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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2016-2017

Last Updated 2015-02-25
Emerging Media MFA

Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema

Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:


The Emerging Media MFA track in Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema takes the unique approach of requiring the making of a micro-budget feature length film. The program is designed to present you with the challenges facing any feature film maker and to give you the foundational tools available to meet those challenges. In addition, the program requires the full application of your creative energies by limiting your choice of materials and the size of your budget. How you meet these challenges will be the true measure of your achievement in the program, and the information you gain will serve you well as you apply them throughout your career. Our faculty is experienced in film production and Cinema Studies. Their understanding of Independent Film and micro-budget production gives the program a strong combination of intellectual and professional rigor. They are eager to work with you, to share their experience and to learn from yours. You will find their commitment to you and your work to be exacting in standards, compassionate in understanding and supportive in problem solving. We look forward to welcoming you to UCF Film.

The Emerging Media – Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema, M.F.A. is a terminal degree, the highest degree awarded to filmmakers or film artists. It is a highly selective, rigorous, three-year professional film production program for visual artists and film practitioners who demonstrate exceptional artistic and intellectual prowess, evidence of significant professional promise and a commitment to the expressive potential of digital filmmaking and the exploration of non-traditional modes of distribution. The M.F.A. degree produces graduates with mastery of storytelling through the digital medium as it encourages the candidate to find his or her personal style. Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema emphasizes story, performance, aesthetic choice, business, and creative thinking. When participation is committed and complete, the program develops graduates who can compete in the worlds of national and international independent filmmaking.

The Emerging Media MFA track in Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema is a three-year cohort style program (six full-time semesters excluding summers) and students must progress through the program by taking required classes in particular semesters. The program requires a minimum of 66 credit hours, including 48 required credit hours, 6 elective credit hours, and 12 credit hours devoted to the thesis project.

While students may make a thesis film outside the narrative feature film model (i.e., an experimental or documentary film), all MFA candidates are required to take the core and specialized courses that teach the customs and skills required of the narrative model. Upon completion of the degree, each student will have produced a microbudget (<$50,000) digital feature film or long-form equivalent body of work and prepared a marketing strategy for its distribution and exhibition. The budgetary limitation is designed to encourage the student to move away from more traditional modes of production toward an approach that minimizes crew size, cast size, shooting time and production costs in favor of more careful planning, more personal filmmaking and more creative use of the means of production.

The thesis film requires intensive applied learning to be completed as a feature length project or long-form equivalent body of work. Additionally, the thesis project has a strong research component both in the initial development phase and in the creation of the distribution and marketing plan for the project. This final stage of the curriculum serves as a bridge to the professional world and supports the entrepreneurial philosophy of the program.


The Emerging Media MFA track in Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema is a three-year cohort style program (six full-time semesters excluding summers) and students must progress through the program by taking required classes in particular semesters. The program requires a minimum of 66 credit hours, including 48 required credit hours, 6 elective credit hours, and 12 credit hours devoted to the thesis project. While students may make a thesis film outside the narrative feature film model (i.e., an experimental or documentary film), all MFA candidates are required to take the core and specialized courses that teach the customs and skills required of the narrative model.

Required Courses—48 Credit Hours

  • FIL 5406 Theories of Film Production (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 5419 Developing the Film Screenplay (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 5800 Research Methods in Film and Digital Media (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6146 Screenplay Refinement (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6454 Microbudget Production Design (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6596 Advanced Directing Workshop for Film and Digital Media (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6644 Microbudget Pre-Production (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6649 Microbudget Post-Production (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6619 Guerilla Marketing and Models Distribution (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6673 Arts and Media Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 5487 Principles of Visual Language (3 credit hours)
  • ART 5280 Serial Content (3 credit hours)
  • ART 5941 Graduate Practicum (1 credit hour)
  • ART 6683C Time Arts (3 credit hours)
  • ART 6930 Graduate Seminar (1 credit hour to be taken 4 times)
  • ART 6942 Graduate Practicum II (1 credit hour)
  • ARH 5897 Advanced Seminar in Art History (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—6 Credit Hours

Students select a minimum of 6 credit hours of coursework, internship, independent study or directed research from the School of Visual Arts and Design. Alternatively, students may select relevant graduate courses from other units with prior approval from the graduate program director.

Thesis—12 Credit Hours

  • FIL 6971 Thesis (12 credit hours)

Before undertaking the thesis project, candidates must meet with the thesis advisory committee to submit and discuss the proposed project and obtain the committee’s approval. The thesis requires intensive applied learning in order to complete a feature-length project. Additionally, the thesis project has a strong research component both in the initial development phase and in the creation of the distribution and marketing plan for the project. The final stage of the curriculum serves as a bridge to the professional world and supports the entrepreneurial philosophy of the program. The thesis project must be reviewed by the faculty adviser throughout the production process, and meet agreed upon criteria within a stated time frame. Once the thesis project is completed, candidates must have a screening or exhibition of the work, and meet with the thesis advisory committee for final approval and oral defense.

Course Schedule

The Emerging Media MFA is a full-time 3-year cohort program that requires students to abide by the following course sequence. Students must remain with their cohort in order to remain in good academic standing and graduate.

Year 1

Fall—13 Credit Hours
  • ARH 5897 Advanced Seminar in Art History (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 5487 Principles of Visual Language (3 credit hours)
  • ART 5941 Graduate Practicum I (1 credit hour)
  • FIL 6673 Arts and Media Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 5419 Developing the Film Screenplay (3 credit hours)
Spring—13 Credit Hours
  • ART 5280 Serial Content (3 credit hours)
  • ART 6942 Graduate Practicum II (1 credit hour)
  • FIL 5800 Research Methods in Film and Digital Media (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6146 Screenplay Refinement (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 5406 Theories of Film Production (3 credit hours)

Year 2

Fall—13 Credit Hours
  • ART 6683C Time Arts (3 credit hours)
  • ART 6930 Graduate Seminar (1 credit hour)
  • FIL 6454 Microbudget Production Design (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6619 Guerilla Marketing and Models of Distribution (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6644 Microbudget Pre-Production (3 credit hours)
Spring—9 Credit Hours
  • ART 6930 Graduate Seminar (1 credit hour)
  • FIL 6596 Advanced Directing Workshop (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6649 Microbudget Post-Production (3 credit hours)
  • FIL 6971 Thesis (Pre-Production) (2 credit hours)

Year 3

Fall—9 Credit Hours
  • ART 6930 Graduate Seminar (1 credit hour)
  • FIL 6971 Thesis (Post-Production) (5 credit hours)
  • ART, DIG or FIL Elective (3 credit hours)
Spring—9 Credit Hours
  • ART 6930 Graduate Seminar (1 credit hour)
  • FIL 6971 Thesis (Post-Production) (5 credit hours)
  • ART, DIG or FIL Elective (3 credit hours)

Equipment Fee

Students in the Emerging Media MFA program pay a $90 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled.

Thesis Requirements

University Thesis Requirements

The College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation page contains information on the university’s requirements for dissertation formatting, format review, defenses, final submission, and more. A step-by-step completion guide is also available at Completing Your Thesis or Dissertation.

