Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts in Animation & Digital Arts is a unique four-year program granted through the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences in conjunction with the School of Cinematic Arts. Students study within the framework that combines a broad liberal arts background with specialization in a profession. Areas of concentration might include character animation, experimental animation, visual effects, 3D computer animation, science visualization and interactive animation.

Animation work by Bachelor of Arts in Animation student Matt Friedlander

Undergraduate students take their pre-professional courses in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, including the general education requirements. Major courses are selected from the curriculum of the School of Cinematic Arts. The degree requires 128 units, including a minimum of 16 lower-division units and a minimum of 26 upper-division units in Cinematic Arts.

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Master of Fine Arts

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Animation & Digital Arts is a three-year (six semester) graduate program designed for students who have clearly identified animation and digital art as their primary interest in cinema. The program focuses on animation production and includes a wide range of techniques and aesthetic approaches, from hand-drawn character animation to state-of-the-art interactive digital animation. While embracing traditional forms, the program strongly encourages innovation and experimentation, and emphasizes imagination, creativity and critical thinking. Students should graduate with a comprehensive knowledge of animation from conception through realization, an understanding of the history of the medium and its aesthetics, and an in-depth knowledge of computer animation software and the most important elements of digital and interactive media.

A graduate Animation & Digital Arts student
draws with a digital tablet

The program requires a minimum of 50 units: 34 units are in prescribed, sequential courses in the School of Cinematic Arts. The remaining 16 units are Cinematic Arts electives, four of which must be taken in the Division of Critical Studies. A thesis is required for the M.F.A. degree. Ongoing workshops in new technologies, traditional and digital media provide additional educational opportunities for students.

Admission is granted once a year in the fall; there are no spring admissions. Approximately 14 students will be enrolled in each incoming class. In addition to practical production, the program also provides opportunities for fieldwork experience and internships to facilitate the student's transition into the profession.

Prior knowledge of fundamental digital animation concepts and techniques is recommended.

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Minor in Animation and Digital Arts

Students browse flipbooks on display
at a DADA event

The minor in animation offers students an introduction to the theory and practice of animation, including its relationship to the history of art and cinema, creative writing and basic film production. It provides students with an opportunity to create both personal and collaborative work in a wide range of genres, from traditional character to contemporary experimental and computer animation. This includes painting, cel, stop motion, collage, mixed media, 2D and 3D computer animation software and interactive digital media. Successful completion of a final project is required.

Most students will enter the minor in animation program in their sophomore year at USC. A student enrolled on the undergraduate level at USC may apply to minor in animation if he or she is maintaining normal degree progress.

Animation minor applications are reviewed by a panel of faculty members, with admissions made for the fall semester only. A maximum of 12 students will be admitted per year.

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Minor in Science Visualization

The minor in science visualization offers an introduction to science visualization methodology and practice focused in an area of relevant research. The minor is structured to provide the skills and knowledge needed in science visualization, culminating in a capstone project under the close supervision of faculty in both animation and science. The program requires 16 units.

Most students will enter the minor in science visualization in their sophomore year at USC. Science visualization minor applications are reviewed by a panel of faculty members, with admissions made for the following fall semester only. A maximum of 12 students will be admitted per year.

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