Professional Development

The USC School of Dramatic Arts strives to provide its students with opportunities that help establish and sustain successful careers as creators, performers and cultural innovators. In addition to strong foundational training, 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 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 across disciplines, in order to inspire and inform their training in ways they may not have previously considered.

Some of the world-renowned artists who have spoken to our students include award-winning actors Tessa Thompson, Debbie Allen, Mindy Kaling, Michael Chiklis, Bryan Cranston, Josh Gad, Sir Ben Kingsley, Lisa Kudrow, Aubrey Plaza, David Hyde Pierce, Tony Shalhoub, Ali Stroker, Blair Underwood; comedian Margaret Cho; writer, producer and director, Vince Gilligan; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Suzan-Lori Parks, Robert Schenkkan and Paula Vogel, and more.

Learn more.


Another fundamental experience the School provides students is the opportunity to secure pre-professional internships in the entertainment industry. The School maintains a full-time director of internships on staff to vet prospective positions, support students in preparing applications, and connect them with resources. Beginning in their sophomore year, our students intern all over Southern California, and the country, at some of the leading theatre, film, television and digital media companies. A sample list of where students have secured internships includes Disney, Center Theatre Group, HBO, United Talent Agency, Amazon Studios, Pantages Hollywood, Funny or Die, The Groundlings, NBCUniversal and Shoreline Entertainment, to name a few. For more information, please contact Meghan Laughlin, director of internships & special programs, at

Professional Development Center

The USC School of Dramatic Arts breaks the mold on career preparation by being the first drama school with a dedicated Professional Development Center devoted to supporting our students and recent graduates.
Learn about our Professional Development Center.


SDA Career Mentoring Program

The USC School of Dramatic Arts Career Mentoring Program is a program that matches the School’s alumni mentors with senior-level student mentees based on similar professional field interests and backgrounds. The mentoring program is a great way to gain insight into the professional workplace, build skills and connect with professionals in the field. The program aims to provide the foundation necessary to establish a lasting professional relationship that is mutually enriching for both the mentee and mentor. This program is run through the School’s Professional Development Center.