Film and Media Arts, M.F.A.

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts / SCHOOL OF THEATER, FILM AND MEDIA ARTS

Learn more about the Master of Fine Arts in Film and Media Arts.

About the Program

The M.F.A. program in Film and Media Arts is designed to prepare socially aware, artistically innovative candidates for professional careers in film, video, or digital media. The program is characterized by an openness to all forms of media expression, with an emphasis on independent film and video arising out of both an artistic and social consciousness, taught under the supervision of recognized scholars and professionals in the field. Special attention is paid to the contemporary documentary, the independent narrative, video art and installation, and emerging forms and technologies.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 5 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Students complete the degree program through classes offered during daytime hours, as well as evening classes.

Interdisciplinary Study: Although graduate students in the Film and Media Arts (FMA) program are expected to complete most of their coursework in the FMA Department, they are encouraged to explore relevant courses in other departments.

Affiliation(s): The FMA program is associated with the University Film and Video Association, an international organization of university and industry professionals working in the field of media production.

Study Abroad: FMA courses are offered at Temple's satellite campuses in Rome, London, and Tokyo where graduate students may choose to complete courses. Graduate students may also choose to complete courses through FMA's Los Angeles Study Away Program.

Ranking: The M.F.A. in Film and Media Arts is ranked among the top 10 film/video programs nationally and is one of the top three programs offered by public institutions.

Areas of Specialization: Faculty members specialize and offer coursework in:

  • Directing
  • Media history
  • Media studies
  • Narrative and non-narrative scriptwriting
  • New media
  • Producing
  • Production
  • Post-production

Job Prospects: The FMA graduate program produces media makers who pursue careers in academia and in the communications and production industries. Many graduates choose to work independently, creating original narrative and documentary films and videos or new media projects.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may take up to 9 credits within the department at the discretion of individual instructors.

Financing Opportunities: Applicants to the M.F.A. program in Film and Media Arts are eligible and nominated for Teaching Assistantship and fellowship awards during the application process. Most students accepted into the program receive some form of funding, which can be applied to the full 54-credit program at the rate of up to 13 credits per term. The awards include:

  • Four-Term Teaching Assistantship – FMA departmental awards provide 50% tuition support and a stipend for either terms 1-4 or terms 2-5.
  • Variable Teaching Assistantship – FMA departmental awards offer partial tuition support and a stipend, both with various values.
  • University Fellowship – Recipients of the competitive fellowship awards receive 100% support for three years. Fellowship funding is provided by the Graduate School in terms 1, 2, and 6, with departmental support in the form of a Teaching Assistantship offered in terms 3, 4, and 5.
  • Fulbright Support – FMA accepts international Fulbright Award students, who generally receive 100% tuition and a stipend for three years, with teaching opportunities.

All awards are based on and contingent upon the student maintaining an excellent record of achievement and advancement in the program. Given that the M.F.A. is typically a three-year, six-term program, most students fund their sixth term by teaching as adjunct faculty.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: November 15; October 15 international

Applications are evaluated together after the deadline has passed. Late applications may be considered for admission. To ensure funding consideration, however, applicants must submit an application and all supporting materials by November 15.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty familiar with the applicant's academic competency and/or professionals in the fields of communication or media production.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Applicants educated in China should review the information found on the Graduate School website regarding the submission of education documents to Temple University. See The admissions committee for the Film and Media Arts M.F.A. program will review your materials to determine your admissions status provided the required documentation is submitted in support of your application.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 1,000 to 1,500 words, explain your personal interests, educational aims, and professional goals, along with relevant biographical information.

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 100
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0
  • PTE Academic: 68
  • Duolingo: 105

Portfolio: A portfolio is submitted as evidence of creative potential. This usually includes a completed film or videotape accompanied by a cover sheet to explain the applicant's role in the project, including production date, running time, relevant credits, and the conditions and constraints under which it was produced. Other exceptional creative work in writing, art, music, still photography, computer arts, criticism, or research scholarship might be appropriate. Such work also may be used to supplement a film or video exhibit. Portfolio materials should be submitted as an online link.

Resume: Current resume required.

Transfer Credit: The Film and Media Arts M.F.A. program accepts graduate credits completed in coursework related to the program. Acceptance of transfer credits is determined solely by the FMA committee. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 11.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 54

Required Courses:

Core Courses
FMA 5241Cinematography Workshop4
FMA 5242Videography4
FMA 5361Writing for Media I4
FMA 5670M.F.A. Colloquium (2 terms)2
FMA 5671Film History and Theory3
FMA 5674Media Arts Thry-Practice4
FMA 9246Thesis Production Workshop4
Customized Course of Study 129
Total Credit Hours54

Culminating Events:
Faculty Reviews:
Student work is evaluated by the FMA faculty near the end of the first year in a closed individual session in the First Year Reviews. Each student is asked to present her/his completed work and work in progress, along with an artistic statement that indicates future direction. Students are required to present their work again at the end of the second year in the Second Year Reviews. This is a community-wide event attended by FMA faculty, other M.F.A. students, and undergraduate students. Student participation in the First and Second Year Reviews is mandatory.

Comprehensive Examination:
The intent of the comprehensive examination is to offer the student an opportunity for creative synthesis of information and experience from coursework and beyond. Particularly, it is meant to encourage a strong theoretical, critical, and historical grounding for all creative production work. Each examination is tailored to the student's individual program. However, the questions are not restricted to courses taken by the student but are aimed at incorporating the entire field of study and practice. The examination questions focus on major aspects of aesthetics, criticism, history, and media theory, and also may include issues of economics, institutions, management, media ethics, law, pedagogy, policy, regulations, social effects, and/or technology.

Typically, students take the comprehensive examination after completing 38 hours of coursework. The M.F.A. candidate forms a committee of three FMA faculty members and works with the committee to design four essay questions or subject areas that collectively represent a comprehensive breadth of study. A date for the exam is determined, and the candidate must complete approximately 10 pages of writing for each question.

The candidate submits a copy of the examination to each committee member. The committee reads the examination within two weeks and meets to evaluate the results. The committee members vote pass/fail on each individual question. Candidates may be asked to orally defend a questionable submission and/or rewrite one or more of the questions.

Final Project:
The student selects a thesis chair and forms a thesis committee comprised of three members. All may be FMA faculty or two may be FMA faculty and one from the outside. The student then proposes an M.F.A. final project. The project is evaluated on the basis of originality and creativity, treatment and style, professional competence, and significance of the work. In most cases, the project takes the form of a complete sound, film, or video production; a feature film script; or a completed work in an alternative media form, including computer-generated media, interactive media, installations, or newly emerging technologies.

The M.F.A. project committee evaluates project proposals individually for rigor, scope, length, and other specific criteria prior to the start of production. The committee then meets regularly with the candidate to provide ongoing critique/feedback. Upon completion of the M.F.A. project, the committee publicizes and holds a public screening of the project.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Film and Media Arts Graduate Admissions

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts/School of Theater, Film and Media Arts

2001 N. 13th Street, 127 Presser Hall

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016


Fax: 215-204-4957

Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


James Short

Recruitment Coordinator

Graduate Program Director:

Sarah Drury

Interim Chair:

Chet Pancake