The Department offers a wide-ranging curriculum that combines three principal areas: 1) the intellectual study of media history and theory, 2) the practical development of media screenwriting and production, 3) the enrichment of the student's interdisciplinary interests. The program does not impose a formal agenda on a student's creative pursuits. We encourage students to explore a range of media forms: narrative, documentary, experimental, and animation. We guide our graduate students to formulate their own plan of creative work and research, and where necessary, to seek coursework outside the department that will support this plan. A co-curricular program that includes opportunities to participate in external film and video productions, internships, and the Carolina Film and Video Festival matches the curricular offerings. The Festival is a competitive showcase for both student and professional, national and international independent films and videos.
The two-year, 48 credit hour program currently admits an incoming class every other year in the Fall of even numbered years. Admission to the MFA is competitive, and traditional measures like the GRE scores are only partial predictors for the successful filmmaker. Consequently, we place equal weight in the admissions process on a portfolio consisting of a personal statement, a resume, samples of creative video work, and face-to-face interviews with candidates. We seek students from diverse backgrounds, and actively work to admit qualified international students. The hallmark of our MFA program has been an ongoing effort to building a community of filmmakers who share in each others' talents and strengths. Beginning in 1997, the Media Studies faculty revised the MFA program to a smaller, more efficient, tightly focused program of high quality. This focused program has been very successful with a high graduation rate, creating a community of learners from a wide diversity of states and many foreign countries (including students from Germany, India, Korea, Romania, and Taiwan)