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Cinema, MFA

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
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The Cinema program of San Francisco State University  offers students the opportunity to focus on any/all of the following areas: documentary, experimental and/or fiction.

The Master of Fine Arts in Cinema emphasizes knowledge of cinematic traditions along with the development of individual creative vision grounded in professional proficiency in technical crafts. The program integrates new processes, aesthetics, and technologies and encourages the development of original modes of cinematic expression. Coursework emphasizes documentary, experimental and fiction filmmaking. Students are encouraged to take courses in animation. Parallel coursework in film and media theory, history and criticism are required in years one and two of the M.F.A. program.

Career paths

The M.F.A. prepares graduates to work as independent filmmakers, to assume creative professional roles within the film industry, or to teach at the college or university level.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Creative Process
  • Production Practice
  • Introduction to Graduate Studies
  • Animation Workshop
  • Cinematography Workshop
  • Film Production Research

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Credits
    60 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

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Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: 3

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to 3 on a US 4.0 grading scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on a 4.0 scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General Requirements

  • A resume (1-2 pages) summarizing the applicant's education, awards or recognition, work experience, travel, languages, and special skills
  • A personal statement (3 page maximum) discussing aesthetic influences, creative interests, and professional aspirations as a filmmaker
  • An example of academic writing (7-12 pages) which illustrates the applicant's ability to make and support a thesis 
  • An example of creative, moving image work submitted on VIMEO, YouTube or other online link is required (five minutes maximum)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts: Upload two unofficial transcripts to the Cal State Apply application
  • English language proficiency

Tuition Fee

  • International

    8704 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 8704 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • National

    8704 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 8704 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for San Francisco

  • 2206 - 4120 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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