Watch a brief video featuring students, alumni and faculty in Independent Film and Digital Imaging.

Developing Artistry

The art of digital filmmaking and digital imaging blend communication skills and artistry to create a unique Master of Fine Arts program at Governors State University. The program facilitates the development of your internal voice as a digital artist or filmmaker, helping you grow creatively, pursue your highest ideals, and reach your academic and artistic goals. 

"The imaginative artist willy-nilly influences his time. If he understands his responsibility and acts on it-taking the art seriously always, himself never quite -he can make a contribution equal to, if different from that of the scientist, the politician and the jurist." Herman Wouk

Creative Preparation

Coursework leads to specialized knowledge, creative development and advanced technological skills in image making and media production. You plan your specific programs with you advisor, adapting the selective sequence to your individual needs and interests. 

Selective Admission - Outstanding Preparation

Only 15 students each year are selected for the program. Applicants are ranked for admission on the basis of academic potential and admission criteria. As part of the MFA program, you learn and create through field-related internships. The in-depth thesis/project offers you the opportunity to combine all you have learned with your own creativity and style. Graduates of the program will go on to careers in film making, graphic design, photography, 2D and 3D animation, motion graphics, web design, higher education, consulting, producing, media writing, training and TV production and direction.

What our alumni say about Independent Film and Digital Imaging:

Seth McClellan

Keisha Dyson 

Mercedes Kane

Dirk Fletcher

Program Fact Sheet 

Required Preparation

Special Admission Requirements  

Applications for admission are due by the fourth Friday in March in any given year. Applications for admission are available from the GSU Office of Admission and Student Recruitment and the Division of Humanities and Social Science. Due to limited space availability, this program can only accept 15 students each year. Applicants will be ranked for admission on the basis of their academic potential and admission criteria. 

In addition to meeting university admission criteria, applicants must submit evidence of the following to the Office of Admissions:

  • an undergraduate major in media, multimedia, communications, English, speech or liberal arts
  • a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Graduate courses can be substituted but the cumulative GPA must be a 3.5 or better
  • appropriate prerequisite course work with a minimum prerequisite GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The following courses (in credit hours) or their equivalents are minimum prerequisites for entry into the M.F.A. program
    •  English composition (3)
    •  speech or oral communication (3)
    •  applied digital technology (3)

 supplementary application packet which includes

  • supplemental information form
  • a current resume
  • three letters of recommendation
  • official TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  • a $50 application fee.

    Applicants must submit the following to the IFDI Program Coordinator:

    • a digital portfolio: for students in digital imaging, a website with stills and for students in digital filmmaking, a sample of a prior production on vimeo, youtube, or personal website, or sample screenplay by email
    • three emailed letters of reference from individuals who can speak to the applicant's strengths as a potential student
    • an emailed personal essay or statement of intent with respect to goals for the degree and artistic philosophy. Note: Applicants may, at the discretion of the M.F.A. admissions committee, also be requested to participate in personal interview.
    •  Please also email a completed the Supplementary Information Form.

     We are also willing to accept hardcopy applications.

    Note: Applicants may, at the discretion of the M.F.A. admissions committee, also be requested to participate in personal interview.

    Degree Requirements

    Degree Requirements

    Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher to complete requirements for the MFA. A grade lower than B in any course will not be counted toward graduation.  

    I.  Prerequisite courses:

    ART 3325   Advanced Problems in Design or equivalent determined by advisor

    MCOM 4740 Television Production or equivalent determined by advisor 

    II. Common Core - Required Courses: (21-27 hours)

    IFDI 5702 Digital Film Production (3)

    IFDI 5444 Digital Photographic Imaging (3)

    IFDI 8100 Survey of Indep. Film and Digital Imaging (3)

    IFDI 8800 Internship (6-9)

    IFDI 8990 Master's Thesis Project: (6-9) 

    Note: Not all courses are offered in all years or all terms. Many are offered just once per calendar year. Students are strongly advised to arrange appointments to consult with their advisors prior to beginning the program. 

    III. Ethics, Theory and Aesthetics Selectives (9-15 hours)

    Select two to four of the following:

    IFDI 5410/ART 5542 History of Photography (3)

    IFDI 5420 Film and TV Documentary (3)

    IFDI 8400 Graduate Film Seminar (3)

    IFDI 8420 Clinical Practices in Contemporary Photo (3)

    IFDI 8850 Digital Imaging Thesis Development Seminar (3)

    ART 5520 Art in Context (3)

    ART 8810 Studies in Art (3)

    ENGL 5485 Film: Analysis, Criticism, Ideologies (3)

    ENGL 7300 Seminar: Philosophy in Literature (3)

    COMS 5010 Communication Ethics (3)

    MCOM 5040 Film Seminar (3) 

    IV. Applied Courses Selectives (21-31 hours)

    Select five to eight courses, as listed on the study plan. 

    V. Electives (up to 9 hours)

    Up to 9 credit hours taken at Governors State University, drawn from CAS and at the 5000 level and higher, may be counted toward total credit hours allowable for graduation. 

    VI. Total - 60 Hours

    Graduation Requirements

    Students must meet the university requirements for a master's degree found in the GSU Catalog. Please meet with your faculty advisor during the first semester to complete your study plan. 

    Advisor Information

    Dan Nearing
    Professor, Independent Film and Digital Imaging
    Academic Program Coordinator

    Beth Parin
    Associate Professor, Independent Film and Digital Imaging

    Sanghoon Lee
    Associate Professor, Independent Film and Digital Imaging

    Student Handbook

    Current and prospective students are encouraged to review the Independent Film and Digital Imaging Student Handbook.