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MFA FAQs for UCF's Emerging Media Animation & Visual Effects track

Do I need to already know how to animate?

Yes. This is a Master of Fine Arts degree so you are expected to know how to animate either characters or effects which should be demonstrated in your portfolio. Observational drawing should also be part of your portfolio.


What is a treatment?

A treatment is an idea for an animated short or visual effects film written in short-story format in third person. Ideally your treatment will be developed into your thesis, so it should be written for a 1-3 minutes concept. Please understand that the committee reviews this portion as a potential thesis project. It could be already developed, but the quality should be consistent with a graduate level thesis.

How many storyboards do I need?

PIXAR creates approximately 134 storyboard panels per one minute of film. We expect you to have at least 10-15 storyboard panels to accompany your treatment, but you can have as many as you need to visually depict the story.

How do I submit the portfolio?

Once you submit the application you can then upload the remaining documents. The portfolio and original animation/vfx production concept should be in a pdf document for upload when applying. You may include links to external sites such as Vimeo, YouTube, or apersonal website. Please make sure the URL is listed so that it can be copied and pasted into a browser by the committee. The treatment, storyboard, and Visual Development can be either in the same pdf with the portfolio, or separate. Either way works. Please be sure that everything is labeled clearly for the committee. 

Is the GRE required?

The GRE is not required for the Emerging Media MFA – Animation & Visual Effects Track.

Can I start in Spring or Summer semester?

This track is a cohort that begins in Fall semester only.

What is a Cohort?

This is a cohort program, meaning you take specific courses with your accepted cohort (class of students) throughout every Fall and Spring semester following a specific course sequencing. There is only one cohort per year. All of the students will have the same schedule, unless there is a specific need which can be adjusted on an individualized, faculty approved, adjusted change (such as taking a film course or a Directed Research course).

What is the duration/length of the program?

The Animation and Visual Effects track in the Emerging Media MFA program is a full-time three-year program (six full-time semesters excluding summers in most instances) and students must progress through the program by taking required classes in particular semesters. The program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours including a thesis project. All courses must be approved by the Graduate Program Director. The thesis consists of producing a short film and thesis document.

How do I apply for a fellowship or assistantship? 

If you submit everything by January 15th (priority deadline) as a full-time student, you will automatically be considered for any fellowships we will have available. If your portfolio is ranked as the top applicant, you could receive a fellowship which consists of a full tuition waiver plus a $5,000 to $10,000 stipend. However, this would only be for the first year, and possibly the second year.


If you prove to be a candidate for Graduate Teaching, you could be awarded the assistantship for your 2nd and/or 3rd year which consists of a full tuition waiver and stipend as well. Our faculty rarely assign Teaching Assistantships during the first year. Due to the technical nature of our undergraduate courses, we try to get to know our MFA students and their abilities before we can confidently assign courses for them to teach.


What technology (hardware/software) is available to students in the computer labs?

The 1st year Graduate lab is equipped with 8 MacPro Workstations and 5 Alienware Workstations, each with dual articulating monitor arms, 22HD Cintiq and 27" 4K Monitors 

MacPro Workstation specs:

·         OS: macOS Sierra

·         Processor: 3.5GHz 6-core with 12MB of L3 cache

·         RAM: 32GB (4X8GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC

·         Hard Drive: 1 TB PCIe-based SSD

·         Graphics Card: Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each


Alienware Workstation specs:

·         OS: Windows 10 Enterprise 

·         Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4790K CPU @ 4.0GHz  4.00 GHz

·         RAM: 16GB) of 2400MHz DDR4 RDIM M ECC

·         Hard Drive: PCIe Boot Drive : SAMSUNG SSD PM851 2.5 7mm 256GB

·         1 TB 3.5 Serial-ATA 5,400 RPM WDC WD10JPVX-75JC3T0

·         Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960



·         Adobe CC

·         Autodesk Entertainment Suite

·         The Foundry's NukeX

·         Side Effects Houdini

·         ToonBoom Harmony

·         TVPaint

·         Stop Motion Pro

·         Pixelogic ZBrush

·         3D-Coat

·         GarageBand

·         Microsoft Office


2nd and 3rd year MFA students are assigned to a graduate research space. Each space is equipped with 2 workstations, based on preference of the students, a retrofitted Disney Animation Desk which can hold a 22" Cintiq or an Animation Disk, and 2 Herman Miller Sayl Chairs.

MacPro Workstation specs:

·         OS: macOS Sierra

·         Processor: 3.5GHz 6-core with 12MB of L3 cache

·         RAM: 32GB (4X8GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC

·         Hard Drive: 1 TB PCIe-based SSD

·         Graphics Card: Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

Dell Workstation specs:

·         OS: Window 10 Pro for workstations

·         Processor: 4-core Intel Xeon Processor E5-1630 v4 (4C, 3.7GHz, 4.0GHz Turbo, 2400MHz, 10MB, 140W)

·         RAM: 64GB (4X16GB) of 2400MHz DDR4 RDIM M ECC

·         Hard Drive: PCIe Boot Drive : Dell Ultra-Speed Drive Quad 1 X 512GB NVMe PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive X 16 C SSD X           16 C ard (boot) C40

·         1 TB 3.5 Serial-ATA 7,200 RPM

·         Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition GAMING, 11GB GDDR5X


Can you tell me what type of jobs this program can set me up for? Specifically the animation track?

Our MFA program is very new. 1st Cohort began Fall of 2017 and graduated Spring 2020, so we do not have much data on graduates as of yet.


Below is the information for our undergraduate Character Animation students. This program began in Fall 2004:

Job placement rate:

There is no data available for 10% of our graduates. The below numbers are for the remaining 90% of our character animation program alumni.

30% are employed in the animation industry within 6 months from graduation
85% are employed in the animation industry within 3 years from graduation
15% pursued a graduate degree after graduation

We  have current alumni with the following job titles:


Environmental Artist




Digital Artist

Media Specialist

Motion Graphics Designer

Technical Animator

3D Modeler

2D Digital Artist

Director of Photography

Technical Director

Stereoscopic Animator

Assistant in Simulation

Graphic Designer

Visual Effects Digital Coordinator


Cloth & Hair TD

Compositing Artist

Effects Artist

CG Generalist

Layout Artist

Level Designer

Lighting Artist

Technical Artist

Character Rigger

Production Manager








Current Alumni work at the following companies:

Is it possible to complete the program on a part time schedule?

This depends on space, quality of the student’s portfolio, and plan of study, however, it is not advised or desirable by the faculty since you become disjointed from your Cohort. University requires that all Graduate students complete their degree within 7 years.


Acceptance is limited to 10 students. Priority deadline is January 15 for Fall. Currently the acceptance rate is 50%, however, once the Cohort is full applicants must wait until the next academic year and reapply.



FAQs for International students


What are the requirements for international students?
nternational deadline is January 15th for Fall 2020 (you will automatically be considered for any assistantships or fellowships available when you apply by this deadline). See this link for specific details for international students:

Is this program STEM? 
No, this program is not STEM.

What are the tuition and fees?
Tuition and Fees can be found here:


What courses are required?
The course descriptions can be found in the catalog here: .


Is a portfolio required? 
Yes, the application requirements can be found in the graduate catalog here: Your portfolio, treatment, and storyboards are what will determine your placement. Your portfolio should show your life drawing proficiencies as well as animation abilities so that the committee can determine if you have the skills required for pursuing your MFA. 


Is OPT and CPT available at UCF?
OPT / CPT information can be found here:


What score is required for IELTS? 
IELTS information can be found here: 

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