The Master of Fine Arts degree in Production with an emphasis in Directing is a three-year program designed to develop artists in film, television and digital media. For more than half a century we have trained students in the art and technique of media production while expanding their understanding of the critical, theoretical and historical components of these art forms. Our goal is to infuse the highest standards of craftsmanship, coupled with imaginative freedom and a sense of social responsibility.

Alumni include Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather trilogy),Alexander Payne (Nebraska, The Descendants),Alex Gibney (Going Clear, Taxi to the Dark Side),Alison Anders (Mi Vida Loca, Gas, Food, Lodging),Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust),Charles Burnett (To Sleep With Anger, Killer of Sheep),Justin Lin (Fast and Furious franchise, Star Trek Beyond),Gina Prince Bythewood (Love and Basketball, Beyond the Lights, Shots Fired, The Old Guard),Laura Gabbert (City of Gold),Garrett Bradley (Academy Awar nominated feature documentary Time),Dagmar Weaver-Madsen (cinematographer, 10,000 km, Unexpected),Joe Russo (Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Endgame) Quyen Tran (cinematographer, Palm Springs, Unbelievable),Wanuri Kahui (filmmaker, Rafiki, Pumzi, From a Whisper),Kate Hackett (editor, Emmy and ACE Award winning Cheer) Alex O’Flinn (editor, Underground Railroad, Wander Darkly, The Rider) Geeta Malick (filmmaker, India Sweets and Spices),Amy Adrion (filmmaker, Half the Picture),Carlos Marques Marcet (filmmaker, Anchor and Hope, 10,000 Km),Silas Howard (Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, Transparent, A Kid Like Jake).

The first year of the program introduces students to foundational skills and collaborative processes for all aspects of filmmaking. The curriculum includes screenwriting, directing, documentary, cinematography, editing, postproduction and production planning, as well as exposure to critical and historical contexts for media making and study.

In the second year of the program, students work closely with faculty mentors to deepen their understanding of production techniques and impactful storytelling strategies. Each student will have the opportunity to write, direct, edit and realize their own vision with creative projects in fictional narrative, documentary, digital media or experimental film, while also taking courses in cinema and media studies and advanced filmmaking techniques.

In the third year, students focus on their thesis production, which may be in documentary or narrative form. Although the majority of the third year is devoted to writing, planning, shooting and editing the thesis film, students also have the option of taking elective classes to deepen their skills and broaden their exposure to adjacent areas of study (screenwriting, producing, animation, digital media, etc.).

MFA: Film and Television, Area: Directing

Please note: We are currently undergoing a comprehensive curriculum review. The courses listed below represent a sampling of the kinds of courses that we expect to offer in relation to the Production/Directing specialization. Program requirements are currently under revision and will be updated as we complete our process of curriculum review.


Required and elective courses may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Introduction to Directing/Coverage
  • Direction of Actors for Film and Television
  • Advanced Direction of Actors for Film and Television
  • Advanced Coverage
  • Directing Actors for Camera
  • Writing Short Screenplays
  • Advanced Writing for Short Film and Television
  • Advanced Narrative Directing Workshop
  • Advanced Documentary Workshop
  • Advanced Abstract/Experimental Media Workshop
  • Costume Design
  • Design for Film and Television
  • Film Analysis
  • Introduction to Immersive Documentary
  • Documentary Research Methodologies
  • Business of Documentary
  • Introduction to Cinematography
  • Intermediate Cinematography
  • Advanced Cinematography
  • Digital Cinematography
  • Lighting for Film and Television
  • Cinematography and Directing
  • Emerging Techniques and Technologies in Cinematography
  • Digital Workflow
  • Digital Manipulation on Set and Post
  • Avid Editing
  • Advanced Film Editing
  • Postproduction
  • Postproduction Sound Design
  • Digital Audio Postproduction
  • Introduction To Feature Film Writing
  • Introduction to TV Writing
  • Feature Film Writing
  • Contemporary Topics in Theater, Film and Television
  • Special Topics: Transnational Cinema
  • Special Topics: Realism
  • Special Topics: Alternative Media Praxis
  • Digital Imagery and Visualization
  • Introduction to Virtual Reality
  • Advanced Digital Media Workgroup
  • Thesis Preparation
  • Career Strategies


In addition to required and elective coursework in Production/Directing, students also have the opportunity to take courses in other specializations within FTVDM. All program and departmental requirements (such as Cinema & Media Studies seminars, classes in outside specializations, and/or shared departmental classes) are typically completed no later than the quarter in which the advancement to candidacy takes place.

Available seminar courses in Cinema and Media Studies may include:

  • 203: Film and Other Arts
  • 204: Visual Analysis
  • 206A: European Film History
  • 206B: Selected Topics in American Film History
  • 206C: American Film History**
  • 207: Experimental Film
  • 209A: Documentary Film
  • 208B: Classical Film Theory**
  • 208C: Contemporary Film Theory
  • 209B: Fictional Film
  • 209D: Animated Film
  • 217: Selected Topics in Television History**
  • 217A: American Television History**
  • 218: Culture, Media and Society
  • 219: Film and Society
  • 220: Television and Society
  • 221: Film Authors
  • 222: Film Genres
  • 223: Visual Perception
  • 224: Computer Applications for Film Study
  • 225: Videogame Theory
  • 246: Electronic Culture
  • 270: Film Criticism
  • 271: Television Criticism
  • 277: Narrative Studies
  • 298: Special Studies (topics vary and must be selected in consultation with the graduate counselor)

Please note that not all courses are offered every quarter. Students should consult the registrar's schedule for available courses and class times.

