USC Launches MFA in ‘Expanded Animation’

USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) has announced a new MFA program, Expanded Animation Research + Practice (XA) that launched during the Fall 2022 semester. Details were revealed today by Elizabeth M. Daley, Dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

The XA program “converges multiculturalism, critical thinking and aesthetically emboldened risk taking.” Through individual mentorship and a flexible curriculum, the three-year MFA degree allows students to design their own career path and to draw from courses in animation and in the other six SCA divisions. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with other schools at USC in the arts, humanities, STEM and social sciences.

“How does animation penetrate fields beyond art and entertainment? What is the future of animation? How can we apply our art practice in an ethical and socially responsible manner? Expanded Animation strives to answer these questions, innovate and challenge perceptions around the art form,” says Professor Kathy Smith, the director of the program. “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.”

Last Stop
Last Stop (Shelby Chan, MFA 2021)

About SCA’s XA MFA:

The Expanded Animation program ( is designed for artists, directors and visionaries seeking 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.

An international award-winning faculty ( will lead the program in Experimental Animation, Animated Painting, 2D/3D Animation, Real-Time & Virtual Performance Animation, AI Animation, Stop-Motion Animation, Documentary Animation and Cinematic Installation Art. 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 & Sound Design and Science Visualization.

The XA program is globally facing and emphasizes 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. The program “welcomes individualist animation artists who are passionate about the art form, social justice, strive for excellence and share a commitment to significantly impact the field.”

Applications for USC SCA’s XA program are now being accepted; the deadline is November 15, 2022. Instructions and details available here

Mixtape (Kaitlyn Leewing, MFA 2020)


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