Intensive Arts Program

Our graduate program is interdisciplinary, hands-on, and non-commercial in spirit with a commitment to the intensive and rigorous production of creative time-based art. We have a dedicated, internationally-recognized faculty for a small and mutually supportive group of 10-14 graduate students each year. We encourage works that demonstrate a personal commitment to the art of media making, projects marked not so much by any particular style, but rather by the questions they explore. It is the goal of the program to assist each graduate student in completing a number of accomplished works rooted in a developed sense of community, culture, and self.

Graduate Portfolio


4-5 Teaching Assistantships are awarded each year, which include tuition remission, an annual stipend, and affordable state health coverage through the University. In addition, graduate students are offered studio space at our Kenilworth Square East building for a small annual fee. More information can be found on our Scholarships & Aid page.


We maintain artistic and intellectual connections within the university, including partnerships with the departments of Art & Design, Music, Dance, History, Architecture, Anthropology, English, the Center of 21st Century Studies, the Center for International Education, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Regional partners include the Milwaukee Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Milwaukee Art Museum, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and Chicago’s Video Data Bank.

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Specific degree information can be found in the UWM Academic Catalog along with credits, courses, admission and program requirements.

MFA – Cinematic Arts

MFA Degree Curriculum

Graduate Committee and Grad Reviews / Major Thesis Advisor / End-of-semester Critiques/ Thesis Presentation:

A presentation of new and ongoing graduate work presented to the student’s Graduate Review committee is required every semester (the exception being the first semester).

Graduate students will be assigned a Major Thesis Advisor upon entry to the program. Graduate students will work with this advisor over the course of the first year but have the option to change to a different advisor for their second (thesis) year.

In their second semester of the first year, graduate students will be assigned a Graduate Review Committee, to be determined by the graduate faculty by the end of their first semester. Selected by the graduate faculty, this committee will be comprised of graduate faculty members that will best serve the graduate students creative research needs.

Graduate students may add additional members from graduate faculty or department faculty/staff to their committee. Adding members from outside the department is also encouraged.

Much like the graduate review, the purpose of End-of-semester critiques is to share one’s creative pursuits with others and open one’s practice to engaged criticism, dialogue, and feedback. These are open critiques in the sense that all faculty and staff are invited, and the exhibiting graduate can invite others from the university and public to attend. These are required for all graduate students and graduate faculty, whether presenting or not.

Graduate students in their first (Fall) semester do not present work at EOS critiques. Graduate students present work during their second (Spring) and third (Fall) semester of study. Third-year graduate students present at fall EOS critiques (their fifth semester).

Upon recommendation of the Major Thesis Advisor and Graduate Review Committee, each student presents a thesis work created while in the program. The screening or exhibition must be open to the public and notices must be distributed in advance of the screening/event. Typically, this presentation is part of a MFA Thesis Screening, held on campus, however alternative sites and methods (installation/exhibition/mixed media) may be explored.

For a more detailed outline of our curriculum requirements and progress through the program follow the button below:

Film MFA Degree Curriculum

Select students can earn a third year of MFA study

Graduates who wish to stay for a third year are encouraged to apply for the third-year residency. The third-year residency affords the graduate study one more year of intensive studio work with access to the Major Thesis Advisor, Graduate Review committee, equipment room, and studio space.

The residency is not funded through TA ship and/or Chancellor Award, and students wishing to enroll for a 3 year must pay for one credit per semester (two credits total) and accompanying fees. However, if awarded the residency, graduate students are guaranteed to teach two courses in the department (or equivalent of two units), providing a source of income and healthcare eligibility.

The director of the graduate program in film will be sending you more information about 3-year options during your second semester of study.


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Ben Balcom

MFA, Film | 2015

"Beyond what I knew was happening in Milwaukee, there’s a pretty significant amount of nationwide micro-cinemas and alternative screening rooms that I see Microlights as a real part of. Microlights is a little node on a much larger network and that network is still blossoming." Ben Balcom on his micro-cinema, Microlights.

Careers in Film, Video, Animation and New Genres

3D Modeler
Adr Editor
Advertising & Sales
Aerial Cinematographer
Art Director
Arts Administration
Assistant Director
Best Boy
Boom Operator
Broadcast Producer
Camera Operator
Casting Director
Character Rigger
Client Services Supervisor
Compositing Artist
Creature Designer
Development Executive
Digital Account Executive
Digital Imaging Technician
Digital Media Product Developer
Dolly Grip
Drone Operator
Dubbing Mixer
Educational Video Director/Producer
Electronics & Sensor Designer
Elementary/Secondary School Teacher
Entertainment/Studio Executive
Festival Director/Programmer
Field Segment Producer
Film Archivist/Processor/Writer
Foley Specialist
Forensic Animator
Image Librarian/Archivist
Interaction Designer
Jimmy Jib Operator
Key Grip
Lighting Designer/Technician
Line Producer
Location Manager/Scout
Medical Animator
Motion Capture Engineer
Motion Graphics Designer/Producer
Multimedia Artist/Journalist/Producer
News Producer
Photo Asset Manager/Instructor/Editor
Photographic Labs/Image Producer
Post-Production Supervisor
Press Agent
Producer (Television & Film)
Production Designer/Manager
Programming & Software Designer
Prop Maker
Properties Producer
Public Relations/Publicist
Puppet Fabricator
Reality Programming Director
Recording & Mastering Engineer
Rights & Clearances
Rotoscope Artist
Script Editor/Supervisor/Writer
Set Constructor/Designer/Director
Social Media Specialist
Sound Designer/Editor/Mixer
Steadicam Operator
Still Photography
Stop Motion Animator
Storyboard Artist
Studio Merchandiser
Talent Producer
Technical Illustrator/Writer
Texture Artist
University Administration
University Faculty
Visual Effect Specialist/Supervisor
Wardrobe Supervisor
Web Producer
Webisode Writer/Researcher


Graduate Faculty: Film

Faculty within the graduate program are comprised of select faculty and staff dependent upon your chosen focus of study. For a list of all Peck School of the Arts Film faculty please follow the link below.

Department Faculty & Staff