Undergraduate ProgramsTuition, Financial Aid & Awards

Pursuing your undergraduate degree is one of the most important decisions you will make; it is an investment in yourself and in your future. USC is committed to helping you explore all available financing options so you may make informed decisions.

Understanding that most students rely on multiple funding sources, the USC School of Dramatic Arts strongly encourages you to discuss your financial options with your family or those who may provide support while attending school to select the financial resource(s) that best fit your needs. Financing options typically include USC grants or scholarships, Dramatic Arts awards, external scholarships, grants or sponsorships, family resources, and educational loans.

USC Undergraduate Estimate of Costs
USC Financial Aid

Faculty-Nominated SDA Awards

Thanks to the generosity of friends and alumni, the USC School of Dramatic Arts is able to provide a number awards to some of our exceptional undergraduate students.

These awards are reserved for students who have completed a minimum of one year as a dramatic arts major at USC, and are granted based on a combination of merit and talent as determined by the Dean and a faculty selection committee in the USC School of Dramatic Arts.

Unless specifically stated, performance and cumulative work means class work or performance of any curricular capacity including but not limited to Theatre 397/497: Theatre Practicum. For more information, please contact the Office of Admissions & Student Services at 213-740-1286 or sdainfo@usc.edu.

Paul Allen Backer ISP Award

Established in memory of Paul Allen Backer and presented to a student each year who shows exemplary talent in the creation and production of new plays and musicals within the Independent Student Production community.

John Blankenchip/William C. White Award

Created by a group of alumni to provide two annual awards to students who have made an outstanding contribution to the USC School of Dramatic Arts.

James and Nony Doolittle Awards

Endowed by the late James A. Doolittle, Los Angeles’ leading theatrical producer, to assist graduates in making the transition from the university to the profession. Each year, four or more monetary awards are given to students upon graduation from the BA and BFA programs based on cumulative work during their period of study in the school.

David Coleman Dukes Memorial Award

Honors the late actor David Coleman Dukes and is presented to a junior BA or BFA acting student who shows exemplary dedication to the craft of acting.

Ruth and Albert McKinlay Award

Endowed by the late Ruth McKinlay, an alumna of the USC School of Dramatic Arts, to provide two annual awards, one for the BA student with the highest GPA and one to an outstanding BA performer.

Stanley Musgrove Award

Endowed by the late Mr. Musgrove to provide an annual performance award to the student who has shown the most outstanding creative talent.

Jack Nicholson Award

Endowed by the actor to provide two annual performance awards to outstanding actors.

James B. Pendleton Award

Provides one annual award to a student who has made an outstanding contribution to the USC School of Dramatic Arts.

Nancy Kehr Reed Memorial Award

Established by the Kehr family to provide financial support for independent student productions, including the creation of new plays and musicals.

John Ritter Memorial Award

Honors the dramatic arts student who has given the most outstanding comic performance during the season.

Ritchie M. Spencer Memorial Award

To recognize achievements of an outstanding undergraduate design student as they enter their chosen profession.

USC Alumni & Friends Award

Given annually to the student who has made a special contribution to student activities at the school and promises to become an exceptional alumnus.

Student Council Award

Established by the Student Council of the USC School of Dramatic Arts to honor a graduating senior who has been recognized by their peers for their contributions to the school.

In addition to the awards listed above, the school offers more than a dozen scholarships during the admissions process thanks to generous philanthropic support from individual donors, corporations, and foundations.  These scholarships are allocated by our admissions team based on a combination of merit and need and are separate from financial aid.  SDA is committed to increasing our scholarship pool in order to ensure access for all students, regardless of financial status.