MFA-in-Animation

Master of Fine Arts 2011-2012

Master of Fine Arts in Animation

The MFA in Animation degree is for students who are interested in creating original animated films and artwork as their main vocation. Students in the MFA in Animation degree will receive intense and rigorous training in the history, critical artistic issues, and fundamental principles that are necessary for animation artists. The student films created throughout their degree will be challenged by faculty in critiques, through which students will be urged to develop a personal vision and push the limits of their abilities and the potential of animation as an expressive medium. The program uses the cohort model, so students will work alongside their peers throughout their degree. Filmmakers choosing this field often support themselves and fund their films by teaching college, which requires an MFA, so MFA in Animation graduates will be eligible to compete for tenure-track teaching positions within the growing number of Animation programs around the world. The degree is intended for those with undergraduate degrees in Animation, Film, Art, Graphic Design, Illustration and other visual art areas.

DePaul's large group of full time and adjunct Animation faculty come from diverse backgrounds in commercial production, game development and art exhibition. We are part of the School of Cinema & Interactive Media, which features the latest digital technologies and facilities: a stop motion studio, two green screen stages, a sound recording and mixing studio, and a motion capture studio. Our visiting artists series brings prominent animators to campus. Past visitors include David O'Reilly and legendary animator Yuri Norstein.

Learn more about admission to this program.

Degree Requirements
Students in the MFA in Animation degree program must meet the following requirements:
  • complete a minimum of 79 credit hours beyond the Prerequisite Phase
  • earn a grade of B- or better in each Prerequisite Phase course
  • earn a grade of C- or better in all graduate courses beyond the Prerequisite Phase
  • maintain a graduate level GPA of 2.50 or higher while pursuing their degree
  • achieve a graduate GPA of 2.50 or higher at the completion of all other requirements
  • satisfactory completion of the MFA thesis as determined by the MFA Advisor Committee

For DePaul's policy on repeat graduate courses and a complete list of academic policies see the DePaul Graduate Handbook in the Course Catalog.


Course Requirements
Prerequisite Phase
The goal of the prerequisite phase is to give students the background necessary for starting the graduate program. These prerequisite phase requirements can be fulfilled in one of two ways:
  • The student takes the course and earns a grade of B- or higher
  • The faculty advisor waives the course because of equivalent academic background or work experience.

All students are blocked from enrolling in graduate courses prior to completing their prerequisites. Students should contact their advisor to enroll in graduate courses until their Prerequisite Phase is completed. Students must submit an online Change of Status request (through myCDM) when the Prerequisite Phase is completed to inform the Student Services offices that the block can be removed.

ANI 230 3D Design and Modeling *
ANI 231 3D Animation *
*Students in the MFA program aren't required to work in the medium of 3D animation, but we believe that it is important for 21st century animators and animation educators to be familiar with 3D modeling and animation tools and concepts. Students who are required to take ANI 230 and ANI 231 during their first two quarters must make up the elective courses later in the program. These courses may also be completed during the preceding Spring or Summer terms.
First Year
Fall Quarter
ANI 460 Animation Graduate Seminar
ANI 421 Animation Mechanics
1 Animation Elective*
Winter Quarter
ANI 425 Visual Storytelling
ANI 422 Animation Styles and Techniques
1 Animation Elective*
Spring Quarter
ANI 440 Collaborative Short Animated Film
ANI 466 Cinema, Animation and Art
1 Animation Elective
*Students who are required to take ANI 230 and ANI 231 during their first two quarters must make up the elective courses later in the program.
Second Year
Fall Quarter
ANI 540 Animated Short Film Part I (2 credit hours)
ANI 415 Audio for Animation
1 Animation Elective
Winter Quarter
ANI 541 Animated Short Film Part II (2 credit hours)
ANI 560 Graduate Teaching Seminar
1 Animation Elective
Spring Quarter
ANI 639 Mfa Pre-Thesis
2 Animation Electives
Third Year
Fall Quarter
ANI 640 Mfa Thesis Animation (1 credit hour)
1 Animation Elective
Winter Quarter
ANI 640 Mfa Thesis Animation (1 credit hour)
1 Animation Elective
Spring Quarter
ANI 640 Mfa Thesis Animation (1 credit hour)
*ANI 640 must be taken at least 3 times.
Animation Electives
Animation electives include any graduate level ANI, DC, GAM, GD, GPH, HCI or VFX courses.
MFA Thesis
The MFA Thesis Animation is the culmination of graduate study in the MFA. Students work on an animated film for the three quarters of their third year, and meet periodically for critiques with peers and faculty. Students also produce a written analysis of their work. Students must complete their thesis project and the degree within a total of five years from their first quarter in the program.

Student's MFA Advisor Committee and Thesis Timeline
During the Fall quarter of their second year, all MFA students must form an MFA Advisor Committee. The committee is comprised of three full-time DePaul faculty members, and at least two of the three must be members of the Animation MFA Committee. Students must consult with their Advisor Committee throughout the Thesis project, including during ANI 639 MFA Pre-Thesis. During the final quarter of their Thesis project, the MFA candidate must schedule a meeting with their Advisor Committee to screen the work, and defend the project and thesis paper before the committee. The MFA Advisor Committee decides whether the MFA candidate should be awarded the degree, and if not, what must be done in order for them to receive it.

MFA Thesis Screening
At the end of the third year students present their thesis exhibition in an appropriate venue (a theater or gallery).

MFA Thesis Defense
In order to receive their MFA degree, students must defend the thesis project and the written analysis of their work before their MFA Advisor Committee.