**These courses are sometimes taught as a core course for MA students and may not be available to MFA students in any given quarter.



The first year introduces students to all aspects of the filmmaking process, including video, cinematography, sound, editing, the directing of actors and the camera, the organizing of production, and short fiction screenwriting. Students also experience all aspects of production within clearly defined parameters. By the end of the year, students are evaluated and advised on curriculum for the second year of advanced education.


Second year coursework is intended to develop professional skills and creative vision and deepen students’ knowledge of film as an expressive medium. Courses are constructed around: 1. Mentor relationships established with faculty, and 2. Selection of an area concentration such as: Narrative Directing, Documentary, Experimental, Digital Media and Cinematography.


The third year is devoted to the planning and production of a Thesis project. The Thesis process involves the following elements: 1. Pre-production. 2. Specialized skill development; 3. Courses in MFA specializations other than Production, and Cinema & Media studies may be taken depending on the interests of individual students; 4. Advancement to candidacy, including a signed contract clearly defining the parameters of the project including budget, timeline, and duration. 5. A thesis committee Chair and two additional faculty members will be designated for each thesis committee.

All MFA programs in Film, Television and Digital Media are full-time. The Department admits new students only once each year for the Fall Quarter.

We do not accept films, DVDs or CDs.

Applicants must submit all required application materials to be considered for admission.

Online and Mailed Application Deadline: November 1, 2022

By the time of entrance, MFA applicants must:

  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA.
  • Satisfy the University of California’s Graduate Admission Requirements.
  • Complete equivalent to a 4-year U.S. bachelor’s degree.

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Please complete all of the following steps:

Step 1: Online

  • Complete the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.
    • MUST be paid and completed online by November 1, 2022.
    • Indicate MFA, Film and Television, Production/Directing as the program.
  • Upload the Statement of Purpose.
    • Submit a 1-2 page document.
  • Upload a Personal Statement.
  • Upload Short Film Treatment.
    • Submit a 1-3 page document.
    • For more information on writing a Short Film Treatment, Click Here.
  • Upload Unofficial copies of all Transcripts.
  • Submit Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Enter the Names and Emails of all recommenders into the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application.

Step 2: Mail

  • Mail an Official copy of all Transcripts from each Undergraduate and Graduate institutions attended.
    • Note: Community College transcripts are not necessary.
  • Request that all Test Scores be sent directly to UCLA.
    • Only test scores taken by December 31, 2022 will be accepted.
    • The GRE UCLA Code is 4837 and the Department Code is 2409.
    • Note: The GRE is not Required for MFA Applicants.

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Mailing Address

Please send all applicable materials to:

Graduate Film Admissions: Production/Directing
UCLA Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media
103 East Melnitz Hall, Box 951622
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1622

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Online and Mailed Application Deadline: November 1, 2022.

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For more information on requirements and applying to UCLA as an international student, visit

English Proficiency: Any international applicant whose first language is not English must certify proficiency in English when applying to UCLA, and, if admitted, upon arrival. Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as part of their application. The UCLA Code is 4837 and the Department Code is 2409. Only test scores taken by December 31, 2022 will be accepted For more information about this requirement, visit International applicants who have received a bachelor’s degree from an American institution are not required to take the TOEFL.

Academic Records: Although the Application for Graduate Admission enables applicants to upload an unofficial copy of their academic records, all applicants are required to submit official records from each academic institution attended. For more information about this requirement, visit

Undergrad Degree Requirement: Applicants must complete equivalent to a 4 year US Bachelor’s Degree. International students who hold three-year ordinary pass degrees, or who hold professional diplomas in accounting, business, librarianship, social work, physical education, health education and so on, or four-year degrees, diplomas or higher certificates from technical, vocational or post-secondary specialized schools are NOT eligible for graduate admission. For Academic Requirements by Country or Educational System, visit:

Proof of Funding for Visa: U.S. immigration law requires that international applicants, if admitted, show documented evidence that sufficient funds to cover all tuition, fees, transportation, and living expenses are available for the first year of their studies at UCLA. This must be proven before a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS2019) for a visa can be issued. For more information about this requirement, visit

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For U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents interested in receiving financial aid in the 2023-2024 year, note that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deadline for UCLA is March 2, 2023. Applicants must complete the FAFSA by this date if they want to be eligible for all awards, work-study, and scholarships that UCLA offers. If applying after March 2, please check with the Financial Aid Office for available funding opportunities.


For non-US Citizens or non-Permanent Residents who are approved to pay in-state tuition because they graduated from a high school in California; they will need to complete the California DREAM application by the March 2, 2023 deadline. The DREAM application can be accessed at If applying after March 2, please check with the Financial Aid Office for available funding opportunities.

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Please visit the FAQ page for additional information, call 310-206-8441, or email

** Please do not contact the department to check on your application, as we cannot update you on your application status or materials.

For Prospective Students:

For Current Students:

Film, Television and Digital Media Counselor: Laura Campbell

Film, Television & Digital Media Staff

Film, Television & Digital Media Faculty