Course Requirements

Foundation Courses

Note: Students must take the Foundation Courses during their first year in the program.

Production Courses

Thesis Courses

Major Elective Courses

Students must choose any 3 graduate level DC, ANI, or VFX courses or MCS 502.

MFA Thesis

The MFA Thesis should be a significant work that demonstrates excellent cinematic storytelling technique to convey the filmmaker's unique voice and vision. This project may be a short film, pilot, or web series. Feature films may be permitted with approval from the student's thesis committee. Students who lack a suitable idea of their own, or who do not wish to write a script, may seek screenplays from screenwriting (or other) students to develop as a thesis project.

Thesis Committee

In the winter quarter of each year, students approaching the thesis phase will be asked to submit five preferences for faculty members they wish to serve on their thesis committee. Two committee members and one thesis chair will be assigned to the student by the MFA Committee based on those preferences. Serious effort will be made to accommodate student preferences, but unfortunately, there can be no guarantees.

Thesis Committee Function

During the thesis phase of the MFA, the Thesis Committee supervises a student's project. The thesis chair is the primary faculty contact with the advising office, and serves as the point person on the committee for course approval, gathering feedback from committee members, and scheduling the thesis defense. The MFA Thesis Committee must approve a student's thesis concept before admission will be granted to Thesis I, then approve the finished and polished script before entering Thesis II, and finally approve script and preproduction documents before the project will be permitted to enter production following Thesis II. The committee will also provide feedback on various cuts of the project, and then vote as to whether or not the project ultimately passes during a Thesis Defense Meeting with the candidate.

DC 701 Thesis Continuation

This zero-credit course is for students who have completed their coursework and are actively working to finish their thesis projects. A student's MFA Thesis Committee Chair may enroll a student in 701 a maximum of eight times. Enrolling in 701 requires students to declare goals for the quarter with regard to finishing their thesis. Students who do not meet those goals are not eligible to enroll in another 701 until those goals are met. Failure to enroll in a course for three straight quarters will lead to a student becoming inactive at the University, and will require the student to reapply to the program should they wish to finish their degree. Re-admission cannot be guaranteed, and the student may be subject to curriculum changes.

Graduation Requirements

In addition to completing 64 hours of coursework, students must finish their thesis project in less than five years from their first enrollment in the program, defend it before their committee, and if it passes, schedule a public screening to exhibit their thesis project. If the project does not pass, the student may continue to revise it and then re-defend when ready. Again, it is best to welcome feedback from the thesis committee over the course of several cuts of the project before eventually deciding to enter a defense.