May 29, 2024  
2019-2020 Governors State University Academic Catalog 
2019-2020 Governors State University Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Independent Film and Digital Imaging, M.F.A.

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The interdisciplinary Master of Fine Arts in Independent Film and Digital Imaging is a terminal degree in the applied arts of digital media production and imaging offered through the College of Arts and Sciences .

Coursework for the Master of Fine Arts in Independent Film and Digital Imaging leads to specialized knowledge, creative development, and advanced technological skills in the applied digital arts of image making and media production.

Beyond taking the required courses, students plan their specific programs in consultation with their advisors, adapting the degree path’s selective sequences to their individual needs and interests. Graduates of the program will work in career areas such as higher education, filmmaking, graphic design, photography, 2D and 3D animation, motion graphics, web design, consulting, producing, media writing, TV production/direction, and training.

Special Admissions Requirements

Applications for admission are due six weeks prior to the beginning of each semester. Applications for admission are available from the GSU Office of Admission and Student Recruitment and the Division of Communication, Visual and Performing Arts office. Due to limited space availability, this program can only accept fifteen students each year. Applicants will be ranked for admission on the basis of their academic potential and admission criteria.

In addition to meeting university admission criteria, applicants must:

  1. Submit to the Office of Admission
    1. Provide evidence of an undergraduate major in media, multimedia, communications, English, speech, or liberal arts;
    2. Have a minimum cumulative undergraduate G.P.A. of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Graduate courses can be substituted but the cumulative G.P.A. must be a 3.0 or better;
    3. Have appropriate prerequisite course work with a minimum prerequisite G.P.A. of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The GSU equivalent course is given in parenthesis. The following courses (in credit-hours) or their equivalents are minimum prerequisites for entry into the M.F.A. program;
      1. English composition (3)
      2. Speech course or oral communication (3)
      3. Applied digital technology (3)
    4. submit a supplementary application packet which includes:
      1. supplemental information form;
      2. a current resume;
      3. three letters of recommendation;
    5. provide official TOEFL scores (if applicable); and
    6. submit application fee.
  2. Submit to the IFDI Program Coordinator
    1. A portfolio:
      1. for students in digital imaging, this entails links to stills;
      2. for students in digital filmmaking, this entails a sample of a prior production on streaming video;
    2. A personal essay or statement of intent with respect to goals for the degree, and artistic philosophy.
      Note: Applicants may, at the discretion of the M.F.A. Admissions Committee, also be requested to participate in personal interviews.

Recommended Preparation

Admission to the program is restricted to a maximum of 15 students at any given time on a “rolling” basis. Admitted students will have maintained a GPA of 3.0 over the course of completing an undergraduate degree. All students must submit a portfolio demonstrating advanced proficiency and creative promise.

While admission to the program does not require an undergraduate major in Film, Video, or Photography, an undergraduate major in these or in one of the following fields is: media, multimedia, communications, English, speech, or liberal arts. In addition, students are expected to have demonstrable competence in digital technology and in oral and written communication.

Admission to Candidacy

After admission as a degree-seeking student, a student also must apply for candidacy. Application for candidacy should be made at the beginning of the semester in which the student expects to fulfill the candidacy requirements. Application forms are available in the college office. To qualify for degree candidacy, a student must:

  1. completion of the following core courses IFDI-6544   IFDI-8100 , and IFDI-6702  with a grade of “B” or better;
  2. completion of 12 hours from the selective sequences with a grade point average of 3.5 or better; and
  3. completion of an approved proposal for both a thesis project and internship.

More detailed candidacy information is available through the division office or the student’s advisor.

Internship and Thesis/Project

As part of this degree program, students will pursue both an internship and thesis/project.

The student independently pursues a field-related internship and develops an agreement with the assistance of the internship site coordinator. Upon approval of the coordinator, the student may register for IFDI - 8800 Internship  with a GSU coordinator. The GSU coordinator must be a full-time faculty in ART, MCOM, or IFDI.

In the thesis/project, the student selects a committee consisting of a thesis/project advisor and two additional faculty members, and then develops a proposal acceptable to the committee. Faculty advisors and readers must be drawn from full-time faculty in IFDI, ART, or MCOM. Students may register for IFDI-8990  once the committee has approved the student’s proposal. The student then completes a project/production with the guidance of the thesis/project advisor. A paper must accompany all projects submitted for evaluation. Once the project is completed and approved by the committee, a grade is assigned.

Minimum Degree Requirements

Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher to complete requirements for the MFA. A grade lower than “B” taken in any course will not be counted toward graduation.

Prerequisite courses:


Not all courses are offered in all years or all terms.

Many courses are offered just once per calendar year. Students are strongly advised to arrange appointments to consult with their advisors prior to beginning the program.

Electives (0-9 hours)

Up to 9 (nine) credit hours taken at Governors State University, drawn from the Liberal Arts and at the 5000 level and higher, may be counted toward total credit hours allowable for graduation.

Total - 60 Hours

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