Master of Fine Arts in Cinema

Master of Fine Arts in Cinema

The Master of Fine Arts in Cinema launched as a cohort based program in Fall 2011. The MFA program is designed for aspiring independent filmmakers who seek to become visual storytellers whose films will be shown at film festivals and, ideally, gain national distribution. This also is the preferred degree for those who wish to teach at the university level.

MFA Application Process

Application Deadline: Applications and all supporting materials must be received no later than March 1st. Applicants who meet this deadline will be notified of their admission status no later than May 1st.

Start Date: All students admitted into the MFA program must begin their studies in the following fall quarter. (Students may not begin the program in the winter, spring, or summer quarters.)

The steps in applying for the MFA are as follows:

  • Complete an online application.
  • Submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended that show the successful completion of a regionally accredited bachelor's degree with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale).
    • U.S. college and university transcripts should be mailed to the address below
    • DePaul alumni/undergraduate students applying for graduate admission must also submit a DePaul transcript.Request a free electronic transcript.
    • Individuals with international transcripts need to have a course by course transcript evaluated by one of the three evaluation companies that DePaul University accepts. Please visit the Transcript Evaluation page for more information.
  • Submit a statement of creative purpose that includes your artistic goals and your reasons for applying to the MFA. Be specific, vivid and focused. The creative statement cannot be longer than 2 pages.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from people who can attest to your artistic abilities, commitment, work ethic and creative potential.
  • Submit a resume indicating your professional experience.
  • Submit a portfolio that includes writing samples or video representation.

Personal statement and portfolio must be submitted at the SCA slideroom site.

Letters of recommendation should be sent to:

CDM Office of Graduate Admission
243 S. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60604

All submitted applications materials (including portfolio) will become part of your application file and cannot be returned. Please retain your own copy.

Examples of Portfolio Items

  • An outline for a four-minute film that contains no dialogue, it can be fiction or non-fiction. The story has to be communicated visually (no more than 2 pages).
  • A dialogue scene between two people. This should be in proper screenplay format (no more than three pages).
  • Describe a concept for a feature length movie, fiction or documentary, which you would like to develop (no more than 2 pages).
  • Submit a brief narrative video in which you had a major creative role. The video can be either live-action or animation, fiction or documentary, but it should reflect your aesthetic tastes and intellectual and emotional interests.

Transition to MFA

Students who have been admitted to the MS Cinema Production program may apply to transition to the MFA Cinema program for the next admission class in their first year of attendance only (maximum 24 credits earned for the MS program). Should a student be admitted to the MFA they may transfer any courses that apply in both programs. The MFA clock begins at the time of first enrollment in the MS Cinema Production program and will not be extended due to a program change.

CDM Admission
  • CDM Graduate Admission Office
    243 S. Wabash Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60604
  • Monday - Friday
    9:00am - 5:00pm
  • (312) 362-8714