Degree Requirements | FILM PRODUCTION
The School of the Arts Areas of Film and Theatre offer a Master of Fine Arts degree with four fields of study in Film-Production, Film-Screenwriting, Theatre-Performance (Acting or Directing), and Theatre-Design (Scenic, Lighting, or Costume). For Playwriting please see the Creative Writing Workshop. The Department works with the National Association of Schools of Theatre. Our MFA programs reflect NAST's highest standards.
Students may elect to concentrate in Film Production. The program requires completion of 61 credit hours of study plus a thesis project, which must be exhibited publicly prior to graduation.
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MFA in Film Productions
MFA Qualifying Project - Year One
In your first year, you will make two films, one in the fall (FTA 6510) and another in the spring (FTA 6520). You will choose which to screen as your qualifying project at the First-Year Review. This review is scheduled with the entire film faculty, usually during the week following the end of final exams in the spring semester. The purpose of this review is to give feedback on your qualifying film and provide advice from the film faculty.
MFA Qualifying Project - Year Two
At the end of your second year, a review will be scheduled with the entire film faculty, usually during the week following the end of final exams in the spring semester. The second-year film (FTA 5530) is intended to prepare you for a thesis project that exhibits an appropriate mastery of filmmaking and which you must be able to produce and finish without constant or direct supervision. The purpose of this review is to give you feedback on your film and provide advice from the film faculty.
Publicly Presented Thesis Project - Year Three
The MFA in Film Production thesis project has two primary components, the thesis film and the written thesis paper. The thesis will be prepared and executed under the supervision of a committee appointed by the Graduate Faculty Committee. This committee will be made up of a Thesis Committee Chair (Major Professor) and two other Committee members. The Thesis Chair must be a member of the graduate faculty of the department. Other committee members are members of the graduate faculty, one of whom may be from a department other than Film and Theatre. A written Thesis Prospectus is the first component of creating the thesis. Approval of the prospectus by the student's Thesis Committee and the Department's Graduate Faculty Committee are required to become a candidate for thesis. The research and preparation, execution and completion of the thesis will normally take nine studio hours. The completed MFA thesis project should demonstrate an appropriate mastery of filmmaking and visual storytelling, with particular emphasis on area(s) of concentration. In order to fulfill the program's degree requirements, the thesis film and paper must be approved by student's Thesis Committee and the film must be completely finished (technically and artistically) and publicly screened.
In keeping with the program’s central mission, to train the complete independent filmmaker, your thesis film should be a work of your OWN creation. The idea of creative ownership in the highly collaborative art of filmmaking must take into consideration that a film is, in effect, “written” three times: when the script is written, when the film is directed, and when the film is edited.
In order to demonstrate creative ownership of the thesis film, you must accomplish at least two of the three above, and one of those MUST be directing. In other words, you must write/direct, or direct/edit, or write/direct/edit your thesis film in order for it to qualify as work of “your own creation.”
The Thesis Defense will be scheduled for 1-hour and 15-minutes, during which time the Candidate will answer questions from the Committee pertaining to the film, production book and reflection paper. Other relevant topics pertaining to the student’s experience and/or trajectory in the art may be discussed. Details are in the MFA Graduate Student Handbook available from the Graduate Coordinator.