Film MFA Curriculum

First Year

The first year of the MFA Film Program at Columbia is devoted to the Core Curriculum – an integrated group of classes in which all MFA students learn the fundamental components of Directing, Screenwriting and Producing.

 

First Year Core Curriculum—Fall

 

Directing I

Screenwriting I

Directing Actors I

Fundamentals of Directing

Elements of Dramatic Narrative

Practical Production I

 

First Year Core Curriculum—Spring

 

Directing II

Screenwriting II

Directing Actors II

Script to Screen

Role of the Producer

Practical Production II

Analysis of Film Language (recommended)

 

First Year Core Curriculum—Summer

 

8-12 minute film production

 

History-Theory-Criticism (HTC) Requirement

 

All MFA students must take at least one course in Film Studies (generally referred to within the School as “HTC,” an abbreviation for History-Theory-Criticism) within the 60 credits required for the degree. Students  planning to apply for teaching assistant positions should take more than one HTC course.

 

A representative list of HTC courses includes but is not limited to the following. The asterisked courses are specifically recommended for MFA students but any of these courses fulfills the HTC requirement.

 

Analysis of Film Language**

Cinema History 1: beginnings to 1930

Cinema History 2: 1930 - 60

Cinema History 3: 1960 - 90

Cinema History 4: after 1990

Cinephilia: Theory and Practice of the Moving Image

Documentary Tradition

Film and Media Theory

The Moving Image in the Museum

Seeing Narrative

Sound and Image Theory

Topics in American Film (Horror, Comedy, Cult, Western, etc)

Topics in World Cinema (Latin America, China, Arab and African)**

 

 

Towards the end of the first year, MFA Screenwriting/Directing students declare their intended concentration.

In the Second Year of the MFA Program, Creative Producers and students in the Screenwriting and Directing concentrations take required courses and supplement these courses with a wide range of electives.

Second Year

Screenwriting—Second Year Courses

 

Screenwriting III

Screenwriting IV

Fundamentals of Editing

 

Note: Screenwriting III/IV is a year-long course taught by the same instructor.
 

Screenwriting concentrates also have priority for the following courses, which are required for those who plan to do television writing for their thesis.

 

TV Writing: The Series

TV Writing: Pilot

 

Screenwriters may take Second Year Courses in Directing and Directing Actors, and some Producing courses as electives.

 

Directors—Second Year Courses

 

Directing III

Directing IV

Directing Actors III or IV

Fundamentals of Editing

 

Directors may take Second Year Courses in Screenwriting and/or  TV Writing and some courses in Producing as electives

 

Creative Producers—Second Year Required Courses

 

Business of Film

Feature Film Development

Feature Film Financing

Pre-Production of a Motion Picture

Writing and Script Analysis for Producers

 

Producers may also take Second Year Courses in Screenwriting and/or TV Writing as electives

 

Second Year Elective Classes

 

Business of Film

Business of Television

Digital Storytelling I: History and Theory of Interactivity

Digital Storytelling II: Building Storyworlds

Intro to Cinematography

Documentary Producing

First Features

Fundamentals of Editing

Story Structure for Writers and Directors

TV Directing

TV Writing: The Series

TV Writing: Pilot

 

After completion of concentration requirements and 60 credits in the first two years of study, the third year and beyond is devoted to thesis work and to special classes contributing to the completion of the thesis. There are also several advanced non-credit workshops that are open exclusively to students in their thesis years.

Third Year and Beyond

Screenwriting—Third Year Required Classes

 

Script Revision – (required of all Screenwriting concentrates in the 3rd year))

TV Revision – (Required of all Screenwriting concentrates who wish to do thesis work in TV Writing)

 

Directors—Third Year Required Classes

 

Directing Thesis  Advisement


 

Creative Producing

 

Producing Thesis Advisement

 

Screenwriting Electives for thesis students

(These courses are open to Directing and Producing concentrates, although priority goes to Screenwriting concentrates.)
 

Advanced Feature Writing

Advanced Pilot Writing

Advanced Screenplay Revision

Pitch Seminar

Script Revision

TV Revision