USC Interactive Media & Games Division

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The University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts's Interactive Media & Games Division first accepted M.F.A. students in 2002. The division currently offers both undergraduate (B.A.) and graduate (M.F.A.) programs in interactive media and game design. The programs include courses in game design, development, audio, animation, and user research as well as experimental work in gestural and immersive interfaces, transmedia design, and interactive cinema.[1]

In 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, USC was named as the number-one design program for games in North America by the Princeton Review.[2]

Major funders of the USC IMGD include Microsoft and Electronic Arts, both of which companies have endowed faculty positions in the program.[3][4] Game industry executive Bing Gordon was the first holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment, which is currently held by game designer Tracy Fullerton.[5] The Microsoft Endowed Professorship is held by user research pioneer Dennis Wixon.[6]

In 2012, the school announced plans for a new building to house the Interactive Media program and associated research labs, including the Game Innovation Lab.[7] In early 2013, Tracy Fullerton, the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair of Interactive Media, announced that the division, formerly known as the Interactive Media Division, was renamed the Interactive Media & Games Division to "honor the groundbreaking work in games that our faculty and students have produced in the decade since our division was formed."[8]

In 2013, alumni Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago, founders of thatgamecompany were honored with multiple awards for Game of the Year, Game Direction, Innovation, and Game Design for their game Journey (2012).[9]



Faculty & Staff[edit]

Currently, the division is chaired by Tracy Fullerton, a game designer and author. Full-time faculty and staff include Scott Fisher - founding chair of the division, Mark Bolas, Steve Anderson, Richard Lemarchand, Dennis Wixon, Perry Hoberman, Peter Brinson, William Huber, Marientina Gotsis, Andreas Kratky, Jeff Watson, Jen Stein, Sam Roberts, and Akira Thompson. Adjunct Faculty include Laird Malamed, Danny Bilson, Mark Essen, Heather Desurvire, Vincent Diamante, Tom Frisina, Chevon Hicks, Michael Kontopolous, Robert Nashak, Joseph Olin, and Scott Rogers.

Former faculty and staff include Anne Balsamo, Chris Swain, Peggy Weil, Jeremy Gibson, Julian Bleecker, Michael Lew, Erik Loyer, Michael Naimark, Eddo Stern and Kurosh ValaNejad.


Notable alumni have included the founders of thatgamecompany, including Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago. Also, Justin Hall, Matt Korba and Paul Bellezza of The Odd Gentlemen, Asher Vollmer (Threes!) and Sean Plott (Day9). Elle Schneider (developer of the Digital Bolex) also attended the program.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°01′26″N 118°16′45″W / 34.02400°N 118.27919°W / 34.02400; -118.27919