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Emergency Notification

New Program (pending approval) Fall 2020

New catalog copy pending approval (9-30-19)

The MFA in Television, Film and Theatre (TVFT) is a three-year, terminal degree program that prepares students for diverse professional and academic careers in content creation, acting, and writing in the narrative media. The program includes coursework in theory and aesthetics of theater, film, television and new media along with the politics of narrative, and the positioning of storytelling in the context of critical race theory, gender, and class. Students will also learn current industry business practices. There are ample opportunities to develop a creative voice and vision as they work on stage, set, collaborative projects and culminating projects, while applying real-world skills. The MFA degree, in conjunction with extensive professional experience, qualifies students to work and teach in these fields.  

A total of 58 units are required, with 31 units of core courses in 5000-level courses. All students are required to complete 3 units of culmination project (TVFT 5995). Consultation with a graduate advisor is required for development and approval of a graduate program.

The Cal State LA MFA in Television, Film and Theatre will offer three formal options:

Option l:  Content Creation: offers a progression of development and production training in live and pre-recorded environments. 

Option 2: Writing: offers a progression in writing skills towards the development of a one-act play, a full-length play, a short film script, a TV Spec (drama and comedy), a TV pilot, and feature-film screenplays.  

Option 3: Acting: offers training in acting, voice, movement and Viewpoints to prepare students for post-graduate careers in live or recorded mediums.

Beginning in Fall 2020, cohorts will be accepted into the program every other year

The MFA in Television Film and Theatre has the following objectives:

  • To offer a curriculum for future storytellers by educating them in a variety of forms of narrative arts: linear, and non-linear storytelling in television, film, theatre and new media; 
  • To prepare students for careers in content creation, acting and writing by emphasizing technical proficiency and creative artistry within and across television, film and theatre;
  • To provide students career options with the intellectual and historical backgrounds central to their development as media artists and scholars;
  • To provide the technical and academic expertise essential to prepare future professionals and faculty in this terminal degree program;
  • To provide our uniquely diverse student body with opportunities for advanced coursework in content creation, writing and acting.



I . Admission to the graduate program at California State University, Los Angeles requires:

  • Completion of a four-year college course of study and an acceptable baccalaureate from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association, or completion of an equivalent academic preparation as determined by the appropriate campus authorities.
  • Good academic standing at the last college or university attended.
  • Attainment of a grade point average of at least 2.5 (A=4.0) in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted.

2. Admission to the MFA program jointly sponsored by the Department of Television, Film & Media Studies and the Department of Theatre and Dance further requires:

  • A 3.0 grade point average in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units is preferred for unconditional acceptance with an articulated plan of study submitted for consideration along with a department-based application form.
  • Submission of a portfolio of creative work and performance programs which may include production stills/film/video clips, stage plays, screenplays or television scripts.
  • A statement of the applicant's academic and professional objectives in the MFA.
  • Two letters of recommendation on the applicant's potential for success.
  • Transcripts from all institutions of higher education or professional schools attended.
  • Interviews will be required of all candidates.
  • Students applying for the Acting Option will be required to audition using two contrasting monologues - four minutes in length.


Students must successfully pass an annual review at the end of years one and two of their program. The TVFT program is a highly competitive degree program. The review process is structured to assist the student in monitoring their development in the MFA program and progress towards the degree, while ensuring the highest academic and professional program standards. The Advancement Committee will evaluate the quality of the student’s progress based on grades (students are expected to maintain 3.0 GPA and a B grade or better in all Core Courses), and the advancement rubric, which will evaluate whether students meet the program learning outcomes as well as maintain artistic, collaborative, and professional standards. 

Failure to meet the above will result in termination from the program. 


Advancement to Candidacy towards Culmination Project 

In order to advance to candidacy in the program, and enroll in Culmination Project coursework, the student must maintain continuing student status, successfully complete 34 units of coursework with a B or better in courses attempted, with an overall sustained GPA of at least 3.0 in all semesters, have no outstanding Incompletes, and complete an advancement evaluation review. Only students who are advanced are eligible to enroll in courses and Culmination Project units. 

TVFT MFA Review Procedures

Progression towards graduation in The TVFT MFA program requires the student's academic record and professional development to be reviewed by committee at posted intervals.

The review intervals are:

  • admission (GS-1)
  • acceptance to the program (GS-2)
  • first year review
  • second year review (Advancement to Candidacy / Aapproval for Thesis Committee, GS-12)
  • third year review (approval for graduation, GS-13)

A member of the TVFT graduate faculty may also, by letter, request the review of a student by the Advancement Committee at any time in the student's progress towards the degree when supported by extraordinary circumstances.  At the conclusion of each level of review the faculty, by committee letter, will invite the student to continue in the program or notify the student they are no longer eligible to continue towards earning the MFA degree. Students who do not receive an invitation to continue can no longer register for TVFT courses or graduate with a TVFT MFA degree.  Students who do not graduate in year three will be reviewed for an invitation to continue.