All university deadlines are listed in the Academic Calendar. Your program or college may have other earlier deadlines; please check with your program and college staff for additional deadlines.

The following requirements must be met by dissertation students in their final term:

  • Submit a properly formatted file for initial format review by the format review deadline
  • Submit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form well before the defense
  • Defend by the defense deadline
  • Receive format approval (if not granted upon initial review)
  • Submit signed approval form by final submission deadline
  • Submit final dissertation document by final submission deadline

Students must format their dissertation according to the standards outlined at Formatting the ETD. Formatting questions or issues can be submitted to the Format Help page in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. Format reviews and final submission must be completed in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. The Dissertation Approval Form is also available in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site.

The College of Graduate Studies offers several thesis and dissertation Workshops each term. Students are highly encouraged to attend these workshops early in the dissertation process to fully understand the above policies and procedures.

The College of Graduate Studies thesis and dissertation office is best reached by email at

Thesis Advisor

During the second semester in the program, each student is expected to select a Film graduate faculty member to serve as his or her Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Advisor works with the student to begin focusing the MFA thesis film project. Before undertaking the thesis project, a candidate must be accepted by the Thesis Advisor and, in consultation with him or her, select a thesis advisory committee.

The Thesis Advisor serves as a mentor, providing guidance on research and development of the thesis film project, the written Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD), course selection, meeting various benchmarks, and other areas of academic and professional interest. It is important to secure a Thesis Advisor early in the program.


There are two components to the thesis project: (1) the film itself; and (2) the written submission, also referred to as the Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD). The student is required to satisfy the demands of both components and they are typically prepared simultaneously.

The concept of the MFA Thesis Film is that students will produce a feature film (60 minutes or more) on a micro-budget: $50,000 or less, not including marketing or festival submission costs. These thesis films are required to be shot digitally. One purpose of these limitations is to involve the student in less costly modes offered by digital production. The budgetary limitation is designed to encourage the student to move away from more traditional modes of production toward an approach that minimizes crew size, cast size, shooting time and production costs in favor of more careful planning, more personal film-making and more creative use of the means of production.

The ownership of rights to work created while pursuing an MFA in Emerging Media are covered by an agreement that all graduate student film makers must complete (the .Thesis Film Agreement.), and in accordance with the policies of the University of Central Florida: .

All MFA candidates in Film are responsible for understanding which rights UCF will retain in the film and how the student (and the student’s producers, assigns, licensees and/or designees) can retain certain rights through the Thesis Film Agreement. A copy of the current Thesis Film Agreement is attached at the end of this Handbook (FORM B).

Thesis Enrollment

During the course of the program the student is required to complete 18 hours of thesis credit. Typically students begin the thesis work in the second year. Prior to registering for FIL 6971 Thesis, a student must select a Thesis Advisor and a Thesis Advisory Committee. The student’s thesis committee composition must be reviewed and approved by the Program Director for School of Visual Arts and Design Graduate programs and Director for SVAD. The CAH Restricted Registration Form is used for thesis enrollment and may be obtained by contact the SVAD Graduate Advisor.

Once all other academic courses have been completed, thesis students engaging in thesis research and film production must be continuously enrolled in at least one hour of FIL 6971 every semester, including summers, until they successfully defend and submit their thesis to the University Thesis Editor. This enrollment each semester reflects the expenditure of University resources, and is required even if more than the minimum number of hours is needed for completion of the thesis. While one hour is the minimum enrollment, this does not constitute full time enrollment for tuition, financial aid, or employment purposes.

Preparation for Thesis

Electing Your Film Thesis Advisor

Students should select a Thesis Advisor during their second full-time semester in the program. This individual must be someone on the approved graduate faculty list for the Film department, found online at: The Thesis Advisor will Chair the Thesis Advisory Committee and must have a terminal degree. Eligible faculty members from the department who have joined the department and have been approved to teach graduate courses since the publication of the catalog may also participate as Chair. Check for the most recent list.

Selecting Thesis Advisory Committee Members

A student making a thesis film and writing a thesis must have a Thesis Advisory Committee. The Thesis Advisory Committee must consist of at least three members, who are approved members of the Graduate Faculty or Graduate Faculty Scholars as found online in the current UCF Graduate Catalog. This committee will recommend to the Dean of the college regarding the student's plan of study, provide continual guidance for the student, and be the principal mechanism for the evaluation of the student's thesis and performance in any general examinations. At least two members of the Thesis Advisory Committee must be Graduate Faculty, one of whom must serve as the Chair of the committee. Graduate Faculty Scholars may serve as a member or co-Chair of a Thesis Advisory Committee but may not serve as the Chair.

Graduate Faculty members must form the majority of any given committee. Committee membership must be approved by the SVAD Graduate Committee Chair, the SVAD Director, and the CAH Associate Dean of Academic Studies. The form is available in the SVAD office.

All Thesis Advisory Committee members must be in fields related to the thesis topic. The UCF College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to review appointments to a Thesis Advisory Committee, place a representative on any Thesis Advisory Committee, or appoint a co-Chair. A student may request a change in membership of the Thesis Advisory Committee with the approval of the SVAD Graduate Committee Chair, and re-submission to the College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Graduate Studies.

All committee members vote on acceptance or rejection of the final thesis. The thesis proposal and final thesis must be approved by a majority of the committee.

Registering for Thesis

The student must complete a CAH Restricted Registration Form each semester to register for thesis hours. This form must be signed by the Thesis Advisor. The student submits the original form to the CAH Dean’s Office, and provides the SVAD Graduate Coordinator with a copy for the student’s file. Forms are available in the Film office.

A student may register for a minimum of one credit hour of thesis per semester. Once registered, and once all other required coursework has been satisfied, the student must continue to register in each subsequent semester until the thesis is complete, including summer terms. The MFA in Emerging Media/Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema requires the completion of 12 thesis credit hours.

The Thesis Proposal

The making of a feature length motion picture requires attention to a myriad of details in order to bring the film maker’s artistic vision to the screen. To free the artist from being overwhelmed by production detail, the student’s thesis proposal aims to ensure thorough planning prior to the production period. While unforeseen challenges are certain to be a part of the production experience, thoughtful time spent addressing the basics will ensure a less exhausting and more successful shoot.

By the start of the student’s fourth full-time semester in the program, he/she is required to submit a formal thesis proposal for approval. The student first submits the proposal to his/her Thesis Advisor and Thesis Advisory Committee members and then, when approved by the majority of the committee, the student presents the proposal to the Thesis Review Board (TRB).

The TRB comprises UCF faculty and external film professionals. The TRB presentation provides the student with an opportunity to pitch the thesis film project as if to investors, demonstrate preparedness and passion for the project, and receive feedback for consideration during the project’s continued refinement.

Collectively, the Thesis Review Board members are charged with determining the student film maker’s readiness for the next stage of production based on a review of the material and the student’s presentation. The Board is charged to pay special attention to the planning and preparation segments of the proposal. Following the presentation, the Thesis Review Board makes a recommendation to the SVAD Graduate Program Director and the Thesis Advisor on whether the project should move forward, and details its recommendations with specificity.

