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Changing the Future of Filmmaking
What does it cost?

Check out our cost calculator or visit student financial services for information on estimated costs.

Some students in the Virtual Production & Visual Effects Concentration may receive full tuition waivers and monthly stipends on a competitive basis.

How long will it take?

The M.F.A. in Digital Filmmaking is a 3-year program.

Where will I take classes?
Atlanta Campus

Application Deadlines View Admissions Requirements

Admission for Fall:

  • Application Deadline for Priority Assistantship Consideration: December 1
  • Final Application Deadline: March 1

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Digital Filmmaking, Virtual Production & Visual Effects Concentration, M.F.A.

David Cheshier
Director of Graduate Studies
[email protected]

The Georgia State program in Virtual Production and Visual Effects provides advanced post-production technology and content creation training for media professionals.

Housed at the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII), the program provides students access to the most advanced motion and performance capture technologies in industry use and opportunities to create multimedia content in virtual production tools.

Students will create polished, finished products through advanced coursework in video editing, game design, volumetric and motion capture software packages. A key focus of the concentration is its emphasis on the examination of real-time workflow models, including production work connected to LED and virtual previsualization technologies, which are available to students in the new CMII production studios.

The benefits of close industry collaboration and advanced production tools

The special effects used to capture performances for games and film/television are technologically aligning. For example, the software most commonly used in game design, Unreal Engine, was also used to accomplish virtual preproduction and animation work in the film Lion King, in The Mandalorian and Ford v Ferrari. The Creative Media Industries Institute trains students in the high-end content creation technologies now central to big-budget filmmaking and game development.

The M.F.A. in Digital Filmmaking offers two concentrations. The Visual Effects & Virtual Production concentration is offered through the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII). The Filmmaking concentration is administered through the School of Film, Media & Theatre. Applicants applying for the Filmmaking concentration should visit the School of Film, Media, & Theatre.

Is this graduate program right for me?

The program is organized to meet the needs of industry professionals, responsive to Georgia’s growing demand for above the line qualified production and post-production professionals, in these categories:

  • Mid-career film/TV production and post-production professionals, where training in advanced technology tools is useful as they undertake supervisory roles in production companies or need to retool for work connecting to virtual production.
  • Industry professionals wishing to undertake new forms of work in the content creation industries, including, for example, workers who want to shift their work from a film-industry-focused career path into animation or game design, or vice versa.
  • Early-career media professionals who wish to continue their production educations, where access to sophisticated industry tools facilitates portfolio building and early festival submissions utilizing state-of-the-art VFX. The unique technology advantages of the CMII program will, we hope, be especially attractive to students who received basic film training elsewhere and are looking to specialize in virtual production.
  • Industry professionals who wish to shift into a higher education teaching career, for which the MFA provides a terminal degree qualification suitable for tenure-track employment in a university setting or teachers for whom the MFA enables an educational promotion path while equipping them to run educationally housed new media and film production centers.
  • Newly graduating students with a passion for visual effects or virtual production and a desire to pursue an M.F.A.

We also welcome applications from individuals seeking mid-career transitions (such as veterans training for second careers and teachers shifting areas of instructional focus) and from applicants who are passionate about content creation who may not have had prior access to advanced technology tools necessary to launch first career-ready projects.

Black male working at several large monitors.

Program Details

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Admission to the program will be in fall only.

The application must include:

  • A portfolio of creative work
  • References from at least two former professors or work supervisors
  • A writing sample that documents your ability to advance and defend a research-connected and intellectual argument.
  • Responses to online prompts that will assist the committee in understanding your background and specific interests in this program.
  • Transcripts from all higher education institutions attended.

For first review and consideration for assistantship funding, applications will receive initial consideration after December 1.  The final application deadline for program admission is April 1.

Applicants for the Visual Effects and Virtual Production concentration will be evaluated by a graduate admissions committee of the Creative Media Industries Institute and admissions will be processed through the College of the Arts and Sciences.

View details about the application process for the Filmmaking concentration.

This is a 72-credit hour degree program.

Required courses (34 credit hours)

FLME 7135: Digital Cinematography (4 credit hours)
FLME 7155: Conceptualization and Expression for Mediamakers (4)
FLME 7361: Sound Design (4)
GFA 6000: Proseminar in Film & Television Production for Key Creatives (4)

Pedagogy: FLME 8035: Communication Pedagogy (3) or ART 6100: Pedagogy for Teaching Assistants (3)

Film/Media Theory/History: (choose one)

FLME 7020: Advanced Film Theory (3)
FLME 7060: Close Textual Analysis (3)
FLME 7385: Critical Visual Culture Theory (3)
FLME 8160: Style and Narrative Analysis (3)

Four of the following:

CMIS 6330: Virtual Previsualization (3)
CMIS 6380: Advanced Visual Effects (3)
CMIS 6385: Virtual Cinematography (3)
FLME 7370: Visual Effects for Film (4)
GFA 6040: Postproduction for Storytellers I (3)
GFA 7040: Postproduction for Storytellers II (3)

Final project (12 credit hours)

FLME 7995: Thesis Production (12)

Courses in film industry production pipeline (12 credit hours)

Four of the following:

