UCLA TFT - Production/Directing (M.F.A.)

5.00 star(s) 5 Stars (1 Member Reviews)
The UCLA Master of Fine Arts degree in production with an emphasis in directing is a three- to four-year program designed to develop artists in film..
Degrees Offered
  1. 3 Year M.F.A.
  2. 4 Year M.F.A.
  1. Directing
  2. Film & Television Production
  3. Producing
Yearly Tuition
$20k to $30k
Application Deadlines

Film School details

The UCLA Master of Fine Arts degree in production with an emphasis in directing is a three- to four-year program designed to develop artists in film, television and digital media. For more than half a century we have trained students in all the arts and crafts of media production while expanding their understanding of the critical, theoretical and historical components of these art forms. Our goal is to infuse the highest standards of craftsmanship with imaginative freedom and a sense of social responsibility. Alumni include Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather), Alexander Payne (Nebraska, The Descendants), Alex Gibney (Going Clear, Taxi to the Dark Side), Alison Anders (Mi Vida Loca, Gas, Food, Lodging), Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), Charles Burnett (To Sleep With Anger, Killer of Sheep), Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, Fast and Furious 6, Star Trek Beyond), Caveh Zahedi (The Sheik and I, I Am a Sex Addict) and cinematographer Dagmar Weaver-Madsen (10,000 km, Unexpected).

The first year of the program is an intensive workshop in the collaborative process of production that culminates in each student completing two short films. The curriculum includes screenwriting, directing narrative and documentary, cinematography, editing, post production and production planning.

The second year of the program provides for further development of the student-mentor relationship as the student writes, directs and completes an advanced project in narrative, documentary, digital media or experimental film, while taking critical studies and advanced craft courses.

The third year, students begin work on their thesis production, which must be completed no later than the end of the fourth year. It is possible to complete the thesis at the end of the third year, based on the scope of the project. Thesis productions can be in documentary or narrative form.
What is the official minimum GPA requirement? 3.0
Is a GRE required for admission? No
Is a portfolio required for admission? Yes
How many Letters of Reference are required? 3

Application Requirements

1) Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages) and
2) Short Film Treatment (1-3 pages)

Internship Opportunities


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Latest reviews

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Current Student
  • Los Angeles
  • Great Campus
  • You own the films you make
  • The curriculum is well designed and keeps you advancing
  • The cohort is small and becomes a close family
  • Only 24 people are accepted a year, so it is very selective
  • Since it is small, teacher focus on you and become invested in your success
  • It is more affordable than a private school
  • The facilities are not as fancy as some other updated schools
I am going to write this review from the rationale of why I chose UCLA, and compare it to the other big film schools that exist in the top four.
UCLA is the best film school out there, but that obviously depends on your goals. They only accept 24 people a year, and even less than that for Narrative Directing. USC MFA selects significantly more twice a year and you are not even guaranteed that you will make one film; at UCLA you are guaranteed to direct 4 films, and unlike AFI and USC you own all the rights to every one of those films and can do with them whatever you please. With UCLA you are also offered a very esteemed network from the number one public university in the country, although AFI is a great network it only provides you the network in the entertainment industry. UCLA TFT also has theater attached to it so it has access to excellent actors, prop and set designers, as well as composers from the music school, and access to a world renown screenwriting program.
The only problem that I have with UCLA is the facilities. We actually have great useful facilities with 6 soundstages, but if you want the most beautiful film school you have ever seen and looks like a palace - go to USC. UCLA is a public school; it has what you need but it is not beautiful. BUT, UCLA is located on a beautiful campus right outside of the gates to Bel Air, and USC is in a not so great neighborhood (take your pick.) AFI is in Hollywood, and if you have ever been there, you either hate Hollywood... or hate Hollywood. 🤷‍♂️

UCLA's program is top notch with wonderful filmmakers and well designed. The curriculum focuses on all aspects of production (Screenwriting, editing, directing, cinematography, producing, etc) which you should know as a good director, but directing is your primary focus. At AFI you only really focus on Directing, or Producing, Screenwriting etc. At USC it is just a degree in production and never really focus on one aspect unless you choose to.

Finally, NYU; Do you want to be in New York or Los Angeles?

I hope this helps. I love every day that I am at UCLA and all the focus that I receive from top notch instructors in order to become a successful filmmaker. I do not feel like I am lost in the machine of a school just trying to pump out students with a graduate degree that will serve me no purpose later on.
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Last edited:
Hi! Thanks for your sharing! I’m wondering since it’s a 3-4year program, what may cause the student spend 4 years finishing the program? Does it happen frequently? Or most of the students finish in 3 years?

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