USC offers tuition-free MFA programs in acting and theatrical writing to students

There will be no tuition fees for Masters in Fine Arts degrees for students enrolled in the acting and writing departments of the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts.

The university is cutting all tuition fees for its highly regarded MFA program, which has continuously placed among the Top 25 drama schools in the country according to The Hollywood Reporter, starting in the 2024–2025 academic year. Graduate students who enroll in the three-year programs now or in the future will be eligible to receive their degrees at no cost.

“The decision comes at a pivotal moment for the entertainment industry, as actors and writers navigate tightening competition for opportunities in film and TV,” according to a university statement. “USC is committed to ensuring that talented individuals from diverse backgrounds have access to a world-class education without financial constraints.”

By removing any financial obstacles that would prevent such individuals from attending, USC stated that it intends to “more competitively recruit extraordinarily gifted creatives”. Given that there are only 35 students in each program, they are fairly competitive.

with addition to academic programs, USC’s School of Dramatic Arts provides recent graduates and students with additional tools and resources to help them with their career transition. These include headshot consultations, self-tape making, audition coaching, and seminars with top business executives.

Renovated from a historic building at Jefferson and Hoover, the school’s new Dramatic Arts Building is a five-story, roughly 40,000-square-foot complex that debuted in March. In addition to vocal practice rooms, rehearsal areas, and an audio design lab, it has two new performance venues: a 110-seat theater and a smaller cabaret space.

Renowned actress Connie Britton, who starred in American Horror Story, Spin City, and Friday Night Lights, sits on the Board of Councilors at the institution and supported the tuition-free choice. She claimed that it will enable the telling of “diverse stories from varied backgrounds regardless of financial means” in a USC statement.

“We’re letting the storytellers and performers of tomorrow know that we believe in them and the power of their dreams,” Britton stated.

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