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Program FAQs

1. Is the MFA program fully funded? And do students really get a regular stipend during the two years?
Yes! We are thrilled to offer full tuition remission as well as a generous stipend for each quarter of the two year program. So our program not only allows you to earn an MFA without having to worry about tuition, it also pays you so that you can focus more fully on your artistic growth.

2. Will I be able to take classes outside of media production?
Yes. One of the unique features of this MFA program is that it allows students to focus on and/or discover research interests that will help guide and shape the media work they make. As a graduate student, you will be able to (and are encouraged to) take advanced classes through Performance Studies, Art Theory and Practice, Art History, History, Journalism, Theatre, Gender Studies, Screen Cultures, Writing for Screen and Stage, and Media, Technology, and Society. Examples of such classes include Performance of Nonfiction, Theory and History of Documentary and Ethnographic Film, Black Visual Culture: Race and Representation, Gender Sexuality and Film, and American Cultural History. Note: Admission to all classes is at the discretion of the instructor or program director, and classes must be approved for graduate credit.

3. Will any “specialized” media production courses be offered?
Yes, a variety of exciting “topics” courses are offered every year. Some examples of past courses include 16mm Filmmaking, Animated Documentary, Archival Filmmaking, Documentary Marketing & Distribution, Embodied Camera, Essay Film, Film Sound, Fractured/Anti-/Fragmented Narratives, Game Design, Open Your Ears – The Practice of Field Recording, Sensory Ethnography/Sensory Ecologies, True Crime Documentary, and more.

4. Who will my teachers be?
Depending on the classes you elect to take, your teachers will most likely vary each quarter. Northwestern teachers are working media-makers with a wealth of experience and anecdotes. They understand the craft and business of media making.

5. I’ve heard of something called the “Northwestern Mafia”… is there really such a thing?
Well, not in the literal sense, but Northwestern alumni are known for their generosity, warmth, and willingness to “give back.” Other qualities Northwestern alumni are known for: helping new arrivals to LA or NY find jobs or even apartments; recommending their peers and colleagues for jobs, grants, fellowships; building a strong sense of community; adhering to the belief that “when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.”

Other Questions? Email or call 847-491-5954. We look forward to speaking to you.