MFA Film/Creative Writing: Welcome

The MFA in Film Production and Creative Writing Program is primarily a film production degree with an additional focus on screenwriting. The final thesis for the Joint MFA is a completed film which the student normally writes, directs and produces.

The degree is designed for students who already have a comprehensive background in filmmaking and some screenwriting who wish to pursue a specific creative or intellectual vision that includes screenwriting, in an academic environment.

The Program is very small. Normally only 2-3 students are admitted per year. This total includes students in the MFA in Film Production. There are normally 30-40 applications for these positions.

The MFA is a two-year course of resident study. However, many students find it may take 3-4 years to complete the thesis requirement, as students must fund their thesis films entirely on their own.

Applicants must first apply to the Film Program and be accepted by the MFA in Film Production Program. The Film Program will then arrange for the application and materials to be sent to the Creative Writing Program for consideration for the Joint Degree.

Please note: In order to be accepted for the Joint MFA in Film Production and Creative Writing, students must already be experienced filmmakers and have completed films on which they were a principal creator to submit as part of their portfolio.

Program Structure and Requirements

The MFA in Film Production and Creative Writing requires a total of 36 credits.

Required courses (18 credits):

  • FIPR 533 (6) Advanced Problems in Directing
  • CRWR 506 (6) Advanced Writing for Television
  • CRWR 514 (6) Advanced Writing for the Screen

Thesis (12 to 18 credits):

The 12-credit thesis requirement can normally be met with the completion of a professionally finished film 20 minutes long (shorter works to be considered on a case-by-case basis) and full written documentation and evaluation of the process.

Productions longer than 40 minutes may be eligible for 15 or 18 credits on a case-by-case basis.

Electives (0 to 6 credits):

Students must also complete 0 to 6 credits of electives. Most students choose these electives from the following courses:

  • FIPR 534 (6) Producing for Film and Television
  • FIPR 535 (6) Alternative Cinema Production
  • FIPR 536 (6) Documentary Development and Production
  • FIST 534A (3) Seminar in Film Studies
  • FIST 534B (3) Seminar in Film Studies

Alternate courses to fulfill the 0 to 6 credits of electives must be chosen in consultation with the MFA Advisor.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the MFA in Film Production and Creative Writing require, as a prerequisite, an undergraduate degree in film or video production or the equivalent in experience. Applicants also require a portfolio of completed films as a primary creator (director, writer or producer). These films can be any length or genre.

Applicants must also submit a portfolio of original screenwriting of at least 50 pages. This writing can be from a single screenplay or several different screenplays.

Applicants must also satisfy the general requirements set by the UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies:

  • A four-year undergraduate degree. Though four years are normally required for acceptance into a graduate program, certain exceptions apply. For details on exceptions to this standard, please check Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website at
  • A B+ average in third and fourth year-level course work, or at least 12 credits of third- or fourth-year courses in the A- grade range (at UBC this is 80% or higher) in the field of intended graduate study.
  • Sufficient preparatory academic background to carry out graduate work in a chosen field.

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must also present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language. The required TOEFL scores for MFA Film Production and Creative Writing students are:

ibT Reading 22
ibT Writing 21
ibT Listening 22
ibT Speaking 21
IELTS Reading 6.5
IELTS Writing 6.5
IELTS Listening 6.5
IELTS Speaking 6.5

Please note that GRE, GMAT and other academic scores are not required for application.

For further information on Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements please see:

Program Secretary: Karen Tong –
Academic Advisors: Shannon Walsh (Film Production) and (Creative Writing) Sharon McGowan (Creative Writing)
Film Production Administrator: Sarah Crauder –