Film

The master of fine arts (M.F.A.) program in film integrates film production with the intellectual study of the medium while providing a strong focus on global cinema. Through international programs, visiting artists from around the world, and a regimen of film history, culture, and theory, our graduate students benefit from understanding film within its historical, artistic, and international contexts.

Consistently ranked as one of the top 25 film programs by the Hollywood Reporter, the program provides students with numerous opportunities to explore cinema on a global level. Select graduates in the program participate in the International Filmmaking Academy, which brings together students from the world’s finest film schools to a summer program in Bologna, Italy, where they take master classes taught by some of the world’s leading filmmakers. Those interested in 35mm filmmaking can study in a semester-long program with FAMU (Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts) in Prague, Czech Republic, through Syracuse University Abroad.

Additionally, the film program boasts a series of visiting artists and filmmakers of international renown, including most recently film director Abbas Kiarostami, film composer Patrick Doyle, actor/director Giancarlo Esposito, general manager and Executive Vice President of Production for Pixar Animation Studios, Jim Morris, director/producer Joel Schumacher, filmmaker Susan Yussef, and actor/director Peter Weller. Graduates also benefit from a diverse student body, which includes those from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States.

Our M.F.A. program is relatively small. There are usually 12 - 15 actively participating in the program. Graduate and undergraduate students work closely with one another and with the faculty in an intimate learning environment. 

Through exposure to the areas of video, photography, computer art, sound, music composition, creative writing, drama, humanities, women’s studies, and African American studies, the program encourages an interdisciplinary approach to graduate studies. The objective is to develop a plan of study that puts together a course package designed to support each student's unique talents and interests and to compliment the required courses that constitute the rest of the curriculum.

The program does not impose an aesthetic or critical agenda; rather, it encourages students to explore the medium of film in an intelligent yet personal way, fully aware of its history and potential. Students are encouraged to be creative, articulate, and above all, curious about cinema.

During the course of the program, students are required to produce a minimum of three films, including a final graduate project film, and to present these films to the faculty at portfolio review sessions. Prospective students should be aware of the costs involved in filmmaking. Although we provide all of the facilities needed to produce films, we do not provide any materials or lab costs. Film students have 24-hour access to postproduction facilities. The program supports work in digital cinema and super 16mm.