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School of Dance, Film, and Theater



Ohio University School of Film

  • FAQs

    Size of our program
    The Film Division is relatively small. In a given academic year, we probably average around fifty graduate and ten undergraduate students in our three degree programs. Unlike students in larger schools, our students receive far more personal attention and routinely interact with our supportive faculty. We are committed to maintaining an intimate learning environment.

    Diverse student population
    The Film Division has a long tradition of attracting international students. A quick look at the Student Directory on this website shows our commitment to diversity. It is one of the great strengths of our program. See:

    Funding Packages
    The vast majority of graduate students in the Film Division receive some level of funding. Funding comes in two forms - tuition waivers and graduate stipends. Students in their first year generally receive some level of tuition waiver. Many first year students receive a full tuition waiver. By the second year, with a few exceptions, students receive a full tuition waiver and some amount of graduate stipend monies. Compared with the cost of graduate schools elsewhere, we most definitely are a very good financial value. In return for funding, students are asked to complete a service assignment in the school.

    Our Honor Tutorial College undergraduates either receive 100% tuition waiver (Ohio residents) or 80% tuition waiver (non-Ohio residents).


    MA in Film Studies
    The M.A. in Film Studies prepares students for further study at the doctoral level and/or careers in film criticism, art administration, or archive and preservation work. Completion of the M.A. in Film Studies requires fifty hours of coursework, a successful first-year review and either an approved and defended written thesis or passing of a comprehensive exam. The Film Division encourages M.A. candidates to become actively involved in their field by making public, scholarly presentations and contributing to professional publications.

    MFA in Film
    The three-year M.F.A. sequence moves from foundation building in the 1st year, to growing levels of specialization in the 2nd year, and culminating in the thesis work of the 3rd year. In the 3rd year, students may opt to direct his/her own thesis film or commit to a non-directing track. The track options are Cinematography, Post-Production, and Screenwriting, each requiring specific course work and portfolios.The M.F.A. requires 90 credit hours and students are required to maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all coursework.

    MFA 1st year "boot camp"
    The 1st year of study is viewed as core curriculum and is required of all M.F.A. students. A unified yearlong course of study has been established to serve as the foundation for the developing filmmaker. A logical progression of interlocking courses in production, screenwriting, sound, directing, editing and film studies has been designed. Unlike other film schools where students are pigeonholed, our first year MFA courses enable a student to gain an understanding of all aspects of filmmaking. This breadth of knowledge has proven invaluable to many of our alumni, who state that they were able to find jobs after graduation precisely because of their ability to understand so many aspects of filmmaking.

    MFA advanced study
    From the structured design of the 1st year boot camp, in the 2nd and 3rd years, the program moves to a period of greater freedom of choice, personal responsibility and creative achievement. Specialization classes in the various film crafts (cinematography, directing, screenwriting, sound design, and editing) are offered.

    Where the 1st Year Portfolio was created under defined guidelines as part of a core curriculum, the 2nd Year Portfolio and the thesis film assumes that the student now has the training and the craft to move in artistic directions of his/her own choosing. A system where students in the 2nd and 3rd year discuss and consult on their creative work with the faculty is firmly in place.

    MFA Track Options
    As an alternative to making a narrative or documentary short thesis, a student may select one of the three non-directing tracks - Cinematography, Post-Production, Screenwriting - and meet the requirements for the M.F.A. degree.

    Despite our small size, we have state-of-the-art technology to support cutting edge production and post-production. Our post-production facilities have 24/7 access.

    The CREATE_space in the College of Fine Arts offers additional technological and digital options. The CREATE_space is Ohio University’s premiere interdisciplinary resource for creative research exploring arts, technology, and entrepreneurship.

    You retain ownership of your own creative work
    Unlike many film schools, students attending the Film Division retain the rights to their own creative work.

    Athens, Ohio
    While Athens is a rural area, we are just over an hour from Columbus, Ohio's capital, with a thriving city culture and the renown Wexner Center for the Arts. We are a day's drive from New York, Chicago and many other major cities. Students tell us that this environment has the advantage of enabling them to completely focus on their creative work, as there are not the distractions here that are found in large cities. Compared with Los Angeles or New York, living expenses are very, very low. It is also important to note that while the base of student operations is Athens, our international students often return home to shoot their thesis films

    The Film Division has assembled the finest group of seasoned filmmakers, post-production specialists and cinema scholars to guide our students through the MFA in Film, the MA in Film Studies, and the BFA in Film programs.

    Teaching Opportunities
    Our graduate students teach a wide range of classes where they are given full responsibility. These range from classes in 16mm filmmaking, screenwriting, and film studies topics classes. Students submit course proposals, and a faculty committee chooses which courses will be offered, including during the summer. These are invaluable experiences, particularly for those planning careers in academia.

    Athens International Film & Video Festival
    Our students have the opportunity for hands-on practicum training by taking independent study classes or internships with the acclaimed annual Athens International Film & Video Festival. The Athens International Film & Video Festival is an IMDB and Oscar nominee qualifying festival with diverse programming. Many guest filmmakers come every year.

    Alden Library
    Ohio University has a world class library that supports our filmmakers and film studies students. Besides its extensive DVD, BluRay, and VHS collection, it offers an abundance of resources for our students and faculty.

    Please check our Alumni Directory for information about the professional work and careers of our alumni.

    Screening Room
    See our students' work:

    Application Information
    Please visit the Graduate Studies website for on-line application materials and to request the OU graduate catalog. Should you wish to apply for admission to our program, we encourage you to first visit Ohio University and the Film Division to meet individually with our faculty and students. We will even provide you with a free lunch with current students! The deadline for applications is February 7 for admittance to the program beginning the following Fall Semester.