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Cinema, Master

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #863 (BCR) , CA,
The M.F.A. in Cinema is intended for individuals who wish to pursue independent film and media production. A 60-unit terminal degree, the program offers student the opportunity to focus on any/all of the following areas: documentary, experimental and/or fiction.


Program Specializations


Along with having the option of producing documentaries for the first-year and thesis projects, students interested in documentary are encouraged to enroll in our innovative Social Justice and Visual Anthropology programs, as well as a yearly summer exchange program making documentary films in Shanghai.


Experimental filmmaking has been a cornerstone of the School of Cinema since San Francisco’s film avant-garde movement in the late 1960s. Experimental techniques or modes inform many students’ productions, and faculty encourage any and all alternative practices.


Our program’s electives include diverse screenwriting opportunities (adaptation, short feature and feature length) as well as advanced courses focused on producing and directing, including working with actors, shaping mise-en-scene and controlling visual and auditory composition for dramatic effect.

Programme Structure

Courses include:
  • Creative Process I
  • Production Practice I
  • Production Practice II
  • Production Practice III
  • Directed Teaching Experience in Film Education
  • Creative Process II
  • Seminar in Film Production Research
  • Cinema Theory II
  • Writing and Directing for Cinema
  • Advanced Cinematography and Lighting
  • Projects in Advanced Editing
  • Feature Screenwriting
  • Animation Workshop
  • Cinematography Workshop
  • Experimental Cinema Workshop
  • Workshop in Documentary Production

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • 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.

    Schedule IELTS
  • 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 ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • 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.

    Schedule TOEFL®

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

Required Application Documents Breakdown
  • 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

Tuition Fee

  • International

    7176 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 3588 USD per semester and a duration of 36 months.
  • National

    7176 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 3588 USD per semester and a duration of 36 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.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.


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