The Peck School of the Arts offers a Master of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts, an interdisciplinary degree program encompassing graduate studies in film and dance. The curricula in this program include intensive professional training in an individual performance area plus significant interdisciplinary experience in related performance and scholarly fields. All curricula are dedicated to maintaining the most rigorous professional and artistic standards in their disciplines.

The programs currently offered are: film and video production in the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres; and choreography and performance in the Department of Dance.

The curricula offered in the program are designed for serious and talented students who are preparing for careers as professionals in the performing arts or as artist-teachers in advanced training programs. Admission to the programs is highly selective, and all curricula include extensive practical performance experience.

The Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts is the premier performance home for the Peck School of the Arts. It includes the 759-seat Helen Bader Concert Hall, a 3,200 square foot rehearsal room, numerous small ensemble practice rooms, and the Mary L. Nohl Art Galleries.

The School’s other facilities include the Fine Arts Center which houses two theaters, a recital hall, and related shop, studio, instructional and practice space, and nearby Mitchell Hall with studio, viewing, and processing facilities for the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres as well as the chamber dance theatre and additional rehearsal, studio, and performance spaces for the departments of Theatre and Dance.

Master of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts

The Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres offers a graduate program in media arts practice. The curriculum is designed for serious and talented students who are preparing for careers as artists.

Facilities include a complete production studio, with all tools and services necessary for in-house film, digital video and sound work; photography and imaging labs; a digital studio for Internet projects, physical computing, interactivity and other forms of digital and media arts; and space for installation and performance projects. A special feature of the program is our excellent in-house processing facility for black-and-white reversal 16mm film.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Master of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts

In addition to a series of graduate seminars, students can choose from an array of elective options that include graduate production studios, conceptual studies courses, complementary studies from outside the department, professional practice opportunities in the field and U/G or G electives. Students are expected to originate and produce finished projects on a regular basis, culminating in a thesis presentation.


In order to be considered for admission to the program, an applicant must meet Graduate School requirements and submit original media-related work that demonstrates technical competence and creative promise.

An applicant whose grade point average or quality of work does not meet Graduate School and Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres program standards may be considered for admission on probation. Each student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The Graduate School and the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres graduate program monitor the deficiencies. No course credits earned to make up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree.

Transfer of Credits

With the approval of the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres graduate program and the Graduate School, an applicant from another institution may be permitted to transfer up to 19 credits toward the total of 48 graduate credits required for the MFA degree.

Credits and Courses

The minimum Film-MFA degree requirement is 48 graduate credits, (18 cr required, 30 cr elective). It is recommended that students earn 12 credits each semester through full-time attendance on campus.

FILM 710Graduate Film Studio/Seminar I3
FILM 712Graduate Film Studio/Seminar II3
FILM 714Graduate Film Studio/Seminar III3
FILM 730Advanced Research in Film I3
FILM 732Advanced Research in Film II6
Select 30 credits with assistance and approval from the Director of Graduate Studies and their Graduate Advisor:30
Graduate Media Arts Workshop I 1
Graduate Media Arts Workshop II 1
Landscape Cinema
Experimental Documentary
Observational Documentary
Advanced 16MM Film Production
Visual Effects
Graduate Studio (maximum of 12 credits)
Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres Electives (maximum of 30 credits) 2
Complementary Studies (maximum of 9 credits) 3
Professional Practice: Production (maximum of 9 credits)
Total Credits48

A maximum of 9 credits between FILM 720 and FILM 722.


These are U/G and G classes in film, video & new genres that are regularly offered by the department, including topics such as 16mm film and video production, screenwriting, lighting, cinematography, audio production, animation, installation, performance and physical computing.


These are UG/G courses offered outside the department that are relevant to a students proposed course of study. If courses inside the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres are closely allied to an area of complementary study, such as Film courses in audio or photography and Music Department courses in electronic composition, they will count toward fulfillment of the Complementary Studies option. Students interested in Complementary Studies are encouraged to discuss their options with the Director of Graduate Studies and their major professor before enrolling in these courses.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

Each student chooses a major professor from the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres graduate faculty to advise and supervise studies. In addition to the major professor, each student’s committee must contain a minimum of two Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres graduate faculty members. Any student electing a minimum of nine credits in either Conceptual or Complementary Studies must include a faculty member from that discipline on the committee as well.

Thesis Presentation

Upon recommendation of the major professor and advisory faculty, the student presents a thesis exhibition program of work executed since admission to the program. The exhibition may be held either during the semester in which the student completes coursework for the degree or during the following semester.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within seven years of the initial enrollment.

International Students

On completion of graduate studies, international students are eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) for an additional year of practical work experience. If you are interested in OPT, please see an Immigration Coordinator at International Student and Scholar Services in the Center for International Education.