Requirements MFA Documentary

Master of Fine Arts 2023 through2024


About the Program

Curriculum Requirements

No Introductory course may be substituted for any other course at any level.

First Year

  • Fall Quarter
    • FILM 410
    • DOC 405
  • Winter Quarter
    • POST 400
    • DOC 452
  • Spring Quarter
    • DOC 414
    • DOC 433 (2 credit hours)
    • DOC 472 (2 credit hours)

Second Year

  • Fall Quarter
    • DOC 482
    • 1 Major Elective
  • Winter Quarter
    • DOC 412
    • DOC 424
  • Spring Quarter
    • DOC 426
    • 1 Major Elective

Third Year

  • Fall Quarter
    • DOC 484
    • DOC 599
  • Winter Quarter
    • 1 Open Elective
    • 1 Major Elective

Major Electives (12 credit hours required)

Students will choose among the following:

  • DOC 439
  • DOC 496
  • FILM 480
  • FILM 493
  • MCS 541
  • MCS 544
  • SOC 417
  • JOUR 504
  • DMA 535
  • ART 489

Open Electives (4 credit hours required)

Open electives may be selected from any graduate level CP, DOC, FILM, POST, SCWR, or VFX course.

MFA Thesis

The most important form that program assessment will take is in the MFA thesis project. This project is the culmination of the 8 quarters of study and practice. We expect the thesis projects to find funding, screen at film festivals, create an impact in their respective communities, with their anticipated audiences, and find wide avenues of outreach and distribution. Specific requirements include:

  • Documentary film under 30 minutes in length is required.
  • Complete final proposal.
  • Complete Rough Cut.
  • Prepare for Public Screening after the thesis defense.

MFA Thesis Committee

Students will be assigned a faculty advisor upon acceptance into the MFA program. The advisor will monitor the student's work and progress at the end of each quarter during their first year. Students will form a thesis committee at the beginning of their second year. During this second and third year, the thesis committee will evaluate the student's work, making sure that each student is progressing at the pace and with the quality required to earn the degree upon completion of their courses and thesis project. The MFA in Documentary allows students to nominate the chair of their thesis advisor committee in conjunction with the following rules:

  • The committee must include three faculty advisors.
  • One advisor must be a member of the Documentary Program Committee.
  • Of the three advisors, at least two should be fulltime faculty members. One advisor may be an adjunct faculty member.

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 event.

MFA Thesis Defense

A minimum of thirty days prior to the public screening, the student will schedule a thesis defense with his/her MFA Thesis Committee. At this defense, the student's MFA Thesis Committee will discuss, evaluate, and critique the thesis and make a determination on the awarding of the MFA degree.

MFA Thesis Timeline

Students will have a maximum of five years from first enrollment in the program to complete, defend, and screen their MFA Thesis. Time spent in the MS program will count toward this limit. Students may petition their MFA Thesis Committees for a one-time extension.

FILM 701 Thesis Continuation

This zero-credit course is for students actively working to finish their thesis projects. A student's MFA Thesis Committee Chair may enroll a student in 701 a maximum of eight times. Enrolling in 701 requires students to declare goals for the quarter with regard to finishing their thesis. Students who do not meet these goals may not be eligible to enroll in another 701 until those goals are met.

Degree Requirements

Students in this degree program must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete a minimum of 64 graduate credit hours in the designated degree program.
  • Complete all graduate courses and requirements listed in the designated degree program.
  • Earn a grade of C- or better in all graduate courses of the designated degree program.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Satisfactorily complete the MFA thesis as determined by the student's MFA Advisor Committee.
  • Students cannot count credit earned towards a previously awarded master's or MFA degree 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.