Projects aim to be "yellow-lit" so that the student will have a chance to complete financing. Evidence of strong preparation will be key to obtaining a .yellow light.. Films lacking preparation cannot be advanced as they are as unsupported as those lacking financing. "Green-lighting" can only happen when the student has financing in place, has submitted all documentation required as outlined in the most current Film Graduate Handbook, and has scheduled the first production meeting.

Format of the Thesis Proposal

Guidelines for the assembly of the formal Thesis Proposal will be covered in class. The Thesis Proposal may be submitted in paper form or electronically. The student is required to provide the Thesis Proposal to each member of his/her Thesis Advisory Committee. Following Thesis Advisory Committee approval of the proposal, the student should plan on providing at least seven updated copies to the SVAD Graduate Coordinator ---one for each member of the TRB, one for the Film office, one for the Thesis Advisor, and one for the student.

Thesis Proposal Contents

Each student's approach to production will be unique and the specific contents of the Thesis Proposal may vary. The student will confer with his/her Thesis Advisor to agree on requirements for the formal Thesis Proposal. There are certain literacies developed throughout the curriculum, however, that are common to all students and require evidence of competency. Considerations for the Thesis Proposal include the following elements: 

Evidence of Aesthetic Literacy

Evidence of Financial Literacy

Evidence of Production Literacy

Filmmaker’s Statement

Business Plan

Theory of Production

Literature Review and Screening List

Budget Assumptions

Literature Review


Complete Budget

Shooting Schedule

Shot Lists

Final Cost Report

Completion Timeline including Post


Proof of Funding

Copy of Film upon Completion


Pitch Materials

Crew Lists

Set Diagrams

Corporate Documents

Location Lists

Visual Palettes

Profit Sharing Plan



Grant application(s)

Sample Call Sheets


Cash Flow statement

Sample Production Reports


Weekly Cost Reports

Release and Consent Forms


Investor documents

Chain of Title


Private Placement Memo

Copywright Registration

Video/Camera Tests

KickStarter Campaigns

Retention of a Lawyer

Casting Sessions


LLC Documentation



Deal Memos









Proof of Insurance



Film Scenes (demonstrate directing)



Set Location Permit Schedule



SAG Signatory Documents



Equipment List / Sources



Art Department Schedule



Day out of Days



Director’s Assembly

Submitting the Initial Thesis Proposal

The student should submit his or her initial Thesis Proposal to the Thesis Advisor and to each thesis committee member by an agreed upon date established in consultation with the Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Advisor and each committee member will review the student’s proposal and comment on its contents within ten business days of their receipt of the thesis proposal materials. The student then works on recommended areas of improvement with the Thesis Advisor and committee members.

With the guidance of the Thesis Advisor, the student establishes milestone dates to ensure readiness for the final Thesis Proposal presentation to the Thesis Review Board. It is important for the student to be proactive during this time, developing a plan to secure necessary permissions, letters of intent, clearances, and source approvals. The onus is on the student to communicate fully and often with the Thesis Advisor and to drive a schedule that will help the student be successful. Be advised that many professors do not work during the summer term and may not be available to assist the student with thesis work during this time.

Timeline from Proposal to Production



Thesis Advisor

Program Staff

TRB Committee

Green Light Authorizer


Year 2

  • Work with Thesis Advisor to form thesis committee.
  • Continue working on refining thesis proposal. See Film MFA Student Handbook.
  • Confirm with student role as thesis advisor; help with formation of thesis committee.
  • Continue helping student with requirements of thesis proposal. See Thesis Advisor Handbook.
  • Send reminder to student & Advisor about TRB process including the calendar, links to student and T&D handbooks, and any thesis proposal related documents.




Year 2

  • Submit completed/signed Thesis Advisory Committee Form to Graduate Program staff.
  • Submit completed/signed Restricted Registration Form (for spring thesis hours) to Graduate Program staff.
  • Work with Thesis Advisor to form Thesis Review Board (TRB) Committee.
  • Continue working on thesis proposal.
  • Sign off on Restricted Registration form.
  • Meet with student to form and approve the TRB Committee membership.
  • Continue helping student with thesis proposal.
  • Process Thesis Advisory Committee Form.
  • Process Restricted Registration Form.




(Before end of the semester)

Year 2

  • Schedule TRB meeting (to be held by the end of February). Confirm with all TRB members.
  • Continue working on thesis proposal.
  • Meet with student to confirm that the TRB meeting has been set and establish goals for the first term in thesis hours.
  • Continue helping student with thesis proposal.
  • Follow up with student to confirm that TRB committee is formed and date has been set.
  • Help with meeting logistics (secure location for TRB meeting, send directions to committee, etc.)
  • Provide list to Green Light Authorizer of upcoming TRB meetings.
  • Confirms/verifies with the student/advisor of willingness to join the TRB Committee. 
  • Confirm with student/advisor/program staff that TRB meetings have been set for the next term.



Year 2

  • Finalize thesis proposal documents.
  • Send TRB committee a reminder about the meeting and confirm attendance.
  • TRB packet approved by the thesis advisor (proposal, department guidelines and rubrics) should be emailed to TRB Committee 2 weeks in advance of TRB meeting.
  • Confirm with student that TRB is progressing.
  • Review/approve TRB packet before student emails materials to TRB Committee members. 
  • Confirm with student and advisor that TRB meeting is on track and packet has been emailed to committee.




Year 2

  • Present the thesis proposal to the TRB Committee.
  • Update the TRB Committee on anything that has happened since the packet was distributed.
  • Set meeting with student, advisor, and Green Light Authorizer for final meeting.
  • Take notes during the TRB meeting, but do not participate in any discussions.
  • Set meeting with student, advisor, and Green Light Authorizer for final meeting.
  • Rubrics and notes are copied and placed in student’s file.
  • Remind TRB committee that the recommendation is due to the Green Light Authorizer within 2 weeks (14 days) of TRB meeting.
  • Confirm with student/advisor that Green Light Authorizer final meeting has been set


  • Asks the student questions and completes the rubric forms and provides notes from the meeting to the Graduate Program Staff.
  • Votes as a group and puts together a recommendation for the Green Light Authorizer within 2 weeks (14 days) of the meeting.
  • Receive recommendation from TRB committee within 2 weeks (14 days) of TRB meeting.
  • Send recommendation with rationale to student/advisor.
  • Set meeting with student, advisor, and Green Light Authorizer for final meeting.


Year 2

  • Proposed changes are worked on and presented to Green Light Authorizer.
  • Work with student on proposed changes for Green Light Authorizer.



Reviews proposal and TRB rubrics and notes and provide a green, yellow or red light recommendation to the student.

Thesis Proposal Presentation

Formal Thesis Proposal Presentation - Thesis Review Board

Setting Up the Thesis Review board

Students who seek their TRB are responsible for compiling a list of internal and external members and getting approval for this list from their chair. Once the chair approves this list the student is responsible for scheduling the TRB date and time.  Once that is determined, the student or chair will reserve the space.  The student is responsible for delivering the TRB document electronically to all members of the TRB no less than 2 weeks in advance of the TRB meeting.  Ultimately, the student is responsible for producing the TRB.

