Master's Programs

The School of Cinematic Arts offers the following graduate degrees:

The Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies

The Master of Arts degree in Cinematic Arts with an emphasis in Critical Studies is administered through the Graduate School. Candidates for the degree are subject to the general requirements of the Graduate School. Thirty-six units are required at the 400 level or higher, including a comprehensive examination. At least two-thirds of these units must be at the 500 level or higher.

Film & Television Production

The Master of Fine Arts degree with a Film & Television Production track requires a minimum of 52 units in Cinematic Arts at the 400 or 500 level. A thesis is not required for the M.F.A. degree. Applications for the graduate production program are accepted for both fall and spring semesters.

John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Animation & Digital Arts is a three-year (six semester) graduate program designed for students who have clearly identified animation and digital art as their primary interest in cinema. The program focuses on animation production, including a wide range of techniques and aesthetic approaches, from hand-drawn character animation to state-of-the-art interactive digital animation. While embracing traditional forms, the program strongly encourages innovation and experimentation, and emphasizes imagination, creativity and critical thinking. Students should graduate with a comprehensive knowledge of animation from conception through realization; an understanding of the history of the medium and its aesthetics; in-depth knowledge of computer animation software and the most important elements of digital and interactive media. The program requires a minimum of 50 units: 34 units are in prescribed, sequential courses in the School of Cinematic Arts. The other 16 units are cinematic arts electives, four of which must be taken in the Division of Critical Studies. A thesis is required for the M.F.A. degree. Ongoing workshops in new technologies, traditional and digital media provide additional educational opportunities for students. Admission is granted once a year in the fall; there are no spring admissions. Approximately 14 students will be enrolled in each incoming class. In addition to practical production, the program also provides opportunities for fieldwork experience and internships to facilitate the student's transition into the profession.

Interactive Media

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Interactive Media is a three-year intensive program that is intended to prepare students for creative careers in the emerging field of interactive entertainment. While the program does not require advanced computer capabilities, familiarity and comfort with computer based authoring and production/post-production tools is recommended. The degree requires 50 units of which 36 are requirements and 14 are electives. Of these electives, a minimum of six units must be taken in the School of Cinematic Arts. Students are required to complete an advanced interactive project which they design and produce in CTIN 594ab Master's Thesis. Approximately 12 students are admitted in the fall semester (there are no spring admissions).

Peter Stark Producing Program

The Master of Fine Arts degree from the Peter Stark Producing Program is an innovative two-year (four semester) full-time graduate program designed to prepare a select group of highly motivated students for careers as independent film and television producers or as executives in motion picture and television companies. Approximately 25 Peter Stark Program students are enrolled each fall (there are no spring admissions). The curriculum places equal emphasis on the creative and the managerial, to enhance and develop artistic skills and judgment while providing a sound background in business essentials. Each course is continually updated to ensure that the Stark program remains responsive to the needs of our students and the ever-changing motion picture, television and communications field. A minimum of 44 units of 400-level and 500-level courses is required for the Peter Stark Producing Program leading to the M.F.A. degree. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to take a production course in their first semester.

Writing for Screen & Television

The Master of Fine Arts, with a major in Writing for Screen & Television, is an intensive two-year degree program which concentrates on writing for narrative film and television. A total of 44 units is required, of which a minimum of 30 units must be 500-level or above. Coursework includes hands-on instruction in production, acting and directing. During their studies, students benefit from a wide array of internship and mentorship opportunities available as a result of the school's close links to top screenwriters, directors, production companies and studios. Instruction is provided in small workshop-style classes, by professional writers with a wide variety of skills and experience. The approach focuses on the visual tools of storytelling, developing stories from characters and then on an Aristotelian three act structure. Fractured narratives, ensemble stories, experiments with time and points of view, as well as other idiosyncratic styles of storytelling, are also addressed. The curriculum covers other professional concerns, including legal issues, agents and the Writer's Guild, as well as the history and analysis of cinema. Each fall 32 students are selected to begin the program; there are no spring admissions.