Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • develop an artistic vision that will inform an emerging practice of film and video production, and begin to develop a portfolio;
  • learn the advanced technical aspects of production from cinematography and editing to sound design;
  • acquire a broad range of knowledge in film and media theories and histories;
  • develop skills and experience in academic research and critical writing; and
  • develop professionally, including showing work at festivals, applying for grants and residencies, acquiring requisite skills for academic employment, and learning the skills for successful job applications.

The Master of Fine Arts program in film and video production requires 59 s.h. of graduate credit, 24 of which must be earned at the University of Iowa. Students must earn a minimum program g.p.a. of 3.00.

Graduate credit is typically acquired through advanced production courses, graduate colloquia, and advising-centered thesis courses taken over three years. With a focus on expanded documentary, experimental, hybrid, and narrative media forms, the curriculum combines creative and scholarly coursework with the aim of producing a body of innovative, artistic work in film, digital media, multimedia installation, and/or animation. Degree requirements include advanced coursework in film/media theory or history, annual public presentations and critiques, the development of an artist statement, a thesis paper, and a creative thesis project.

Students may not enroll in cinematic arts courses numbered below CINE:5000 with the exception of the following courses that count toward their degree (as listed below): CINE:4821, CINE:4841, CINE:4843, CINE:4845, CINE:4862, CINE:4864, and CINE:4890. These courses also count toward the degree if they are taken as electives: CINE:3865 Film/Video Production: Material of 16mm FilmmakingCINE:4377 Advanced Screenwriting ICINE:4378 Advanced Screenwriting II. Candidates may enroll in courses numbered below 5000 from areas outside of cinematic arts but those courses do not count toward their degree.

Students may take CINE:4890 Media Production Workshop and CINE:5890 Colloquium in Film and Video Production as electives in their third year while they complete their thesis requirement.

The M.F.A. with a major in film and video production requires the following coursework.

Required Courses

This coursework must be taken before thesis clearance.

Both of these:
CINE:4890Media Production Workshop4
CINE:5890Colloquium in Film and Video Production (taken twice for 4 s.h. each)8
12 s.h. in advanced production courses from these:
CINE:4821Film/Video Production: Selected Topics4
CINE:4841Film/Video Production: Sound Design4
CINE:4843Film/Video Production: Image Design4
CINE:4845Film/Video Production: Editing4
CINE:4862Film/Video Production: Advanced Video4
CINE:4864Film Production: Advanced 16mm4
All of these:
Two mid-level graduate courses in film theory/history6
Two courses from related areas outside the Department of Cinematic Arts6
Additional upper-level electives5

Required Courses After Thesis Clearance

All of these:
Additional upper-level electives6

Students should consult their advisor for specific information related to M.F.A. requirements.

A faculty committee chaired by the head of film and video production evaluates applications to the M.F.A. program. Application materials should include undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, samples of creative work, test scores, and writing samples when relevant. Admission decisions are based on the full range of an applicant's accomplishments and evidence that the applicant will thrive in the department's program. Previous academic experience in moving image production is desirable but not required.

All applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website. Information about the application process is available on the Department of Cinematic Arts website and the Graduate Admissions website.

The film and video production program has a remarkable job placement record, with graduates located in faculty positions at major research universities and prestigious liberal arts colleges throughout the world. Through their creative work and published research, graduates are visible and productive contributors to film and video production and related disciplines.

Within the program, faculty mentor students toward professional careers by supervising their development as both innovative moving-image makers and scholars. Regular one-on-one advising sessions, group critiques, workshops on topics such as film festival submissions, job interviews, and related topics prepare students for academic and artistic careers. Students also are regularly advised on applying for grants and awards to facilitate their advanced research, whether conducted in Iowa or elsewhere.

The Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Film and Video Production, M.F.A.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
59 s.h. must be graduate level coursework; graduate transfer credits allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a
Students must maintain a Graduate College program GPA of 3.00 or higher. b
First Year
CINE:5890 Colloquium in Film and Video Production c, d 4
Advanced production course e 4
Mid-level graduate course in film theory/history e 3
Elective course (CINE:5500 Success in Graduate Studies recommended) e 2
CINE:4890 Media Production Workshop f 4
Advanced production course e 4
Course from related area outside of Cinematic Arts e 3
Second Year
CINE:5890 Colloquium in Film and Video Production d 4
Advanced production course e 4
Mid-level graduate course in film theory/history e 3
Course from related area outside of Cinematic Arts e 3
Elective course e 3
Independent study or elective course (optional) e 3
Third Year
CINE:7992 Thesis 6
Elective course (after thesis clearance) e 3
CINE:7992 Thesis 6
Elective course (after thesis clearance) e 3
Final Exam g
 Total Hours62
Students must complete specific requirements in the University of Iowa Graduate College after program admission. Refer to the Graduate College website and the Manual of Rules and Regulations for more information.
Graduate College program GPA is comprised of all courses that are approved degree requirements. If a student takes more than the minimum required number of semester hours to complete the degree, but all courses taken are eligible to count toward the degree, those courses will be included in the Graduate College program GPA.
Take twice for total of 8 s.h.
Typically this course is offered in fall semesters only. Check MyUI for course availability since offerings are subject to change.
Work with faculty advisor to determine appropriate coursework and sequence.
Typically this course is offered in spring semesters only. Check MyUI for course availability since offerings are subject to change.
Completion of all degree requirements including MFA thesis project.