Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Motion Pictures & Television

General

Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The School of Motion Pictures & Television’s MFA program offers in-depth, advanced training in the various areas of film and television production. Depending on the area of specialization, the MFA program culminates in a thesis film or professional reel/portfolio. Areas of study include directing, producing, cinematography, editing, production design, and screenwriting. Students are prepared to compete for work in the industry or to teach, as the MFA is a terminal degree.

Course Description

Semester 1

  • MPT 605: Film Language Studio
    Major / 3 Units
  • MPT 618: Writer-Director Intensive 1
    Major / 3 Units
  • MPT 625: Editing Concepts
    Major / 3 Units

Semester 2

  • GLA 603: Anthropology: Experiencing Culture
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units / Recommended for summer
  • GLA 605: Motion Picture Theory & Style
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units / Recommended for summer
  • MPT 616: Directing Actors for Motion Pictures
    Major / 3 Units
  • MPT 641: Visual Storytelling
    Major / 3 Units
  • MPT 688: Development: Finding Material and Influencing Writers
    Major / 3 Units

Semester 3

  • MPT 644: Directors Rehearsing Actors
    Major / 3 Units
  • MPT 651: A Director Prepares
    Major / 3 Units
  • MPT 664: Organic Blocking for Camera
    Major / 3 Units

Semester 4

  • ACT 640: Movement: Creating Physical Character
    Elective / 3 Units
  • GLA 714: Acting
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units / Recommended for summer
  • MPT 800: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Semester 5

  • ACT 640: Movement: Creating Physical Character
    Elective / 3 Units
  • MPT 800: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Semester 6

  • MPT 773: Entertainment Professional Practices
    Major / 3 Units
  • MPT 800: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • MPT 900: Internship
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Unit Requirements

Degree Requirements

MFA Motion Pictures & Television Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of the Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and the following Academic Study requirements:
    • 1 Art Historical Awareness & Aesthetic course
    • 1 Cross-Cultural Understanding course
Academy of Art University / Academy of Art University

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Editing

  • Demonstrate advanced–level achievement in editing through both thesis films and various other projects
  • Demonstrate proficiency in post-production technology and techniques
  • Demonstrate proficiency in at least three different editing programs
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel and website
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Screenwriting

  • Propose a story that is marketable and/or appealing to a general audience for development into a thesis film (Midpoint Review only)
  • Write shorts that are of sufficient quality to be approved for thesis production (Final Review only)
  • Deliver a feature script or original TV pilot demonstrating command of story structure, character development, and dialogue and principles
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Cinematography

  • Demonstrate advanced-level achievement in cinematography through thesis films and various other projects (Final Review only)
  • Work effectively with various cameras, lenses, and accessories
  • Design and execute creative lighting schemes
  • Effectively manage a scene for coverage
  • Apply principles of composition and camera movements to enhance the story
  • Collaborate effectively with grip, camera, and electric teams
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel and website

Directing

  • Propose a story that is marketable and/or appealing to a general audience for development into a thesis film (Midpoint Review only)
  • Demonstrate advanced-level achievement in directing through completion of an approved thesis project (Final Review only)
  • Guide a crew in preproduction, production, and postproduction to execute effective choices that serve the story
  • Elicit engaging and believable performances from actors
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel and website
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Producing

  • Propose a story that is marketable and/or appealing to a general audience for development into a thesis film (Midpoint Review only)
  • Demonstrate advanced-level achievement by producing two or more thesis films (Final Review only)
  • Acquire or originate and develop material for a project that can be pitched in a professional setting
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel or website
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Production Design

  • Design the look of at least two thesis films based on the director’s vision, including choosing locations, creating settings, selecting props, and dressing sets. (Final Review only)
  • Communicate design concepts through basic drawing skills and visual presentations
  • Effectively showcase work in an industry-standard demo reel and website
  • Collaborate effectively with multi-disciplinary teams

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.
Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

For nearly 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university i ... Read More

For nearly 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university in the nation. Read less
San Francisco