You are here: Master of Arts in Producing Film, Television, and Video

A man films in a tropical climate

Develop Your Passion for Storytelling

As film, television, and video consumption grows worldwide, there is a constant increase in demand for quality content. The American University School of Communication (SOC) Master's program in Producing Film, Television, and Video prepares you for a career as a producer or production manager of a wide variety of film and video programs: independent feature films, documentary films, television programs, educational videos, and special interest videos.

The courses in this program are primarily focused on the business side of the film and video industry, including financing, distribution, marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. The curriculum also includes a scriptwriting course. This program is ideal for working adults who are interested in a career in film or video. We welcome professionals of all backgrounds.

All of the classes in this program meet on Saturday, allowing you to work full-time throughout the course of your studies. You take one course at a time—two courses per semester—and finish in 20 months. You move through the program with a cohort of student colleagues who will become lifelong sources for connection and collaboration.

You also have access to the rich, creative, and wide-ranging academic resources that the SOC has to offer, including special courses, seminars, and screenings through our Center for Media & Social Impact and Center for Environmental Filmmaking.

If you're looking for a professional program designed especially for people with a passion for making stories come to life on the screen, the MA in Producing Film, Television, and Video is the program for you.


Our MA in Producing Film, Television, and Video is designed for working adults who want to pursue careers in producing for film, video, television, and multimedia. You'll follow a planned curriculum, taking two courses each semester on Saturdays for a total of 10 courses. Our students complete the 30-credit-hour program within 20 months.

While previous exposure to film study, film and video production, or script writing is not required, you'll need to demonstrate a serious commitment to a career in this field. Your essay on your desire to and reasons for pursuing graduate study in the program will be essential, along with the other required application materials.

One of the strongest and most positive aspects of our program is our system of student cohorts. A new cohort begins each September. Students study, learn, and progress together…and they graduate together, becoming lifelong network of colleagues and supporters.

Faculty Research Fuels Creativity

At the School of Communication, you'll learn from filmmakers and producers whose academic and professional engagements play key roles in shaping messages and stories for the screen. With their years of experience in the field and their deep connections and extensive professional contacts, they'll help you take your career to the next level.

Our faculty have won Oscars, Emmys, and myriad other awards. Their creative efforts range from dramatic films and documentaries to photojournalism and social advertising campaigns to interactive and immersive media for museums and national historic sites…and more. Their work has been shown through national and international cable and network news outlets, on public broadcasting stations, and in film markets and film festivals around the world.

Here are just some of the prestigious awards our faculty have won:

  • Academy Award
  • Emmy Award
  • Peabody Award
  • Mountain Spirit Award
  • Kavli Science Journalism Award (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
  • Distinguished Achievement Award (International Television Association)
  • LAWEBFEST (Los Angeles Web Series Festival)
  • Best Director and Best Scriptwriter (Washington Peer Awards)
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award
  • Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Media Education
  • George Stoney Award for Service to Documentary (University Film and Video Association)
  • Woman of Vision Award (Women in Film and Video-Washington, DC)
  • Fulbright Fellowship
  • Career Achievement Award (International Digital Media and Arts Association)
  • Research Award (International Communication Association)
  • Scholarship and Preservation Award (International Documentary Association)
  • Guggenheim Fellowship
  • Bronze Palm Award (Mexico International Film Festival)
  • Gracie Allen Award (American Women in Radio and Television)
  • Best Selected Juror Film (Small International Film Festival, Berkeley Art Center, California)
  • Nickelodeon Screenwriting Award

Financing Your Education

The MA in Producing Film, Television, and Video is a 30 credit program. To estimate the cost of tuition, please see the current cost per credit hour for graduate students.

The School of Communication offers graduate students both merit-based and need-based financial aid. Merit awards are administered by the SOC Graduate Admissions Office, while need-based awards are administered by the American University Office of Financial Aid. A number of scholarships are also available for students in the Producing Film, Television, and Video program. Additional financial support is available for veterans.

Eligible first-year students enrolled in the Producing Film, TV and Video program will be considered for a $5,000 merit award. The award, offered as tuition remission, will be divided between fall and spring semesters.

