Go to to apply.

The online USC Graduate Admission application will open on September 1, 2020.

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

GRE scores are waived for the 2021 admission application cycle. 

  • International applicants must submit valid TOEFL or IELTS scores; scores are valid if taken August 2019 or later. TOEFL scores must be reported electronically from ETS to USC (code 4852); for IELTS, select University of Southern California Graduate Programs. 
  • 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: