The Master of Fine Arts in Film and Media Art is a 64 credit hour program. This is a full-time program and students take 8 to 12 credits per semester. 

Advanced Standing 

We offer three distinct entry points into the MFA program. The majority of our students begin the program at Phase I; however, we recognize not all students require foundational courses. To ensure students of all levels find a place in our program you have the opportunity to apply for Advanced Standing during the application process. The faculty MFA Committee will review your application holistically and place you in the appropriate phase based on your previous professional and academic experience. 

Advanced Standing allows you to begin the program in Phase II or Phase III, waiving 12 or 20 credits from the required 64 credits.


Phase I – Foundational

Phase I builds a solid foundation in the first semester in theory and history and an intensive introduction to writing and production skills in a variety of media platforms.

Students who start in Phase I 
64 credits, 6 semesters:

  • May have an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field of study such as business or engineering but discovered a passion for visual storytelling in a summer media program, a semester abroad, or through professional opportunities, and want to develop your skills as a media artist.
  • May have graduated from an undergraduate degree program in a related field several years ago and want to brush up on foundations prior to beginning thesis work. 
  • Are required to complete the full 64 credits (6 semesters). 

Phase II - Intermediate Practitioner

You will begin Phase II by meeting with the Graduate Program Director and developing a customized plan of study that allows artistic exploration while developing the technical proficiency to undertake your thesis project.

You will begin to focus on one or more areas of media production, including but not limited to documentary, experimental media, fiction narrative, installation, interactive art, or an individualized hybrid form.

Students who start in Phase II 
52 credits, 5 semesters:

  • May have an undergraduate degree in a related field such as Film/TV Production, Media Arts, Fine Arts, Theater Arts, Journalism. 
  • May have an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field but have been working professionally in commercial media production and want to develop an artistic vision and the advanced technical skills to express it. 
  • Have a portfolio that demonstrates their creative inspirations and aspirations, technical proficiency in one or more media modes, and/or previous production experience.
  • Are required to complete 52 credits (5 semesters). 
  • Will work with the Graduate Program Director, who will determine which 12 credits will be waived as part of your advanced standing credit in Phase II.

Phase III - Advanced Practitioner

In Phase III you begin working on your thesis project after one year of coursework. You will meet with the Graduate Program Director to select courses that support your professional and artistic goals, especially as they will be employed in your thesis work. You will concentrate on developing your artistic vision through the thesis proposal process while building new skills and learning advanced production techniques. In the MFA Production Workshop, you will present works-in-progress to peers and faculty for critique.

Once you have completed your thesis project, you will take part in a public exhibition of MFA works for the year. This is the last MFA requirement and a celebration of your achievements.

Students who start in Phase III 
40 credits. 4 semesters:

  • May have a BFA in Film/TV/Media Production and/or some professional production experience. Perhaps you’ve been teaching film studies or production part-time and you want a terminal degree. 
  • Have a portfolio that demonstrates technical proficiency and artistic potential and have excellent references from both academic and professional contacts. May have some specific ideas about the thesis project.
  • Are required to complete 40 credits (4 semesters).
  • Will work with the Graduate Program Director to determine which 24 credits will be waived as part of your advanced standing credit in Phase III.


The Film and Media Art MFA requires completion of the following credits:

  • 20 credits of Core Courses
  • 8 credits of Theory Courses
  • 4 credits of Production Courses
  • 8 credits of Studies Electives
  • 24 credits of Production Electives

Required Core Courses (20 credits)

Number Course Credits
VM 600 Producing Strategies for Modern Media 4
VM 613 Foundations of Image and Sound Production 4
VM 641 Introduction to Theory 4
VM 698 *MFA Thesis Project  8

Required Theory Courses (8 credits) Choose two of the following

Number Course Credits
VM 610 Media Pedagogy 4
VM 655 Topics in Media Studies 4
VM 664 Studies in Documentary History and Theory 4

Required Production Courses (4 credits) Choose one of the following

Number Course Credits
VM 605 Graduate Writing the Short Subject 4
VM 606 Writing for Interactive Media 4
VM 640 MFA Production Workshop* 4
A Production Elective in Film and Media Art     4

*VM 640 MFA Production Workshop (4 credits - Must take twice for 8 credits, may take for an additional 4 credits as an elective)

MFA Thesis Requirement

The 8-credit MFA thesis project is required for graduation and is generally taken over the course of two semesters. 

You will present your thesis project proposal to be reviewed and approved by your thesis project committee, prior to work on your thesis project.

Upon final completion of the MFA thesis project, a public screening of MFA works for the year will be held with a question and answer session. The public screening will be the last requirement for the MFA thesis project and will serve as a celebration of your achievements.