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    Mar 01, 2024  
American University Catalog 2022-2023 
American University Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Film and Media Arts (MFA)

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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. Applicants whose first and primary language is not English are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Duolingo English Test, unless they hold a degree from a U.S.-accredited institution before enrollment at SOC. The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 600 on the paper-based test (PBT). The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. The minimum Duolingo score is 120.

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 (3)  and COMM-663 Techniques and Aesthetics of Editing (3) . 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 (3)  and/or COMM-663 Techniques and Aesthetics of Editing (3)  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.

Qualified undergraduate students may apply to a combined bachelor’s/master’s program and utilize up to six credit hours of 500-level or select 600-level cross-listed coursework to satisfy the requirements of both degrees.

Degree Requirements

  • 54 credit hours of approved graduate work
  • COMM-610 Principles of Video Production (3)  and COMM-663 Techniques and Aesthetics of Editing (3) , or other approved courses, completed with grades of B or better
  • Capstone Experience: Production of a portfolio of original creative work in the areas of scriptwriting, film, or electronic media production under the supervision of a faculty committee and in conjunction with COMM-702 Master’s Portfolio Capstone (1-6) , with grade of B or better
  • Concentrations: Art in Entertainment; Environmental and Wildlife Filmmaking; Games and Interactivity; Political, Cultural, and Social Impact
  • Minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA maintained during all graduate work toward degree

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 (12 credit hours)

Complete 12 credit hours from the following if not taken to fulfill Concentration:

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.

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