The master of fine arts (M.F.A.) program in film integrates film production with the conceptual and critical 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.

Admission + Portfolio Requirements

Visit Opportunities

We’re proud that Syracuse is ranked among the top 25 film schools in the United States by The Hollywood Reporter and the top 50 film schools by TheWrap. We are also listed as one of the 30 top film schools in North America by Variety. 

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.

The program provides students with numerous opportunities to explore cinema on a global level. Select graduates in the program participate in Film Production and Italian Film Studies in Bologna, Italy, where you will attend the world’s most famous classic film festival event, Cinema Ritrovato, while immersing in all aspects of film. 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.

In the Syracuse community, students have various opportunities for involvement with the Syracuse International Film Festival, which has brought a number of guests to the classroom, including Daniel Baldwin, Tom Bower, Rob Nilsson, and Giancarlo Esposito. The film program has also collaborated with American High, Jeremy Garelick’s Syracuse-based film production company, which has used film students as interns and crew.

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. The program supports work in digital cinema and super 16mm, and film students have 24-hour access to postproduction facilities. Learn more about our facilities.

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.

Student Work


The film M.F.A. degree program requires 60 credits. Below are the general program requirements.

View full M.F.A. in film curriculum.

Major studio: 24 credits
Studio electives: 12 credits
Art history or related academics: 12 credits
Free electives: 6 credits
Graduate seminar: 3 credits
Final presentation: 3 credits
Total Credits: 60
Length of Residency: 3 years