Master of Fine Arts in Cinema

Master of Fine Arts 2011-2012

Master of Fine Arts in Cinema

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Cinema is the terminal degree in digital filmmaking. The MFA program is a highly selective program that culminates in the successful completion of the MFA thesis project, a public presentation of the thesis project, and a defense of the thesis to the student's MFA committee.

Learn more about admission to the MFA program.

Online Learning Options
Some courses in this degree are available for review and playback via the CDM Course Online playback system (COL) . If a course is COL-enabled, any student registered in the course has access to the course playback. Students are strongly encouraged to utilize the COL resource wherever available. Some courses are offered online. To complete this degree students may take any combination of courses offered online and on campus. For more information on online learning at CDM visit the Online Learning page.
Degree Requirements
Students in the MFA degree program must meet the following requirements:
  • complete a minimum of 64 graduate credit hours (generally 16 courses) 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 GPA of 2.50 or higher while pursuing their degree
  • achieve a graduate GPA of 2.50 or higher at the completion of all requirements
  • satisfactory completion of the MFA Thesis as determined by the student's MFA Advisor Committee
  • credit earned towards a previously awarded master's or MFA degree cannot be counted toward the completion of this MFA program.

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 Phase courses prior to completing their prerequisites. 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.

DC 101 Screenwriting for Majors
DC 210 Digital Cinema Production I
DC 215 Introduction to Sound Design
DC 220 Editing I
DC 275 Cinematography
VFX 200 Introduction to Visual Effects
Foundation Phase
DC 460 Digital Cinema Proseminar
DC 461 Production Workshop
DC 462 Directing Workshop
Theory Phase
DC 502 Story Structures
DC 476 Visual Design
and student must select 1 course from the following list:
DC 421 Production Design
DC 422 Editing Styles and Techniques
DC 431 Film Theory and Practice
DC 451 Modes of Digital Distribution
DC 470 Advanced Topics in Cinema
DC 481 Distribution and Exhibition
DC 485 Producing
DC 489 The Big Picture: the Entertainment Industry
Production Phase
DC 401 Writing the Short Motion Picture
DC 415 Post-Production Sound Design
DC 420 Editing
DC 423 Pre-Production for Cinema
DC 475 Cinematography
DC 495 Directing the Short Motion Picture
Major Electives
Students must choose any 3 graduate level DC, ANI or VFX production or theory courses.
Thesis Phase
DC 565 Cinema Thesis I
MFA Thesis
The MFA Thesis shall be a major artistic digital project. Although there is no prescribed length for thesis, the following should be used as guidelines:
  • For live action projects, 15-35 minutes. (15-20 minute films tend to get the best festival play). Films longer than 35 minutes usually do not qualify for the SAG student film waiver. The Digital Cinema faculty encourages students to produce feature length films.
  • For animation projects, 10 minutes or more.
Student's MFA Advisor Committee
During this phase students are supervised by their MFA Advisor Committee. The student's MFA Advisor Committee shall have a Chair and a minimum of two other members. The Chair (who was the student's advocate during the selection process) and one committee member must be full-time Digital Cinema Faculty. After assembling an MFA Advisor Committee the student will advise the Chair of the Digital Cinema MFA Committee of the composition of that committee. Students will work closely with the Chair of their committee in planning and completing the MFA thesis.

MFA Thesis Screening
A major component of the MFA degree is the public screening of the MFA thesis. It is the student's responsibility to organize, schedule, promote and publicize this screening.

MFA Thesis Defense
At some point following the public screening the student will schedule a thesis defense with his/her MFA Advisor Committee. At this defense the student's MFA Advisor Committee will discuss, evaluate, and critique the thesis and make a determination on the awarding of the MFA degree.