MFA

3-Year Program

The Film Directing MFA residency begins with two semesters of required classes in filmmaking fundamentals by the end of which every student must have completed a film. The requirements throughout the following four semesters include six métier directing classes, two special topic seminars, and three elective courses drawn from across all of CalArts. In addition, FDP students must attend the ongoing Guest Artist Workshop. (Recent guest artists have included directors James Mangold, Ramin Bahrani, John Greyson, the Polish Brothers, Rodrigo Garcia, Lance Hammer, and Jim Finn; actors Ed Harris, Ewan McGregor, and Annette Bening; composer David Shire; and producer Effie Brown, among others.)

Each student’s residency culminates with an MFA thesis film that demonstrates a distinctive directorial point of view, as well as the practical ability to lead a team of performance and production artists toward the shared goal of a finished work. Before proceeding to the thesis project, however, FDP students must pass a Preliminary Thesis Review and Project Approval in the third semester of residency. Once the thesis film is completed, each filmmaker must then pass a Graduation Review in order to graduate. In addition, they must have fulfilled all Program course requirements.

Full Curriculum

Detailed curriculum and academic requirements can be found in the online course catalog.

View Curriculum Requirements


Interdisciplinary Opportunities

In addition to CalArts' rich and diverse community and naturally collaborative atmosphere, the Institute provides several programs of study that can be pursued concurrently with a student's chosen metier.

Integrated Media

The Integrated Media concentration is designed specifically for MFA students whose creative use of technology—in particular digital media—goes beyond their primary areas of study.

Integrated Media

Interschool Degree

This option is available to a small number of graduates and advanced third- and fourth-year undergraduates whose skills and artistic interests warrant pursuing a degree in more than one School.

Interschool Degree


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