The following documents must be completed and approved during the TRB in order for the student to be considered for green lighting FOR A NARRATIVE FEATURE:

Complete feature length script (60-90 pages)

Shooting Schedule (does not include specific dates)

Full Crew List (signed agreements, as many as possible)

Full Cast List (signed agreements, as many as possible)

Proof of financing that matches budget or a percentage of it at least – 80% (bank statement)

Proof of insurance (school or individual certificate)

Narrative Feature Production Approval Timeline









Recommended as early as possible but no fewer than 9 weeks prior to shoot

Within 10 days after TRB

No fewer than 6 weeks prior to first shoot date

No fewer than 2 weeks prior to first shoot date

No fewer than 3 days prior to shoot

Within one of two windows designated by FOD

Narrative Feature Production Approval Timeline

Students must be GREENLIT before they can add specific dates to their production schedule, and they must be GREENLIT before they can request their production shoot dates with the SVAD Film Operations Desk.   All production schedules must be requested and approved within the two concurrent shooting SLOTS designated by the Film Operations Desk.   These requests must be made no fewer than six weeks in advance of the first day of production by using the MFA Thesis Production Schedule Request form, available at the SVAD Film Operational Portal website (see schedule above).  Equipment requisitions are made with the separate MFA Thesis Feature Requisition form.  Facilities reservations for using UCF sound stages are made with the Sound Stage | NSC-181A or Studio 500 Reservation forms.  All subsequent greenlit productions must schedule according to availability within the Film Operations Master Production Calendar.   No more than two productions may take place at any one time.  Any overlap time must be scheduled and approved by the Film Operations Manager, Jon Bowen.

Evaluating the Formal Thesis Proposal

The goal of the student is to receive a recommendation for a "yellow light" by the Thesis Review Board so that the film maker may go forward to finalize financing and begin production. Collectively, the Thesis Review Board is charged with confirming a student’s readiness for the next stage based on its review of the material and the interview with the student. "Green-lighting" the project can only happen when the student has financing in place; only the Director of SVAD may green light a project, in consultation with the Thesis Advisor.

The Thesis Review Board evaluates the project and makes specific recommendations in the following categories:

  • Script / Research
  • Vision / Visual Treatment
  • Schedule and Logistics
  • Budget and Financing
  • Market / Audience
  • Fit with Student's Professional Goals

The Script

The Thesis Review Board may consider:

  • Is the script suitable to the micro-budget concept (e.g. number of speaking parts, number of locations, etc.)?
  • Is it dramatically sound?
  • Does the pace of the story feel appropriate for translation to the screen?
  • What questions of character and plot do you find problematic?
  • Is the script attractive to actors and will it stimulate creative collaboration?
  • Are there production challenges in the script that may prove more difficult than the film maker realizes and has planned for (such as working with child actors or shooting on water)?
  • What does the script mean to the film maker? Why does he/she want to do this project?

The Budget and Schedule

The Board may consider:

  • Does the budget make sense?
  • Does the plan for financing – or the financing itself – seem reasonable and realistic? (Financing in place requires proof with a bank statement or other financial document.)
  • Does the budget address the needs of the script, the plans for casting, travel and housing in a sensible manner?
  • Is the schedule realistic? Is there time for rain days, re-shoots and all the other possible mini catastrophes?
  • Do both the schedule and the budget have reasonable contingencies?

Thesis Review Board Recommendation

The Thesis Review Board will make a recommendation to the SVAD Director and the Thesis Advisor as to whether or not a student should go forward to begin production. The Thesis Review Board understands that its judgment in this matter needs to take into account the standards its members hold for themselves as well as those inherent in the medium and in the University community of scholars and artists. The majority vote of the Thesis Review Board will decide whether to recommend a red, yellow, or green light to a project. The decision will be provided in writing, addressed to the SVAD Director, no later than 14 business days following the Formal Thesis Proposal presentation. Thesis Review Board members are expected to give the student their individual opinions, judgments and advice as well. These individual comments will be included with the final recommendation.

When a student receives a red light from the Thesis Review Board, it will be accompanied by a clear list of what must be submitted by the student to his/her Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Advisor will then be responsible for working with the student to assign due dates for each requested item and schedule a collaborative meeting with the department Chair to review the student’s response(s). If necessary, a second presentation before the full Thesis Review Board may be scheduled.

The thesis student's next step should be to thoughtfully consider the comments of the Thesis Review Board members and prepare a response to the issues raised. The student's response should identify his/her priorities, with specific timelines for completion, that relate to the project's next steps.

The student is required to bring the report, and any supplemental material the student chooses, to the meeting with the Thesis Advisor and the SVAD Director, to be scheduled in one week's time from the student’s receipt of the Thesis Review Board’s recommendation. The SVAD Director will review the written responses to the Thesis Review Board’s comments and discuss the status of the Thesis Proposal.

GreenLight Requirements

If the project is green lighted, the student will work with his/her Thesis Advisor to ensure that he/she remains on schedule and on budget. If the project is not green lighted, the film maker will work with his/her Thesis Advisor to correct those issues preventing approval before continuing to production.

Financing the Thesis Film Production

The student’s program includes coursework in entrepreneurship and business plan development. This work supports the student’s efforts to secure financing for the making of his/her thesis film. It is the student’s responsibility to finance his/her feature film production, and a variety of resources are available throughout the Central Florida community. One such opportunity is for donors to support graduate film makers by making tax deductible donations through the Enzian/UCF Thesis Film Production Fund.

Enzian/UCF Thesis Film Production Fund Process

  1. The student film maker creates a donation form unique to his/her film (see template included as FORM E. The Enzian’s 501-3c number is 85-8012632651C-7.
  2. The donation check and completed form is brought to the SVAD Front Office and given to the SVAD Accountant.
  3. The SVAD Accountant deposits the check and the Enzian sends the donor a thank you note. The film maker should also thank the donor. While the SVAD Accountant  will keep records of all deposits, the student film maker should also keep records of each donor’s contact information, the date the monies were received, and the donation amount.
  4. The funds remain in the account until the student requests a disbursement.
  5. The student may request a disbursement by submitting a written request to the SVAD Graduate Committee stating the amount desired, the date the funds should be disbursed, the student’s name, the film’s title, and the legal entity that should receive the funds (e.g. the LLC’s name). The student must also state the intended use of the funds.
  6. When the majority of the members of the SVAD Graduate Committee have approved the disbursement, a check will be requested by the SVAD Accountant . Typically the check is hand-delivered to the student in approximately 14 days following receipt of an approved disbursement request.

Enzian/UCF Thesis Film Production Fund Agreement

In order to support and promote film-making in Central Florida, the Enzian Theater has opened a bank account known as The Enzian/UCF Film Graduate Production Fund (.Fund.). The Fund accepts donations from any third party, including, but not limited to, individuals, corporations, or trusts, and distributes such donations to help finance graduate thesis projects undertaken by UCF film students (provided such projects have been approved as per the guidelines below) and to otherwise support the mission of the UCF Film MFA program. All contributions are tax deductible.

Contributions to the Fund may be disbursed only for not-for-profit purposes in accordance with Section 501C (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. UCF and the Enzian Theater are not responsible for fund-raising and assume no responsibility for soliciting monies for the Fund. Enzian Theater will receive and hold monies donated to the Fund in a separate bank account. Records will be maintained by Enzian Theater so that audits can be performed by third parties at their expense. Enzian Theater will provide donors to the Fund written acknowledgement of donations.

