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The Expanded Animation Research + Practice program offers an MFA curriculum that focuses on animation created from an artist's and director's point of view. Conceived to support and encourage experimentation, emphasize research in the field of animation, and facilitate a diversity of ideas from a broad range of thought, courses in the program explore innovation with the goal of inspiring students beyond their current artistic boundaries.

Students in this program can work in any form of animation--from analog artisanal techniques to sophisticated CG programs--and may also work from and find inspiration in a variety of fields, from filmmaking and other cinematic entertainment, to academia, the sciences, artificial intelligence, robotics, and other disciplines that can benefit from an imaginative animation practice.

Research concentrations include experimental animation, narrativity, documentary animation, performance gesture, animation for robotics, virtual humans and AI, character animation, cinematic installations, fine art animation practice, gesture movement, sound design, dreams and consciousness and science visualization. Our courses are supported by research collaborations, exhibitions and overnight field trips to remote locations.

This is the program for advanced, visionary artists who are passionate about the field of animation and compelled to pursue work that confronts its future.


Meet (some of) the Faculty of Expanded Animation!

Faculty Profile

Sophia the Robot Faculty Welcomes You to XA

Faculty Profile

The SCA Council on Diversity and Inclusion Honors XA Students

Diversity Awards
Project Profile

Featured Student Work

Circles of Care by Ana Carolina Estarita

Sophia by XA Faculty and Students

Go, More, Faster by Eli Ayres

Last Stop by Shelby Chan

Degree Programs

Master in Fine Arts

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Expanded Animation Research + Practice (XA) provides a higher-level education and research experience in the field of animation and digital media across industry, academia, and the arts. Focusing on animation practice as well as social responsibility, the program bridges multiple disciplines and schools at USC. Situated within the media and cultural nexus of Los Angeles, we offer students a variety of international internships, residencies, academic research, teaching, and exhibition opportunities. The XA program emphasizes advanced animation practices, genres, techniques and platforms, while examining critical theory, and global histories of animation. The XA curriculum is designed to prompt expanded practices, to tease out new perspectives, under-represented voices, and original storytelling.

View Degree Requirements External Site

Contact Information

Expanded Animation Research + Practice (XA)
USC School of Cinematic Arts
900 W. 34th Street - SCA 250
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2211
Phone: 213-764-3332