Playful and interactive experiences make up the fastest growing segment of the entertainment industry. USC has been a pioneer in teaching the foundations of games and interactive media while also moving the field forward with innovative research concepts. The Princeton Review has ranked USC the #1 Game Design school in North America every year since its ranking system began in 2009.
Featured Student Work
Bachelor of Arts
The Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Entertainment explores the full potential of game design and interactive experiences. Students learn about the depth and diversity of the form-from AAA development processes to indie and experimental genres of play, from virtual and alternate realities to expressive and meaningful games designed to enrich, educate, and influence a wide audience.
Masters in Fine Arts
The Master of Fine Arts is an inclusive, creative, and entrepreneurial community that is supportive of all forms of game and interactive design. Students explore experimental and artistic games as well as those with a commercial focus and are encouraged to look beyond what are called "games" today as part of a curriculum dedicated to innovating every form of interactive. This, in part, is why the Division has a distinguished record of producing work and teams that have gone on to become startup game, mobile, virtual reality, and other innovative interactive companies.
Master of Fine Arts, Interactive Media (Games and Health)
An MFA emphasis on designing and evaluating interactive entertainment-based with applications in neuroscience, public health and medicine is for already admitted MFA students who may declare this emphasis, typically by the end of their second year . Besides completing the required coursework for the emphasis, students must also initiate, lead and complete a thesis project in this area.
Cinematic Arts (Media Arts, Games and Health)
The MA degree program in Cinematic Arts (Media Arts, Games and Health) with emphasis on designing and evaluating interactive entertainment-based applications in neuroscience, public health and medicine can be completed as a traditional or progressive master's, and is designed to be combined with other programs (e.g., social work, neuroscience, physical therapy, public health) of the student's interest.
The minor in documentary is designed to train students in the preparation and production of documentary media. Courses are designed to give students insight into both the history of documentary as well as access to new and emerging forms of the media.
The Minor in Game Animation gives students the ability to learn game animation with an emphasis on interaction and playability. Mechanics are just part of the equation in game design. Students learn how to make a game look great in 3D, 2D, and experimental spaces.
Soundscapes and audio interactivity are two of the most in-demand and growing aspects of the video game and interactive industry. Students who minor in Game Audio learn how to make a game or interactive media experience sound great from genuine pioneers from the field.
The Interactive Media & Games Division's Game Design minor teaches how to design and analyze games from whiteboard to screen. Whether an aspiring designer, artist, entrepreneur, or simply a game enthusiast, students gain the skills and vocabulary needed to stand out in the fastest growing segment of the entertainment industry.
What does it take to take an idea into the marketplace? Where do most game startups fail while others succeed? How can game artists protect themselves when forming a company? A minor in Game Entrepreneurism helps game designers take their ideas to the next level, teaching how to form, maintain, and expand their team into a business.
Games are a major cultural form, with game sales now exceeding box office revenue in the United States. Attention to games and interactive media is growing, and it has become necessary to understand them as meaningful systems, reflect on their cultural influence, and to help guide their evolution with insightful criticism. The game studies minor prepares a student with fundamental underpinnings in media criticism and games.
Game User Research
Game and interaction design are deeply dependent upon human-computer interaction and the ability to use research methods to improve player experience. Game user research is a critical aspect of game design and development that involves management of playtests and usability tests of the software, technology and rules. Along with the ability to analyze and design for optimal player experience, this field combines the ability to analyze large batches of data, and an understanding of how to build applications that mine data from users; these skills form the backbone of an incredibly valuable team member for digital entertainment products.
A minor in immersive media is open to all undergraduate students at USC. This interdisciplinary minor provides the opportunity for technically minded students, business and entrepreneurially driven students, and/or creatively driven students to gain knowledge about the virtual reality industry and how to create content effectively. Students can add depth within a specific area by selecting elective courses within the same area or can add breadth by choosing elective courses from two separate areas.
Who designs theme parks, museums, fireworks shows, water fountain spectaculars, and parades? Themed entertainment designers do. From cruise ships to casinos to immersive educational retreats, the Themed Entertainment Minor teaches students to design almost anything that involves submerging a real, live human being into a story in a truly robust, physical way.