All donations to the Fund must be designated by the donor as either General or Targeted. If no designation is made, the contribution will be treated as General. General Contributions can be distributed as per a Disbursement Notice that benefits the graduate UCF Film program and the terms listed in this section. Targeted Contributions must be earmarked by donors to support one or more particular UCF project/film maker(s). Targeted Contributions will be held in the Fund until the earmarked project is approved by the UCF Graduate Advisory Committee and a Disbursement Notice is issued. Should that project’s film maker permanently withdraw from UCF Film’s Graduate Program, all Targeted Contributions for that project/film maker (that are in the Fund at the time of withdrawal) shall then be treated as a General Contribution. There is no limit to the amount of donations the Fund can receive.

Enzian Theater will disburse monies from the Fund per the written recommendation of the UCF Graduate Committee. The UCF Graduate Committee will be staffed by UCF graduate Film faculty and administrators and other UCF employees. The UCF Graduate Committee will review all proposed student projects and provide Enzian Theater with written instructions for the disbursement of monies from the Fund (.Disbursement Notice.). Enzian Theater will disburse monies from the Fund as directed by the UCF Graduate Committee within two weeks of receipt of each Disbursement Notice. Each distribution of monies from the Fund shall occur pursuant to a written resolution of the Graduate Committee authorizing such distribution (the .Resolution.). The Resolution must state the amount, the date the funds are to be distributed, what student or legal entity is to receive the monies, the source of the original donation, and how all members of the Graduate Committee voted (majority necessary). Such Resolution is valid only if signed by a majority of the Graduate Committee. Both the Enzian Theater and UCF's SVAD shall keep certified copies of all resolutions and records relating to the Fund for at least 5 years.

A validly enrolled student in the Emerging Media MFA program must petition the Graduate Committee to meet and to consider a request for distribution of monies from the Fund. Such petition must contain the latest version of that student’s thesis proposal (including but not limited to budget, schedule and an approved screenplay), the specific dollar amount sought, the name and relevant bank account information of the recipient, a date that such distribution should be made (no less than ten business days after the Graduate Committee receives the petition), and written proof of all donation(s) made to the Fund earmarked for that student. In addition, the graduate student film maker must warrant in such petition that the consummation of the contemplated transaction(s) will not conflict with or result in a breach of any of the terms, conditions or provisions of any law or any regulation, order, writ, injunction or decree of any court or governmental instrumentality or of any agreement or instrument to which he or she is a party or by which he or she is bound.

Upon petition, the Graduate Committee shall review the materials in that student’s petition. The graduate student petitioning for funds does not need to be present. Receipt of the petition by the Graduate Committee is sufficient. Within five business days from receipt of such petition, the Graduate Committee must vote either: (a) A written Resolution authorizing distribution of funds (see above) ; or (b) A written resolution denying distribution of funds until certain stated conditions are met.

A student who receives three consecutive resolutions denying distribution of funds shall not be allowed to petition again for a period of six months from the last petition.

Monies may be transferred from the Fund (via check or money transfer) only: (a) To a UCF student pursuing an MFA in Film and pursuant to a valid Resolution or (b) To the legal entity formed by such graduate student for the production of a graduate thesis film and pursuant to a valid Resolution or (c) To pay customary bank fees.

Only students validly enrolled in the UCF Emerging Media MFA program may petition the Graduate Committee. Furthermore, if a student is not enrolled for three consecutive semesters, monies earmarked for that student will be considered no longer earmarked and may be distributed as the Graduate Committee sees fit.

The student film maker will be responsible for tracking donations made to the Fund and earmarked for their production. The petition process requires the Graduate Committee to notify the petitioning student of any disbursement decision.

Thesis Film Production

The film-making process itself contributes to how the thesis will be judged. How the film is made, the quality and character of the production experience, and its organization will be observed on the set by the Thesis Advisor, thesis committee members, and also by others from the University community. The thesis project will be reviewed by the Thesis Advisor throughout the production process and meet agreed upon criteria. Please note that failure to use properly trained staff makes a production unsafe and might result in the shutting down of your film production.

To ensure an ongoing exchange of information and production support, the thesis student is required to communicate with the Film department throughout the production according to specific protocol.

This section provides detailed information about communication protocols and production facilities.

Protocol for Communicating with the Film Department

Invitation to Production Meeting

The Production meeting is usually held one week in advance of the start of principal photography. The MFA student must schedule this meeting prior to being granted a "green light" for production and must invite his/her Thesis Advisor and representatives of SVAD at least one week prior to the meeting, in writing via email. Every effort will be made to have at least one SVAD representative at this initial production meeting. The Director (MFA student), and the project’s Producer and First Assistant Director are required to attend the production meeting. Invitations should also be extended if subsequent production meetings are called.

Production Forms

Prior to the initial Production Meeting, the student's Thesis Advisor will approve which forms will be required to be submitted during production. The Thesis Advisor should attend the initial Production Meeting, along with the Producer, Production Manager, and Assistant Directors. It is the responsibility of the student film maker/Director to make certain the meeting is arranged.

Invitation to Tech Scout

It is the responsibility of the Producer of each student film to ensure that SVAD is notified by e-mail to of the time and location of the Tech Scout, and that the Thesis Advisor is also notified. . Notification should be provided at least one week in advance of the meeting date. Every effort should be made to find a time that allows at least one representative from SVAD to be in attendance on the Tech Scout. The attendance of the MFA student/Director on the Tech Scout is required. At the meeting, a current list of locations secured to date should be provided, and ideas of where those remaining might be found.

Set Protocol

The student Director, in partnership with his or her Producer, must assign clear roles, responsibilities, and areas of authority for those on the set, honor those assignments, and establish clear and consistent modes of communication.

Visits to the Set

Any faculty member of SVAD is welcome at any time on any set of a graduate student film in production. Faculty should check with the SVAD's Graduate Coordinator (Kelley) for call sheets and maps on the day they wish to visit. It is the responsibility of the Producer of each student film to update SVAD with current maps and call sheets, and to inform SVAD of any and all changes that impact shooting times, such as pushed start dates, pushed calls, changes in location, restrictions for the location, etc.


The student's Thesis Advisor will determine which reports and forms (call sheets, daily production reports, script supervisor's wrap reports, injury reports, damaged equipment reports, weekly cost reports, dailies, etc.) are to be used thorughout the production. Various templates for production reports may be downloaded from:

Production Offices

Please also refer to the Film (SVAD) Facilities Manual for more detailed policy information and required forms at

Subject to the availability of space and equipment, SVAD will assist the MFA student in arranging a production office to be available up to 90 days prior to the commencement of principal photography through 30 days after wrap.

Prior to being granted access to a production office, the MFA Emerging Media student must have come before the Thesis Review Board and received a yellow light toward production. Once a thesis film project has received a yellow (or green) light, the Director should submit a request for a production office to Jon Bowen, Film Operations Manager, through the Film Operational Portal: > Operations Desk > Reservation Forms. Approval of the request will be emailed to the student, with a copy to his/her Thesis Advisor, Kelley Rasgaitis (SVAD Graduate Coordinator), and Rich Grula (Studio Director, CEM).

