Film and Digital Technology (MA/MFAFDT)

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Have questions? We make it easy to get in touch:

Call Us

800-837-1290

Text Us

412-419-3772 (standard text/SMS rates will apply)

Chat with Us

Launch Chat Now

Email Us

chathamadmissions@chatham.edu

Request Information

Complete our Request for Information form

Or, answer a few questions and we will be glad to help.

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Film and Digital Technology (MA/MFAFDT) Overview

At Chatham, our Film and Digital Technology MA/MFA allows filmmakers and media creators to collaborate and customize their learning according to their personal interests and areas of specialization. Combining technical skills, screenwriting, and a solid foundation in theory, the program helps students develop a unique approach to storytelling regardless of genre. Students are also challenged to think about how the convergence of technologies encourages innovative techniques in the development and distribution of stories with original themes.
Degrees Offered
  • MFA
Program School
Application Deadline

July 1

The application deadline is July 1.

Credits Required

30-36

Chatham offers an MFA (36 credit hours) in Film and Digital Technology and an MA (30 credit hours) in Film and Digital Technology.

Cost Per Credit

$1,047

Cost consists of program tuition (cost per credit times number of credits) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees.

Film Festivals

Share Your Work

Chatham students retain full ownership of any work created during their time in the program. This allows students to submit their work to film festivals. Watch this video to learn more.  

Explore the Master of Fine Arts in Film and Digital Technology Degree:

Our project-based approach, instructed by recognized filmmakers, gives students the chance to hone their craft in ways that best use their talents and interests. Production-based courses comprise more than half of the curriculum in order to broaden students’ skillsets and bolster their portfolios.

Pre-requisite:

  • Have a completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
    If a student has below a 3.0 GPA, please feel free to apply if you show extreme promise through other achievements. Additional Admissions documents may be requested.
Completed application for admission by the posted deadline, including:
  • Online application
  • Admissions Essay (current prompt found in application portal)
  • Curriculum vita or Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Portfolio or other examples of work in film and/or digital media.  Can be submitted as an uploaded document and/or a website shared.

Admissions Materials can be uploaded in the application or submitted to:
Chatham University
Office of Graduate Admission-Berry Hall
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Email Admissions

Integrated Degree Program

Chatham University undergraduates applying through the Integrated Degree Program (IDP) must complete all requirements outlined on their respective admission or track tab on the IDP Portal Site. All IDP applicants should work closely with their academic advisor to ensure they are meeting all requirements according to their IDP course of study.

Chatham offers an MFA (36 credit hours) in Film and Digital Technology.

Additionally, Chatham offers an MA (30 credit hours) in Film and Digital Technology. This program is distinct from the MFA in that no thesis is required.

FDT 550 Media Project I: Digital Video Production
Media Project I focuses on the production process for video and other media work – from concept to production to completed piece. In this course students are provided an understanding of the tools for each step of production. Students focus particularly on the technical elements of shooting and editing video. This course prepares students for Media Project II and Media Project III where additional technical elements such as lighting and sound will be explored. Both in and outside of class, production work provides essential opportunities for candidates to question and challenge ideas.
 
FDT 666 Cinematography and Lighting
In this course, students will focus on the skills required to make appropriate camera and lighting decisions under a variety of field and studio situations. Students will gain mastery of advanced concepts and principles of camera operation, camera movement, use of lenses, composition and lighting techniques used in digital filmmaking.
 
FDT 676 Media Project IV: Visual Effects & Animation Modes
Extends to visual effects, animation modes and compositing. The class focuses on motion graphics and visual effects modes of animation. Students will learn the basics of key frame animation and visual effects processes. Students will learn the technical attributes of animation and effects. Assignments will assist students in discovering practical uses of the technology and aesthetic reasoning for using effects and motion graphics over other types of media. Individual project grades will be based on technical proficiency, depth of content, experimentation, innovation, ambition, effort, and final portfolio submission.
 

View Full Curriculum

My work at Chatham has had a direct impact on what I currently do and in many ways led me to my current work in TV program development and commercial projects. All in all, Chatham’s MFAFDT program pushed me into worlds that separate me from my contemporaries.

—JESSE COLAIZZI, MFAFDT ’12

Our Faculty

Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.

Full Faculty
Photo of Prajna Paramita Parasher
Professor, Chair, Arts, Design and Communication and Program Director, Film and Digital Technology and Graphic Design
Large green-leafed trees line Chatham University's academic quad in Shadyside while students walk to class.

MA and MFA Degrees

MA students have the opportunity to enroll in the MFA program. To officially gain admittance into the MFA program, the program director must approve your progress. An evaluation will be completed when you complete the MA program to determine your eligibility to proceed into the remaining 6 credits of the MFA program.

Photo of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania skyline featuring tall buildings, rivers, bridges, and blue skies

The Pittsburgh Film Community

The film community in Pittsburgh is booming, and our own film community at Chatham is thriving as well. In addition to collaborative MA/MFA students and supportive faculty, the program hosts panel discussions and Q&A's to discuss the work of filmmaking. These events extend students' learning opportunities and knowledge of filmmaking while better connecting them to the larger Pittsburgh film, literary, and arts scenes to create connections and continue the development of their craft.

Photo of two women holding protest signs reading Trans Lives Matter and Women Are Awesome

Social Justice

One of the powerful uses of film and digital media is the ability to create awareness and serve as a catalyst for change. Our curriculum includes research components that position students' work within broader social, historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts. This provides students with a platform to engage with stories of sustainability, women's issues, global perspectives, or other pressing concerns that deserve a voice.

Photo of a woman looking into viewfinder of a video camera resting on her shoulder.

Artistic Approach

"As technology constantly changes, teaching video production requires that we provide students with a filmmaking vocabulary and foster in them a desire to continually and independently learn. While we give them the confidence to use the tools proficiently, we must also reveal the possibilities of communicating with digital media; it is the content of the work that speaks to an audience, whether shot on a mobile device or the most advanced camera on the market." – Kristen Lauth Schaeffer, associate professor, MFAFDT

Photo of four female Chatham University students smiling in a lecture hall, with their laptops open in front of them

Assistantships & Fellowships

A limited number of graduate assistantships and fellowships are available to full-time students. In addition to providing financial assistance, these positions offer students valuable hands-on experience, expanded learning opportunities, and professional skill development.

View Funding Opportunities : Checkerboard 6 - Assistantships & Fellowships