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USC Cinematic Arts - Film and Television Production (MFA)

Degrees Offered
3 Year M.F.A.
Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Film & Television Production, Producing, Sound Design
Tuition Range
$20k to $30k

Film School details

Application Deadline
Fall Admission Deadline: November 15th
Spring Admission Deadline: August 15th
Acceptance Rate
Lowest Accepted GPA
Earliest Int. Notification
January 3
Earliest Interview
January 18
Earliest Decision
January 25
MFA students learn in the most state of the art facilities rivaling the most advanced production companies in the world. You'll hone your talent as a media-maker in six specialties- Producing, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, and Sound-while also learning the newest cutting-edge technologies that are changing the professional production process, preparing you for all future forms of media production.
School URL
GRE Required?
Minimum GPA
No Minimum GPA Requirement
Letters of Reference Req.
3 (1 from and academic reference)
Internship Opportunities
Yes (required)
Portfolio Required?

Latest reviews

Reviewed by
Admitted Applicant
  1. Really strong alumni network.
  2. Reputation and Prestige (World renowned).
  3. Opportunities to pitch to studio executives.
  4. Job opportunities/internships other than DP or directing in Hollywood.
  5. Surrounded by faculty who currently work in Hollywood.
  6. Student assistantships with hourly pay with sign on bonus of up to 5k.
  7. Scholarship opportunities for students who get their 1st or 2nd year films into good film festivals.
  1. Tuition fee: ~40k/annum ( total cost for 3 years might extend up to 200k because of self-funded films).
  2. Self-funded films except for 546 course (top 10 students of 60). Thesis is also self-funded.
  3. Can make only one top tier film festival worth movie in 546 course as a director (Unless you self-fund the films you make in intermediate directing, directing techniques, advanced directing or making media for social change courses).
  4. International students should be prepared to go back if they do not get their movies into top tier film festivals (which makes you eligible for O1 visa : click here for more details).
  5. No high end equipment for directing courses other than thesis or a 546.
Bottom line: Tons of opportunities to work in Hollywood but may be not as a DP or a Director (Unless you're a Ryan Coogler :D).
5.00 star(s)
5.00 star(s)
Career Assistance
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5.00 star(s)
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3.00 star(s)
2 members found this helpful.
Abraam Dawod
Abraam Dawod
International student here. Do you know if I would be eligible for an O1 Visa if my short film gets into a top tier film school? Or do they only consider feature films as Visa worthy?
Reviewed by
Current Student
  • USC SCA has a ton of resource.
  • Amazing faculty, equipment, infrastructure and amazing classmates aka future collaborators.
  • Plus being a part of USC, there is just a ton of advantages in itself.
  • Even the campus is breathtaking, which means you got a ton of shooting spots!
  • Not everything will be given to you, some expect that, but do know that you need to put in some effort too.
I have finished my first semester and it has lived up to my great expectations. The semester just blew past me. There was so much to do and so much to learn! I just can't wait for the next semester to begin.

USC School of Cinematic Arts IS definitely the best film school.
2 members found this helpful.
  • Like
Reactions: sharkb8
Chris W
Chris W
Do you have an update for this review?
Sibi is one of my Student Instructors. It's funny to come back to this site and see his name but actually recognize it now. I'll ask him to update his review next time I see him. Also I'll offer my own review at the end of this semester (I'd be amazed if it isn't 5 stars).
Reviewed by
Admitted Applicant
I just went to their graduate admitted students day, and needless to say, it's pretty understandable why they continuously rank top 3 on every Best Film School list. Friendly and knowledgeable faculty, committed students, and they had pulled a nice, diverse group together for this coming year which is very important to me as a filmmaker. Not sure where I'm going yet, but definitely impressed!
  • Like
Reactions: Chris W

Latest questions

Are there any statistics about getting a full-tuition scholarship for international students at USC?
Virtually impossible afaik. Every single international student here who I know comes from a wealthy family. Their parents are paying a lot of money to let them be here. There are some scholarships USC offers, but they tend to be partial scholarships for merit, and the only full rides I've seen were given due to health issues or need based requests.
How many students get admitted to Directing MFA program each year? And does everyone in the major have the chance to make their thesis film?
One member found this helpful.
Chris W
Chris W
USC unfortunately doesn't officially share this info but I'd check the tracking sheets from previous years to see the stats that our users have tracked. In 2018 out of 12 out of 36 (33%) site members were accepted to Film/Television Production for example.
If by Directing MFA you mean the Film & TV Production MFA, then the USC admissions info session presenter, Victoria, told us that 60 are accepted in the Fall and 60 in the Spring.

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