MFA in Animation

Curriculum Requirements

Core Requirements

  • ANI 421
  • ANI 422
  • ANI 425
  • ANI 460
  • ANI 466
  • ANI 481
    OR POST 420
  • ANI 560

Short Film Sequence

  • ANI 501
  • ANI 502
  • ANI 503

MFA Thesis Project Sequence

  • ANI 601
  • ANI 602
  • ANI 603

After successfully completing ANI 603, students may continue to work on their Thesis Projects in the zero-credit ANI 701 until they successfully complete their project.

ANI 701 allows students to maintain status without additional cost.

CDM Electives

Twenty-eight (28) credit hours of open electives are required and may be chosen from any graduate level CDM courses. Introductory courses from any CDM graduate program may not be used as CDM electives in this program.

MFA Short Film Sequence

This course will start out with research, including an examination of animated short film examples as role models. Students will then work on developing ideas and pre-production. The instructor will be responsible for helping the students determine what method of animation they want to use, and identifying faculty mentors who can help them with the method The students will complete their short film by the end of Spring quarter. Successful completion of ANI 503 is required in order to progress to ANI 601, so if a student doesn’t show adequate progress they may be delayed or recommended to switch to the MA program. All MFA majors will be subject to review at the end of their first year before they are allowed to proceed to the MFA Thesis Project sequence. At the end of the first year the ANI MFA Committee will meet and decide, using a clear rubric, whether MFA students should be allowed to proceed to the MFA Thesis Project sequence. The instructor of the MFA Short Film sequence will provide written recommendations to the committee. The committee will view the films created in the MFA Short Film sequence, and special consideration will be given to the opinions of faculty who have had the students in class and/or have served as their mentors. Students who are not approved to the MFA Thesis phase will be allowed to complete the requirements for the ANI MA in the concentration of their choice. Their faculty advisor will help them substitute the MFA Short Film sequence courses for MA requirements if necessary.

MFA Thesis Project Sequence

We use the word “project” instead of film because we are open to and encourage alternative animation solutions beyond films, including TV shows, installations, interactive/game projects, augmented/virtual reality, performance, and others. Students will be strongly encouraged to work on their thesis project concepts over the summer before their second year. At the beginning of the fall quarter each student will consult with the instructor to choose their MFA Thesis Committee. They will work on a thesis proposal at the beginning of Fall quarter, which must be approved by the instructor and their MFA Thesis Committee before proceeding with production. Students will work on their thesis projects throughout the year.

MFA Faculty Mentors

Every quarter of their first year each MFA student will choose two faculty mentors from among the full-time faculty. They cannot choose a faculty mentor who is currently their MFA Short Film instructor. They cannot choose the same faculty mentor two quarters in a row. No faculty mentor will mentor more than two MFA students each quarter. MFA students must schedule meetings (during the faculty member’s office hours) with each faculty mentor at least two times during the quarter. These meetings will be used for feedback and suggestions for the student’s short film. In addition to helping the students and building a sense of community, this will also better prepare faculty for the students’ thesis defense and give the student better knowledge for their choice of their MFA Thesis Committee. Non-Animation full-time faculty may be chosen as faculty mentors with the approval of the Short Film instructor.

MFA Thesis Committee

At the beginning of their second year, in consultation with the MFA Thesis Project instructor, all MFA students will choose a three member MFA Thesis Committee, and designate one of these three full-time faculty members as their Thesis Chair. Non-Animation full-time faculty may be members of a thesis committee with the approval of the MFA Thesis Project instructor. MFA students must schedule meetings (during the faculty member’s office hours) with each thesis committee member at least once during the quarter. These meetings will be used for feedback and suggestions for the student’s thesis film. Students should continue to meet regularly with their committee during the thesis continuation process.

MFA Thesis Continuation

After the second year MFA students may use this zero-credit course, which they don’t pay for, to continue working on their thesis projects until completion. MFA students have five years to successfully complete their thesis project, which must be approved by ANI faculty (see MFA Thesis Defense). In extreme circumstances a student may ask for the deadline to be extended, but they must receive approval from their Thesis Chair.

MFA Thesis Defense

At the completion of their thesis project all students must publicly screen/exhibit their projects. The ANI MFA Committee meets with the MFA candidate and questions them about their project. A supermajority of the committee is required for approval of the MFA. A student whose project was not approved may reapply up to two times for approval.

The admission process for the MFA will not change. All applicants are subject to portfolio review and vote by the Animation MFA Committee. MFA students will only be admitted to start in the Fall quarter.

Degree Requirements

Students in this degree program must meet the following requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 80 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.