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The University of Southern California

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityC Faculty AccessibilityC
Useful SchoolworkC Excess CompetitionC
Academic SuccessC Creativity/ InnovationC
Individual ValueC University Resource UseB
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA FriendlinessB
Campus MaintenanceA Social LifeC
Surrounding CityC Extra CurricularsC
Describes the student body as:

Describes the faculty as:

Lowest Rating
Educational Quality
Highest Rating
Campus Aesthetics/ Beauty
He cares more about Extra Curriculars than the average student.
Date: Sep 20 2011
Major: Fine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc (This Major's Salary over time)
I'm a prospective graduate art student with an emphasis on painting and planning on getting in to the MFA-painting/drawing program. I hear good things about the Roski School of Fine Arts from fellow artists at my undergrad college as well as from artists on internet forums. But I needed to visit to see for myself how it really is. So here's my review:

The USC Fine Arts grad program:


Facilities - the facilities are NOT situated on the main campus. It is a run-down building about three blocks or so north of the campus near the freeway and adjacent to a car dealership & parking lot. Normally as an artist I don't mind this as long as the facility provides ample individual studio space, classrooms, a photo lab & internet access which this building offers. But it almost feels as if it isolates you and makes you feel like you're not a part of the University. If you're the type of student-artist who feels the need to stretch out of the studio & walk out into the main quad on campus & maybe get inspiration from the setting or from other students from other disciplines, this program may not be suited for you. You can probably do this at USC since they provide shuttle access from the graduate building to the main campus. But what good would that do if you have the need to paint on campus and have to carry your equipment, your 5' by 6' or larger stretched canvas and supplies in the shuttle which is usually crowded with students. They were able to upgrade their Film/Cinema dept on their main campus to accommodate both undergrads and grads with the finest state of the art equipment. With a budget like USC has, one would think they would have done the same to the Roski School of Art on the main campus to also accommodate the grad students. shrugs Art grads I talked to find the inconvenience of having to take the shuttle to the main campus to TA, leave and wait on the bus stop to take the shuttle back to the graduate building to make it on time for their lecture/seminar class which would start 5 minutes after the shuttle makes it back to the building.

Program - The program seems to focus a bit too much (90:10) or (85:15) on theory/seminars as oppose to a balance of theory and studio work. While some may not mind that, if you're the type of student who wants a mixture of practice work and lecture, this program may not be the one for you if you're a serious art student.

Cost - It is expensive, but what graduate program in the country isn't? Okay maybe the State schools relative to the likes of USC, Ucla or CalArts. While the Art Dept say they remit tuition based on a number of units you take for the semester by taking a TA position, is that guaranteed? Will a fellowship alone take care of all your expenses which is somewhere around an average of $21K PER SEMESTER o_O Even if tuition is covered you may still need to gulp takes a loan to cover health fees and/or parking permit.

Social Scene - pretty much like I said about facilities, you are isolated from the main campus and relegated to the 10 or 15 other students in the graduate building.


The faculty seems to encourage their students and give good feedback. While studio class work is limited, the lectures and seminars give you a chance to meet with distinctive professional artists in the region, the country as well as from around the world. You are closer to museums and galleries in the vicinity of Los Angeles. If you plan on teaching art at the college level after you graduate, USC will be suited for you since most Universities require the MFA to teach art. Otherwise, if you're a college graduate & artist who solely wants to make art, exhibit and sell, you are better off devoting your time & money by focusing on that and not waste & money time with the MFA.

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The University of Southern California
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