Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts Production
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree represents a high standard of achievement in undergraduate arts education. The successful completion of a capstone media project can provide students with an important entry- or showpiece in the professional world, and is a commonly held degree for those media production students keen on seeking entry to a Master of Fine Arts graduate program.
The undergraduate faculty of Visual and Media Arts is committed to the following learning objectives for the BFA in Media Arts Production program.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the history, theory, and practice of visual and media arts.
- Demonstrate technical proficiency in media arts production.
- Create media arts with originality and aesthetic depth.
- Demonstrate their ability to research and analyze media arts.
- Apply ethical principles in the production and analysis of media arts.
- Create an advanced-level project in their own media specialization.
Students are encouraged to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA), which includes a yearlong, intensive capstone project in the student’s chosen medium. The BFA encourages innovative exploration of voice, form, culture, and genre.
A BFA degree is a thesis-producing degree that requires students to challenge themselves beyond the requirements of the BA degree by:
- producing a year-long intensive capstone project of significant scope
- completing an additional 16 credits of VMA production courses
VMA students can apply for the BFA Degree Program in their junior year. Students applying for the BFA must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and should maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to continue in the program.
BFA candidates must complete four courses (16 credits) in addition to the requirements of the BA in Media Arts Production:
- Two semesters (8 credits) of VM490: BFA Production Workshop, to be taken concurrently with the making and completing of the BFA Thesis Project
- An advanced-level course (4 credits) in the student’s chosen field of production
- An advanced-level production elective (4 credits) that supports development or completion of the final project
These courses do not add additional time to the typical four-year graduation timeline. Each student has room for electives built in to their degree requirements. Four of these built-in electives would be used to complete the BFA program. If you have questions about your specific graduation timeline, feel free to reach out to the Academic Advising Center: advising [at] emerson.edu.
It is the expectation of any student applying to enter the BFA program that they will have already taken at least one 300-level production course within their respective area of pursuit.
BFA Thesis Project
Students admitted to the BFA program must complete their thesis project by the end of their last semester at the College on the Boston campus.
BFA candidates receive production support for their BFA Thesis Projects and have exclusive access to specialized professional equipment and facilities. The Department of Visual and Media Arts provides up to $500 in reimbursements per student, per BFA Thesis Project. Additional funding opportunities are available.
BFA Thesis Projects of all media and genres are encouraged, including but not limited to: fictional narrative, documentary, experimental work; film/video, audio, and screenwriting. Students may apply as an individual or as a team to work on a single BFA Thesis Project. Those accepted into the BFA program must have a primary creative role on the project through all phases of production (pre-production, production, post-production).
BFA Thesis Projects are expected to be of superior caliber and a significant scope that can be realistically completed within the timeline of the program (two consecutive semesters). For single-channel visual media productions, this would mean final running time of 10 – 20 minutes for a project. For single-channel audio production, this would include presentations between 20 minutes to an hour in length. For multi-channel or interactive media, overall length is less a factor than architecture, navigation, and the amount of material presented.
Students are required to work on their projects for two consecutive semesters while enrolled in VM490: BFA Production Workshop. In the first semester, students will focus on project development, script writing and pre-production. Principal photography typically takes place between semesters (summer or winter break) or early in the second semester. The second semester is primarily used for post-production. Projects must be completed by the end of the second semester of BFA Production Workshop and by the end of the student’s last semester at the College on the Boston campus. Students intending to pursue both the BFA and the ELA program must complete their project before their LA semester.
How to Apply
The BFA Degree Program is a competitive, application based program. VMA students can apply for the BFA Degree Program in their junior year. (Note: The program application will be available at a later date.)
Students must submit a complete application no later than the specified deadline. All applications are reviewed by the BFA Committee, made up of VMA faculty. The application consists of a project description, anticipated budget, production timeline, and sample work. Additional items may be required depending on the kind of project you are proposing. Students will be notified of committee decisions prior to registration for the relevant semester.
Any student interested in the BFA program is encouraged to meet with the director of the BFA program, Shaun Clarke (shaun_clarke [at] emerson.edu), at least one week in advance of the application deadline.
Fall 2021 Application Deadline: Friday, February 19th, 2021, 11:59 p.m.
Fall 2021 Notification Date: Friday, March 12, 2021
BFA Program information sessions are offered each semester to introduce the program and offer help in the application process. Information sessions cover the basic process and requirements to apply for a BFA in VMA and are for anyone interested in the BFA (whether planning to apply this year or in the future).
Attending an Info Session is not required in order to apply to the BFA Program. They are however useful in addressing the majority of questions and concerns the students have regarding the program, the application, and the committee review process.
Information Sessions for application to the Fall 2021 program will be:
- Thursday, January 28: 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, February 2: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Monday, February 8: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- Friday, February 12: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Info sessions will be held on Zoom, which can be accessed at emerson.zoom.us/j/93560080017 (Note: Students must log in to Zoom using their Emerson credentials to access the meeting).
If unable to attend any of these sessions, contact the BFA Program Director at shaun_clarke [at] emerson.edu to schedule an individual meeting: