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Film and Animation MFA

Program overview

The MFA program in film and animation enjoys state-of-the-art facilities. Students can create 2D and 3D animation that is unique. It is the only such program 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.

Goals

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

Curriculum

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) Scriptwriting 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.

A minimum of 65 semester credit hours of graduate work is outlined below. The curriculum does not include bridge work, which refers to any undergraduate work required by action of the admission committee in accepting a particular applicant who may be deficient in a particular area, nor does it include undergraduate prerequisites for graduate courses.

Film and animation (2D animation option), MFA degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
SOFA-601 Graduate Production 3
SOFA-610 Graduate Seminar 2
Choose one of the following: 3
   SOFA-603    2D Animation I: Fundamentals  
   SOFA-617    Stop Motion Puppet Fundamentals  
SOFA-627  Pre-production for Animators  3
SOFA-630  Animation Film Language Seminar  2
SOFA-605  Basic Sound Recording  3
SOFA-611 History and Aesthetics of Animation  3
SOFA-622  30-Second Film  3
Choose one of the following: 3
   SOFA-604    2D Animation II: Mechanics  
   SOFA-623    Stop Motion Master Class  
SOFA-625  Animated Acting Principles  3
SOFA-628  Animation Writing and Visual Storytelling  3
Second Year
SOFA-717  Animation Workshop  4
SOFA-780 Thesis Preparation Seminar 1
SOFA-725 Business Careers and Animation 3
SOFA-728 Concept and Character Design 3
  SOFA Electives 15
Third Year
SOFA-790  Research and Thesis I 4
SOFA-890  Research and Thesis II  4
Total Semester Credit Hours 65

Film and animation (3D animation option), MFA degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
SOFA-601 Graduate Production 3
SOFA-605 Basic Sound Recording 3
SOFA-610 Graduate Seminar 2
SOFA-615 3D Animation Fundamentals 3
SOFA-627 Pre-production for Animators 3
SOFA-630 Animation Film Language Seminar 2
SOFA-611 History and Aesthetics of Animation 3
SOFA-622 30-Second Film 3
SOFA-625 Animated Acting Principles 3
SOFA-628 Animation Writing and Visual Storytelling 3
SOFA-695 Advanced 3D Animation 3
Second Year
SOFA-717 Animation Workshop 4
SOFA-675 Lighting and Texturing 3
SOFA-780 Thesis Preparation Seminar 1
SOFA-725 Business Careers and Animation 3
  SOFA Electives 15
Third Year
SOFA-790 Research and Thesis I 4
SOFA-890 Research and Thesis II 4
Total Semester Credit Hours 65

Film and animation (production option), MFA degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
SOFA-601 Graduate Production 3
SOFA-602 Production Processes 4
SOFA-605 Basic Sound Recording 3
SOFA-606 Directing the Actor for F & V 3
SOFA-613 Graduate Screenwriting I 3
SOFA-610 Graduate Seminar 2
SOFA-621 Spring Film 3
  History and Aesthetics Elective 3
  SOFA Production Elective 3
Second Year
SOFA-711 Theory Via Short Narrative Film 3
SOFA-721 Fall Film 3
SOFA-735 Business and Careers in Film 3
SOFA-763 Cinematography and Ligthing 3
SOFA-780 Thesis Preparation Seminar 1
  History & Aesthetics Elective 3
  SOFA Electives 6
  Free Electives 6
Third Year
SOFA-790 Research and Thesis I 4
SOFA-890 Research and Thesis II 4
Total Semester Credit Hours 63

Film and animation (scriptwriting option), MFA degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
SOFA-601 Graduate Production 3
SOFA-602 Production Processes 4
SOFA-605 Basic Sound Recording 3
SOFA-606 Directing the Actor for Film and Video 3
SOFA-610 Graduate Seminar 2
SOFA-613 Graduate Screenwriting I 3
SOFA-626 Writing the Short Film 3
SOFA-621 Spring Film 3
  History and Aesthetics Elective 3
Second Year
SOFA-663 Writing the Feature I 3
SOFA-664 Writing the Feature II 3
SOFA-711 Theory Via Short Narrative Film 3
SOFA-721 Fall Film 3
SOFA-735 Business and Careers in Film 3
SOFA-780 Thesis Preparation Seminar 1
  History and Aesthetics Elective 3
  SOFA Elective 3
  Free Electives 6
Third Year
SOFA-790 Research and Thesis I 4
SOFA-890 Research and Thesis II 4
Total Semester Credit Hours 63

Electives

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.

Thesis

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

To be considered for admission to the MFA in film and animation, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

Scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are not required for admission. 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 complete 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 icnlude information about the applicant, why you want to attend the School of Film and Animation, and what concentration you wish to pursue and why. Please include information about one significant accomplishment you have made. Sound and picture quality should be clear.

For more information about portfolio guidleines as well as assistance in uploading an online portflio, 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

Studenrs 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.


Career Outcomes

Job Titles

Various (film and animation)

Recent Employers

Broderbund, Turner Interactive, Eastman Kodak Company, Cinesite, MTV, NBC, Pixar, Olive Jar Studios, Xerox Corporation, Rhythm & Hues, Headbone Interactive, Digital Domain, Walt Disney Feature Animation


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