Curriculum | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Master of Fine Arts in Film and Digital Technology (MFA) Curriculum

The MFA program is focused on advanced project work in a range of media production areas, principally film/video, DVD, and the Web. It is designed to extend and develop students’ experiences and knowledge in the field of media production and their understanding of creative and critical practice within the media industries. Students in the MFA in Film and Digital Technology program are encouraged to explore the ways boundaries between previously separate forms of media production are blurring. Students will focus on developing their understanding of how emerging concepts such as interactivity, connectivity, and convergence of emerging technologies such as DVD and interactive video are creating new creative possibilities, production processes, and delivery systems for more traditional forms of media production, such as film and video.

The program is mainly project-based, with students working in small groups on a range of media productions. Students have the ability to customize their activities according to their interests and specializations. The program includes research components, where students are asked to place their production works in broader social, historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts. Particular emphasis is placed on industry, and students who complete the MFA will have a high level of industry readiness, with a realistic and well-informed sense of the career possibilities in this rapidly changing area.

Program Requirements

+Degree Requirements

36 credits, including:

FDT543 The Media Production Industry

This course is offered in the final semester of the program and is designed to enhance the ability of graduates to establish themselves in the media production industry.

FDT550 Media Project I: Digital Video Production

Presents technical practices of digital video production: nonlinear editing, foundations of alternative screenwriting, videography, sound production, and other media-related processes are explored. Additional fee: Computing fee.

FDT650 Media Project II: Advanced Digital Video Productio

Introduces students to Avid non-linear editing system, the most widely used system within the industry. Students will have a chance to explore the ways in which the Avid DV Xpress can enhance traditional editing techniques. Addtional Fee(s): Course Computing Fee

FDT675 Media Project III: Advanced Sound Production

Focuses on advanced sound recording, editing, and mixing technologies using PRo Tools digital audio workstation. Additional Fee(s): Course Computing fee

FDT676 Media Project IV: Visual Effects & Animation Modes

Extends to visual effects, animation modes and compositing. Students will utilize this course to develop their masters' thesis topic and begin pre-production processes. Additional Fee: Course Computing Fee

FDT641 The Craft of Screenwriting

Provides a focus on the art and craft of Screenwriting. Students will read and study contemporary Screenwriting, and will be expected to generate creative work that illustrates a deep understanding of the literary tools available to filmmakers in this genre.

FDT563 Media Contexts I: Media History

Provides overview for incoming graduate students of current rhetorical concerns related to independent media, film production, and histories.

FDT663 Media Contexts I: Theory

Analyzes the aesthetic conventions, narrative, and formats of new media, as well as the impact digital technologies have had on existing media.

FDT571 e-Merging Media I

Maps ways the web can be utilized for the production of alternative narratives. Enables students to analyze and create works online using web-cams, streaming media, and interactive web-based projects. Additional fees: Course Computing fee

FDT671 Emerging Media II: Advanced Web Design

Focuses on the technical through advanced study. Students will produce DVD, CD-Rom, and other interactive projects. Additional Fees: Course Computing Fee

FDT677 Media Project V

The mastery of written, oral, and production components: a self-directed project with an approved thesis topic generated by individual student interest. The final project is completed under joint guidance of the class instructor and an outside advisor. Additional Fee: Course Computing Fee

Elective courses may be substituted for FDT 571 and FDT 671 with prior approval of the program director.