Who We Are
Media Arts and Practice imagines a world in which media across all platforms engages, empowers, delights, provokes, and unites people in profound ways.
Our program, founded in 1998 by SCA Dean Elizabeth Daley in conversation with George Lucas, began life as a research unit dedicated to exploring and developing areas of creativity and scholarship in new media technologies and applications. Since then, MA+P has grown to become an integral part of the constellation of cutting-edge programs that make up USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. We offer carefully developed BA, Honors, and PhD programs each of which engage our students in the fundamentals of rigorous research and creative skill development, allowing them to move fluidly and easily between theory and practice, and placing them at the vanguard of emergent media and storytelling techniques.
Students in MA+P work across a wide array of digital storytelling tools and methodologies, including: filmmaking, audio design, world building, 360° and IMAX photographic techniques, web and interactive design and coding, tangible computing, 3D modeling and fabrication, and immersive technologies (including mixed, augmented, and virtual reality). Residing at the intersection of storytelling and scholarly practice, our students engage in each of these areas through a critical lens with the focus of affecting change in areas of society that are in the most need.
The MA+P community is committed to diversity and inclusivity in all that we do. Not only does our student population reflect our values, but so does the work we study and produce. Our faculty, staff, and students work together to ask the tough questions necessary to ensure our curriculum reflects the experiences of our entire community. We believe in using our knowledge and abilities to produce work that pushes our culture toward an equitable and sustainable future. We acknowledge our position of privilege and our responsibility for empowering those who are less advantaged by providing a platform to aid in amplifying their voices.
Our interdisciplinary faculty of scholars and artists are committed to providing a space in which students can grow into fearless leaders in their understanding and use of digital media. They challenge students, expecting the best, while also nurturing individuals toward their personal and professional goals. MA+P faculty, through their own practice, understand and underscore the importance of collaboration, encouraging our students to look outside the program for productive partnerships. With the benefit that comes from being a part of one of the premier U.S. research universities, MA+P students have formed successful relationships with top scholars and artists from across campus (e.g. in architecture, medicine, social work, art, dramatic arts, and other SCA programs), as well as with members of the greater Los Angeles academic, creative, business, and social justice communities.
With a broad skill set, honed in L.A. (one of the most inspirational creative hubs in the world), MA+P undergraduate students graduate to work as leaders in the advertising, education, tech, and entertainment industries (among others). Employers have reported back that they not only appreciate our students’ strong, project-based, work ethic, but also the integrated, critical thinking skills they bring to the table.
Our PhD students have become leaders in defining new forms of arts based research within their respective fields of study. They work at leading universities and think tanks; have formed their own design studios; and are integral members of industry-driven, scholarly-based R&D collaborations.
In a world of ubiquitous and ever-changing media forms where people often feel distracted and disengaged, Media Arts and Practice empowers students to become creative, critical and ethical makers of media through thoughtful practice, hands-on research, and community engagement.