Subject to availability, each graduate film that goes into production locally will be assigned a production office at the Center for Emerging Media (CEM). These offices are located in the CEM Production Wing near the edit suites, and each includes furniture with seating for five. Productions can take full-time occupancy of a production office up to 90 days prior to the shoot and for 30 days after wrap.

Computers, printers and phone services are provided by SVAD. Please contact the UCF Film Operations Desk with any questions (407-823-2138). The UCF wireless network is available throughout the production office and edit suite area at CEM.

CEM Parking and Access

Everyone working or teaching in the Center for Emerging Media needs to register for an access card, which permits entry into the building and various rooms within. Along with the access card will be a parking pass that permits parking in the parking lot directly across from the CEM. The request form can be obtained from the Graduate Program Advisor.

Parking is not permitted in the turnarounds in front of building or in the loading dock. Cars parked there will be ticketed and/or towed. Cast and crews working on stage at STUDIO 500 have access to park in the private CEM parking lot at the far west end of the building. When a Studio 500 stage is reserved, details regarding the use of the private CEM lot will be provided.

Casting Rooms and Meeting Space

Subject to other bookings and class schedules, a variety of rooms are available to graduate students who want to hold casting sessions, meetings, table reads, screenings, etc. on the UCF main campus or at the downtown Center for Emerging Media. Requests to reserve space should be made at least a week in advance, with more time if possible. Reservation forms may be found online at the Film Operational Portal: Film Operational Portal: > Operations Desk > Reservation Forms.

Casting can be held during the week or on the weekends. It is best to organize the casting so that only a few people arrive at the same time. In this way, parking issues and congestion can be minimized. Details regarding parking instructions will be provided upon confirmation of your reservation for space.

All casting sessions should plan on having at least two production assistants on hand to greet talent and bring them to the audition space. This will be particularly important at CEM where the casting space is located a distance from the front entrance. It is not the CEM Security Guard’s responsibility to escort your guests so please plan accordingly.

Grip, Electric and Film Equipment

The entire film equipment inventory will be available for check out on a first come, first served basis for all summer graduate student projects. The Equipment Room Handbook policies and procedures will apply, and all check out requests are subject to availability. Graduate students should complete a .Capstone. check out sheet, available in the Film Equipment Room and online ( ) to officially submit an equipment request.

The Film Equipment Room is closed for the summer semester, but equipment check out will be available to MFA Film students.

Any graduate student wishing to check out gear will be required to submit an insurance certificate to the UCF Film Operations Manager (Jon Bowen) prior to any gear being released into their custody, naming UCF Film department as Loss Payee/Additionally Insured. The certificate holder box should list: University of Central Florida / Attn: Jonathan Bowen / 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Comm 121, Orlando, FL 32816-3120.

Insurance Minimums

The Center for Emerging Media downtown also has a full assortment of grip and electric equipment reserved for student productions through its Studio 500. All of it is available at no charge, although equipment requests will be reviewed to ensure that the proper amount of equipment is provided for each production. Equipment sheets are available by contacting Rich Grula ( or by downloading it from the requisition section of the Operational: .

It is mandatory that the Director and a production’s Gaffer and Key Grip take a tour of the equipment areas in the Film department and at CEM to familiarize themselves with all that is available. It is requested that no duplicate gear from external sources be brought into CEM if using that location for the shoot. If rented gear from outside UCF sources is used (other than what is listed below), CEM/Studio 500 gear will not be provided. Items not available at CEM/Studio 500 include: track and dolly, sound-recording gear, cameras.

Sound Stages

Students may reserve the Sound Stage on the main campus (COMM 181A) or the Sound Stage located at the Center for Emerging Media—referred to as Studio 500- through the Film Operational Portal:

Use of the STUDIO 500 sound stage requires a face-to-face meeting with the STUDIO 500 staff along with various key people on the shoot (e.g. Gaffer, DP, 1st AD, Set Designer). This meeting should be scheduled as soon as your reservation request has been confirmed.


Each graduate student that goes into production will be assigned a Graduate Edit Suite complete with a Final Cut Studio workstation. Access begins two weeks prior to the start of principal photography. The student will be required to vacate the editing suite no later than at the end of the following spring semester. If additional time is required, contact the Film Operations Desk to make arrangements.

Students must provide their own portable hard drive for media and project file storage when editing. Please do not store media or project files on the computers. SVAD is not responsible for any data loss.

Questions concerning the Final Cut Studio workstations should be directed to the Film Operations Desk (407-823-2138).

Final ETD and Thesis Film Requirements

Requirements for the Written Thesis Submission: ETD

The written Thesis is considered distinct from the Thesis Film and any rights designated or associated therewith.

The written thesis is the final document that satisfies the academic requirements for achieving the MFA degree. It is referred to as the ETD, or Electronic Thesis and Dissertation. The University provides clear guidelines for how the written thesis is required to be formatted and submitted. These may be found online at The written Thesis becomes a part of the body of scholarship available to others interested in the making of micro-budget feature films. The ETD is submitted to the University and made available for download online, and consists of a single, bookmarked PDF file (with accompanying DVD if appropriate) with the following minimum components:

  • Frontmatter
  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgments (optional)
  • Dedication (optional)
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures/List of Tables (as necessary)
  • Body
  • Introduction (Filmmaker’s Statement)

Statement should include response to the following questions:

  • What were your intentions when you first entered the program and began your film project, and what problems, challenges, and obstacles (intellectual, formal, artistic, logistical) did you encounter along the way?
  • How did you address these problems?
  • What have you learned from them? Be specific and provide thorough details.
  • How has this experience helped you define your voice as an emerging film maker?

Picture (in one of the following forms):

  • The work in its entirety (on DVD); or
  • Up to three excerpts not to exceed 30 seconds each (on DVD); or
  • Five or more screen captures/still images with descriptive captions (integrated as part of the PDF file)

Research Materials

  • Screenplay

It is recommended that you retain the pagination of the original screenplay as these page numbers correspond to other documents, but you should incorporate the screenplay and include the new ETD pagination as well. One suggestion is to have the original screenplay pagination in the upper right-hand corner, and the ETD pagination in the center bottom.

Marketing Plan to include:

  • Full page poster showing the central image and graphic treatment to be used for one-sheets, postcards and other marketing materials; and
  • Marketing report that includes research of film festival opportunities, timeline and budget for festival distribution, and proposals and targets for further distribution (i.e.: theatrical, cable, DVD, etc.)


  • Budget
  • Final Production Schedule and Day Out of Days
  • Chain of Title (with Copyright Form PA)
  • Music synchronization Licenses
  • Credit List
  • Call Sheets
  • It is requested that you include a complete version of the call sheet for the first and last day of the shoot, along with just the front page for all the other days. These should be in PDF format.
  • Production Reports
  • Final Cost Report (includes budget and actuals)
  • Copies of contracts signed between the production company and all outside parties. If the same contract was used multiple times, include a sample of the contract along with a list of the individuals who were contracted that includes each individual’s role in or function on the film, and the date the contract was executed. These should include:
    • Crew deal memos
    • Cast contracts
    • Location agreements
    • SAG agreement if applicable
    • Licensing agreements for music, images, logos, etc.
    • Atmosphere contracts
    • Payroll contract if applicable
    • Permits
    • Insurance certificates
    • Equipment rental contracts
    • Independent Contractors’ agreements
    • Lawyer Contract (s)

Any sensitive items, including specific dollar amounts, may be redacted at the film maker’s discretion.

