Curriculum Requirements

Introductory Courses

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

  • FILM 401

Introductory courses may be waived for any of the following conditions based on faculty review:

  • The student has the appropriate course work to satisfy an Introductory Course based on an official transcript review by faculty and successful grades, typically B or better.
  • The student has appropriate and verified professional experience to satisfy an Introductory Course which is demonstrated through successful completion of a GAE exam.
  • If a Graduate Assessment Examination (GAE) is available for the Introductory Courses, upon successfully completion of a GAE, a waiver will be issued.
  • Plan accordingly prior to start of the term, faculty reviews for possible course waivers can take a few weeks. For newly admitted students, possible course waivers will not be initiated until an Intent to Enroll form has been submitted.

Note: Students required to take FILM 401 Fundamentals of Cinema Production must take the course during the Fall quarter of their first year and consult their advisor about their course sequence for their first year in the program.

Required Courses

First Year

  • Fall Quarter
    • FILM 410
    • SCWR 400
    • FILM 482
  • Winter Quarter
    • FILM 430
    • FILM 450
    • FILM 483
  • Spring Quarter
    • SCWR 408
    • DOC 414
      OR FILM 425
    • FILM 484

Second Year

  • Fall Quarter
    • CP 420
    • FILM 487
    • FILM 485
  • Winter Quarter
    • FILM 479
    • POST 400
    • POST 420
  • Spring Quarter
    • POST 482
    • FILM 501
    • Major Electives (4 credits)

Third Year

  • Fall Quarter
    • POST 500
    • CP 540 (or major elective)
  • Winter Quarter
    • POST 520
    • POST 580
    • Major Electives (4 credits)
  • Spring Quarter
    • Major Electives (4 credits)
    • Major Electives (4 credits)

Major Electives

Students must choose any graduate level ANI, CP, DOC, FILM, POST, SCWR, or VFX courses or MPOP 502.

Optional Los Angeles Quarter

Students may apply to participate in the Los Angeles Quarter Program for the spring of their third year; they will spend twelve weeks in Hollywood doing industry internships, living with their fellow DePaul classmates, and having twice-weekly classes on an industry lot where they will have intimate question and answer sessions with industry professionals in all aspects of the film, TV, and videogame world. If selected to participate in the LA program, MFA in Film and Television Directing students would take SCWR 446 and FILM 499 in Los Angeles.

MFA Thesis

The MFA Thesis should be a significant work that demonstrates a mastery of cinematic storytelling technique to convey the filmmaker's unique voice and vision. This project may be a short film or television/web series pilot. Feature films may be permitted with approval from the student's thesis committee..

Thesis Committee

Students will be asked to submit five preferences for full-time faculty members to serve as their thesis chair. A thesis chair will be assigned to each student by the  MFA Film and Television Directing Committee. During the thesis phase, the thesis  advisor supervises a student's project. Greenlight approval to advance in the thesis sequence is determined by the thesis advisor and MFA Committee. If the MFA Film and Television Directing committee denies approval, students may appeal to the  committee. If appeals are denied, students are dismissed from the MFA program. Students in good academic standing may choose to complete an MS in Film and Television.

Thesis Classes

There are four crucial milestones a student must pass in order to proceed with thesis classes:

  1. Script Approval

    The thesis advisor must approve a student's thesis screenplay before admission will be granted to FILM 501 and POST 482. The thesis advisor will notify the instructors of FILM 501 and POST 482 of approved students.
  2. Principal Photography

    Successful completion of FILM 501 and POST 482 with a C- or higher is required for permission to film in the summer between years two and three. MFA students should complete principal photography prior to taking POST 500 in the fall of year three. Instructor approval is necessary to register for this class. If the instructor deems the student not ready to register for  POST 500, the student must wait until the class is offered again, and must again seek instructor approval to register.
  3. Picture Lock

    MFA students must edit and picture lock their films prior to taking POST 520 and POST 580. Thesis advisors in collaboration with the instructor of POST 500 will notify the instructors of POST 520 and POST 580 of approved students, and the instructors will grant approval to register. If the student is deemed not ready to register for POST 520 and POST 580, the student must wait until the classes are offered again, and must again seek MFA in Film and Television Committee approval to register.
  4. Final Thesis Delivery, Screening and Defense

    MFA students will deliver their finished projects their thesis committees for a formal thesis defense scheduled by the MFA in Film and Television Committee. If the film passes and upon completion of the required 96/100 credits of coursework, the student will be awarded an MFA. If the film does not pass, the student may revise it and re-defend. If the film does not pass again, the student will be dismissed from the MFA program. Students in good academic standing may choose to complete an MS in Film and Television.
  5. Progression toward completion

    The MFA committee will ask a student to withdraw from the MFA program if the committee members judge that the student is not satisfactorily progressing toward the degree. Students in good academic standing may choose to complete an MS in Film and Television.

Film 701 Thesis Continuation

FILM 701 Thesis Continuation is a zero-credit course for students actively working to finish their thesis projects. Enrolling in 701 requires student to declare goals for the quarter with regard to finishing their thesis along with a detailed schedule. Students who do not meet these goals may not be eligible to enroll in another 701 until those goals are met. A student must apply for FILM 701 each quarter to the MFA in Film and Television Committee. If approved, the MFA thesis advisor will enroll a student in FILM 701. Students can enroll in FILM 701 a maximum of six times. Failure to enroll in a course for three straight quarters will lead to a student becoming inactive at the university, and will require the student to reapply to the program should they wish to finish their degree. Re-admission cannot be guaranteed, and the student will be subject to follow the curriculum in place when they return.

Time Limit to Finish Degree

Students must complete all required coursework and defend their finished thesis projects in no more than five years from their first enrollment in the program. If the student does not complete the above requirements in the required five years, the student will be dismissed from the MFA program. As per University policy, during their college career, students may be allowed one medical/personal approved administrative withdrawal and one college office administrative withdrawal, each for one or more courses in a single term. Such withdrawals do not count towards the time limit to finish the degree.

Degree Requirements

Students in this degree program must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete a minimum of 96 graduate credit hours in addition to any required introductory courses of 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 3.0 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.