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The FDU low-residency MFA in film 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.

Admissions

Application Deadlines

  • Summer residency/Fall semester: June 1
  • Winter residency/Spring semester: November 15

All new students begin their studies with a residency held on the Florham Campus, Madison NJ. See the residency dates below.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Upcoming Residency dates

  • Summer 2020: July 11 to 19
  • Winter 2021: January 16 to 24

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

  • Complete the FDU Application online.
  • Choose your concentration: screenwriting, producing, directing, cinematography, or editing.
  • Attach a statement of purpose to your application. Please tell us more about yourself and why you wish to pursue an MFA in Film.
  • Official transcripts should be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office. All undergraduate transcripts are required.
  • GRE scores are not required.
  • Submit your portfolio or a link to your portfolio via email to: gradfilm@fdu.edu.
    • 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.
    • If your portfolio is too large for email we will direct you to our server. Email gradfilm@fdu.edu for details.
  • Letters of recommendation are welcome, but not required. They can be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office at grad@fdu.edu.
  • We recommend applying to the University Provost’s Graduate Scholarship if you have a GPA of 3.0 or greater.
  • 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, and 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 one of the program directors 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 each residency. 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.

Example two-year sequence

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

  • All courses and each residency are 5 credits.
  • All residencies are held at Florham Campus, Madison, NJ.

Year one, 30 credits

  • Summer on-campus residency: nine days (first residency)
  • Fall term: eight weeks (first term)
    • Two online courses taken consecutively
  • Winter on-campus residency: nine days (second residency)
  • Spring term: eight weeks (second term)
    • Two online courses taken consecutively

Year two, 30 credits

  • Summer on-campus residency: nine days (third residency)
  • Fall term: eight weeks (third term)
    • Two online courses and/or internships taken consecutively
  • Winter on-campus residency: nine days (fourth and final residency)
  • Spring term: eight weeks (fourth and final term)
    • Two online courses and/or internships taken consecutively

Course Descriptions

Residency

FILM5000 MFA in Film Residency. Nine-day graduate film residency held on the Florham Campus, Madison, NJ campus twice a year in summer and winter session. Four residencies are required to complete the degree.

Essentials

20 credits: Each student takes four “Essentials” courses below in the following order, one in each concentration outside of their main concentration).

  • FILM6000 Screenwriting Essentials. 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 Producing Essentials. 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. 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 that can lead to that position.
  • FILM6002 Directing Essentials. 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 Cinematography Essentials. 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 Editing/Post Production Essentials. 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 fall to the editor. Artists such as Orson Welles said, ‘Editing isn’t just a part of film. Editing is filmmaking’.

Concentration Courses

Four courses in the area of concentration are required.

Internship Courses

  • FILM7000 Screenwriting. Students taking the screenwriting concentration take this course four times for a total of 20 credits.
  • FILM7001 Producing. Students taking the producing concentration take this course four times for a total of 20 credits.
  • FILM7002 Directing. Students taking the directing concentration take this course four times for a total of 20 credits.
  • FILM7003 Cinematography. Students taking the cinematography concentration take this course four times for a total of 20 credits.
  • FILM7005 Editing. Students taking the editing concentration take this course four times for a total of 20 credits.

Internship courses can replace the main concentration courses 1:1. The director’s permission required.

  • Film8001 Screenwriting I Internship
  • Film8002 Producing I Internship
  • Film8003 Directing I Internship
  • Film8004 Cinematography I Internship
  • Film8005 Editing I Internship
  • Film8006 Screenwriting 2 Internship
  • Film8007 Producing 2 Internship
  • Film8008 Directing 2 Internship
  • Film8009 Cinematography 2 Internship
  • Film8010 Editing 2 Internship

Professional Workshops Led by and Internships Available

Course Descriptions