Format Review

The University publishes a date each semester indicating the deadline for submitting your written thesis for format review ( 

The UCF thesis editor will be reviewing your document to ensure its compliance with the formatting guidelines published in the most current Thesis and Dissertation Manual. Current guidelines may be found online: It is also appropriate to share your ETD with your Thesis Advisor and others for review. Using an online site such as or makes sharing large files easier.

If at the time of format review you have missing items, please insert a placeholder page for each missing item, describing what is missing and when it will be inserted.

To view the online ETDs of Film MFA alumni, the navigation is: > type in last name of the film maker > change the next drop down box to "Author" > click search

For example:

Knight, Ima - Knightro's Big Adventure 

Requirements for the Film Submission: The Picture

For the MFA Film degree, students are expected to submit a completed feature length film (60 minutes or more in length) in Fine Cut form with all pictures, sounds and credits in place. THIS IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED A WORK IN PROGRESS CUT. The film should be in such a form that it is ready for film festival submission and for the student’s oral defense with the Thesis Committee.

Fine Cut details are as follows:

  • Locked picture edit;
  • Full head and tail credits in place;
  • All effects or composite shots complete and in place;
  • Temporary score in place, along with a plan of action to achieve final score (e.g. composer agreement or other details for how music will be addressed).
  • Rough Sound Mix (the sound mix must include all elements necessary to evaluate the film mixed at a level that allows proper playback; however, it is not expected that final audio mix will be turned in);
  • Rough Color Correction (images and visual color balance must be completed enough to permit evaluation and critical review of the film, but it’s not expected that the final color correction will be turned in).

Within six months following commencement, the graduate is expected to deliver five copies of his/ her Finished Film (locked picture edit, final and main end credits in place, final sound mix and final color correction) on DVD-R or properly replicated DVDs in hard plastic cases. The DVDs and cases should utilize the most current marketing image and graphic treatment, and must include title, total running time, film maker name, and contact information. These films will be logged in and held securely in SVAD. Only film faculty may check these films out for viewing with approval of the SVAD Director.

Oral Defense

Once the thesis film project is completed, the student must screen the fine cut film for all members of his/her Thesis Committee and meet with them for final approval. A final oral review before the Thesis Committee occurs at the end of the MFA program. The thesis defense is an oral examination during which time the students’ Thesis Advisor and committee members may question the student about any facet of the artistic process, from the research to the viability of the script within the micro-budget paradigm, to the methodologies utilized. Additionally, students should be prepared to discuss learning outcomes based on their experience in the MFA program. The oral defense is open to the University community.

Refer to the current Thesis and Dissertation Manual on the graduate website ( for details on preparing the announcement for the thesis defense and the required approval page. Students must prepare a defense announcement and electronically submit it to the Graduate Coordinator in the Film department at least two weeks before the defense date.

Semester Consult

Semester Consults for full-time MFA students are held at the beginning of each term. These consults are required for first year students as they begin their second term in the program, and are optional thereafter for any MFA student.  

What is a Semester Consult?

A Semester Consult is an informal meeting during which the MFA student meets with film faculty and receives feedback on topics of the student’s choosing. Semester Consults are designed to focus each student’s thoughts about his/her thesis film through constructive engagement with faculty (and other conferees that the student might invite). A one hour session is convened, during which time the MFA student makes an oral presentation about the vision for their film, and joins in a conversation about issues that he/she is thinking about in terms of the thesis project. Semester Consults are held during the second week of each term.

How is a Semester Consult scheduled?

The student selects five faculty members from within the University to convene for the consult, and secures a commitment from each of them. Typically, faculty members are very interested in helping shape a student’s project successfully and will attend the session if their time permits. Students may invite faculty from other disciplines if those individuals are likely to offer insights that will be helpful to the progress of the project. Students are encouraged to seek recommendations from their academic and/or Thesis Advisers, or the Film department Chair, if they are uncertain who to invite. Once the student has identified and secured commitments from five faculty members, the student requests a date and preferred time from the Graduate Coordinator in the Film office and provides the list of faculty names. The Graduate Coordinator will confirm a date, time, and location and will notify the student and his/her invitees. Semester Consults are scheduled during the second week of classes during any given term. A Semester Consult must be requested no later than the last week of classes in the previous term. See Important Dates, below. Sessions will be scheduled for one hour.

What Happens at a Semester Consult? 

The student leads the meeting, making a brief, informal oral presentation about the vision for his/her thesis film, and indicates what areas of concern or questions they have for which feedback might be helpful. While the student is required to listen carefully to the conversation and any feedback shared, there is no responsibility to follow up or respond in any way.

This is not intended to be a pitch. Students are required to bring in something tangible to stimulate conversation. This could be a one page treatment (NOT script pages) and/or some sort of media ranging from still images of locations, or location scouting, sets, costumes, screen tests, clips from previous work that are somehow related to the current project, audio, film clips, photos of work by others that inform the visual style of their project, and/or research that has been conducted. Students can bring ANYTHING at all that they think will help them communicate to the panel, and/or about which they would like feedback.

Criteria for Internship

The basic criteria for designation as an internship course at UCF includes student experiential learning which:

  • relates directly to a student’s academic major or major-related career goal
  • occurs in business, industry, non-profit, educational, or governmental agencies
  • involves collaboration between campus and business community that aims to increase students‘ work, personal, and academic competencies
  • provides appropriate supervision both on site through a professional with related training and skills and through guidance from faculty
  • involves structure for learning, including application of classroom content and assignments for reflection that would result in the development of student competencies and go beyond simple assignment of a student completing a set number of hours experience in a setting outside the academic classroom
  • involves a minimum of 45 hours per credit per semester at the participating work site to provide real-world experience and to promote interaction between students and professionals toward the development of professional attitudes and behavior (more hours may be required; fewer hours may be justified by the concentration of the experience or the learning objectives)

All Directed Research, Independent Study and Internship must be accompanied by a syllabus with expectations and due dates. This document serves as a contract between the instructor of record and the student for the grade is determined.

Graduate Research

UCF has three fundamental responsibilities with regard to graduate student research. They are to (1) support an academic environment that stimulates the spirit of inquiry, (2) develop the intellectual property stemming from research, and (3) disseminate the intellectual property to the general public. Students are responsible for being informed of rules, regulations and policies pertaining to research. Below are some general policies and resources.

Research Policies and Ethics Information: UCF's Office of Research & Commercialization ensures the UCF community complies with local, state and federal regulations that relate to research. For polices including required Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval when conducting research involving human subjects (e.g. surveys), animal research, conflict of interest and general responsible conduct of research, please see the website: > Compliance.

UCF’s Patent and Invention Policy: In most cases, UCF owns the intellectual property developed using university resources. The graduate student as inventor will according to this policy share in the proceeds of the invention. Please see the current UCF Graduate Catalog for details: > Policies > General Graduate Policies.

