MFA Film Production/MFA Film & Creative Writing: Prospective Student FAQs

The MFA in Film Production Program focuses on the areas of directing, screenwriting and producing for students who already have a comprehensive background in filmmaking and wish to pursue a specific creative or intellectual vision in an academic environment.

This is essentially a film production degree, with an additional focus on screenwriting. Students accepted into this stream must first qualify for the Film Production MFA and also have a portfolio of 50 pages of completed original screenplays. Once accepted into the Joint Degree, students will be required to take 12 credits in screenwriting through the UBC Creative Writing Program and to complete an original major screenplay of at least one hour in length.

No, the degree is primarily designed for students with a comprehensive background in film production. There are no technical or basic production courses in the MFA degree programs.

The program is two years. However many students take 3-4 years, especially to complete their thesis film, which they must fund on their own.

The MFA program is very small, accepting 2-4 applicants per year including those in the Joint Creative Writing Degree. These applicants frequently have a significant amount of professional or independent filmmaking experience. Some are veteran filmmakers working in the industry and others are more recent university graduates with specialized skills or maturity in their filmmaking.

We normally receive 30-40 applications per year. Some of these with less production experience might want to consider applying for the DIPLOMA program where they will receive hands-on experience directing, producing, and working in technical jobs on short films.

The MFA program expects applicants to have experience in filmmaking - they will immediately be making their own small projects in preparation for the MFA thesis film. Filmmakers enter the program to expand their creative and intellectual horizons, to make their own individualized projects and to receive the benefits of an advanced degree.

A student may absolutely make a documentary for your thesis project. We have classes in documentary filmmaking as well as fiction. The main criteria are that you can defend the purpose of your film in academic terms and you can defend your ability to complete the film as proposed.

This does not prevent a candidate from making genre-specific material. A comedy or horror film might be defended within the historical context of these genres.

The UBC on-line calendar gives details for tuition fees specifying rates for full-time, part-time and international students.

For more information please visit: www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/tuition-fees-cost-living

Tuition fees are calculated on an annual basis. They are paid in three installments in September, January and May.

While they are enrolled in the MFA Program, students pay these installments regardless of whether they are taking specific courses or not.

Students must largely rely on their own resources to fund their thesis project. Student projects are not eligible for most Canadian government funds and industry funds are not normally designed for the kinds of films students will make as their thesis.

All domestic and international students who are accepted and registered full-time in our department’s graduate programs (Ph.D., M.F.A., M.A.) will be eligible for financial assistance from teaching assistantships, research assistantships and Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) funding allocated as entrance awards, multi-year funding awards, tuition awards and/or scholarship top-up awards.

Please visit our Graduate Funding Opportunities page for details.

Read about what you will study on the MFA page.

Read about available financial aid on the How to Apply page.

MFA Admissions and General Information/Questions:
Graduate Secretary: Zanna Downes – fipr.sec@ubc.ca
Administrator: Sarah Crauder – sarah.crauder@ubc.ca