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Film and Animation MFA

Course Description

See the department website - http://cias.rit.edu/schools/film-animation/graduate-film-and-animation

The MFA program in film and animation enjoys state-of-the-art facilities. Students can create live-action production, screens, 2D, 3D or stop motion animation that is unique. The program is housed in a School of Film and Animation with full production facilities, as well as the additional support of highly specialized faculty in photography, imaging science, computer science, information technology, and printing.


The program provides students with the opportunity to use animation, filmmaking, and other imaging arts as a means to:

- pursue a career and earn a livelihood,
- enrich their personal lives and society as a whole, and
- encourage a sense of community, creativity, scholarship, and purpose.

Plan of study

The MFA in film and animation offers four options:

1. 2D animation concentrates on traditional forms drawn by hand, a mixture of both traditional and digital, or all digital origination. Students may concentrate their studies on stop motion puppet animation.

2. 3D animation courses focus on advanced 3D modeling, lighting, texturing, and animating in a 3D space.

3. Production allows students to develop and refine their creative approach to fictional narrative, documentary, and experimental work.

4. Screenwriting is an opportunity for students to complete short films with a concentration in creating feature length screenplays.

All four options require two years of course work and a thesis project. A complete film is required of all the first year students, a complete film or script is required in the second year, and a more ambitious thesis film or feature length script is required in the third year, which is a part-time student status focused only on the thesis film.

A minimum of 63 semester credit hours of graduate work is outlined below.


SOFA elective courses are available in animation, film, video, multimedia, screenwriting, printmaking, painting, sculpture, communication design, museum studies, crafts, bookmaking, typography, color photography, new media, studio photography, advertising photography, perception, sensitometry, computer graphics, art history, and archival preservation and conservation. There are also opportunities for independent studies, internships, and concentrations.


Specific instructions pertaining to the thesis are available in the “MFA Guide for Students and Faculty: Policy Regarding Student Work.” The School of Film and Animation reserves the right to retain copies of student-produced films to be used for educational purposes, to show to prospective students, and as examples of student productions.

Admission requirements

Scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are not required for admission. International students are required to submit English language test scores such as TOEFL. Applicants who are capable of good academic work as well as artistic visual expression, and who demonstrate an interest in the exploration of new artistic ideas and experiences, will be favored. The graduate faculty makes recommendations based on the above interlocking criteria.

Students who are evaluated to have MFA potential but need additional study in preparation for graduate courses will be advised to take such courses either prior to entrance or during their first year of study.

All correspondence concerning applications or catalogs should be addressed to the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services. Students interested in the program should have their application process completed by January 15. Applications received later than January 15 are considered on a space-available basis.

- Portfolio

The review committee is looking for work that is original in concept and content. It does not need to necessarily be motion media, but should be visual or aural. Examples include films/videos, photos, drawings, paintings, sculpture, stop motion puppets, scripts, storyboards, and original music.

Applicants must present what they consider to be the best of their work, not all of their work. Films or videos should total 12-minutes or less. A short, complete piece of work is preferable to a demo reel. If there are no short works then a 12-minute excerpt of a longer piece is acceptable.

Applicants must place their portfolios on a Web or FTP site, such as Vimeo or YouTube, which can be easily accessed by RIT faculty for review. Your application should include a URL Web or FTP address to your online portfolio. If your portfolio is placed on a shared Web or FTP site that contains other files, be sure the file name contains your full name (which must match the name used on your application materials). When applicable, please include any usernames and/or passwords necessary for access to your portfolio. Please provide an inventory sheet or table of contents with your portfolio, and if it is not obvious, clearly indicate what your combination was to group and collaborative pieces. This can be a separate description or can be included in the portfolio presentation.

Applicants are also required to produce a 2 to 3 minute video self-portrait to accompany the online portfolio. This should include information about the applicant such as why you want to attend the School of Film and Animation, which concentration you wish to pursue, and why. Please include information about one significant accomplishment you have made. Sound and picture quality should be clear. The online portfolio and self-portrait must be mounted on Slideroom.com once a Slideroom account is established.

For more information about portfolio guidelines as well as assistance in uploading an online portfolio, contact Graduate Enrollment Services.

- Transfer credit

Graduate-level course work taken prior to admission should be submitted for approval upon entrance into the program. Up to 8 semester credit hours of graduate work with a grade of B or better is transferable and may be counted toward the MFA degree, with the approval of the graduate faculty.

- Grades

Students must maintain a B (3.0) average GPA to meet graduation requirements for the MFA. Thesis hours are usually completed over several semesters. Acceptance or rejection of the thesis is made by the candidate’s thesis board and the graduate faculty.

- Maximum time limit

University policy requires that graduate programs be completed within seven years of the student's initial registration for courses in the program. Bridge courses are excluded.

- Screenings

Screenings are required for all student-produced films and are coordinated through the professor or the thesis chair.

Visit the Film and Animation MFA page on the Rochester Institute of Technology USA website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, Submit an on-line portfolio of work that demonstrates the applicant's skills, visual sophistication, and aesthetic awareness, Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work, Submit a 2 to 3 minute on-line self portrait video, Submit two letters of recommendation,Submit a personal statement of purpose detailing why the candidate wants to attend graduate school and what they will bring to the program, and Complete a graduate application.

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