2020-2021 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 23, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Film, MFA

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Visual and Performing Arts


Kara Herold, Program Coordinator
102 Shaffer Art Building, 315-443-1033, kherold@syr.edu


Leo Crandall, Boryana Dragoeva, Kelly Gallagher, Kara Herold, David Hicock, Alexis Mendez, Vasilios Papaioannu, Nancy Keefe Rhodes, Donato Rossi, Owen Shapiro, Sandy Siquier, Miso Suchy, Matthew Warne, Soudabeh Moradian


The M.F.A. in film is an advanced degree for filmmakers, earned in preparation for a professional career. The program emphasizes two things equally: creative production in dramatic, experimental, and documentary forms, and film studies (notably theory, criticism, and history). Production courses and academic courses are integrated throughout, and this intense mingling of theory and practical application results in a lively interchange of ideas and a viable transferring of ideas into action.

The program meets professional and educational needs in experimental and dramatic film production. The complementary curriculum structured for the degree in film is unique, and courses are offered throughout the year, including some summer sessions.

A minimum of 60 credits is required in film, including a thesis film and project paper. Prerequisites for all students are two semesters of film history, one semester of film theory, and one semester of 16mm film. Candidates must also take whatever undergraduate courses are needed to correct deficiencies in their previous training. No entrance exams are required, but applicants must submit a portfolio and arrange for a personal interview with the program head if applying for a fellowship or assistantship. Phone interviews may be acceptable when circumstances warrant. A residence of three years is normally required to complete the program.

The physical facilities for film production are among the best in the country. There is a digital sound studio for mixing, foley and music recording, a 1,200- square- foot sound stage, and an animation studio. There are more than 30 16mm cameras ranging from Bolex non-synch cameras to Arri SR- 2s to Super- 16mm Aaton cameras and numerous digital sound recording devices. Post facilities include digital edit suites for standard definition film/video as well as HDV. Analog facilities include nine 16mm flatbed editors. A large selection of grip and lighting equipment is also available.

M.F.A. degree candidates are required to produce three films; the third film is their thesis project. Two of these films, one of which must be the thesis project film, must be taken to a faculty approved answer print stage. All M.F.A. degree candidates are required to screen and discuss their work at an annual portfolio review and in original graduate student showcases.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Conceptual Skills: Demonstrate a broad set of skills in Film that allow a student to understand abstract ideas and complicated processes while also think creatively

2. Critical Thinking: Analyze theoretical, critical and historical thoughts and concepts clearly and effectively through film

3. Professional Practice: Demonstrate professional practice skills through projects in Film

4. Filmmaking Proficiency: Produce quality films that demonstrate a cohesive and compelling production, appropriate to the medium while effectively managing the resources and logistics to produce a film

5. Technical Skills: Demonstrate technical proficiency involving process or technique knowledge in film production and directing

Program Requirements

Studio Electives: 12 credits

Art History or related academics: 12 credits

Free Electives: 6 credits

Graduate Seminar: 3 credits

Final Presentation: 3 credits

Total Credits Required: 60

Length of Residency: 3 years

Degree Awarded: MFA in Film

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Visual and Performing Arts