MFA Design Admission




The spring 2024 application deadline for admission to the MFA Design program is SundayOctober 1, 2023.

The application priority deadline for admission to the MFA Design program for fall 2024 admission is Monday, January 15, 2024


Graduate IN-PERSON Information Session  |  coming soon.
Graduate VIRTUAL Information Session  |  Monday, December 11, 2023, 6pm (PST)

We encourage potential applicants to attend one of our regularly scheduled Info Sessions in the fall, available either in-person or virtual. These informative "open house" events feature an overview of the program and application requirements, along with a tour of the graduate programs space at the USC Roski Graduate Building in the Los Angeles Arts District. The USC Roski Graduate Building in the Los Angeles' Art District is located at 1262 Palmetto Street, LA, 90013. 

RSVP for the IN-PERSON Info session to confirm your attendance, coming soon.
RSVP for the VIRTUAL Info session to confirm your attendance here

Participants for the IN-PERSON Info Session are invited to attend the proceeding Roski Talk, which is a signature guest speaker series hosted by the school. Faculty, staff, current students, and community members will be in attendance.

The VIRTUAL Info Session will be followed by a breakout session for each graduate program: MA, MFA Art and MFA Design.


The full-time program requires five terms in residency to complete. Preference will be given to full-time students, although accommodations for part-time study may be arranged with the approval of the program director. Admission to the program is competitive.

Applicants must hold a BFA/BA in a creative field (design, art, architecture) or a relevant field with some practice (business, communication, etc) from an accredited institution, submit a USC Graduate Application, and meet all supplemental application requirements described below, including the submission of an art/design portfolio.

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



Applicants must submit both Roski’s Slideroom Application Form and USC’s Application for Graduate Admission.  The portal to Slideroom can be found inside the USC Graduate Application in the Program Materials section. Use only this portal to access Slideroom; otherwise the two applications will not synchronize correctly.


MFA Design applicants must include the following items as part of Roski’s Slideroom Application:

  1. Resumé or CV
  2. Design Statement (500 word maximum)
  3. Three letters of Recommendation
  4. Scans (PDF format) of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended. Official transcripts are issued by the registrar’s office of each institution.  Unofficial transcripts or documents printed from an online student system will not be accepted.  Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted separately to the USC Office of Admission following the guidelines here (
  5. A Portfolio
    Portfolio submissions should include one or more of the following: 

    Still images (20 - 25 images).  Please use Slideroom’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.

    Non-Interactive media (video, film, performance documentation, animation). 

    If the work exceeds Slideroom’s 60MB capacity you may post works online and provide a link.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants must utilize Slideroom’s Documents file as an easy option to indicate the presence of time-based work posted online. The faculty admissions committee will be reviewing work and will not find the alternatively provided materials without your bringing it to their attention. 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. 

    Interactive media (interactive DVD-Video, Flash, HTML, Director, etc.) Applicants may post interactive works online and provide a link, as in the directions above. 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. 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.

USC Application for Graduate Admission

The following items must be submitted as part of the USC Graduate Application:

Scans (PDF format) of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into the USC Graduate Application. Transcripts must be official and must be issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts and documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.

NOTE: It is not necessary to complete the “Supporting Information” section in the Graduate Application. We prefer that you upload your resumé or CV, Design Statement, as well as the portfolio mentioned above via SlideRoom instead. You will still need to click through the “Supporting Information” section, and “opt-out” of submitting information there.

There is a $90 nonrefundable application fee for the USC Graduate Application and a Slideroom fee of $20 that must be paid before an application is processed. 

Fee Waivers: Students who qualify for a fee waiver must make the appropriate selection on their application and submit supporting documents to demonstrate their qualification. Please click here to check if you are eligible for the fee waiver. 

You will receive your 10-digit USC ID number via email within two to three business days after you submit your online application. It is important to remember that this ID number is different from the one that appears on your USC Graduate Application. Please keep this ID on record and make sure to include it in all your communication with USC. You will also need to include it when mailing any documents to the university. 

In addition to the items listed above, International applicants must also submit the following: 

International applicants must demonstrate adequate English-language proficiency by submitting either TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores by the listed deadlines found on the department website. Scores are considered valid only if earned within two years of your intended first term at USC.  (For example, no earlier than August 1 two years prior if applying for the fall term.) 

The following scores are Roski’s minimum requirements:


The scores must be submitted electronically to USC from ETS to be considered official. Photocopies or paper copies of scores are not acceptable as official submission. 

USC Institution code: 4852
(no department code is required). 

Information may be obtained from TOEFL, Educational Testing Service:


The scores must be submitted electronically to USC from the testing service to be considered official. Photocopies or paper copies of scores from the testing service are not acceptable. Select “University of Southern California” from the list of available institutions when you register to take the IELTS test. Alternatively, provide this information to your testing center after you have taken the test. Contact information for the USC department to which you are applying is not required. 

For details regarding the USC graduate admissions English Proficiency requirements, please review the English Proficiency Standards

In addition to the above submission requirements, upload a copy of either your TOEFL, IELTS or PET score to the graduate online application for preliminary reviews. 

More information may be obtained from IELTS:

IMPORTANT: To avoid a delay in the processing of your application, you are encouraged to take all required exams at least one month ahead of the application deadlines. It takes time for ETS or IELTS to send to the university and USC Admissions Processing to upload to your applicant file. 

Admission to the Roski School of Art and Design is based on merit rather than ability to pay. The U.S. government, however, requires that all international applicants provide proof of adequate financial support and passport copies for you and any applicable dependents before a formal letter of admission and an I-20 or DS-2019 can be issued. To learn more about our costs, financial document submission guidelines and immigration procedures, please click here

It is not necessary to submit your financial documents and a copy of your passport for your program to review your application. However, doing so early in the application process will help prevent possible delays in processing your I-20/DS-2019 after you certify your intent to enroll. 

It is possible that you do not need an F-1 or J-1 visa to attend USC. Please click here to determine if you are exempt from these visa categories. 

NOTE: The Roski School’s MFA Design program does not require GRE test scores.