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Application Deadline

Extension of application deadline to midnight June 30, 2023.


film director

Current tuition is $471/credit for New York State residents and $963 /credit for non-residents. A New York resident who takes a full-time load of four courses for 12 credits would pay $8,596.00 for the semester, exclusive of fees and health insurance.  The current billing rates can be found here

The cost compares favorably to any number of film programs charging twice or three times as much, upward of $50,000 for a single year at some institutions. At ours, the whole MFA degree costs approximately $40,000 for New Yorkers. Unless you are getting a full tuition waiver somewhere, our rates are pretty hard to beat.

Out-of-state residents pay more, so if you are accepted to the program, you should consider establishing residency in New York State, a process that takes one year. If you're out of state or international, the whole degree is approximately $50,000.

Admission Requirements

This MFA program is intensive, and admission to it is highly selective.  Upon review, finalists may be invited for an on-campus interview. 

Please use Stony Brook Graduate School's Online Application.

You must create an account to start a new application. You can also log in to continue an application after an account has been created.

For admission, the following, in addition to the minimum Graduate School requirements, are required:

1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

2. Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0.

3. Three letters of recommendation.

4. A current resume

5.  A statement of purpose. Describe in a page or two why you are interested in this opportunity, how you would benefit, and what makes you a particularly deserving candidate. Upload this to the Additional Supplemental Materials, personal statement section of the application.

6.Your specialization: Screenwriter/Television Writer/Director/Producer/Independent Track. (Add this to the bottom of your personal statement.)

Your specialization:  Film or TV Writing Track.  If Film, specify Screenwriter, Director, Producer or Independent Track.

7. Video Pitch. (Go to Portfolio Instructions and upload Video Pitch to the Digital Portfolio section of the application.)

  • All candidates:This is one of the more important elements to your application. You have probably seen people pitching for donations on a crowdsourcing site. In this case, you should pitch us yourself as a candidate. You can mention a project you want to work on, or something else that is exciting to youbut we are interested in who you are as a creative artist/storyteller. The video pitch should be creative, polished, inventive. We want you to win us over here! SUGGESTED LENGTH: 3 MINUTES

8. Directing and Producing Video Samples. (URLs for all video links may be uploaded in the Qualifications section.)

  • Directing candidates only (not required for Screenwriting, Television Writing, or Producing candidates): Please include a link (or links) to up to 4 video samples of work to which you made a significant contribution. Be clear about what role you played: producer, writer, director, editor, production designer, cinematographer, etc. You may submit links for more than one piece but the total running time should not exceed 15 minutes. If you submit an excerpt, please describe the full work. Unless you are applying as a cinematographer or production designer, the entirety of your video sample should not be in the format of a professional reel but should also show us the substance of your work. (A reel might accompany another sample). In lieu of video, you may submit up to ten photographs, design samples, or photographs of your artwork.


9. Written materials: (All written materials may be uploaded in the Additional Supplemental Materials section)

Your written material should include:

a. All Candidates: The Scene. Write a short, 2-3-page scene inspired by one of these words that have no English language translation. We prefer a scene with two characters where one character wants something from the other, and that you do NOT explicitly use the word you have chosen.

  • Glas wen (Welsh) - A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.
  • Yuputka (Ulwa) - The phantom sensation of something crawling on your skin.
  • Iktsuarpok (Inuit) - You know that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? This is the word for it.

b. All Candidates: The Logline. Write an extended log line or a paragraph describing a project you’d like to realize with us. Attach this logline to the bottom of your scene.

c. Screenwriting, Television Writing, and Directing Candidates: The Writing Sample. Please include a writing sample of up to 10 pages. This can be a complete short film, web episode, play, short story, or an excerpt of a feature screenplay, a television script, a webisode, a sketch or series of sketches.  If you choose to submit an excerpt, please include a few lines describing the full work. 

d. Producing Candidates: The Writing Sample. Please include a writing sample of up to 10 pages, including, critiques, production program notes, and/or literary criticism of a chosen screenplay, excerpts of a film or screenplay you have written, acquired or produced; or a brief statement describing your view of the role of Producing in today’s platform agnostic film industry.

10.Proficiencies. Directing Candidates Only

Please include a list of technical proficiencies in:  camera, lighting, editing, and any related skills at the bottom of your statement of purpose.


If a student accepted into the M.F.A. program wishes to offer, either for credit toward the degree or for exemption from enrollment in courses required by Stony Brook, analogous courses taken at another university, transcripts and other supporting material must be presented for consideration by the graduate program director before the end of the student’s first semester in the program (see Transfer of Credit from Other Universities).

Robert Sklar Diversity Fellowship
In Fall 2023, we will award a handful of full and partial Graduate and Teaching Assistantships to our incoming students, particularly to those students who can contribute to the diversity of Stony Brook. All applications for full-time study in the Fall term are considered, provided that the application is submitted by December 15, 2022 . These GA/TA awards are extremely competitive.

A full TA/GA offer comes with an academic-year stipend of approximately $20,000, a 15-20 hour/week workload, full tuition waiver and subsidized health insurance. A partial TA/GA offer comes with a 50% tuition remission scholarship, and an academic-year stipend of approximately $10,000, as well as subsidized health insurance and an 8-10 hour/week workload. A 25% GA offer comes with a 25% tuition remission scholarship and an academic-year stipend of approximately $5,000, subsidized health insurance, and a 5-6 hour/week workload. Students in good standing could expect to have their funding renewed for their second year, when they teach film and screenwriting courses to Stony Brook undergraduates.

Recipients of funding offers who can contribute to the diversity of Stony Brook may be additionally eligible for the  Turner Fellowship. Those with outstanding academic promise may be eligible for the  Graduate Council Fellowship. These fellowships award an additional $30,000 over the course of three years to their recipients, along with tuition waiver and stipend.

GRE - Even though the application will ask for it, you do not need GRE scores. In the program drop-down menu, please choose MFA in FILM, and indicate whether you are applying as a part-time or full-time student. Interested in the Manhattan Track? Type “Manhattan Track” in the “Specialization” line, along with your area of concentration.

If a recommender does not want to submit a letter online or doesn’t use email, you may print out a blank recommendation form for him or her to fill out and mail directly to the program.

Electronic official transcripts from any undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended should be sent to the Office of Graduate and Health Sciences Admissions, at

or snail-mailed directly to the graduate school:

Office of Graduate and Health Sciences Admissions
Stony Brook University
Health Sciences Tower, Level 2 - Rm. 271
Stony Brook, NY 11794-8276

For questions, please call Margaret Grigonis at (631) 632-5028

Qualified graduate students without TA/GA funding are encouraged and, in their second year, eligible to apply for teaching artist and administrative jobs as they arise. 

To favor one incoming student over another, by awarding assistantships or prizes, runs counter to our philosophy that we are all in this together, faculty and students alike, struggling with the extraordinarily difficult work of putting words together. If you earn admission to our program, with funding or without, we guarantee that you will be treated with the same respect as any other member of our community.

Then there's your own resourcefulness in defraying the costs of graduate study. Applicants are encouraged to explore opportunities for external funding independent of our program's limited resources. For more information on other types of financial aid, contact the  Office of Student Financial Aid Services at (631) 632-6840.  


For More Information

The fine print about transfer credits, international students, and other admissions arcana is revealed in the  Graduate Bulletin.

Or contact us:

MFA Programs in Film & TV Writing
Stony Brook Manhattan Center for Creative Writing & Film 
535 Eighth Ave
4th & 5th Floors
New York, NY 10018
Phone: ‭(646) 472-2025‬
Fax: (646) 472-2090‬