Requirements for the Degree (58 units)

A total of 58 units are required, with 31 units of core courses, 3 units of Culmination Project TVFT 5995,

and 24 units of option requirements. Consultation with a graduate advisor is required for development

and approval of a graduate program, which includes the following:

Required Core Courses (31 units)

        TVFT 5100 Immersion: Theatre                                                                       (3)

TVFT 5110 Immersion: Film/Television                                                          (3)

TVFT 5120 Playwriting                                                                                    (3)

TVFT 5150 Teacher Training Seminar                                                             (1)

TVFT 5161 Acting Studio I                                                                               (3)

TVFT 5170 Producing and Production Management                                      (3)

TVFT 5202 Thriving in the Industry                                                                  (2)

TVFT 5275 Television Production                                                                    (3)

TVFT 5300 Production activity                                                                        (2)

TVFT 5400 Narrative Live Space                                                                      (3)

TVFT 5650 Project Report Preparation                                                           (3)

TVFT 5810 Entertainment Arts Internship (2 units)                                        (1-­2)

Culminating Project Requirements (3 units)

All students are required to complete 3 units of:

TVFT 5995 Culminating Project                                                                 (1-­3)


Content Creation Option (21 units)

TVFT 5160 The Writer's Room                                                                         (3)

TVFT 5180 Technical Production: Theatre                                                      (3)

TVFT 5190 Directing: Theatre                                                                          (3)

TVFT 5227 Feature Writing                                                                              (3)

TVFT 5280 Cinematography and Editing                                                         (3)

TVFT 5281 Sound Recording and Design                                                         (3)

TVFT 5295 Directing a Short Film                                                                    (3)


Writing Option (21 units)

TVFT 5160 Writer's Room                                                                               (3)

TVFT 5221 Writing a Short Film                                                                      (3)

TVFT 5225 Writer’s Workshop: Playwriting                                                    (3)

TVFT 5226 Writer's Workshop: Pilot                                                               (3)

TVFT 5227 Feature Writing                                                                             (3)

TVFT 5230 Interactive Storytelling and Introduction to Games                     (3)

Choose one of the following:                                                                          (3)

TVFT 5121 TV Spec Writing: Sitcom (3)

TVFT 5222 TV Spec Writing: Drama (3)

Acting Option (21 units)

TVFT 5141 Movement I                                                                                   (3)

TVFT 5151 Voice I                                                                                            (3)

TVFT 5162 Acting Studio II                                                                               (3)

TVFT 5265 Acting for the Camera                                                                   (3)

TVFT 5366 Acting: Classical                                                                             (3)

TVFT 5420 Viewpoints                                                                                     (3)

Choose one of the following:                                                                          (3)

TVFT 5142 Movement II (3)

TVFT 5152 Voice for Performers II (3)

TVFT 5244 Stage Combat (3)


MFA Culmination Project

MFA students are required to complete TVFT 5995, the MFA Culmination Project. The MFA Culmination Project consists of a Project and Project Report. Each Culminating Project must be approved by a Culminating Project Committee (hereafter referred to as the “Project Committee”). A Project Committee shall include, a Project Committee Chair and two other members. The Chair of the committee must be a full­time faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance or the Department of Television Film and Media Studies. The other two members of the committee may be faculty from other departments at the University or other recognized higher education institutions, part­time faculty, or professionals in the field.

Content Creation:

The MFA Content Creation Culminating Project is a short film project, an original multi­episode Webseries, half­hour or hour television program, or a stage play produced in the final year of the candidate's program. The project work must be presented publicly in a venue and format to be determined in consultation with the student's Project Committee.


The MFA Acting Culminating Project showcases the student in a major, challenging role across any of the three mediums of production (television, film or theatre) produced in the final year of the candidate's program. The project work must be presented publicly in a venue and format to be determined in consultation with the student's Project Committee.


The MFA Writing Culminating Project is a play, an original half­hour or one­hour television script, or a feature film script written in the final year of the candidate's program. The project work must be presented publicly in a venue and format to be determined in consultation with the student's Project Committee.

General Parameters:

  1. PLEASE NOTE: students need to adhere to the three sets of deadlines: 1) project deadlines specific to option, 2) project report deadlines, and 3) deadlines imposed by the University Library.
  2. Collaborative Culminating Projects are encouraged among colleagues within the cohorts.
  3. Culminating projects cannot consist of projects written or performed previous to the student's enrollment within the MFA in TVFT program.
  4. The student's Project Committee must approve any projects that intend to fall outside of the parameters listed above.

Project Report:

Each Culminating Project will be accompanied by a project report (minimum 45 pages) submitted to the student's Project Committee and, ultimately, to the library. See the TVFT Guidebook section on Project Report for further details.