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    Jul 15, 2024  
American University Catalog 2019-2020 
American University Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Film and Media Arts (MFA)

Popular entertainment has a tremendous role in shaping our culture. But what distinguishes a generic television show from a groundbreaking one? What makes a web series forgettable and another go viral? Media matters when it is compelling. Offered by the School of Communication , the Film and Media Arts (MFA) prepares students to become powerful visual storytellers in one of four concentrations: Environmental and Wildlife Filmmaking; Political, Cultural and Social Impact; Art in Entertainment; or Games and Interactivity. Upon graduation, students are prepared to step into the industry as filmmakers and media creators or move on to a career in academia.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must meet the minimum university requirements for graduate study. Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with at least a 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) grade point average in last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. International students whose first language is not English should take the TOEFL examination to demonstrate proficiency in written as well as spoken English.

An undergraduate degree in one of the visual media is desirable, but applications from candidates who have majored in other fields will also be considered. Applicants with prior experience in the visual media should submit a portfolio illustrating relevant professional experience. Students without prior experience in film, video, photography, or digital media production or who do not demonstrate through their portfolio a level of minimum proficiency in media production will need to reconcile their deficiencies with additional coursework.

Official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a 1,000-word essay on the applicant’s commitment to pursuing graduate study in the program are submitted with the application.

Incoming students must complete the summer “boot camp” courses of COMM-610 Principles of Video Production  and COMM-663 Techniques and Aesthetics of Editing . The faculty committee retains discretion over student advancement to fall courses even if they pass either, or both, of the required courses.

Applicants with prior experience in visual media, who wish to be considered for a substitution of the required COMM-610 Principles of Video Production  and/or COMM-663 Techniques and Aesthetics of Editing  courses, should submit a written request illustrating relevant coursework or professional experience. Those requesting a substitution of either or both of these required courses will be required to take and pass an exam. Students granted substitutions for either, or both, of these required courses take advanced coursework in order to fulfill those academic credits.

Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

Boot Camp (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from the following, or other approved courses, with grades of B or better:

Capstone (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from the following, with grade of B or better:

Concentration (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from one of the following concentrations:

Electives (9 credit hours)

Complete 9 credit hours from the following:

Note: Asterisk (*) designates courses offered in Prague, Czech Republic via enrollment in the film and theatre curriculum at the Prague Film Academy (FAMU). Courses taken at FAMU receive full credit toward this program.