CMIS 6040: Innovations in Prod Tech/Finance (3)
CMIS 6050: Producing for TV and Film (3)
CMIS 6055: Adv Producing for TV and Film (3)
CMIS 6980: Internship (1-4)
FLME 7410: Making a Living in the Arts (3)


Technology specialization (14 credit hours)

As many courses in the following specialized areas so that the overall 72 credit hour completion threshold is reached:


FLME 7145: Digital Editing (4)
GFA 6040: Postproduction for Storytellers I (3)
GFA 7040: Postproduction for Storytellers II (3)
CMIS 6390: VFX Compositing (3)
CMIS 6395: VFX Color and Lighting (3)


CMIS 6140: 3D Modeling (3)
CMIS 6150: Advanced 3D Modeling (3)
CMIS 6280: Motion Graphics (3)


CMIS 6060: Designing Immersive Experiences (3)
CMIS 6080: Cross Media Design (3)
CMIS 6310: VR Production Pipeline (3)
CMIS 6315: Advanced VR Production Pipeline (3)

  • Check out our cost calculatoror visit student financial services for information on estimated costs.
  • Assistantships that waive tuition and provide a monthly stipend are available to students in the MFA concentration in Virtual Production & Visual Effects on a competitive basis. Students interested in applying for assistantship support should apply no later than April 1, 2022.

The program will change the future of filmmaking by educating a new generation of filmmakers to be ethically aware and to create inclusive filmmaking environments in the latest production technologies. Students will have access to advanced production systems needed to create impressive portfolio content.

The program will provide students with:

  • Exposure to best practices of film and media production, taking into account artistic, aesthetic and technological variables.
  • The opportunity to meet, network and collaborate with professionals in the field of film/media production and other artistic and industrial communities.
  • Practice in the creation of various forms of scriptwriting and storytelling including fiction, non-fiction, experimental, animation, short film and series television.
  • Opportunities to build proficiencies in all aspects of media production (film, video, animation, virtual reality, etc.) making graduates especially competitive in the artistic and technical environment locally and internationally.

Meet Your Faculty

Our program is built upon faculty strengths in motion capture, animation and technology-rich production pipelines. CMII’s faculty offers unique access to industry expertise, and many of the Institute’s graduate faculty work as Professors of Practice, which means they continue their active work on current advanced technology projects.

Program Partnerships


The School of Film, Media & Theatre, affiliated with Georgia State’s College of the Arts, is dedicated to educating the next generation of critically aware media makers, scholars, theatre practitioners and citizens.

The school has been teaching film production at the graduate level for more than 25 years, making it the longest-running graduate film school in Georgia. The school is also the largest film and media program in Atlanta, the third largest media capital in America.

It is in the heart of a booming film and television industry, giving students access and experience to navigate the demands of a fast-changing and competitive film, media and theatre world.

Resources and centers include the Georgia State University Players (the oldest student-run theatre company in the Southeast), liquid blackness (a research group that explores issues of blackness and aesthetics) and the Atlanta Film Festival (one of the largest and longest-running festivals in the country).



The Georgia Film Academy facilities at Trilith Studios is one of the largest purpose-built movie studios in North America featuring more than one million square feet of production facilities.

Formerly known as Pinewood Atlanta Studios, the facility includes 18 premium sound stages, post-production suites, a full range of state-of-the-art production equipment, virtual production technologies, construction workshops, costume shops and a 400-acre backlot. GFA supports:

  • Multi-disciplinary training by professionals in the film, TV and new media industries.
  • In-classroom course work coupled with on-set, hands-on training.
  • Opportunities to work on “real world” projects to develop recognized film credits through partnerships with professional productions.
  • Hands-on instruction and training working with professional equipment (cameras, sound gear, lights, and more) as well as production trucks, generators and sound studio space.


At CMII, students have rare access to state of the art technology as well as instruction from faculty with extensive experience in using new technologies at the highest commercial level. Our facilities include:

  • A performance capture studio that includes the most current multicamera motion capture, volumetric, and virtual production technologies, including systems unique in American higher education studio settings and the most advanced capture software systems.
  • Six light- and sound-controlled digital post-production suites with multiple screens and AVID system supported technology.
  • A newly updated XR Cave with surround-sound audio and video projection systems used in creating VR and AR immersive content for the videogame, VFX/postproduction, and other entertainment and information sectors.
  • Georgia State is the first university in Atlanta to have an XR Stage/LED Wall which is being installed in early 2022.


The Virtual Production & Visual Effects concentration prepares graduate students to step into jobs whose focus is the digital and virtual production of filmmaking, including work in digital editing, animation, preproduction, VFX, and performance/motion capture.

Competitively available teaching assistantships prepare candidates for a career in teaching at all levels. The M.F.A. degree is a terminal degree required for most college/university teaching positions in film and new media production.

An actors wears a special suit for a motion capture shoot at the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII)


For questions about the MFA concentration in Virtual Production & Visual Effects, contact:

David Cheshier
Director of Graduate Studies, Creative Media Industries institute
25 Park Place
Suite 205
[email protected]

For questions about the MFA program overall, especially first-year course experiences, contact:

Ethan Tussey
Director of Graduate Studies, School of Film, Media & Theater
25 Park Place
Suite 1023
[email protected]

College of Arts & Sciences Logo25 Park Pl NE #2500
Atlanta, GA 30303