MFA FAQ

FAQ Master of Fine Arts in Media Arts and Technology

Are there areas of specialization in the MFA in Media Arts and Technology?
Yes. We offer three program tracks: Creative and Strategic Media, Interactive Design, and Photography and Film. Students choose one of the three tracks to focus their program of study.

What types of things are you looking for in my application?
We are interested in your prior academic performance. Another important part of a student's application is the personal statement. It helps us see that the student has a clear plan and is dedicated and able to be successful in our program. Our thorough review process evaluates applicants based on their individual achievements and potential as well as their capability to succeed and contribute to Duquesne University's M.F.A. in Media Arts and Technology program.

How long will it take to complete the MFA program?
The program is 42 credit hours. Depending on the student's timetable it will likely take 2.5 years to complete. Most courses are three credits.

Can I apply to the MFA if I do not have prior experience in media, design, photography, or film?
Yes. Previous experience in a specific field is not a requirement of the program. Our students have diverse backgrounds and experience, which enhances the program. Although, students who already have experience in media, design, photography, or film can certainly enhance and expand their knowledge and experience - and so we invite them to also apply. Our program is designed to accommodate students who already have experience in the media, design, photography, or film fields and those who do not.

What are the Admission Requirements?
• An undergraduate (bachelor's) degree
• Online application
• Official transcripts
• Three letters of reference
• Self-nomination letter
• Portfolio or Writing sample
• International applicants submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores

When are the Application Deadlines?
All applications are processed and reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications are accepted up to one month before the start of classes for that particular semester (fall, spring, summer).

  • Fall Start: Early Application Deadline: Jan. 30
  • Spring or Summer Start: Early Application Deadline: Nov. 01

Is GRE test required to apply to the MFA program?
No. The GRE is not required for admission.

For international students, what is the required English proficiency score (i.e., TOEFL or IELTS)?
For full admission to the program, we are looking for a TOEFL score of 80 (or an IELTS score of 7 or 6.5 depending on sub-scores). Students may get provisional admission with IELTS scores of 5, 5.5, 6 or 6.5 depending on sub-scores.

Students with provisional admission take ESL courses, typically for one to three semesters, depending on their performance. Once they obtain a TOEFL score of 80 or obtain clearance from ESL, they can start taking a full load of courses.

What is the Pathway Program?
For international students who have a TOEFL score of 60-79 (IELTS scores of 6 or 6.5 depending on sub-scores), Duquesne University offers a Pathway Program, which allows international students to take courses towards their master's degree while working on their ESL. The Pathway Program provides a smooth transition to our MFA program.

What type of projects will I be working on in courses?
Many of our courses are project oriented and hands-on. Students will likely spend time in as well as outside the classroom working individually and with other students to complete projects. Course projects often necessitate that students collaborate with external corporations and organizations. The types of projects students will be working on depend on the MFA track. As technology advances, the nature of class projects also changes.

Students in the Creative and Strategic Media work on range of projects that may include writing creative and literary works; creating advertisements for magazines, newspapers or TV; or creating public relations and advertising campaigns for metro-area media and agencies.

Students in Interactive Design build websites; prototype interfaces for automobile dashboards or home appliances; work with clients to design smartphone apps that explore uses of augmented reality, voice recognition, and location technologies; conduct user research to design products and user experiences (UX); perform product usability tests to correct UX problems; create interactive digital exhibits and narratives.

Students in Photography and Film work on non-fiction films and documentaries, video and sound productions, and photography exhibits; create innovative digital art exhibits; create still and motion graphics visual narratives.

Are students required to complete a thesis?
Students have an option of completing either a Capstone Project or a Thesis.

What is the Capstone Project Option?
If students choose the Capstone Project option, they typically do so in the last semester of coursework. They work with an advisor to conceptualize and execute a project that should incorporate various media platforms such as written text, explanatory graphics, video or audio productions, and interactive materials. The Capstone project consists of an individual project focused on a subject of the student's choice. The project should be completed over at least two semesters. In the first semester, students develop their capstone project proposal. In the following semester(s), student execute and complete the project within a maximum of two years.

What is the Thesis Option?
If students choose the Thesis option, they typically do so in the last semester of coursework. They work with a three-person committee to conduct academic or applied research. The thesis should be completed over two semesters and meet the university deadlines for thesis defense and deposition. In the first semester, students write a thesis proposal. In the following semester(s), students collect and analyze data/documents to complete, defend, and deposit the thesis within a maximum of two years. Often students thinking about pursuing doctoral studies opt for the Thesis option.

Can I take courses in other departments or other institutions?
Students may transfer up to six credits from an external program or institution. Those credits should be applied to fulfill electives credits in the program track. When a student transfers credits from an external program or institution and would like to pursue the thesis option, then, in consultation with the academic adviser for the track, transfer credit may be applied to major course requirements.

Can I complete the program while I'm employed full-time?
Students who work full-time can certainly complete the program. Many of our students work full-time. Most courses are offered in the evening to accommodate working students. We are pretty flexible in terms of scheduling, as long as you fulfill certain program requirements.

What kind of jobs do people with skills in media arts and technology get?
Our graduates find careers in many diverse fields and industries including creative writing, advertising, digital media, social media marketing, design, photography, video and sound production, interaction design, web and interface design, user experience (UX), product usability, public relations and advertising, and digital media strategy and production, and more.

Our graduates are employed with organizations such as Blattner Brunner, UPMC Healthcare, the National Football League Players Association, American Eagle Outfitters, PNC Bank, BNY-Mellon, Dick's Sporting Goods, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and several universities. Some students seek further study in Ph.D. programs.

Do you offer Financial Awards?
Duquesne University offers new graduate students a 25-percent tuition and fee award. These special financial awards are available for new students accepted into the master's program.

In order to apply for this special financial award, students must complete and return a Duquesne University Financial Aid form and, upon enrollment, contact the Office of Financial Aid at 412.396.6607 to have their 25-percent award applied to their student account.

For more information, visit the special financial awards page  or contact the Office of Financial Aid at 412.396.6607. For additional questions, contact Todd Eicker, Director of Graduate Admission, at 412.396.6219 or eickert@duq.edu.

Do you offer Graduate assistantships?
Yes. Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis to full-time graduate students. Deadline to apply for a graduate assistantship is Jan. 30. To apply, please indicate in your application and personal statement that you are interested in applying for a graduate assistantship. If you have questions, email the graduate director, Dr. William Gibbs, at gibbsw@duq.edu.

What is the Accelerated Program for MEDIA Department Undergraduate Majors?
Beginning in junior year of undergraduate study and after acceptance into the accelerated path, MEDIA students can take up to 12 credits of graduate courses that apply to their undergraduate degrees. Once the student formally moves to graduate status, those 12 credits of graduate work will apply toward the 42-credit M.F.A requirement. This leaves just 30 credits for the student to
complete in order to receive the M.F.A. degree.

What kinds of facilities do you offer?
We have multiple computer laboratories (Mac and PC) with industry standard software for creating, editing, and producing media content. Several of our laboratories have 24-hour access. The department offers state of the art video and still cameras and audio-recording equipment. We have television and radio studios and a User Experience (UX) laboratory for product prototyping as well as eye tracking and usability studies.