Professional Development

The USC School of Dramatic Arts strives to provide its students with professional development opportunities that help establish and sustain successful careers as creators, performers and cultural innovators. In addition to the strong foundation, the following programs offer our students an introduction to the industry, while also ensuring that they are well-versed in the most cutting-edge skills and in developing a real-world sense of what’s required to thrive in their chosen profession.

Visiting Artists

The School attracts a wide range of distinguished artists from stage, film and television to lead professional development sessions, lectures and master classes. By exposing students to the most exciting and dynamic artists in their respective fields, the Visiting Artist Program serves as a conduit to the professional world and gives students the opportunity to work cross-discipline to inspire and inform their training in ways they may not have previously considered.

Some of the world-renowned artists to work with our students include award winning actors David Hyde Pierce, Michael Chiklis, Kathleen Turner, Fiona Shaw, Tim Robbins, Christine Lahti, Brian Stokes Mitchell; award winning writer/director Luc Besson; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Tony Kushner and Paula Vogel; and Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown and Jeff Marx.


Another fundamental opportunity the School provides each of its students is significant hands-on industry experience outside of the classroom. The School maintains a full-time Internship and Special Programs Coordinator on staff to vet prospective internships and link students with professional companies. Each year, our Coordinator works to increase the number of companies we partner with to provide both credited and non-credited internships. Our students interned all over Southern California at some of the leading theatre, film, television and performance companies – such as Center Theatre Group, NBC Universal, Mosaic Media/Atlas Productions, HBO and DreamWorks Animation. For details, application forms and to discuss internship opportunities, please contact Meghan Laughlin, Director of Internships & Special Programs, at


Stage Door Forum

Stage Door Forum is a newly-established program at the School of Dramatic Arts, whose mission is to create an informal mentorship program for graduating students who are beginning their transition into the working world. Alumni participants engage graduating students both online and in a series of forums throughout the year to help impart advice and guidance as our senior students near graduation. Through Stage Door Forum, students have the opportunity to connect and build a robust network as they begin their careers. For more details, please contact Kimberly Muhlbach, Director of Individual Giving at