Master of Fine Arts in Cinematic Media Production

Seaver, Comm. Graduate, Masters. Media Production - Filming

Beginning Fall 2016, Seaver College will offer a new MFA in Cinematic Media Production. 

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Cinematic Media Production will be a rigorous, two-year professional degree in cinematic storytelling. It is designed for producers, directors, cinematographers, editors, production designers, sound designers, and others creating products such as theatrical releases, documentaries, television, web series, and other forms of narrative cinematic media.

The program leverages the access that comes from its ideal location in Malibu, surrounded by the media moguls who shaped the industry's past. Some of these industry insiders make up the faculty who educate our students to shape the industry's future -- working professionals who guide students to integrate personal values, ethics, and diversity in the creative and practical process.

Rooted in Pepperdine's commitment to purpose, service, and leadership, the mission of the program is to educate cinematic storytellers as cultural leaders in a diverse world. In addition to creative productivity, all students take a producing sequence focused on the business half of "show business." Alumni learn to be more than mere entertainers. They become creative entrepreneurs.

For specific questions about the MFA in Production, please contact Dr. Michael Smith, or Judith Tapper, Graduate Programs Coordinator.

Graduate Application Deadlines

The application period for the Fall 2016 term of the MFA in Cinematic Media Production will open on October 1st, 2015. The deadline is March 31st, 2016. Students wishing to apply for scholarships and assistantships must submit all application materials by February 1st. This application may be obtained from the Graduate Coordinator in the Communication Division.

Course Requirements

In year one, students focus on storytelling through writing and production, while studying the history and structure of the cinematic media industry. Each student learns the significance of storytelling by applying skills in writing, producing, directing, cinematography, production design, editing, and sound. The goal of year one is to lay the foundation for intense student-to-student collaboration in a specific role in year two.

In the summer between years one and two, students form teams and create original content that will form the basis of their studies in year two. Students also begin the producing sequence, a process that will culminate in a business plan for a project that they can shop in the industry after graduation.

In year two, students are assigned industry mentors who personally guide students through the graduate project in their specific roles. Students complete the producing sequence in the portfolio course, creating promotional materials, a business plan, and a personal mission statement that will serve them upon graduation. The final graduate projects screen to the public in Hollywood.


Students who successfully complete this degree will create:

  • At least five introductory and intermediate level cinematic products
  • At least one graduate project (a creative thesis) in which they hold a major leadership position (writer, producer, director, cinematographer, production designer, editor, sound designer, or other role approved by the faculty) that will be evaluated for proficiency by the faculty and exhibited to the public
  • A portfolio that includes a "reel" or samples of creative work
  • A business plan for an additional creative product that the student plans to pursue after graduation
  • A mission statement that integrates faith and/or personal values into creative and professional vocations

The degree requires 52-56 units as specified below:

Writing Courses (8 units required):

  • MPRD 600 Stories That Matter 4

Choose one of the following:

  • CRWR 510 Writing for Screen and Television 4
  • STW 610 Topics in Writing for the Market (Rotating Course Topics including Writing Comedy, Writing TV Sitcoms, The One-Hour Drama, Advanced Scene Writing, Writing Film Genres, Writing Adaptations, Writing the Documentary, and Writing for Advanced Media Technologies. STW 610 may be repeated when the topics differ.) 4

Critical Studies/Diversity Courses (8 units required):

  • FILM 501 The History of American Cinema 4

Choose one of the following:

  • COM 512 Media Impact and U.S. Minorities 4
  • FILM 531 African American Cinema 4
  • FILM 541 Women and Film 4
  • FILM 562 Italian Cinema from Neo-Realism to the Present 4
  • FILM 565 Japanese and Asian Film 4

Courses listed are offered on a rotating basis. All options are not available each semester.

Producing/Ethics Courses (11 units required):

  • MPRD 550 Entertainment Industry Strategies and Ethics 3
  • MPRD 651 Cinematic Media Development 2
  • MPRD 652 Cinematic Media Finance 2
  • MPRD 653 Cinematic Media Marketing 2
  • MPRD 654 Cinematic Media Portfolio 2

Production Courses (24-28 units required):

  • COM 698 Graduate Project (4-6 units taken while in pre-production)
  • COM 698 Graduate Project (4-6 units taken while in production)
  • COM 699 Directed Studies (Advanced work in first elective area) 2
  • COM 699 Directed Studies (Advanced work in second elective area) 2
  • MPRD 602 Visual Design 4
  • MPRD 610 Media Production (pre-requisites: MPRD 600 and 602) 4
  • MPRD 611 Media Production 2 (pre-requisites: MPRD 600, 602, and 610) 4

Internship (1 unit required):

  • MPRD 595 Media Production Internship 1

Admission Requirements

Admission to the program will be contingent upon a favorable review of required application materials by the MFA production faculty and the Seaver Dean's Office. Prospective students must commit to the full-time, five-semester (includes 2 academic years and the summer in between) course sequence. Exceptions to this time-line are rare and must be made by petition to the MFA production faculty.

Tuition and Cost


More details regarding the application materials will be available in mid-2015.