Frequently Asked Questions

Application

When is your application available for Fall 2021?

Applications will be available September 1.

When is the application due?

The BA in Theatre priority deadline and final deadline for all BFA programs is December 1, 2020.

The final BA in Theatre deadline for first year applicants is January 15, 2021.

The final BA in Theatre deadline for transfer applicants is February 1, 2021.

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 may only submit one supplemental application. 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 the BFA and BA as your major choice options, you only need to submit the BFA supplemental.

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 2021-2022 Academic Year without submitting SAT or ACT scores. More information about this test optional policy and our application process.

Do I need to audition?

Applicants applying to our BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media program are required to audition. Applicants to our BFA in Musical Theatre will go through a pre-screening process followed by a callback audition, if invited. Auditions are not available for BA in Theatre applicants.

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

Fall 2021 applicants to the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media will upload their filmed audition monologues to the supplemental application in SlideRoom and submit by the December 1 deadline.

How do I schedule an audition?

Fall 2021 applicants to the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media will not need to schedule an audition as they will each upload their filmed audition monologues to their supplemental application in SlideRoom.

When will I know when my audition is scheduled?

Fall 2021 applicants to the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media will audition through filmed monologues that they upload to their supplemental application in SlideRoom and as such will require no confirmation of a “scheduled” audition.

How can I reschedule my audition?

Fall 2021 applicants to the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media will not have the need to reschedule an audition as they will all upload their filmed monologues to their supplemental application in SlideRoom.

What do I need to bring with me for the audition? What do I need to prepare?

For the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media, please prepare two monologues that are contrasting in nature. One monologue should be a classical piece (pre 1910) and the other, a contemporary piece (post 1910). Each monologue should be no longer than two minutes in length. Do not use accents, dialects, or stylized characters. Fall 2021 applicants will need to film and upload their audition monologues to their supplemental application in SlideRoom.

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 to your audition.

What if I cannot attend a live audition?

In response to COVID-19, Fall 2021 applicants to the BFA in Acting in Stage, Screen and New Media will not be able to conduct an live audition. Applicants will need to film and upload their audition monologues to their supplemental application in SlideRoom.

What does the prescreen package for the BFA in Musical Theatre consist of?

In SlideRoom, you will be asked to provide the following:

Acting: Upload ONE Shakespearean monologue & ONE contemporary monologue from a published play. Each should be no longer than two minutes in length, be contrasting, memorized and be performed in the context of the entire play.

Voice: Upload TWO contrasting songs of at least 32-bars each. One song must be from the published Golden Age (i.e., Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Leonard Bernstein) musical theatre canon. The second song may also come from the musical theatre cannon or be a published contemporary piece. Please sing with recorded or with live accompaniment, not a cappella. Both songs must be memorized.

Dance: Upload TWO 60-second clips of yourself dancing. Video ONE should demonstrate technique, strength, flexibility, accuracy and form. Video TWO should demonstrate artistry, musicality and individual movement quality. Any TWO styles are acceptable but you must show two DIFFERENT styles from the following: ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip hop, freestyle, traditional cultural dance or musical theatre choreography. Your full body should be in view at all times and should be an original recording of only you. Wear appropriate dance attire and foot wear representing the chosen dance style demonstrated in each video.

When choosing material, we encourage you to showcase work that is meaningful to you rather than to the auditor.

Does the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media have a callback process?

Due to COVID-19, the decision to host a spring callback will be made in January 2021. More information will be shared with applicants at that time as necessary.

Does the BA in Musical Theatre have a callback process?

Due to COVID-19, the decision to host a spring callback will be made in January 2021. More information will be shared with applicants at that time as necessary.

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 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.

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

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

International applicants must meet and submit additional prerequisitesBFA in Acting for the Stage, Screen and New Media applicants unable to attend a live audition, may submit a video of their monologues via SlideRoom. Production applicants will need to submit their portfolio via SlideRoom and will be later scheduled for a virtual interview. All BFA in Musical Theatre applicants will submit their pre-screening materials via SlideRoom.

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 the panel. 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. For Fall 2021 applicants, all 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.

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.

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.

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.

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, Theatre (link to https://dramaticarts.usc.edu/programs/undergraduate/bachelor-of-arts/) program.

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.

Performance Opportunities

How many productions does the department produce per year?

Our typical main stage 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 2020-2021 academic will be significantly reduced.

Do you have a showcase for graduating actors?

Currently, there is a curricular showcase available only to students in the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media program during the spring semester of their senior year.

Are freshmen and non-majors allowed to perform in productions?

Our main stage productions are available exclusively for our majors and minors with the exception of our spring musical, which is open to all USC students. Freshmen are also not allowed to audition during their first semester at USC. We encourage students to take the fall semester of their freshmen 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 freshmen year while BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media (link to https://dramaticarts.usc.edu/programs/undergraduate/bfa-in-acting/) may begin the first semester of their sophomore year.

Student Life

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.

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.

Academics

What is the difference between a BFA and a BA?

Generally speaking, our Bachelor of Fine Arts (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 is a curricular requirement of the BFA programs.

The Bachelor of Arts (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.

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 expose our students to film, television and new media.

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.

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, 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 be 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.

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