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School of Visual Arts MFA Computer Arts emphasizes creative experimentation and a multidisciplinary approach to making art with computers and emerging technologies. Dedicated to producing digital artists of the highest caliber, the department guides each student in the development of a personal artistic style in a course of study that is individually tailored to meet his or her needs. Students come from around the world to study in this two-year MFA degree program, which has distinguished itself with nine Student Academy Awards.

  • Founded in 1986 and with a network of over 1000 alumni, the SVA MFA Computer Arts Department was the first MFA program in the USA to focus on computer art.
  • The first-year curriculum strengthens and broadens the student's knowledge and creative approach to digital art in preparation for the thesis year.
  • The second year revolves around the thesis process—the completion of a body of creative work, combined with academic research and an artist’s statement.
  • The first- and second-year academic programs are supplemented by workshops, visiting artists, guest lectures and internship opportunities.

Graduates of the department are employed by the most prestigious companies and digital studios including: Adobe, Google, Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Blue Sky Studios, The Mill, Charlex, MTV, Electronic Arts. Some alumni choose the entrepreneurship of their own businesses. Those who pursue fine art careers exhibit their work in museums and galleries, including: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, P.S.1/MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Digital Art Museum, Chelsea Art Museum and Tate Online. By combining creativity with academics, graduates have also published books, scholarly writings and chosen teaching careers at prestigious higher education institutions.

Awards have been bestowed upon our students by major international competitions including nine Student Academy Awards, Adobe Design Achievement Awards, Youtube Award, Prix Ars Electronica, SIGGRAPH, Electronic Theater and Art Show, Webby Awards, ISEA and the Leonardo Awards for Excellence. Student works have appeared in such acclaimed festivals as Cannes, Tribeca and Sundance, Annecy, Ottawa and New York, among dozens of others.

Chair Statement

Art and technology have always been fantastic partners in creativity and our MFA students consistently create great examples around that intersection. We place a strong emphasis on personal exploration by encouraging students to push their preconceived boundaries and embrace early experimentation as a critical part of the iterative process.

The MFA Computer Arts program emphasizes creativity and a multidisciplinary approach to producing innovative animation, motion graphics and fine art within a collaborative state-of-the-art production environment. Our goal is to develop artists who will continue to challenge norms, question standards, and surprise people long after they leave SVA. Being based in NYC also offers a significantly enhanced cultural experience including music, theater, food, museums and of course world renowned art galleries.

Our students come from all around the globe, providing unique cultural perspectives to the creative process. Our combination of small class sizes, working professionals as faculty and guest lectures provide in-depth exposure to all areas of animation, motion graphics and fine art.

Terrence Masson, chair

Before coming to SVA, Terrence served as Head of Animation at Northeastern University in Boston and founded the Interactive Media and Game Design Programs. He lectures internationally representing SIGGRAPH, the Visual Effects Society and Producers Guild and his book "CG101:A Computer Graphic Industry Reference" continues to be an industry standard. Terrence has worked on more than 20 feature films including Hook, True Lies, Interview with the Vampire and three Star Wars movies, and he supervised numerous interactive projects such as SimCity4, Bruce Lee, Batman Dark Tomorrow and Alter Echo. He also developed the original CG pipeline for SouthPark in 1996 and his short film Bunkie & Booboo won first place in the World Animation Celebration in 1998.

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587