November 10, 2022

SCA launches new MFA program!

By Benjamin Pola

The USC School of Cinematic Arts' newest MFA program, Expanded Animation Research + Practice (XA), which launched during the Fall 2022 semester is now accepting applications!  

XA converges multiculturalism, critical thinking, and aesthetically emboldened risk-taking in the field of animation. Through individual mentorship and a flexible curriculum, the three-year MFA degree allows students to design their own career path, drawing from courses in animation, as well as electives from all six SCA divisions. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to collaborate with other schools at USC in the arts, humanities, STEM, and social sciences. 

Student installation Circles of Care by Ana Carolina Estarita takes visitors on a journey following the life cycle of a living system.

The XA program is designed for artists, directors, and visionaries to advance the field while exploring new forms of animation practice, including Artificial Intelligence, socially impactful animation, and academic excellence across the arts, academia, and industry. Professor Kathy Smith, the director of the program says, “XA will draw on creative and technical innovations to expand the meaning of the art form and establish new ways of using animation to perceive, understand and express the world around us.”

XA's international, award-winning faculty will lead the program in Experimental Animation, Animated Painting, 2D/3D Animation, Real-time, and Virtual Performance Animation, AI Animation, Stop Motion Animation, Documentary Animation, and Cinematic Installation Art. In addition to the above, there will also be research concentrations in Performance Gesture, Animation for Robotics, Virtual Humans, Advanced Character Performance, Cinematic Installations, Fine Art Animation Practice, Dreams and Consciousness, Sonic Art and Sound Design, and Science Visualization.  

Student film MIXTAPE by Kaitlyn Leewing. An exploration of the beauty and complications of love while awake and dreaming.

This global-facing program will emphasize diversity, community, and collaboration, bridging multiple disciplines and schools at USC, in Los Angeles, and internationally through internships, residencies, academic research, teaching, and exhibition opportunities. 

XA welcomes individualist animation artists who are passionate about the art form, and social justice, strive for excellence, and share a commitment to significantly impact the field. 

The deadline to apply for the Fall 2023 semester is November 15, 2022. Application instructions and further details are available here:

For more information about the XA Program please contact or (213) 764-3332.

XA Student Work:

Trailer of XA student work.