MS or MFA in Film Production

The Film Production program trains students to become complete filmmakers. Students learn all aspects of film production, from initial scripting to directing, cinematography, sound design, and editing. The production program focuses on three critical areas: film production, film studies, and screenwriting. Students study the work of master filmmakers to learn from those who came before them. At the same time, students practice the art of storytelling through their screenwriting courses. They then apply what they have learned in their production courses. This threefold approach has helped our students achieve national recognition in film festivals, screenwriting competitions, and film editing contests. The program emphasizes narrative filmmaking, offering courses in acting, directing, cinematography, lighting, sound design, and postproduction. The faculty’s goal is to enable each student to graduate with a short film capable of winning student film festivals, as well as a feature-length screenplay.

Two graduate degrees are offered in Film Production: the Master of Science (MS) and the Master of Fine Arts (MFA). The first-year curriculum for these two programs is identical. Based on students’ performance in that first year, the Production faculty assigns them to either the MS or MFA path. Students in the MFA program complete a total of four semesters of coursework and a thesis project. MFA candidates may receive thesis credit for directing one major production or for shooting or editing two major productions. Students in the MS program complete a total of three semesters of coursework and a capstone project. The capstone project involves intensive research into a specific filmmaking craft.

MS in Film Production Curriculum

First Semester

  • COM FT 706 Acting for Directors and Writers
  • COM FT 711 Screenwriting I
  • COM FT 722 American Masterworks or COM FT 721 International Masterworks
  • COM FT 849 Film Production I

Second Semester

  • Elective
  • Elective
  • COM FT 850 Film Production II
  • COM FT 851 Thesis Prep

Third Semester

  • COM FT 808 Line Producing
  • Two electives
  • Directed Study (covers work done for capstone project)

MFA in Film Production Curriculum

First Semester

  • COM FT 553 Designing the Short Film
  • COM FT 710 Film Production Screenwriting
  • COM FT 722 American Masterworks
  • COM FT 849 Film Production I

Second Semester

  • COM FT 526 Advanced Directing
  • COM FT 850 Film Production II
  • COM FT 851 Thesis Prep
  • Elective

Third Semester

  • COM FT 565 Motion Picture Editing
  • COM FT 808 Line Producing
  • Elective
  • Elective

Fourth Semester**

  • COM FT 852 Thesis Project (4 or 8 credits)
  • Elective*
  • Elective*
  • Elective*

*At least one of these fourth semester electives must be a Film Studies course.
**Students wishing to participate in the Los Angeles Internship Program may pursue the following pathway:

Alternate Fourth Semester

Complete a thesis project while registered for 0 credits in Continuing Student Status.

Fifth Semester

  • COM FT 852 Thesis Project
    (4 credits, added to fifth semester after work is completed in fourth semester)
  • LA Internship Program:
    • FT 566A The Business of Hollywood
    • FT 566B Careers in Hollywood
    • FT 953/954 Internship
    • Elective

Film Production Program Electives

 (for both MS and MFA tracks)

  • COM FT 502 Sound Design for Film and Television
  • COM FT 525 Producing II
  • COM FT 527 Lighting
  • COM FT 555 Narrative Documentary
  • COM FT 560 The Documentary
  • COM FT 565 Digital Editing
  • COM FT 593 Cinematography
  • COM FT 727 Producing I
  • Film studies classes
  • Screenwriting classes