Documentary Media MFA

Degree Requirements

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.


Program requirements include:

  • Seventeen credit units of study, maintaining at least a B average. A mid-program review at the end of the first year will be used to determine whether students can continue to the second year of study.  Students failing to meet the requirement of a B average will not be permitted to progress to the second year.
  • An MFA Portfolio containing:
    • 20-45 minutes of edited material or 2-3 interactive projects, including the 12-20 minute or interactive thesis project.
    • A written artist statement regarding: how submitted works are connected; who applicant is as a developing artist; what applicant hopes to accomplish, creatively and professionally, through continued work in the field; why applicant thinks their work will make an important and significant contribution to the field.
  • Completion of all thesis requirements and successful defense of the MFA thesis project before a faculty committee.

Coursework Requirements

Total Units Required: 17

Course Title
Core Courses (6 units)
RTVF 551-0Documentary Techniques
RTVF 552-0Narrative Techniques
RTVF 553-0Pre-Thesis
RTVF 554-0Thesis 1
RTVF 555-0Thesis 2
RTVF 556-0Thesis 3
Topics Courses (5 units)
RTVF (300 level or higher) with director of MFA approval
Sample courses include:
Editing; Lighting Cinematography; SFX Cinematography; Designing for the Internet; Directing Actors; Producing; Advanced Audio Production; Advanced Sound Design; Color Correction; 2D Computer Animation; 3D Computer Animation; Stop Motion Animation; Animated Infographics; Interactive Comics; Conceptual Design; Advanced SFX Recording; Approaches to Video Game Design; Gaming Narratives; Experimental Media Production; Place Based Documentary; Problem Families/Family Problems; Secrets and Lies; Computer Code as Expressive Medium; Layout and Storyboarding; Sitcom Production; Romantic Comedy; Rebels, Misfits, and Losers; Making the Bromance; Making Reality TV; Love Hurts; Romantic Triangles; Webisodes
Theory/history/culture Courses (1 unit)
(300-level or higher)
From Screen Cultures/RTVF, Performance Studies, Art Theory and Practice, Theatre, or other departments with approval of MFA program director. A course in the area of nonfiction media, documentary history/theory, or reality television is especially encouraged.
Electives (5 units)
From Production, Screen Cultures, or Writing/RTVF, Performance Studies, Art Theory and Practice, Theatre or other departments with approval of MFA program director.
Optional Internship (1 unit)
RTVF 490-1Professional Experience Practicum
RTVF 490-2Professional Experience Capstone

Other MFA Degree Requirements

MFA students will be allowed to take a maximum of 20 credits.

  • Grade average: you must maintain a B average. If your average is not a B or higher by the end of the first year, you may be asked to leave the program.
  • First Year Review: The academic and professional progress of all first year MFAs will be reviewed in early June by the director of the program in consultation with production faculty. If weaknesses are identified, a formal interview with that student will be conducted by the director and production faculty to determine an appropriate course of action. Subsequent to that interview, at the discretion of the director, the grade for the spring core 500-level production seminar may be used to determine whether that student will be allowed to continue in the program, with a grade of C+ or below resulting in possible removal.
  • Final Portfolio Review/Defense: In consultation with the director of the program, you will choose a committee of two faculty members (both part of the Graduate School faculty) to review your final portfolio (20-45 minutes of edited material or 2-3 interactive projects created in classes -- including the 12-20 minute or interactive thesis project) and to assess your final defense of that portfolio, which will include a written artist statement and business plan.