Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 54, with 12-13 required credits and 41-42 concentration-specific credits

Core Courses
FMA 5242Videography4
FMA 5670M.F.A. Colloquium (2 terms)2
FMA 5671Film History and Theory 13
Select one critical studies course from the following:3-4
FMA 5672
History of Documentary Film
FMA 5673
Time-Image Arts/Cinema Praxis
FMA 5676
Anthropological Film/Media
FMA 5680
Topics in Film Study
FMA 8462
Documentary Arts and Visual Research
FMA 8670
Topics in Media Studies
FMA 8673
Historical Film Research
FMA 8674
Critical Studies Seminar
FMA 8675
Seminar: International Film
FMA 8680
Advanced Topics in Media Arts Studies
FMA 8870
U Penn Critical Studies
FMA 9346
Methodologies and Praxis
Total Credit Hours12-13

Additional course requirements for each of the three concentrations are identified in the following course grids:

Cinematic Arts: Narrative and Documentary

FMA 5241Cinematography Workshop4
FMA 5361Writing for Media I4
FMA 9245Thesis Development Workshop4
FMA 9246Thesis Production Workshop4
Electives 125-26
Total Credit Hours41-42

Media Arts

FMA 5674Media Arts Thry-Practice4
Select one content-design and writing course from the following:4
FMA 5361
Writing for Media I
FMA 5462
Video Game Theory and Writing
FMA 8245
Documentary Workshop
FMA 8461
Interractive Narrative
FMA 8462
Documentary Arts and Visual Research
Select three media arts courses from the following:12
FMA 5243
Audio Production and Aesthetics
FMA 5451
Animation Workshop
FMA 5462
Video Game Theory and Writing
FMA 8244
Experimental Methods
FMA 8451
Digital Animation
FMA 8452
New Technology Laboratory
FMA 8461
Interractive Narrative
FMA 8551
Digital Post-Production
Electives 121-22
Total Credit Hours41-42


FMA 5241Cinematography Workshop4
FMA 5361Writing for Media I4
FMA 8362Joint Writing Workshop 14
FMA 8363Joint Writing Workshop 24
Select one from the following: 4
FMA 5362
Serial Writing
FMA 8361
Writing for Media II
Electives 221-22
Total Credit Hours41-42

Culminating Events:
Faculty Reviews:
At the end of both the first and second years, students formally present their work to the FMA faculty, who review and evaluate students' work and progress in the program.

Comprehensive Examination:
The MFA program in Film and Media Arts requires a Comprehensive Examination in addition to an MFA thesis. The program is committed to synthesizing theory and practice, allowing students to develop aesthetically and conceptually as makers. The MFA candidate forms a committee of three FMA faculty members (or two FMA faculty and one outside approved member) and works with the committee to design customized areas of inquiry that embody their interests in film studies, media theory or any other field of knowledge relevant to them and their work. Typically, after completing 38 credits of coursework, students write and defend the examination questions, which include two essays and a research-based expanded artist statement.

Thesis Proposal and Defense:
A thesis is a completed stand-alone work that can be:

  • a complete sound, film or video production;
  • a feature film script; or
  • a completed work in an alternative media form, such as computer-generated media, interactive media, installations or newly emerging technologies.

Students develop their thesis project proposal, treatment and/or script during their fourth semester and form a thesis committee at that time, selecting a thesis chair. The thesis committee may comprise FMA faculty entirely or two FMA faculty and one outside member. The student then proposes an MFA thesis. The MFA thesis committee evaluates project proposals individually for rigor, scope, length and other specific criteria prior to the start of production. 

A thesis project must be completed by the date set annually by the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts and Temple University. While it is common and expected for students to develop thesis projects into works for professional public audiences that might entail additional changes after graduation, such as professional color correction, the thesis work must be complete and presentable. Rough versions and drafts with placeholders are not considered complete thesis projects. Upon completion of the MFA thesis, the committee and student hold a public screening or reading of the work.