Financial Support

Graduate Financials

Students with qualifying assistantships or university-wide fellowships will receive financial packages that include an assistantship or fellowship stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance. Qualifying fellowships are accompanied by tuition waivers. Qualifying assistantships include single appointments of at least .50 FTE (20 hrs/week) or two appointments of at least .25 FTE (10 hrs/week). Tuition remission is in the form of either tuition waivers or tuition payments that cover in-state (resident) tuition. Non-resident students with financial packages are not charged out-of-state tuition or the non-resident financial aid fee.

For additional information about funding for graduate school, please visit the College of Graduate Studies Funding website.

If you are interested in applying for loans or externally funded need-based awards, visit the Office of Student Financial Assistance website at and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available January 1 each year.

Financial Support Requirements

Graduate students must meet certain requirements each term that they receive fellowships or assistantships. In brief, to receive and maintain these types of financial support packages, a student must:

  • maintain good academic standing
  • be enrolled full time

A more detailed description of the financial support requirements can be found in the Financial Information > Financial Support requirements of the current Graduate Catalog at

University Fellowships

Most university fellowships are reserved for incoming degree-seeking graduate students who plan to enroll full time. For a listing of merit-based fellowships that are offered through the UCF College of Graduate Studies, as well as a listing of various general graduate funding opportunities, see the Student Finances > Fellowships section of the College of Graduate Studies student website at

Graduate Presentation Fellowships

The College of Graduate Studies provides Presentation Fellowships for students to present their research or comparable creative activity at a professional meeting or conference. To review the award requirements and apply online, see Presentation Fellowship.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantship appointments offer opportunities for students to engage in research, teaching, and other projects during their graduate study. These are paid appointments that promote the missions of the University. For eligibility, students must be accepted as a graduate student in a degree program and be enrolled full-time.

For more information concerning graduate assistantships, see the Financial Information > Graduate Assistantships section of the current Graduate Catalog at or talk to the Graduate Program Director to learn about specific eligibility and application guidelines.

Graduate Teaching

Graduate students may be appointed as graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) to carry out responsibilities as classroom teachers (instructors of record), co-teachers or classroom assistants, graders, lab assistants, or other roles directly related to classroom instruction. Mandatory training requirements must be met for a student to be hired in the position of Graduate Teaching Associate, Assistant or Grader. The training, offered by UCF’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, covers course design, learning theories, ethics, and other topics relevant to preparing GTAs for their responsibilities.

See > Student Finances > GTA Information for training requirements and registration instructions. 

Students who are non-native speakers of English and do not have a degree from a U.S. institution must pass the SPEAK test before they will be permitted to teach as Graduate Teaching Associates (position code 9183) or Graduate Teaching Assistants (position code 9184). The SPEAK test is not required for students who will be appointed as a Graduate Teaching Grader (position code 9187). Additional information including how to register for the test can be accessed through the Graduate Teaching section of the College of Graduate Studies student website.

GTA Performance Assessments

At the completion of each semester in which a student is employed as a GTA, the student’s faculty GTA supervisor will meet with the student and complete the GTA Performance Assessment Form. These assessments are intended to facilitate and document the mentoring of graduate student teachers, promoting a review and discussion of the strengths and weaknesses in the student’s performance in preparation for future employment.

Vacation and Leave Expectations

Expectations concerning vacations, days off and leave vary greatly depending upon the assistantship type and the details of the individual circumstances. Please speak to your supervisor at the beginning of your appointment to clarify what these expectations are.

International Students

For information about the types of employment available to international students, and the requirements and restrictions based on visa type, see the International Affairs and Global Strategies website: > Students > Employment.

Graduate Student Associations

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is UCF's graduate organization committed to enrich graduate students' personal, educational and professional experience. To learn more or get involved, please visit For individual department or graduate program organizations, please see program advisor.

Professional Development

Instructor Training and Development

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) promotes excellence in all levels of teaching at the University of Central Florida. To that end, they offer several programs for the professional development of Graduate Teaching Assistants at UCF.

  • GTA Training (mandatory for employment as a GTA) This training provides information and resources for students who will be instructors in a two-day workshop. The seminars cover a variety of topics, including course development, learning theories, lecturing, and academic freedom. Those interested in additional training can also attend an optional training session that normally follows the mandatory training.
  • Preparing Tomorrow's Faculty Program This certificate program (12-weeks) consists of group and individualized instruction by Faculty Center staff and experienced UCF professors. Textbooks and materials are provided.    

For more information> Events > GTA Programs or call 407-823-3544.

Instructional Strategies and Resources

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning provides classes and programs designed to assist graduate students with the educational issues they face in the classroom as teaching assistant or as instructors. These resources include assistance in course design and syllabi development, learning theories, and the use of different technologies in the classroom or on the internet. Further information on these resources is available at

Pathways to Success Workshops

Coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies, the Pathways to Success program  offers the following free development opportunities for graduate students including workshops in Academic Integrity, Graduate Grantsmanship, Graduate Teaching, Personal Development, Professional Development, and Research.  For more information and how to register, please visit  

Graduate Research Forum

The Research Forum will feature poster displays representing UCF’s diverse colleges and disciplines.

The Research Forum is an opportunity for students to showcase their research and creative projects and to receive valuable feedback from faculty judges. Awards for best poster presentation in each category will be given and all participants will receive recognition.

The College of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Student Association invite all UCF students, community, and employers to attend the Graduate Research Forum. For more information, contact  

Graduate Excellence Awards

Each year, the College of Graduate Studies offers graduate students who strive for academic and professional excellence the opportunity to be recognized for their work. The award categories include the following:  

Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant – This award is for students who provide teaching support and assistance under the direction of a lead teacher. This award focuses on the extent and quality of the assistance provided by the student to the lead instructor and the students in the class. (Not intended for students who are instructor of record)

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching – This award is for students who serve as instructors of record and have independent classroom responsibilities. The focus of this award is on the quality of the student’s teaching and the academic contributions of those activities.

Award for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis – It recognizes graduate students for excellence in the master's thesis. The focus of this award is on the quality and contribution of the student's thesis research. Excellence of the master's thesis may be demonstrated by evidence such as, but not limited to: publications in refereed journals, awards and recognitions from professional organizations, and praise from faculty members and other colleagues in the field. The university award will be forwarded to a national-level competition sponsored by the Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) when the thesis discipline corresponds to the annual submission request. 

For the nomination process and eligibility criteria, see the College of Graduate Studies administrative website:  


Students should take opportunities to present a poster or a topic of research at a conference. To obtain financial support to present at a conference (other than through your program) or to engage in comparable creative activity at a professional meeting, visit the Graduate Travel Fellowship section at

For information about the Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) thesis and dissertation awards, see their website:> Awards.

For grant-proposal writing resources: 

Job Search

UCF’s Career Services department offers a wide range of programs and services designed to assist graduate students. These services include evaluation and exploration of career goals, preparation for the job search and job search resources. To learn more, visit their website at

For specific services or resources provided by the academic program, please contact the graduate program director or academic advisor.


Useful Links