Specialized Journalism (The Arts) (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 (note if self-employed in your own business). Also, include academic and professional awards, honors, teaching experience, exhibitions, work published or produced, 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?

Consider the following prompts and respond in a single essay of no more than 1,500 words to all three prompts:

  • The arts and, by extension, culture – which includes food -- are rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and will forever be changed in significant ways, driven in part by digital technology. What will the new journalism model look like? And why? 
  • What motivates you to be a journalist? 
  • In a world that craves leadership and creativity, hope and engagement, where do you anticipate fitting in? Who do you want to reach? And how? What experimentation ahead of you are you eager to try? What strengths of yours to further develop? Provide at least one relevant anecdote that reveals a time when your assumptions were challenged and how this connects to your decision to apply to this graduate program.

Your statement should be no more than 1,500 words (single or double spaced).

What pieces comprise the professional portfolio?

For journalists, submit both of the following:

1. Samples of professional journalism work that are the equivalent to five short pieces (550 words or less) or two longer features (up to 3,000 words). You may submit video or podcast, in which case the short pieces should be no longer than three minutes and the long pieces should be no more than 20 minutes. If live links are unavailable, upload the samples as attachments.
2. A bibliography of up to 10 – – and no fewer than three – of your published, broadcast or online works in journalism, ideally two years old or less. In addition, if you design or manage a website, include the link.

If you are an editor or producer, supply up to 10 – and no fewer than three – samples of work with an explanation of your contribution.

For arts practitioners (artists) and recent graduates, submit no fewer than five links to your recent work (from three years ago max), each being no less than 550 words and not more than 1,100. These may be video or podcasts of your visual art, music compositions, etc., no longer than 20 minutes. Written work unrelated to the arts is accepted, but there should be no more than two of these. Blogs are considered published work; provide links. Academic papers will also be accepted. If you want us to look at your body of work as an artist, submit no fewer than five links to your recent work (from three years ago max); in addition show us written work samples, as per instructions above in this section.

How many letters of recommendation are needed and from whom?

Two professional recommendations are expected. If you are a recent college or university graduate with no work experience, submit one academic recommendation and one 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 student 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: