Frequently Asked Questions

Application

When is your application available for Fall 2022?

Applications will be available September 1.

When is the application due?

The BA in Theatre priority deadline and final deadline for all BFA programs (for first year and transfer applicants) is December 1, 2021.

The final BA in Theatre deadline for first year applicants is January 15, 2022.

The final BA in Theatre deadline for transfer applicants is February 15, 2022.

When will I be notified of the admissions decisions?

USC strives to have all decisions in hand by April 1. Please note that the USC School of Dramatic Arts cannot release any decision information.

How many students do you accept into each program?

For our BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen & New Media program, we are looking for a cohort of 18 students and for our BFA in Musical Theatre program it would be 14 students. Our production programs range from 3-10 students for each program. The rest of our class will consist of students from our BA in Theatre program.

Can I apply to more than one program?

Students may apply for up to two degree programs at USC. Students will be considered for their first-choice selection in the initial review followed by their second choice, if they are not admitted to their primary major.

Please only submit one supplemental application per student. Students interested in our BFA in Acting and BFA in Musical Theatre must decide which program they would like to be considered for. Students may not submit an application to both the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media and the BFA in Musical Theatre.

If you have listed one of our BFA programs and BA in Theatre as your major choice options, you only need to submit the BFA supplemental.

How do I apply to one of the emphasis programs? 

The emphasis tracks in acting, comedy or design are available only to current USC students. Applicants interested in pursuing an emphasis should apply to the BA in Theatre (link to https://dramaticarts.usc.edu/programs/undergraduate/bachelor-of-arts/) and once admitted, work with their academic advisor to transition into the emphasis.

How do I apply to the BA in Visual & Performing Arts Studies? 

The BA in Visual & Performing Arts Studies is available only to current USC students. Applicants interested in this degree should apply to the BA in Theatre (link to https://dramaticarts.usc.edu/programs/undergraduate/bachelor-of-arts/) and once admitted, work with their academic advisor to transition into the BA in Visual & Performing Arts Studies.

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Do applicants to the USC School of Dramatic Arts have to take the SAT or ACT exams?

Due to uncertainty and disruptions in testing schedules caused by COVID-19, prospective first-year students may apply to USC for the 2022-2023 Academic Year without submitting SAT or ACT scores. More information about this test optional policy and our application process.

Are transfer students accepted into the USC School of Dramatic Arts?

We gladly accept transfer applicants to USC School of Dramatic Arts. Given that transfer students are coming from another institution, it is highly recommended that they consider the BA in Theatre program to ensure a timely degree completion. They are welcome, however, to apply to both our BFA and BA programs.

Transfer applicants to our BFA programs will follow the same instructions and timeline as first year applicants.

I am an international applicant. Is there anything special I need to know?

International applicants will follow the same process as domestic students when completing the supplemental application in SlideRoom. There are, however, additional prerequisites international students must satisfy.

My recommender has not yet completed their letter of recommendation, can I still submit my application? 

Yes. You are still able to submit your SlideRoom (link to https://uscdramaticarts.slideroom.com/#/Login) application even if your recommender has not yet submitted their letter. Letters of recommendation can be submitted after the deadline at no penalty to the applicant.

What if there are updates to the resume or headshot that I uploaded?

If there are any changes to the materials that you submitted as part of your application, please email us these changes to sdainfo@usc.edu.

What is your policy on the submission of supplemental materials, including performance clips?

We recognize that you may have other things you wish to share with the review committee. Unfortunately, given the very small window we have to review and audition students, we ask that the only materials you submit are the items outlined in our application.

How much of my admission to the USC School of Dramatic Arts is based on the audition or portfolio review?

The audition and portfolio review is the primary qualifier for admissions into our BFA programs but it is not the only factor that is considered. The Office of Admissions and Student Services will review all materials in your application, including academics and extracurricular involvement. All final decisions are made and finalized by the USC Office of Admissions.

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Auditions

Do I need to audition?

Applicants to our BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media are required to audition and, if invited, complete a callback as well. Applicants to our BFA in Musical Theatre are required to complete a prescreen process and, if invited, a callback as well. Auditions are not available or required for BA in Theatre applicants.

When are the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media and BFA in Musical Theatre auditions held?

Fall 2022 applicants to the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media and BFA in Musical Theatre will upload their filmed pieces to the supplemental application in SlideRoom and submit by the December 1 deadline.

How do I schedule an audition?

Fall 2022 applicants to the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media and BFA in Musical Theatre will not need to schedule an audition as they will each upload their filmed pieces to their supplemental application in SlideRoom.

What do the auditions for the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media, and the BFA in Musical Theatre consist of?

Details on the audition process are available on the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media’s How to Apply page.

Details on the audition process are available on the BFA in Musical Theatre’s How to Apply page.

Can I perform a monologue that I wrote?

Students should be prepared to perform monologues from published plays. Written work from a non-published source makes it difficult for the faculty to understand the context of the character and play.

What should I wear for my audition?

You should wear whatever you feel is appropriate and will make you feel comfortable. Please do not wear any costumes for your audition.

For the dance component of the BFA in Musical Theatre, please wear appropriate dance attire and foot wear representing the chosen dance style demonstrated in each video.

What does the callback process for the BFA in Acting for Stage Screen and New Media or the BFA in Musical Theatre consist of?

In January 2022, applicants invited to participate in our callback process for either the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media or the BFA in Musical Theatre will be emailed details of what they can expect and should prepare for their callback process. Callbacks will be held in mid to late February.

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Portfolio Review

I am applying to a BFA in Production major. What should be included in a portfolio?

Your portfolio is a visual representation of your experience and talent. Please submit no more than 15 slides that provide an overview of the type of work you have completed and serve as the impetus for discussion between you and our production faculty. Applicants will upload their portfolio to their supplemental application in SlideRoom.

What is the BFA in Production Portfolio Review?

All applicants to any of our BFA in Production majors (Design, Sound Design, Stage Management, or Technical Direction) will need to complete a portfolio review with our production faculty. This 30-minute conversation will allow applicants to discuss their understanding and previous exploration of the specific area of theatre to which they are applying. These portfolio reviews will be conducted virtually. The Office of Admissions and Student Services will reach out to applicants after they have submitted their supplemental application in SlideRoom with details on how to schedule their portfolio review.

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Visiting the USC School of Dramatic Arts

How do I arrange a facilities tour and information session?

Please refer to our Recruitment Events and Workshops page.

Is it possible for me to sit in on a class?

In response to COVID-19 we will not be offering class visits for the foreseeable future for the safety of our students, faculty and guests. For more information, please email sdainfo@usc.edu.

Does USC offer summer programs for high school students?

Yes. We offer four-week summer programs for rising high school sophomores – seniors.  Learn more about the specific programs being offered and how to apply.

I am a high school theatre teacher/director and would like to set up a visit to your school or have you visit our campus. What is available?

In response to COVID-19 at this time we are only offering virtual information sessions with an admissions counselor. If you would like to schedule a virtual information session for your group, please email us at sdainfo@usc.edu. We will be happy to work with groups on supporting in person visits when appropriate.

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Performance Opportunities

How many productions does the department produce per year?

Our typical mainstage season will include about 25 productions a year. These productions, with the exception of the spring musical, are only available to SDA majors and minors. In addition, our students will produce about 18 Independent Student Productions (ISPs) a year. ISPs are non-unit bearing and are open to all students in the university.

In response to COVID-19, for the safety of our students, directors and guests, the number of productions produced during the 2021-2022 academic year may be significantly reduced.

Do you have a showcase for graduating actors?

Currently, there is a curricular showcase available only to students in our BFA programs during the spring semester of their senior year.

Are first-year students and non-majors allowed to perform in productions?

Our mainstage productions are available exclusively for our majors and minors with the exception of our spring musical, which is open to all USC students. SDA students are not allowed to audition for mainstage productions during their first semester at USC. We encourage students to take the fall semester of their first year as a transition period to learn what it means to be in college and at USC.

BA students may begin auditioning for the mainstage season starting the second semester of their first year, while BFA students may begin the first semester of their sophomore year.

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Student Life

What professional development opportunities are there for students?

The USC School of Dramatic Arts has several initiatives, curricularly and extracurricularly, to prepare students for the transition into the industry. Since its inception in 2017, the Career Center at the USC School of Dramatic Arts (link to https://dramaticarts.usc.edu/careercenter/) uniquely offers students access to career counseling, workshops, visiting artists, and information sessions to better equip them for a career in the entertainment industry.

Are there professional internships available?

Yes. Students may begin pursuing internships when they reach sophomore status. Our students intern all over Southern California with offices and companies that extend to all facets of entertainment; theatre, film/tv production, casting, management, music, and digital media. A sample list of where SDA students have secured opportunities includes Disney, Center Theatre Group, HBO, United Talent Agency, Amazon Studios, Pantages Hollywood, Francine Maisler Casting, Funny or Die, The Groundlings, NBCUniversal and Shoreline Entertainment (to name a few!).

What is the Spotlight@SDA?

Spotlight@SDA is an event series that brings some of the industry’s most influential artists to share their advice, perspective and experience with our students through informal Q&A sessions, workshops and master classes. Read about recent Spotlight@SDA events.

Will I have the chance to participate in student groups and clubs on campus?

Regardless of the degree program you are pursuing, students at USC may enjoy the opportunity to diversify their experience by participating in any of the nearly 1,000 recognized student groups on campus, pending their availability. Find out about the student groups on campus.

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Financial Aid

What is the cost of tuition?

Learn more about the estimated cost of tuition.

How do I apply for financial aid?

To apply for financial aid, you will need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov and the CSS PROFILE at profileonline.collegeboard.com. For more information, please visit our the Financial Aid web site. Be sure to adhere to all published deadlines set by the Office of Financial Aid.

Are international students eligible for financial assistance?

Learn more about financial aid for international students.

How can I qualify for a merit scholarship?

Administered through the Office of Admission, USC Merit Scholarships require students to apply for admission to the university by the December 1 deadline. All students who submit a complete application will be automatically considered for a scholarship. Ranging in value from a few thousand dollars up to full tuition, merit scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, leadership, service and talent. These include the full-tuition, four-year Trustee scholarship, the half-tuition Presidential Scholarship, and the one-quarter tuition Deans Scholarship.

What is the USC Affordability Initiative? 

The USC Affordability Initiative is meant to make USC more accessible to more students. Under the leadership of President Dr. Carol Folt, this initiative allows new first-year students from U.S. families with an annual income of $80,000 or less with typical assets to attend USC tuition free. Furthermore, owning a home will not be counted in the calculation used to determine a students financial need. For more information, visit the USC Affordability Initiative website.

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Academics

What is the difference between a BFA and a BA?

Generally speaking, our BFA programs are conservatory-style programs built with a formal progression and limited to a specific cohort of students. In addition, all BFA students are expected to complete the USC Core and General Education courses. Performance (as an actor or in production) is a curricular requirement of the BFA programs.

The BA program is a broad-based approach to theatre training that allows the student to experience a core curriculum designed by the faculty paired with a number of elective classes a student self-selects. In addition, all BA students are expected to complete the USC Core and General Education courses. Performance in the BA program is optional.

What are the emphasis programs?

Beginning the second semester of their first year, students may elect to choose an emphasis in acting, comedy or design to further focus their studies. These emphasis tracks provide students with a guided curricular progression to focus on the their preferred area of training. Performance, production and professional opportunities remain key aspects of this program. 

When applying, students will apply to the BA in Theatre and once admitted, work with their academic advisor to transition into the emphasis track of their choice. 

Does the USC School of Dramatic Arts teach a specific acting technique?

The USC School of Dramatic Arts does not subscribe to any one given acting technique.

Do you teach film and television acting?

At the USC School of Dramatic Arts, we strive to help you develop the skillset necessary to be an actor – the medium you choose to engage in is your choice. While our primary platform of instruction is the stage, we recognize the changing landscape of this industry and thus train our students to recognize the adjustments they need to make to their performance to accommodate film, television and new media mediums.

Do your BFA programs implement a cut system?

We do not have a cut system in place. To keep their BFA status, however, students must maintain a 2.75 GPA.

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Does USC accept AP or IB credit?

Yes. Learn more information on how USC handles AP or IB test scores.

As a theatre major, will I be able to do a double major or a minor?

Students pursuing our BA in Theatre will have a lot more flexibility, and heightened possibility, of completing a double major depending on the specific major a student is trying to complete. Typically, students in our BA program are able to complete their BA and a minor in a four-year timeline. BFA students are not able to complete a double major or a minor within a four year period.

What is the average class size at USC?

The typical class size for our classes will usually be 25 students, at most.

Can I study abroad?

Students in the BA in Theatre program have the opportunity to study in London for either a semester or year by audition through BADA. The course credits earned through this experience will be used for degree credit at USC. Students interested in studying abroad at any other location should speak with their academic advisor to determine the viability of incorporating studying abroad into their four-year course plan. While studying abroad is an option for some of our students, it might not always be feasible or possible. In order to study abroad, students must have earned a minimum of 64 units, be in good academic standing and complete all necessary applications through the Office of Overseas Studies. Read more about study abroad.

Students pursuing one of our BFA programs are unable to study abroad and unable to receive credit for courses taken outside of USC.

What are the USC Core and General Education curriculum?

Learn more information about the USC Core and General requirements.

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Miscellaneous

Who are your alumni and where are they working?

The USC School of Dramatic Arts has the privilege of teaching the nation’s top students who go on to make an indelible mark on the artistic fields they enter. They have been honored with the most prestigious awards in the profession, including the Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe. Learn about some of our notable alumni.

My question was not answered in this FAQ.

For any questions not addressed in this FAQ, or for more information, please contact us at sdainfo@usc.edu.

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