B.F.A. in Film and Media Arts

The B.F.A. in Film and Media Arts is an artistic degree emphasizing developing the unique creative voice of each student. The degree requires 51 credits within the major (122 credit hours total, including the University Curriculum and electives) and culminates in the production of a collaborative project, or an individual thesis film/media project

Admission and Degree Requirements

Admission to the B.F.A. is limited and requires application through a selective process. Applicants should consult the B.F.A. Admission Process for portfolio submission details and deadlines. If accepted, a student must complete FILM 1304 (Production 1) and FILM 2354 (Screenwriting 1) with a cumulative 2.7 or better GPA prior to declaring the B.F.A. in Film and Media Arts. Upon declaration of the B.F.A., in addition to the course requirements below, students are required to pass FILM 1301 (Art of Film & Media) with a grade of C- or better to receive their degree.

Note on class attendance: Due to limited class space and enrollment pressures, a student who fails to appear on the first day or who fails to attend three consecutive class meetings during an academic term without establishing contact with the instructor may be administratively dropped from a course.

B.F.A. Thesis Film

B.F.A. students intending to do the thesis film capstone option must submit a thesis project proposal in the spring semester of their junior year; proposals are due by the end of the first school week after spring break. Details about what to include in the proposal packet are available in the department office.

Proposals will be reviewed by the faculty and students will be notified about any potential problems that need to be addressed prior to registration in FILM 5311 Thesis Film 1. Students not submitting proposals will not be allowed to register for this course or shoot a thesis project.

The ensuing academic year, B.F.A. students will register for FILM 5311 (Thesis Film 1) in the fall and then FILM 5313 (Thesis Film 2) in the spring. Each senior B.F.A. student will be required to present his/her project at the close of the semester (usually during or just after finals week) after it has been approved by the committee.

All students registered for FILM 5313 will have, at most, until the second day of final exams that semester to complete the proposed project to the satisfaction of their committees. This means thesis defenses should be scheduled no later than mid-April to allow time to address any issues or concerns raised by the committee at the defense.

B.F.A. Curriculum

See List of Film and Media Arts Courses & their Description

Requirements for the Degree Credit Hours

University-wide Requirements


Production requirements

  • FILM 1304 Production 1
  • FILM 2354 Screenwriting 1
  • FILM 3304 Production 2

and THREE other 3-credit production courses chosen from:

  • FILM 3301 Experimental Camera
  • FILM 3302 Convergent Media
  • FILM 3303 Film Acting
  • FILM 3305 MOS Camera
  • FILM 3306 Nonfiction Production
  • FILM 3308 Editing
  • FILM 3309 Multicam Production
  • FILM 3316 16MM Production
  • FILM 3364 Screenwriting 2
  • FILM 3365 Screenwriting 3
  • FILM 3384 Sound 1
  • FILM 3385 Sound 2
  • FILM 3390 Topics in Production
  • FILM 3391 Topics in Postproduction
  • FILM 4301 TV Ad Concepting and Production
  • FILM 4305 Cinematography
  • FILM 4306 Introduction to Animation
  • FILM 4307 Introduction to 3-D Animation
  • FILM 4308 Postproduction Visual FX
  • FILM 4317 Film Directing

Studies requirements

  • FILM 1301 Art of Film and Media
  • FILM 2301 Film and Media Criticism
  • FILM 3351 International Film History

Industry requirements

  • FILM 1302 Contemporary Media Industries
  • FILM 4316 Producers' Seminar

and ONE other 3-credit industry courses chosen from:

  • FILM 3328 Media Management
  • FILM 3330 Media Sales
  • FILM 3335 Film Exhibition and Distribution
  • FILM 3361 Media Programming
  • FILM 3396 Topics in Media Industries
  • FILM 4304 New Media Distribution
  • FILM 4399 Global Media Systems
  • AMAE 3305 Arts Budgeting & Financial Management
  • AMAE 3322 Marketing the Arts
  • AMAE 3370 Entrepreneurship in the Arts
  • AMAE 3387 Attracting Capital: Donors, Investors, and Public Funds

Capstone requirement

  • FILM 5304 Production 3 & FILM 5312 Media Career Prep
  • FILM 5311 Thesis Film 1 & FILM 5313 Thesis Film 2

Film and Media Arts Electives
(Up to 3 credits may come from approved non-FILM courses in related programs.)


Community Experience

MSA 1001 or MSA 1101: First-Year Arts Community Experience (B.F.A. pre-admits enroll their first semester at SMU; current SMU students admitted to the B.F.A. enroll the first fall after their acceptance)


Free Electives
Hours vary as needed to meet University residency and degree requirements



(Note: 51 credit hours for the major, 122 total credit hours required for B.F.A. degree)

Checklist of BFA requirements (effective Fall 2016)