“The Snatchers” – Directed by Tanzeel Kayani

Tanzeel Kayani is a filmmaker based out of Bronx, NY, now pursuing his MFA at Fairleigh Dickinson University with a concentration in Directing.

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film is low-residency and offers concentrations in producing, screenwriting, directing, cinematography, and editing.

Internship experiences and workshops led by professionals are “built-in” to the studies. Situated near New York City, and in the heart of a vibrant media market, our students and graduates will be able to hone their skills and be better prepared to obtain work in the field.

MFA film students attend online courses during the fall and spring semesters and attend nine-day residencies in the summer and winter sessions. To complete the degree, students attend four residencies and eight online courses. The program can be completed in two years.

Contact Information
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Learn more about the Master of Fine Art in Film

Admissions

Application Deadlines

  • Fall semester – Apply by August 1
  • Winter residency – Apply by November 15
  • Spring semester – Apply by December 1
  • Summer residency – Apply by May 15

Students can begin the program with a residency on our Florham Campus held in summer or winter or with the fall or spring semester online courses.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Upcoming residency dates

  • 2023 Winter: January 15-21
  • 2023 Summer: June 10-18

Admissions Requirements

Students holding undergraduate degrees from an accredited four-year institution in the U.S. or abroad may apply. Applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better on a 4.0 scale.

To Apply

  • Choose a start date of fall, winter, spring, or summer. Complete the FDU Application online.
  • Choose your concentration: screenwriting, producing, directing, cinematography, or editing.
  • Official transcripts verifying your undergraduate degree should be sent by your college to the Graduate Admissions Office.

Once you complete and submit the application form, the system will prompt you to upload other required documents.

  • Upload a statement of purpose to your application. Please tell us more about yourself and why you wish to pursue an MFA in Film
  • Upload your portfolio or a link to your portfolio. If your portfolio is too large, email gradfilm@fdu.edu for details. We will direct you to our server.
    • You can submit a film work (.mov or QT file), a screenplay, stage play, or creative writing document (Use PDF or MS Word format. Please paginate and put your name on every page). Portfolios may contain live-action film material, screenplays, or other written narrative work. Work from other disciplines can be submitted — be it animation, playwriting, photography, graphic design, or fine arts.
  • Letters of recommendation are welcome, but not required. They can be uploaded to the application or sent to gradfilm@fdu.edu
  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)  online asap if you require financial aid. You don’t have to accept any funds unless you choose to. Many graduate students are eligible for State and/or Federal loans and aid. Our Financial Aid Office (974-443-8704) can assist with this.

In making admissions decisions, the greatest weight is given to screenwriting samples, completed film projects, festivals, professional recognition, and employer recommendations. The work-related experience will also be taken into consideration. While admission will not require the undergraduate major to have been in a film-related field, creativity demonstrated while an undergraduate, or in professional work environments, will be considered.

Prospective students may also arrange a meeting with the program director to discuss program options and tour the film facilities.

MFA in Film Curriculum

The degree takes a minimum of two years to complete. Students have up to five years to finish. Four on-campus residencies, eight online courses, and a completed thesis are required for the degree. A total of 60 credits are required to graduate.

Room and board are included in your residency fee. Students are responsible for their own travel to and from the residency. For information on tuition, please see the Graduate tuition and fees page. The MFA in Film tuition is located under the “Per Credit” heading. If you have any questions, feel free to email gradfilm@fdu.edu.

Course Requirements

Over the course of their studies, students complete four nine-day residencies held on the Florham Campus, Madison, NJ campus. The residencies are held twice a year in summer and winter sessions. All courses (including residencies) are 5 credits each.

  • FILM5000 MFA in Film Residency.

Two 8-week online courses are run consecutively each semester. In the first semester, students take the foundation course, FILM7015 Story, Cinema & Screen Language, and an “Essentials” course in their concentration.

Students then go on to take four courses in their area of concentration and choose an additional three “Essentials” courses from the list below:

  • FILM6000 Screenwriting Essentials
  • FILM6001 Producing Essentials
  • FILM6002 Directing Essentials
  • FILM6003 Cinematography Essentials
  • FILM6004 Editing/Post Production Essentials

Example two-year sequence

Below is an example of a two-year sequence for a student beginning with a summer residency.

Year one, 30 credits

  • Summer on-campus residency
  • Fall term:
    • Story, Cinema, and Screen Language (foundation course)
    • Essentials course in concentration
  • Winter on-campus residency
  • Spring term:
    • Essentials course (choose one)
    • Concentration course

Year two, 30 credits

  • Summer on-campus residency
  • Fall term:
    • Essentials course (choose one)
    • Concentration course
  • Winter on-campus residency
  • Spring term:
    • Essentials course (choose one)
    • Concentration course

Professional workshops and internships available at:

Course Descriptions

  • FILM5000 Students attend 9-day required residencies to complete the MFA in Film degree. During the residencies, students will work directly with their mentors, attend workshops, screenings, and lectures, film and edit projects, and engage with other film students.

  • FILM6000 Screenwriters are tasked with translating the story into the structure demanded by a teleplay or screenplay. Whether it be selecting what story elements to keep-and which to throw away- or how to structure a story so it is told in the most dramatic way possible, screenwriters use the opportunities provided in their chosen medium- film, tv, etc. to create the blueprint of the production.

  • FILM6001 Producers play a vital role in the selection of material, business development, legal filings, and creative execution of content produced for theatrical, streaming, or broadcast: lead to that position. The producer has a role that is part business person and part creative executive. This course will present an overview of the expectations placed on the producer, and a career path, which can lead to that position.

  • FILM6002 Directors don't merely interpret the screenplay, they must understand how best to exploit its' cinematic potential. Whether it be in the casting, the locations, in the performances, or in the design of the production and camerawork to be used, the director must accept the creative responsibility of anchoring the production for the entirety of its' development and execution.

  • FILM6003 Armed with the script, supported by production designers and cast, the cinematographer must lead the talented crew on the set, to visualize and photograph the story. A creative cinematographer is not just a talented photographer, but a key collaborator in how the story is told. The role demands a knowledge of the ever-changing technology of film, and the skills to obtain the best work from a large crew. There are a lot of moving parts the cinematographer must lead, in order to best serve the production, and allow it to move toward fruition.

  • FILM6004 The editor is the anchor of the film project. Relied upon and trusted by directors and producers to provide another set of 'eyes', the editor not only assists in selecting the best material to use but often decides where it should be used. Decisions about cutting scenes, moving them around as the story demands and otherwise structuring the story in ways not previously seen, often fail to the editor. Artists such as Orson Welles said, "Editing isn't just a part of film making. Editing is film making."