University of Southern California
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Interactive Media

Master of Fine Arts

The division of Interactive Media offers a Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media as well as a number of courses in computer-based entertainment for non-majors. The fundamental philosophy of the division is coherent with that of the programs of the school, stressing creativity of expression, experimentation and excellence in execution.

The M.F.A. in Interactive Media is a three-year intensive program that requires 56 units of which 46 are requirements and 10 are electives. Of these electives, a minimum of 6 units must be taken in the School of Cinema-Television. Students are required to complete an advanced interactive project which they design and produce.

The program is intended to prepare students for creative careers in the emerging field of interactive entertainment. While the program does not require advanced computer capabilities, familiarity and comfort with computer based authoring and production/post-production tools is recommended.

Computer and digital production facilities for the program are provided by the school. However, students should budget additional funds for incidental expenses for intermediate and advanced projects. Cost will vary depending on the scope of a student's project. For the first year production course, approximately $1,000 will be needed for miscellaneous costs, lab and insurance fees.

The creation of interactive media requires a combination of skills from the traditional media of film and television as well as a deep understanding of the effects of interactivity upon the quality of experience. Therefore, we emphasize and encourage collaboration with students in other Cinema-Television programs.

Approximately 12 students are admitted in the fall semester (there are no spring admissions).

Applicants for the M.F.A. in Interactive Media must submit a supplemental application and materials to the Interactive Media Program. For specific instructions contact the Cinema-Television Office of Admission, University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2211, (213) 740-2911 or online at

Sample Three-Year Requirements for the M.F.A. in Interactive Media

Year One, First SemesterUnits
CTCS 505Survey of Interactive Media2
CTIN 511Interactive Media Seminar1
CTIN 541aDesign for Interactive Media4
CTPR 519xIntroduction to Cinema Technique2
CTPR 521xFilmic Communication2

Year One, Second SemesterUnits
CTAN 501Interactive Animation2
CTIN 511Interactive Media Seminar1
CTIN 541bDesign for Interactive Media4
CTPR 506Visual Expression2
CTWR 518Introduction to Interactive Writing2

Year Two, First SemesterUnits
CTIN 532Interactive Experience Design4
CTIN 534Experiments in Interactivity I2

Year Two, Second SemesterUnits
CTIN 542Interactive Design and Production4
CTIN 544Experiments in Interactivity II2
CTIN 548Preparing the Interactive Project2

Year Three, first SemesterUnits
CTIN 555aAdvanced Interactive Project4
CTIN 558Business of Interactive Media2

Year Three, SECONd SemesterUnits
CTIN 555bAdvanced Interactive Project2
CTPR 495Internship in Cinema/Television2

At least 6 units from the following:
CMPP 591Producing Practicum2
CTAN 451History of Animation2
CTAN 452Introduction to Computer Animation2
CTAN 462Visual Effects2
CTAN 502aVirtual Reality and Stereoscopic Animation2
CTAN 576Seminar in Film/Television and New Technologies4
CTAN 577aFundamentals of Animation2
CTCS 409Censorship in Cinema4
CTCS 478Culture, Technology and Communications4
CTCS 502History of the International Cinema After World War II2
CTCS 504Television, New Media and Culture2
CTCS 564Seminar in Film and Television Genres4
CTIN 482Designing Online Multiplayer Game Environments2
CTIN 483Programming for Interactivity4
CTIN 488Game Design Workshop4
CTIN 499Special Topics2-4
CTIN 590Directed Research1-12
CTPR 455Introduction to Production Design2
CTPR 472Non-Theatrical Aspects of Film and TV Producing2
CTPR 530Producing for Independent Films2
CTPR 566Developing and Selling Your Film or TV Projects2
CTWR 513Writing the Short Script2
CTWR 520 Advanced Scene Writing Workshop2
CTWR 528Screenwriting Fundamentals2
CTWR 529Intermediate Screenwriting2
CTWR 541Writing from the Unconscious2

No more than 4 units from the following*:
CSCI 480Computer Graphics3
CSCI 485File and Database Management3
CSCI 5803D Graphics and Rendering3

*Courses not listed may satisfy this requirement with approval of the program chair.

Grade Point Average Requirement

An overall GPA of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0) must be maintained in all USC course work toward the master's degree.

A minimum grade of C (2.0) must be earned in all required courses. Students who do not achieve a grade of C (2.0) in the core courses CTIN 532, CTIN 534, CTIN 542 and CTIN 544 after repeating these requirements will be disqualified from the program. The core courses as well as CTIN 555ab cannot be waived or substituted with transfer credits under any circumstances.

Time Limit

Students must maintain satisfactory progress toward their master's degrees at all times. The degree must be completed three years from the first course at USC applied toward the Master of Fine Arts degree. Course work more than seven years old is invalidated and will not be applied toward the degree.

Graduate Review

One year prior to graduation, students are required to file M.F.A. forms for a curriculum and graduation review. Contact the Interactive Media Program Office for forms.