Film and Animation MFA


Graduate Admissions Counselor

David Wivell
585-475-5475, djwges@rit.edu


Department Contact

Thomas Gasek
585-475-7403, tdgpph@rit.edu


Admission Deadlines & Requirements

Program Available Online? No
Application Deadline Rolling
Admit Term Fall Term Only
Entrance Exam None
Other Portfolio
English Language Exams:
TOEFL (Internet) 82
IELTS 6.5
PTE Academic

 

Priority deadline - COMPLETE applications that are received by this date are given priority consideration for admission and financial aid (if applicable). Applications received after the priority deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.

Rolling - There is no specific deadline for applications; applications will be accepted and reviewed throughout the year until the program reaches capacity.

Program overview

The MFA program in film and animation enjoys state-of-the-art facilities. Students create live-action production, scripts, 2D, 3D or stop motion animation that is unique. The program is housed in the School of Film and Animation, which features full production facilities as well as support from highly specialized faculty from RIT's photography, imaging science, computer science, information technology, and printing programs.

Goals

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
  • 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 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. In this third and final year, students are enrolled part-time and their work is focused only on their thesis project.

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

Electives

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.

Curriculum

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

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
SOFA-605 Basic Sound Recording 3
SOFA-610 Graduate Seminar 2
SOFA-611 History and Aesthetics of Animation 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   SOFA-615    3D Animation Fundamentals  
   SOFA-617    Stop Motion Puppet Fundamentals  
SOFA-603 2D Animation I: Fundamentals 3
SOFA-622 30-Second Film 3
SOFA-625 Animated Acting Principles 3
SOFA-627 Pre-production for Animators 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   SOFA-748   Concept and Character Design  
   SOFA-623    Stop Motion Master Class  
SOFA-628 Animation Writing and Visual Storytelling  3
SOFA-630 Animation Film Language 2
Second Year
SOFA-717 Animation Workshop 4
SOFA-618 Business Careers and Animation 3
SOFA-780 Thesis Preparation Seminar 1
SOFA-604 2D Animation II: Mechanics 3
SOFA-676 After Effects for Animators 3
  Free Electives 6
  SOFA Electives 6
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

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
SOFA-605 Basic Sound Recording 3
SOFA-610 Graduate Seminar 2
SOFA-611 History and Aesthetics of Animation 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   SOFA-603    2D Animation I: Fundamentals  
   SOFA-617    Stop Motion Puppet Fundamentals  
SOFA-615 3D Animation Fundamentals 3
SOFA-622 30-Second Film 3
SOFA-625 Animated Acting Principles 3
SOFA-627 Pre-production for Animators 3
SOFA-628 Animation Writing and Visual Storytelling 3
SOFA-630 Animation Film Language 2
SOFA-695 Advanced 3D Animation 3
Second Year
SOFA-675 3D Lighting and Texturing 3
SOFA-717 Animation Workshop 4
SOFA-618 Business Careers and Animation 3
SOFA-676 After Effects for Animators 3
SOFA-780 Thesis Preparation Seminar 1
  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 65

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

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
SOFA-678 Cinematography and Lighting 3
SOFA-602 Production Processes 4
SOFA-605 Basic Sound Recording 3
SOFA-606 Graduate Directing 3
SOFA-610 Graduate Seminar 2
SOFA-613 Graduate Screenwriting I 3
SOFA-621 Spring Film 3
SOFA-626 Writing the Short Film 3
  History and Aesthetics Elective 3
Second Year
SOFA-721 Fall Film 3
SOFA-733 Hybrid Forms: Theory and Practice 3
SOFA-614 Business and Careers in Film 3
SOFA-780 Thesis Preparation Seminar 1
  History & Aesthetics Elective 3
  SOFA Electives 9
  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 (screenwriting option), MFA degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
SOFA-602 Production Processes 4
SOFA-605 Basic Sound Recording 3
SOFA-606 Graduate Directing 3
SOFA-610 Graduate Seminar 2
SOFA-613 Graduate Screenwriting I 3
SOFA-621 Spring Film 3
SOFA-626 Writing the Short Film 3
  SOFA Elective 3
  History and Aesthetics Elective 3
Second Year
SOFA-663 Writing the Feature 3
SOFA-664 Writing the Series 3
SOFA-721 Fall Film 3
SOFA-614 Business and Careers in Film 3
SOFA-780 Thesis Preparation Seminar 1
SOFA-733 Hybrid Forms: Theory and Practice 3
  History and Aesthetics 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

 

Admission requirements

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

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Submit an online portfolio of work that demonstrates the candidate’s skills, visual sophistication, and aesthetic awareness. (Refer to Portfolio Requirements for more infromation.)
  • Submit a two-to-three minute online self-portrait video.
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 82 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.

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, that can be easily accessed by RIT faculty for review. Applications should include a URL/web or FTP address to the online portfolio. If the 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 two-to-three minute self-portrait video to accompany the online portfolio. This should include information about you, such as why you want to attend the School of Film and Animation, the program 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.

Additional information

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 two 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

The RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education website provides information pertaining to student skills and capabilities, salary data, career information, job outcomes, and contact information for the Career Services Coordinator by program.


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