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Graduate Master of Fine Arts Program

The Master of Fine Arts program in Film and Media Arts at Temple University is the country’s foremost program in alternative film, video and new media. We train filmmakers, videomakers, screenwriters and media artists who seek to challenge the current practices of Hollywood and commercial television.

With approximately 40 graduate students from diverse communities and countries, the program is large enough to offer intellectual stimulation through a wide range of courses, yet small enough to afford individual attention, maximum access to equipment and creative control over one’s own projects.

We see the MFA program as a creative laboratory for producing works of social significance and artistic merit and for exploring the nature of contemporary knowledge in the field, including the emergence of new technologies and the connections between theory and practice. The program asks students to explore critical discourse and historical foundations of filmmaking and media arts practices, and it offers students skills to develop research through production. The program encourages openness to all media art forms, with special attention to contemporary documentary, independent narrative and works arising out of both an artistic and social consciousness.

 We are dedicated to advancing documentary traditions and fostering alternative voices in narrative film and television that Hollywood and commercial media often ignore. This is achieved through advanced coursework in 16mm documentary film, video, writing, visual research and interactive production, colloquia, master-classes and engagement in the Philadelphia’s thriving neighborhoods. These strengths are complemented by partnerships with the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Theater and the programs in the newly formed, Center for The Arts. We are committed to advancing methods that articulate alternative voices including those of women, people of color and others that have been economically, politically or artistically disenfranchised.

 The Master of Fine Arts is a terminal degree comparable to a doctoral degree, with the notable exception that the Temple program stresses a creative synthesis of both production and theory, requiring comprehensive exams and a final creative project instead of a dissertation. As a combination of academic and professional training, the degree qualifies graduates to teach on the university level. Additionally, the program offers students opportunities to pursue a certificate in Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Practice and scholarly exchanges with the University of Pennsylvania.

 Temple University is a Research 1 public institution that offers students myriad opportunities for interdisciplinary research and discourse, while FMA’s position within the Center For The Arts, presents exciting ways to explore differing artistic practices. Situated in the thriving City of Philadelphia, and the FMA program also offers students exciting opportunities to engage with the city’s diverse communities and institutions through productions, exhibitions, workshops, festivals, urban cultural events and other activities. Additionally, FMA offers internship opportunities through its Los Angeles and Silicon Valley Programs.

The MFA Program at Temple is one of the most recognized graduate programs in the country in terms of national and international film and video awards. Projects have received top prizes in every major student competition in the United States and abroad. Student projects have received major professional recognition, including Hollywood’s coveted Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting, several Oscar nominations and awards from both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Temple graduate students have received nationally competitive University Film and Video Association production grants, National Endowment for the Arts media fellowships and Eastman Kodak Scholarships, the nation’s most competitive scholarship in cinematography. Temple graduate students have received major recognition at the American Film Institute Fest, Sundance Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Asian American International Film Festival, Ann Arbor International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival and the Dore Schary Awards, as well as at a number of festivals across the globe, in Athens, Berlin, Bonn, Dallas, Houston, London, Melbourne, Montreal and Paris.

Temple MFA productions can be seen on WHYY/12 Public Television and WYBE/35 Public Television, as well as on national and international broadcasts in the United States, Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe. Temple MFA productions have also been picked up for distribution by such prestigious organizations as Direct Cinema Limited, New Day Films, Coe Film Associates, Women Make Movies and the Museum of Modern Art.