MFA in Media Arts

The two-year MFA program focuses on each student's personal development within the context of media arts. Each student works toward an individual thesis project that incorporates research and theoretical exploration of a topic of their choice, with the goal of producing a refined body of work that culminates in an MFA exhibition. DMA graduate students come from many fields including the visual arts, sciences, and engineering. In the first year of the program, students take skills and theory courses that expose them to new ways of thinking and making, which they use to build on their existing expertise. The second year is devoted to thesis definition, exploration, and production, through a series of studio and seminar courses. Students have the opportunity to work as teaching assistants and to collaborate with faculty members on research projects.

DMA Graduate Student Handbook

MFA Course Overview

A minimum of 80 quarter units of upper division and graduate Design | Media Arts courses is required. 66 of the 80 units require letter grades; 14 units require S/U grades.

Required courses: Design | Media Arts 200, 252A, and 252B must be taken during the first two quarters in residence, Design | Media Arts 269 is to be taken twice (eight units), once each year while in residence. 12 units of Design | Media Arts 403 (S/U grading) and 36 units of Design | Media Arts 289 and/or 404 are to be taken during the first two years in residence. 16 units of electives, of which eight units of Design | Media Arts 596, may be applied toward the requirements for the degree.


The MFA class schedule is listed in the right column. Students must take one Graduate Critique and two Graduate Tutorials during every quarter in residence. These courses are designed to guide students through their individual thesis projects. In the first year, students also take DESMA 252A and 252B.

16 units of electives are required. Students are encouraged to select elective courses from outside the department.

For a complete list of DMA and other UCLA courses and course descriptions, consult the UCLA General Catalog.

Faculty Advising

Each entering student is assigned an initial faculty advisor by the department based on student input and faculty availability. The initial faculty advisor is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the first-year student’s progress a minimum of three times in the academic year and may or may not eventually become a member of the student’s thesis committee. Satisfactory first-year student progress is determined by first-year course grades and the quality of the student’s work in the first-year solo exhibition.

In the second year, the Graduate Thesis Committee is responsible for reviewing, at least once every quarter, the student’s progress toward a thesis project and documentation. The Graduate Thesis Committee, approved by the departmental chair, is comprised of a minimum of three members: two senate faculty members from the Department of Design Media Arts, and one senate faculty member from the Department of Media Arts or any UC campus department. The Committee must be established no later than the end of the fourth week of the fall quarter in the second year.

The comprehensive MFA examination consists of an oral examination and a concentrated body of work that will be presented in a master of fine arts exhibition. An accompanying record of the exhibition, including documentation appropriate to the media, for example, images of physical work, research material, other visual material, a written statement, and other materials as determined by the student’s Graduate Thesis Committee, is also required.

For a complete outline of degree requirements, see "Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees," accessible on the Graduate Division web site at Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees.