MFA Admission

Due to the large number of applicants and inquiries the program receives, we are unable to offer individual meetings with prospective students. Instead, we encourage potential applicants to attend one of our regularly scheduled Info Sessions. These are lengthy, frank, and genuinely informative “open house” events, typically involving the program director or another core faculty member. Prospective students are also encouraged to attend our weekly Visiting Lectures.

The Roski School of Art and Design MFA program welcomes qualified applicants. Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must hold a BFA, BA, or equivalent from an accredited institution, submit a USC Graduate Application, and meet all the Application Requirements described below, including the submission of a portfolio. All materials, including the application, must be received by January 20, 2014.

The instructions below are in two sections: Application Requirements, which outlines the essentials of the MFA application, and Explanation of MFA Application Requirements, which more fully describes each requirement.

Application Requirements
Applicants must complete the following two parts by January 20, 2014. Please note that this is not a postmark deadline.

1. USC Graduate Application

As part of the USC Graduate Application, you will be asked to submit the following:

a. Complete the USC Graduate Application
b. Three (3) letters of recommendation
c. Official transcripts (also referred to as "academic records")
d. TOEFL or IELTS scores (for international applicants whose native language is not English)

NOTE: The Roski School of Art and Design does not require GRE test scores.

2. Portfolio

a. Submit your portfolio online at http://roski.slideroom.com
b. Submit your artist's statement online at http://roski.slideroom.com
c. Submit your resume online at http://roski.slideroom.com





Explanation of MFA Application Requirements

  1. Part One:
    1a. The USC Graduate Application
    This online application is required for all graduate applicants to USC. It can be accessed at: http://www.usc.edu/admission/graduate/applyonline. The online application is part of the ApplyYourself Application Network. To apply, you must first create an account, after which a confirmation email containing a PIN will be emailed to you. You may return to work on your application over several sessions. Only after you submit your application will it be available for review by the admissions staff. When you are ready to submit your application, you must pay the application fee via credit card online (Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards are accepted).
    1b. Three letters of recommendation
    You are required to submit three (3) letters of recommendation from instructors or persons able to comment on your art practice and potential as a graduate student. These should be sent electronically via the online USC Graduate Application, which is the preferred method of submission. If necessary, these may also be sent in hard copy form directly from your recommender(s) to the USC Roski School of Art and Design.
    1c. Official transcripts (also referred to as "academic records")
    You must request that official transcripts from all post-secondary schools you have attended be sent to the USC Office of Graduate Admission. For details, see: http://www.usc.edu/admission/graduate/apply/application1.html.
    1d. TOEFL or IELTS scores
    TOEFL or IELTS scores should be submitted by international applicants whose native language is not English. Please refer to the Graduate Admission Proficiency in English page for more information.
  2. Part Two:

    2a. Portfolio
    The application portfolio must be received by http://roski.slideroom.com or the Roski School of Art and Design, no later than Monday, January 20, 2014. See details below for submission guidelines. The portfolio submissions should include one or more of the following:
    i. Still images (20 - 25 images)
    All still images should be submitted at http://roski.slideroom.com. Please use http://roski.slideroom.com's Media Details feature to input titles, medium, dimensions, and year of creation for each image submitted. The images should constitute a cohesive body of work, while also providing a sense of the scope of the applicant's practice.

    ii. Non-Interactive media (video, film, performance documentation, animation)
    Applicants are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to submit their time-based media at http://roski.slideroom.com. However, if their work exceeds http://roski.slideroom.com's 60 MB capacity they may either (1) Post works online and provide a link, or (2) Send a non-returnable DVD with their Roski School of Art and Design Supplemental Application. IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants must utilize http://roski.slideroom.com -- the Documents file is an easy option -- to indicate the presence of time-based work posted online or in a hard-copy, mailed DVD. The faculty admissions committee will be reviewing works on http://roski.slideroom.com first, and will not find the alternatively provided materials without your bringing it to our attention. Furthermore, DVDs should include a menu with two viewing options for each clip submitted: Short (a five-minute or shorter excerpt OR a compilation of important clips) and Long (the full version). For group or collaborative projects, be sure to indicate your role on the project. For excerpts of video projects, it is especially important to include information to contextualize the clip provided.

    iii. Interactive media (interactive DVD-Video, Flash, HTML, Director, etc.)
    Applicants may either (1) Post interactive works online and provide a link, or (2) Send a non-returnable DVD with their Roski School of Art and Design Supplemental Application. IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants must utilize http://roski.slideroom.com -- the Documents file is an easy option -- to indicate the presence of interactive work posted online or in a hard-copy, mailed DVD. The faculty admissions committee will be reviewing works on http://roski.slideroom.com first, and will not find these materials without your bringing it to our attention. Interactive media should be prepared as a guided tour or linear movie. Text or voice annotation should be provided as necessary, as well as sufficient screen or video captures. Be sure to provide a synopsis of each interactive piece, including the title and date created.

    NOTE: Submissions in DVD-Video format must be playable on a standard DVD player. Future digital formats such as Blu-Ray or HD-DVD are not supported at this time. The recommended pixel dimensions for any video project is no less that 640 x 480 (standard) or 720 x 480 (wide screen), but you may wish to include a recommended viewing size for playback on a PC or Mac.

    2b. Artist's Statement
    The artist's statement is submitted electronically at http://roski.slideroom.com. The artist's statement should describe the goals and philosophical underpinnings of your work, and discuss how attending USC will further these goals.
    2c. Resume
    Please also include your text only resume with relevant experience outlined.

    If sending hard copy materials, please mail to:

    Via U.S. Postal Service:
    USC Roski School of Art and Design
    MFA Admissions
    Watt Hall 104, University Park
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-0292

    Via FedEx/UPS/DHL:
    USC Roski School of Art and Design
    MFA Admissions
    850 West 37th St.
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-0292

    We strongly recommend that you use a shipping method that includes a tracking service, so that you can receive quick confirmation from the carrier that your portfolio has arrived.

MFA Info Sessions

The Master of Fine Arts program hosts three information sessions for prospective students during the fall term and one in spring in advance of the application deadline. These sessions provide a thorough overview of the program, allow for a lengthy question-and-answer period, and conclude with a tour of the graduate studios and facilities. The sessions are held at the Graduate Fine Arts Building at 3001 South Flower Street.

Fall 2013 Info Sessions:
(click a session to RSVP)