MFA Design Admission

MFA Design applications are now being accepted. Details here.

MFA Design Admission
The application deadlines for the MFA Design program for fall admission is January 15, 2019. 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 or BA in design, or the equivalent, from an accredited institution, submit a USC Graduate Application, and meet all application requirements described below, including the submission of a 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.

We encourage potential applicants to attend one of our regularly scheduled Info Sessions in the fall. These informative "open house" events feature an overview of the program and application requirements with the Director of Admissions and a tour of the MFA Design building. Prospective students are also encouraged to attend our weekly Roski Talks during the fall and spring semesters.

For more information please contact Roski Graduate Admissions coordinator at 213.740.9153 or email


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

a) A complete USC Graduate Application
b) Three (3) letters of recommendation
c) Official transcripts (also referred to as "academic records") from ALL post-secondary schools attended
d) TOEFL or IELTS scores, for international applicants whose native language is not English.

NOTE: The Roski School’s MFA Design program does not require GRE test scores or transcripts from progressive degree applicants from USC.

2. Portfolio

a. Submit your portfolio online at
b. Submit your personal statement online at
c. Submit your resume online at

1a. The USC Graduate Application

The online application is required for all graduate applicants to USC. It can be accessed at: 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 recommedation
You are required to submit three (3) letters of recommendation from persons practicing or teaching in the field who can speak directly to the applicant’s ability and competence. Letters from professionals with whom the applicant may have worked, such as an art director, or a creative director, are also acceptable. These should be sent electronically via the online Slideroom system, which is the preferred method of submission. If necessary, letters 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:

1d. TOEFL or IELTS scores
International applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. If you are sending TOEFL scores, the institution code for USC is 4852 (no department code required). If you are sending IELTS scores, please choose USC from the list of available institutions.
More information about proficiency requirements in English are here:
International students should also complete the Financial Statement of Personal or Family Support along with bank verification documents. A checklist of required documents for international students is here:

2a. Portfolio
The application portfolio must be received at, no later than January 15 for fall admission. See details below for submission guidelines. The portfolio submissions should include one or more of the following:

-Still images (20 - 25 images)

All still images should be submitted at Please use'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)

Applicants are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to submit their time-based media at However, if their work exceeds'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 -- 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 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.

-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. NOTE: Applicants must utilize -- 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 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. Personal Statement

The artist or designer’s statement is submitted electronically at The personal statement should describe the goals and philosophical underpinnings of your work, and discuss why you are interested in attending USC. The statement can include a description of your professional practice up to this point and how your goals may be furthered by attending USC.

NOTE: The personal statement in Slideroom is the same as the personal statement requested in the USC Graduate Application.

2c. Resume
Please also include your text only resume with relevant education and experience outlined.