Specialized Journalism (MA) Summer 2020

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline has been extended to March 1, 2020 for admission consideration.

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?

Discuss the reasons why you wish to pursue the Specialized Journalism degree as opposed to the more generalized M.S. in Journalism. Also, describe the specific subject area you intend to pursue, and explain how you expect to apply the knowledge gained to your future work. This statement should be no more than 1,500 words (single or double spaced) and must be representative of your best writing.

What pieces comprise the professional portfolio?

Submit both of the following:

  1. A bibliography of up to 20 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.

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?

Valid GRE scores are required. 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.

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, 2019.

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 2015 or later.
  • International applicants must submit valid TOEFL or IELTS scores; scores are valid if taken July 2018 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: