Specialized Journalism (MA) Summer 2021

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline has been extended to February 15, 2021 for admission consideration to summer 2021.

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.  In a separate “skills” section, list language(s) proficiency other than English, and your familiarity with research or communications technologies and softwares, e.g. Web design, television or radio production, video editing, podcasting, etc.

What should I address in my personal statement?

In a single personal essay no longer than 1500 words, please consider and address the following:

For the Specialized Journalism master’s, we invite working journalists, or recent journalism students with basic knowledge of story structure, or experienced professionals from other fields who are called to journalism, or others with exceptional promise. So, please tell us why you’d pursue the Specialized Journalism degree as opposed to the more generalized MS in Journalism. Describe the specific subject area you intend to pursue, and explain how you expect to apply your new skills and knowledge to your future work. 

Some questions to consider: What motivates you to be a journalist? What do you want to do, and learn, and contribute to the craft, and to the public interest? What stories inspire you, and what kind of journalism do you want to make? Who do you want to reach, and how do you want to make a difference?

Over the last year, the coronavirus has changed everything, including journalism. Where do you see the profession going? Where do you see yourself in helping to remake journalism going forward?  

This statement should be representative of your best writing.

What pieces comprise the professional portfolio?

Submit the following:

  1. A bibliography of up to 10 published broadcast or online works in journalism.
  2. Samples of work in journalism that are the equivalent of either six news stories or three longer feature magazine stories from one or multiple platforms. Provide live links to current work within the bibliography. If live links are unavailable, upload the samples as attachments.
  3. If you have neither of the above, please submit at least four samples of what you consider to be your best writing or production. Please also write a brief (approximately 200-word) statement stating how your own life experience and potential outweighs your lack of journalistic track record.

How many letters of recommendation are needed and from whom?

Two professional recommendations are expected (direct supervisor or manager, not peers, colleagues or family). 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?

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 financial support is available?

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

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

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

Application Guidelines

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