Domestic Students—FAQ

1. I’m thinking of applying to the MFA/MA/PhD program in Film at York University. What are my chances of being accepted?

Each of the programs is highly competitive, with domestic targets set annually as follows: MFA screenwriting (4), MFA Production (11), MA Cinema & Media Studies (10), PhD Cinema and Media Studies (3). Ideally, your transcript should indicate that you have at least an B average (for MA & MFA) or B+ (for PhD), and your writing sample (MA, PhD) portfolio (MFA), and recommendation letters should indicate strong potential. In the MFA, we also will consider the equivalency of professional accomplishments, such as productions, screenings, festivals and awards.

2. What is most important in my application?

For the MFA degree programs, your portfolio is the most important component of your application.

Production: should consist of links to 3-6 works (can be original single-channel works or documentations of installations/transmedia projects). Ideally, these would have been made following the completion of a BFA or equivalent program, exhibited publicly, and authored (written/directed) by you.

Screenwriting: must include one previously written feature dramatic screenplay, correctly formatted (pdf attachment). The portfolio can also include any 3 of the following: short dramatic screenplays; short stories; other relevant examples of recent work which reflect your writing abilities and creativity; a completed film whose script you authored, along with a copy of the script and relevant production details.

For the MA/PhD in Cinema & Studies, your statement regarding a proposed area of research and your writing samples are the most important. Both should indicate clarity in writing and analysis and a grasp of some of the key debates in the field.

3. What is the cost of tuition? And living expenses?

The cost of tuition for a domestic MA/MFA student is approximately $1800 per term for five terms, or $9000 total for a 5-term/2 year degree. (There is no part-time option).

The cost of tuition for a domestic PhD international student is approximately $1800 per term, or $21,600 total for a 12-term/4-year degree.

Living expenses of course vary widely, but you should budget $1500-2000/month for living (rent, meals, supplies, transit) in Toronto.

4. Living on campus vs. downtown Toronto?

York University is located in Toronto’s North York suburb, and is fully accessible by public transit. The commute is typically an hour by subway/bus (and yes, the long-awaited York University subway stop will finally open in 2017!) or 30 min by car. Most grads choose to live downtown, in order to get involved with Toronto’s dynamic film community, and the grad/alum network is often a good resource for securing affordable housing.

5. What kind of financial support would I be eligible for?

As an MA/MFA student, you will receive a fellowship amount of $10,000 per year, which works out to $3333 per term, paid out over the length of your degree, plus $1000 of health benefits per year.

There may be opportunities to apply for GA-ships (Graduate Assistantships) and RA-ships (Research Assistantships) during your first and second years of your studies, and TA-ships (Teaching Assistantships) in your second year only. (Note: we currently only have TA-ships available for less than half of our students— but not getting a TA-ship will not affect your funding).

For doctoral students, your minimal guarantee is approximately $22-23,000 per year for four years, plus health benefits. In exchange, you will be assigned RA/GA/TA duties.

Some outstanding candidates may be eligible for York entrance scholarships ($3-10K), awarded by the program to outstanding applicants. In the late fall of the first year of your degree, MAs/MFAs will be encouraged to apply for the highly competitive SSHRC (Social Science & Humanities Research Council) and OGS (Ontario Graduate Scholarship) awards, worth $15-17K. PhD’s will be encouraged to apply to SSHRC/OGS for each year of their degree.

For any further inquires regarding fees and funding, please write to: