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Animation and Film - New Master’s Offerings at FDU

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus (Madison, New Jersey) recently announced the addition of three new graduate programs in animation and film. Offered through FDU’s Visual & Performing Arts Department, the new master’s level programs emerged from the University’s highly successful B.A. in film and animation program, led by experienced and industry-connected faculty.

Inaugural classes for FDU’s new, 36-credit M.A. in Animation and 60-credit M.F.A. in Animation begin in September 2018. Fall and spring classes are offered at the Florham Campus, while summer and thesis classes will be offered online. FDU was named New Jersey’s top animation program in 2018 by Animation Career Review.

Both master’s programs in animation offer students the opportunity to build hands-on skills in one of three concentrations: 3D character animation, visual effects and video games. Courses focus on creativity, aesthetic skills, attention to detail and technology. In addition, students are encouraged to pursue internships in the industry and work with individuals or companies to produce animations and interactive projects.

Sample Courses

Animating Fluids
Character Design
3D Character Animation
3D Character Modeling
3D Character Texturing
Digital 2D Animation
Digital Sculpting
Expressions and Scripting in After Effects
Game Creation
Lip Syncing
Motion Capture
Motion Tracking
Virtual Reality 

The M.A. in Animation is a 36-credit program requiring completion of 18 credits in the chosen concentration, plus 18 credits of electives. It is designed as a one-year program spanning three semesters — fall and spring semesters attended in-residence and the summer semester completed online. Part-time students may take courses over multiple years.

The M.F.A. in Animation is a terminal, 60-credit program requiring completion of 36 credits in the chosen concentration, plus 24 credits of electives. It is designed as a two-year program with a thesis that focuses on increasing practical, visual and creative skills to the highest level. The program offers students the opportunity to enhance their portfolios using 21st century media and technologies. In addition, it requires students to complete rigorous, in-depth thesis projects demonstrating skills learned through their coursework.

Applicants for both programs must have completed a bachelor’s degree program with a minimum 2.7 cumulative GPA. Students also are required to submit a digital portfolio of 10-15 creative pieces.

M.F.A. in Film

Scheduled to launch in June 2019, FDU’s new M.F.A. in Film is a unique, two-year program that embraces distance learning. Also offered at the Florham Campus, the program’s low-residency model allows those who don’t live full time in the area, or cannot relocate, to pursue an advanced, terminal degree. 

Students in the 61-credit program alternate between terms in-residence and terms with distance learning. Students complete two residencies per year (three two-week residencies and one four-week residency) on campus while taking production workshops and producing short films. The longer residency allows for production of a thesis project.

Concentrations will be offered in five areas:

  • Producing
  • Screenwriting
  • Directing
  • Cinematography 
  • Editing

Internship experiences and workshops led by industry professionals are included in the program. Situated about 40 minutes from New York City in the heart of a vibrant media market, FDU’s Florham Campus offers students proximity to equipment companies, studio houses, distributors and producers. 

Sample Film Residency Workshops

  • Coverage & Continuity in Film, Directing Commercials and Client Driven Productions
  • The Importance of Casting, The Director and the Actor, Distributing Films
  • Producing Commercials, Working with State and Regional Production Offices – Production Tax Incentives
  • Working with Unions, Writing Comedy, Writer’s Guild of America - Guest Workshops
  • Producers: What Makes It Sellable, Cinematography – Lens Optics and New Items, Cinematography LED lighting technology
  • Cinematography – Working with Grips, Editors - Post Production Sound Design
  • Editors – Approaches to Editing the Feature Film

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree program with a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA. Students also are required to submit a digital portfolio of written or cinematic work.

For more information about these and other graduate programs at Fairleigh Dickinson University, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 973-443-8905 or email