MVA On Campus

Visual Anthropology

University of Southern California

12 months
60446 USD/year
60446 USD/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


In 2009, the Center for Visual Anthropology (CVA) at University of Southern California launched a new one-year Visual Anthropology MVA program. Continuing a 30-year tradition of ethnographic documentary production, with over 150 documentaries produced by students and over 25 by faculty, the program updates its format for the digital age.


The Visual Anthropology MVA program at University of Southern California is open to college graduates who have a background in anthropology, social science, cultural studies, film studies, documentary production, or cross-cultural visual studies, and to University of Southern California undergraduates. 

We provide a scholarly environment for the study and practice of anthropological media, hands-on training in ethnographic documentary production techniques (camera, sound, editing), as well as the opportunity for group projects and peer critique.


MVA graduates have screened at major ethnographic film festivals—such as the Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival and Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival—and have won fellowships and honors from Visual Communications, the International Documentary Association, and Sundance Institute | YouTube New Voices Lab, among others. All MVA thesis films are eligible for inclusion in the MVA Collection from Alexander Street Press, but alumni are welcome to pursue other distribution options.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Seminar in Ethnographic Film
  • The Practice of Ethnography 
  • Anthropological Media Seminar

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 12 months

Start dates & application deadlines


32 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • The GREs are required for admission to any graduate program at USC.
  • One-page statement of purpose detailing your own background and experiences, and your interest in visual anthropology
  • A two-page, single-spaced proposal for an ethnographic documentary project that can be completed within the span of the one-year program
  • Two letters of recommendation (submitted through the online application form)
  • You may submit copies of earlier visual work by postal mail, but it is not required
  • These should be sent to the USC Department of Anthropology mailing address, Attention: Graduate Program Advisor

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    60446 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 30223 USD per semester during 12 months.
  • National

    60446 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 30223 USD per semester during 12 months.

Living costs for Los Angeles

1520 - 2570 USD /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Our partners

Visual Anthropology
University of Southern California


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