MFA Requirement Manual

The MFA is a practice-based degree program where students develop a creative and research inquiry anchored in media production and engaged with relevant historical and theoretical contexts. The typical student profile is the maker whose practice lies at the core of an engaged critical inquiry. Students are expected to define their practice, its historical and theoretical context, and its position in relation to the professional field(s) with which they are in dialogue.

Credit Distribution Requirements

Course credits required for graduation must be distributed as described below. There is some latitude in how a particular course might fit into this scheme. A student may apply to have suitable courses not previously listed as “production” or as “media history/theory/interpretation” accepted for credit in these categories. Students must first consult with their faculty advisor in this regard. 

Note regarding credit distribution:  It is the intention of the department to switch most or all of its classes to 3 credits apiece beginning in the Fall 2021 semester.  This may complicate getting the exact number of credits in each category.  In the event that a targeted number of credits cannot be met exactly, it must be exceeded.  The additional credit will count as elective. 

Thesis Goals and Guidelines

The MFA thesis serves as the culminating creative project of the MFA program and consists of a production as well as a manuscript. The thesis should demonstrate the student’s technical and aesthetic development and a level of depth and proficiency in communicating in written form ideas pertinent to the student’s field of concentration.

Schedule

The MFA at DMS is a three-year program. In order to graduate within the stipulated time frame students are required to organize their time and resources carefully. This includes keeping the DMS administration informed of progress or lack thereof. Students are strongly advised to consult with their faculty advisor to ensure that course selections (electives) meet DMS course elective requirements, especially during semesters that have no DMS internal requirements (semester 3, for example). Furthermore, students are strongly encouraged to make use of the summer break between semesters 4 and 5 to ensure timely (6 semester) completion of all the steps leading to graduation.

The following sections outline the flow through the 6 semester program (S1 to S6), listing mandatory courses and events.

Appendix

There are four key moments of evaluation and forward progression in the course of the MFA student’s matriculation:

End of first semester (Graduate Seminar I); First Year Review; End of fourth semester (Grad Sem II); MFA Defense.

Faculty teaching Graduate Seminar I evaluate the end of first semester presentation (Grad Sem I for MFA).

The entire faculty evaluate the First Year Review.

Faculty teaching Graduate Seminar II evaluate the end of fourth semester exhibition. The MFA Thesis Committee evaluates the MFA Defense.

The Director of Graduate Study may observe the MFA Defense and evaluates (approves / denies) the final submission of MFA project / thesis.