All merit awards are based on academic merit and professional experience, specifically undergraduate grades and leadership activities as well as career-related accomplishments. Merit awards are valid for one year-they vary in amount, are typically divided evenly between the fall and spring semesters, and are not typically renewable.

You may also be eligible to receive sponsorship from your employer to cover, in whole or in part, the costs of attending this program. Sponsorship benefits both parties-you lay the foundations for furthering your career, and your organization builds its capabilities through your enhanced relevant skills and strategic knowledge.

Film and Media Arts Scholarships

The Mavis and Sidney John Palmer Scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate student in the School of Communication with an interest in environmental, natural history, or wildlife filmmaking. Scholarship recipients are selected by a faculty committee based on an essay detailing the student's aspirations and interest in the field. Named for the parents of Professor Chris Palmer, the scholarship was established in 2013 by Professor Palmer and his wife Gail Shearer.

Center for Environmental Filmmaking Scholars are chosen annually in order to further the Center's mission to produce the next generation of environmental and wildlife filmmakers. Scholars are selected during the second year of their graduate program, when they have accumulated at least 18 credit hours and are about to embark on their thesis projects.

The Center for Environmental Filmmaking Challenge Prize is an annual competition open to School of Communication second-year graduate students who have overcome (or are overcoming) challenges and adversity in their lives such as poverty, marginalization, racism, or personal tragedy, and who plan to use environmental and wildlife media to influence personal behavior or public policy and make the world a better place.

The Neel Foundation Fund in honor of Professor John Stephen Douglass was established in 2015 to support one or more outstanding graduate students studying Film & Media Arts (FMA) or its successor program in the School of Communication (SOC) whose focus is documentary filmmaking.

Income from the fund will be awarded to degree seeking FMA graduate students to assist them in completing their film to the appropriate level for them to enter it in a film festival or to use it as an example of their work as part of a professional portfolio. The Dean of SOC will appoint a faculty committee to select recipients who will receive support from the Fund. It is suggested that the committee composition consist of the FMA division director and two or more additional faculty members or an alternate composition as determined by the Dean. Funds will be used to offset expenses incurred for finishing purposes; e.g. audio mix, color correction, sound correction, titling, editorial consulting, etc.; or to offset expenses associated with entering competitions or festivals, including duplication costs, shipping expenses and entry fees. If, in a particular year, there are no qualified applicants, the University shall reserve the funds for subsequent years when qualified applicants are identified.

Common ground. Greater purpose.

I want the Baby Boomers and Millennials to recognize we need each other.

From short films to web series, Shayla builds her stories around everyday life events. She explores what makes us different, but more important, what brings us together. Sometimes that's life milestones, while other times it's a common cause or fight. Inspired by a conversation with her grandmother, her current project is a dialogue between two generations of African Americans and their unique approaches to activism.
MFA in Film and Electronic Media

Frequently Asked Questions

Our master's in Producing Film, Television, and Video is designed for working professionals whose schedules make Saturday classes an excellent alternative to full-time study. You'll receive intensive instruction from faculty who are leaders in the filmmaking and producing fields; you'll master skills in financing, distribution, marketing, management, and entrepreneurship; and you'll form a cohort with fellow students who bring their own diverse professional backgrounds into the classroom.

A producer is the creative and business leader of a production. While most producers are classic examples of entrepreneurs who may or may not have backgrounds in the crafts of film or video production or other experience in the industry, their currency for success is an idea and the ability to develop it for the right market. The person who gets the award for "Best Picture of the Year" is the producer.

Our program provides the knowledge, skills, and experience to help you develop, finance, manage, market, and distribute content intended for the movie theater, the television screen, online, the boardroom, or the classroom.

We have an active and effective alumni mentoring program that will help you build your professional connections and networks. Because they appreciate what they learned here, our alumni keep returning to share their success. You'll find them working at media organizations across the country, and at local media organizations including PBS, Discovery Communications, The Travel Channel, National Geographic Television, Comcast/Universal, and Maryland Public Television. Many other alumni have formed their own production companies and are creating independent content and commissioned programs.

We also have two full-time career advisors to help you plan the next stage of your career.

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