2022-2023 Course Catalog

Master of Fine Arts in Film and Digital Technology

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.

Admission Requirements

Recommended Application Deadline for Fall entry July 1st

Recommended Application Deadline for Spring entry: November 1st

*Note: applications will continue to be accepted and considered for admission if seats remain in the class.

  • 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, including:
    • Online application
    • In approximately 500 words, please explain why you are interested in pursuing this degree.  How will the degree impact your future personal and career goals? 
    • Curriculum vita or resume, please feel free to include volunteer activities
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • Portfolio or other examples of work in film and/or digital media

  • Admissions Materials may be submitted to:
    Chatham University
    Office of Graduate Admission
    Woodland Road
    Pittsburgh, PA 15232
    Fax:  (412) 365-1609
    Email: graduate@chatham.edu

    For specific questions about the Program, please reach out to Rachel Fiscus at 412-365-1141 or at r.fiscus@chatham.edu.

    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.

Learning Outcomes

1.Media Literacy, Analysis and Context
    a. Students must have a historical understanding of the media they are using and the ideas they are pursuing in their creative work.
    b. Students must be aware of major theories influencing the photography, graphic design, film, video and new media field.
    c. Students must develop original and well-informed responses to theoretical and critical analysis.
    d. Students must look for interdisciplinary relationships between media arts and other fields of research.

2. Creative Processes
    a. Students must develop and transform original concepts into well-conceptualized projects - demonstrating a competency in project design development.
    b. Students must choose appropriate media for the development of their project and/or idea.
    c. Students must communicate their processes through various stages of development.

3. Technical Fundamentals
    a. Students must have knowledge of the technology they are utilizing for their projects (saving/storing files, various software packages and techniques, hardware, scanning, photo and digital video equipment).
    b. Students must create original projects that draw on their knowledge of the technological form in order to thoroughly investigate relationships between concept development and media used.
    c. Students must properly troubleshoot and solve technical-related problems.

4. Professional Practice
    a. Students must develop projects with an understanding of a diversified audience.
    b. Students must properly document their projects, choosing appropriate forms of media.
    c. Students must have an understanding of relevant journals, festivals, firms, etc. for later distribution or field contribution.
    d. Students must develop field-appropriate professional portfolios and be able to communicate their projects clearly.
    e. Students must develop attitudes of professional responsibility and accountability.
    f. Students must develop professional discipline (time-management, organizational skills).


+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.

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

FDT550 Media Project I: Digital Video Production

Media Project I introduces the production process for digital video and other media work, from concept to production to completed piece. This course provides an understanding of the tools for each step of production and students focus on the technical elements of shooting and editing video.

FDT563 Media Contexts I: Media History

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

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.

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

FDT650 Media Project II: Advanced Digital Video Production

The course expands on the knowledge gained in Media Project I and focuses on the nonlinear editing process. Students develop their existing foundational software knowledge, learn to navigate additional NLE systems used by the industry, and have the opportunity to explore how these programs can enhance traditional editing techniques.

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.

FDT666 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.

FDT613 Special Topics

Special Topics Class

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

FDT698 Portfolio
FDT699 Media Project V: MFA Thesis