2012 - 2013 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Film and Media Arts, M.F.A.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: December 1; November 1 international

Applications are evaluated together after the deadline has passed.

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.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

No specific coursework is required.

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 heed the following information: Documents certified by the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) or the China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHESICC) are required for a full credential evaluation. Photocopies of transcripts, degree certificates, and diploma certificates are not considered official and are not acceptable substitutes for the official documentation. 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:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 1,000-1,500 words and should explain your personal interests, your educational aims, and your professional goals, along with relevant biographical information.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Scores should be in the 75-85% range on the verbal and quantitative sections.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 100 iBT or 600 PBT.


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 in research scholarship might be appropriate. Such work also may be used to supplement a film or video exhibit.


A resume is required.

Transfer Credit:

The M.F.A. program in Film and Media Arts 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 Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 48

Required Courses:

FMA 5241:  Cinematography Workshop
FMA 5242:  Videography

FMA 5361:  Writing for Media I

FMA 5670:  M.F.A. Colloquium
FMA 5671:  Film History and Theory
FMA 8674:  Critical Methods Seminar

Students must complete all required courses and then may customize their course of study to complete the balance of the 48 didactic course credits. Students then take thesis project credits to attain the total degree requirement of 54 credit hours.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

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 media theory, aesthetics, history, and criticism and also may include issues of media ethics, economics, institutions, management, policy, law, regulations, social effects, technology, and/or pedagogy.

Typically, students take the comprehensive examination after completing 48 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 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 Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Film and Media Arts

Temple University
120 Annenberg Hall
2020 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Department Contacts:


Leah Dempsey


Program Director:

Eran Preis


Nora Alter

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, and emerging forms and technologies.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 5 years

Campus Location:


Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are able to complete the degree program through classes offered before 4:30 p.m.

Department Information:

Dept. of Film and Media Arts

Temple University
120 Annenberg Hall
2020 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Interdisciplinary Study:

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


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. Graduate students may choose to complete courses at these international sites.


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 3 programs offered by public institutions.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Faculty members specialize and offer coursework in the following areas: narrative and non-narrative scriptwriting, producing, directing, production, post-production, new media, media history, and media studies.

Job Placement:

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.


Not applicable.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students may take up to 9 credit hours of study within the department at the discretion of individual instructors.

Financing Opportunities

The principal duties of a Teaching Assistant include assisting faculty members in classroom and laboratory instruction; preparing apparatus or material for demonstration; conducting tutorials and discussion sections; and grading quizzes, papers, and projects. Teaching Assistantships carry a stipend and full-tuition remission (up to 9 credits per semester). Applications for an assistantship in Film and Media Arts should include: (a) the application form available in 344 Annenberg Hall; (b) a curriculum vitae; and (c) a statement of previous teaching experiences, areas of interest, and future career goals. Teaching Assistantships are typically awarded to students in the second year of the program.

Updated 11.7.12