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Chapman University - Dodge College of Film and Media Arts (M.F.A.)

Average User Rating:
Degrees Offered:
  • 2 Year M.A.
  • 2 Year M.F.A.
  • M.F.A./M.B.A. Dual Degree Program
  • Acting
  • Cinematography
  • Creative Producing
  • Directing
  • Documentary Filmmaking
  • Editing
  • Film & Television Production
  • News and Documentary
  • Producing
  • Production Design
  • Public Relations and Advertising
  • Sound Design
  • Writing and Producing for Television
  • Screenwriting
  • Film Studies
  • Digital Arts
Tuition Range:
$40k to $50k
GRE Required?:
Portfolio Required?:
Film Copyright:
  • State:
    United States
    School URL:
    Application Deadline:
    December 1
    The graduate programs at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Conservatory of Motion Pictures are designed to empower you with the skills required to meet the challenges and expectations of the film and television industry.

    You, along with a select group of fellow students, will immerse yourself in your chosen field under the tutelage of a highly accomplished faculty of industry professionals. This intensive, conservatory-based education provides the practical, hands-on training that will ultimately facilitate your entry into the highly competitive world of film and television.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Anonymous
    "Great program"
    Pros - -Great staff -- very approachable, esteemed industry vets / pros
    -Beautiful campus
    -Strong curriculum
    -Meaningful projects
    -Students own their films
    -Money from tuition is allocated toward film project budgets, so you don't have to raise the money on your own
    -Amazing reputation (and growing)
    -Growing alumni base
    -Fantastic facilities
    Cons - -Very expensive (though again, a good value in relation to comparable schools / programs)
    -Slightly far from LA (especially dealing with traffic)
    -Small alumni base
    -Chapman Filmed Entertainment seems very cliquey with who they've given opportunities to
    -Classes get cancelled a little too frequently (due to adjuncts having business to attend to)
    -Still fairly new, so a lot of people outside LA/OC don't know about it
    I attended Chapman's MFA Producing Program from 2010-2012, immediately after finishing undergrad. My experience was a good one overall. I produced several award-winning shorts and was taught by a lot of leading industry veterans. I met and collaborated with a lot of talented people and have kept in touch with many of them who are doing great things. I received a $4,000 per semester fellowship, which really helped with expenses.

    I will say that grad school is sort of what you make it. You can just take the classes and go through the motions to get the degree, but to get hands-on experience, you'll need to put in the work. You'll need to have internships, develop side projects, shoot and edit non school-related projects, and build relationships with classmates that will turn into industry relationships in the future.

    It's expensive, but it's one of the most highly-regarded film programs in the world. If you want to work in any facet of the industry, you'll be prepared. If you want to teach, you'll also be prepared. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who isn't completely dead-set on attending one of the bigger name programs just because of the name. Chapman has the same level of faculty, better facilities, and is cheaper than the others, but is just as highly-regarded in the industry.

    I had to limit my pros and cons in the above, so here are the rest of the:

    -Great location (beautiful area with not too much congestion)
    -Great guest lecturers and screening opportunities
    -Chapman Filmed Entertainment
    -Opportunity to work on as many student projects as you want
    -Opportunity to take classes outside your chosen track
    -Tuition in reference to comparable film schools (but still expensive)
    -Fellowship opportunities to alleviate tuition costs
    -Don't need to take the GRE (at least when I went)
    -Small class sizes for grad programs
    -Always at the top of the "nation's best film schools" lists
    -Chapman, in general, has a great university reputation

    -Not a ton of internship opportunities through the school (you have to go out and search on your own)
    raechen, Mike_V and Chris W like this.
  2. Mike_V
    "Strong program and teachers"
    Pros - You own the films you make
    Flat rate (see con as well)
    Up to date on technology
    Professors are top notched
    Equipment are very well maintained
    new campus
    very specific concentrations (but with the ability to take other classes if you want to)
    Cons - Relatively far from LA (it's in OC, so internships will kinda suck driving up to la or burbank)
    Flat rate (expensive)
    some emphasis(es?) have higher priority to get specific classes over others
    I graduated from Chapman's MFA program back in 2012 and I have to say that my experience was very positive.
    I was specialized in Editing and the program was very robust.
    Chapman's system is broken into a conservatory model (they kind of treat you as if you've never have any experience with film in general). Your first year is spent on the foundations/basics of film. Shooting, writing, editing, directing, etc. These are then supported by projects that you do that is meant to take you through the steps of an entire short film. You will also be taking your specialization specific courses this year as well, but at the basic level. During the first year, you are also required to assist the 2nd years in their cycle films on set and sometimes even in post. This is to help build your general knowledge of filmmaking so you don't go into the industry looking/sounding like a fool who has no idea how things are done.
    your second year is the time in which you really go into the specialization of your choice (that you were accepted into). You will also be working on atleast 2 short films called Cycle Films. This is a collaboration between ALL the students from each department. At this point it really tests your ability to work in a team as well as being able to independently work and make decisions as needed.
    Finally your 3rd year is all about your thesis film. All you do at this point is work on your thesis film.

    Between all 3 years you have the choice to take as many classes as you want. There is an "Interterm" where you can take additional classes or just take time off, (although I would suggest you try to get into one of the filmmaking classes so you can build more experience. During summer you can also get yourself certified in programs like Avid Media Composer or ProTools.

    In regards to professors, you're looking at current working professionals and also those who are very well known in the industry. Everyone that I had the pleasure of studying under have all been extremely helpful and it's entirely up to you to make use of these resources.
    Equipment wise, it's very well maintained and you just need to make sure you make a request for specific cameras that might be in demand early.

    In general, there is a lot of things you can learn from here, but it's up to you to go for it. I learned sound mixing and foley/adr in my free time and got certified in both Avid and ProTools, so it's just up to you on how pro-active you want to be to make use of the money you spend.
    apriling, Clark Zhu, DJ and 1 other person like this.