MFA Film & TV Acceptance Rates

The acceptance rates below have been floating around for a few months now.

I don't know if they're accurate, but if they are I find it very surprising that so few people are applying to some of these programs. Only 197 USC Screenwriting applicants? Really? I remember hearing somewhere that the number of applicants was significantly higher.

Does anyone else have access to other stats or conflicting information? Do these numbers seem off to anyone else?


Florida State
Average age 27. 182 applicants, 23% accepted, 30 enrolled.

USC (Critical Studies MA & PhD)
299 applicants, 11% accepted, 20 enrolled.

USC (Interactive Media MA & PhD)
44 applicants, 45% accepted, 13 enrolled.

USC (Media Arts PhD)
67 applicants, 4% accepted, 3 enrolled.

USC (Peter Stark Producing MFA)
189 applicants, 13% accepted, 25 enrolled.

USC (Program in Film production MFA)
312 applicants, 25% accepted.

USC (Animation MFA)
59 applicants, 39% accepted.

USC (Screenwriting MFA)
197 applicants, 18% accepted, 32 enrolled.

Chapman University - Dodge (All MFA majors)
Average age 27. 342 applicants, 44% accepted, 85 enrolled.

Loyola Marymount (Production MFA)
Average age 28. 114 applicants, 58% accepted, 27 enrolled.

Loyola Marymount (Screenwriting MFA)
Average age 26. 56 applicants, 57% accepted, 10 enrolled.

NYU - Tisch (Cinema Studies MA & PhD)
Average age 31. 233 applicants, 42% accepted, 49 enrolled.

NYU - Tisch (Dramatic Writing MFA)
Average age 30. 238 applicants, 15% accepted, 22 enrolled.

Columbia University (Film Division, all MFA majors)
Average age 29. 577 applicants, 22% accepted, 78 enrolled.

UCLA School of Film, TV & Digital Media (all MFA & PhD majors)
Average age 30. 1,290 applicants, 11% accepted, 97 enrolled.

Emerson College (all MFA majors)
Average age 25. 109 applicants, 59% accepted, 36 enrolled.

SAIC (all Film MFA majors)
141 applicants, 35% accepted, 21 enrolled.

CalArts (all Film MFA majors)
Average age 27. 246 applicants, 30% accepted, 35 enrolled.

SFAI (all FILM MFA majors)
Average age 29. 43 applicants, 16% accepted, 4 enrolled.

Cal State - Northridge (MA - Screenwriting)
Average age 37. 60 applicants, 40% accepted, 14 enrolled.

Art Center (Broadcast Cinema MFA)
Average age 37. 60 applicants, 40% accepted, 14 enrolled.

AFI (all MFA majors)
Average age 26. 629 applicants, 32% accepted, 136 enrolled.
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Thanks for that!

I clicked your link and also found:

NYU - Kanbar (all MFA film majors)
Average age 25. 630 applicants, 9% accepted, 37 enrolled.

Thought the average age was much higher though. Not sure what I shall think of this list but yes, these applicant numbers are not as high as we all imagined.


Interesting information!
However, as a person who studied science and worked countless hours on data crunching, I'm kind of a stickler for accuracy :). Also, I feel like I have to speak out on behalf of all the MFA applicants who went through a tough year of admissions--whether we've been accepted and or rejected, the process has justifiably been a tough one. Anyhow, here are my reasons for believing that the Petersons' report is inaccurate:

I think the figures above are based on data from 3-5 years ago. In the last two years, the number of applicants for MFA programs have drastically increased. I would know, because I received rejection letters from UCLA, USC, and Columbia last year, and those letters revealed the number of applicants. For example, Petersons says Columbia (for all MFA majors) is reported to have had 577 applicants. However, when I got rejected, my letter said almost 800 applied. Also, I read from Wikipedia (not completely reliable, I know) that Columbia's MFA for Film has an acceptance rate of about 6% on any given year. USC, apparently nearly doubled the number of applicants in one year, which was two years ago, and last year, they had a new record number of applicants. And finally, UCLA reported that it had almost 400 applicants for production/directing and initially accepted about 23 for a class of 18. And AFI at 32%? Doesn't look right to me at all, because I've been told that it's one of the most selective programs in the world, but I never applied there, so I wouldn't know. Finally, I applied to FSU, and got the interview, so I have some numbers--approximately 300 applied last year, about a third got the interview, and about a third of those who got the interview got an acceptance letter. That should mean that the acceptance rate should be anywhere between 10-15%, not 23% as reported by Peterson's.

I guess in the end of the day, I wish all the programs (and all colleges for that matter) can accept all students who are willing to learn. But based on my rejection letters from last year, and more recent articles, the following schools almost definitely have acceptance rates that are between 2.5%-15%
NYU, USC, Columbia, UCLA, AFI, and FSU. So all of you, rejected or accepted, it was a tough battle indeed!

haha, on a side note, what a long answer. I really need to start grad school soon! Best wishes to everyone who is either still waiting, or is planning for the future.
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Thanks for the info! Some of the schools I applied to aren't even on that list, so I really don't know my chances of acceptance really. Though I did apply to Chapman and in their Graduate FAQ section it says that they take between 20-50% of applicants, 15-30 students per concentration, with directing and producing being the most competitive concentrations to get into. But those are pretty much the only numbers I came across on my own. Other MFA programs I applied to just said their admissions process is "competitive."
Do you guys really think this information is reliable?

USC's Film Production has only 312 applicants for a 25% acceptance rate! For a school as competitive as USC, I find it hard to believe that the acceptance rate would be this high.



New Member
USC called me on Saturday following my acceptance. I asked him how many screenwriting applicants there were, and he said well over 400. So 32/400 would be closer to an 8% acceptance rate.


Originally posted by SJR:
USC called me on Saturday following my acceptance. I asked him how many screenwriting applicants there were, and he said well over 400. So 32/400 would be closer to an 8% acceptance rate.
following your acceptence? do they need us to response early?

Chris W

As You Wish
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