Master of Fine Arts in Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts

The Department of Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) Graduate Program is a premier program designed for students pursuing an advanced education in media arts, whether it be in television and radio production, writing, business, management, digital and multimedia production and content delivery, or pedagogy. This broad, theory-driven approach is designed to encourage students to think critically about the many facets of the media industry, the content they produce, and the impact it has on our culture and communities. BECA graduate students can pursue one of two degree options:

The 30-unit, two-year MA in Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts reflects a comprehensive view of communication arts with an integration of theory and practice. The purpose of the MA is to offer students the opportunity to engage in advanced academic inquiry and scholarship in broadcast, electronic, and digital media, and to critically apply this knowledge to media and other fields. Candidates can choose from two culminating experiences: the comprehensive examination or a thesis.

The 60-unit, three-year MFA in Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts complements the department’s 30-unit MA degree. The purpose of the MFA is to prepare students to practice and teach in the field. It emphasizes the academic intersection between theory, research, and practice. The culminating experience is a creative project, the possibilities of which can be television or radio scripts, fully produced television, podcasts, or radio programs, sound recording and design, and social media producing and marketing. ALL MFA students are expected to develop a personal aesthetic and develop conceptual clarity to include distribution (getting their work in front of audiences).

The degree path for all MFA students includes three foundation areas:

  1. Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Theory, History and Criticism
  2. Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Practice
  3. Pedagogy in the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts

Individualized programs for the BECA MFA degree are designed in consultation with the graduate advisor.

Graduate students admitted conditionally to the MFA program will submit a portfolio for a creative project in their second year of study. If the faculty does not approve the portfolio, the student may apply to transfer to the MA program and graduate after completing all required MA coursework and the comprehensive exam. If the portfolio is approved, coursework from the MA program is applied to the MFA degree. The student will complete a third and final year to earn the MFA.

Admissions Requirements:

San Francisco State University requires applicants to graduate programs to have a GPA of 3.0 or better. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in all areas related to the media arts will be considered. Applicants who do not meet these criteria may petition the department for admission.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Each graduate student must demonstrate the ability to write standard American English correctly and effectively. To assure that each graduate student has the desired proficiency in written English, two distinct assessments are made:

Level One (Preadmission)

Level One writing is demonstrated with an Analytical Writing score on the GRE of 4.5 or higher. Students who fail to demonstrate Level One writing preadmission may be admitted conditionally but will be required to take a department-administered writing test during the first week of their first semester. If they fail to pass this writing test, they will be required to take remedial writing courses before enrolling in 700-level or 800- level courses other than BECA 700 and BECA 702. The remedial writing classes cannot be used on the ATC. This requirement may delay the student’s progress through the program.

Level Two

Advanced level of writing proficiency is demonstrated by successfully completing the MFA proposal and the analysis document that accompanies the creative project.

Required Admission Materials

Applications to the department graduate program must upload the following items in Cal State Apply:

  1. A resumé or CV that summarizes your education, experience, specialized and general skills, awards, and recognitions.
  2. A personal statement (500 word maximum) that discusses why you are choosing this program, your aspirations as a media arts practitioner, your creative and theoretical influences (other artists, scholars, theorists, as well as personal experiences), and your goals upon completion of the BECA MFA.
  3. A treatment, script, or script outline that demonstrates your ability to conceptualize and articulate a media art project in written form.
  4. A digital portfolio of partial or completed media projects designed to demonstrates how you present yourself and your work.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from individuals that can attest to the quality of past work, future potential, fit with our program, and areas of interest or specialization that warrant our attention. At least one of these letters should be from a former professor
  6. Unofficial transcripts from all previous schools.

International Students

The department welcomes applications from international students. Many distinguished alumni of the program are working in media industries around the world. International students should note the special requirements that pertain to them presented on these pages. Questions should be directed to the BECA graduate coordinator, the Office of International Programs, or the Division of Graduate Studies.

Transfer of Units

Applicants who have completed previous graduate work in electronic media arts may apply to transfer up to 12 post-baccalaureate units from another university into the MFA program. Transfer units are approved on a case-by-case basis by the graduate coordinator. These units cannot have been used to earn another degree.

Advancement to Candidacy

In order to advance to candidacy, applicants must be in classified graduate standing and have an approved ATC form on file.

Culminating Experience

The MFA culminating experience must be a creative project, the scope of which is defined by the student in collaboration with a committee of three faculty members. The project may take the form of a production created for the broadcast and/or streaming of electronic and digital media, a script for such a production, or another type of product that employs broadcast, electronic, or digital media.

In the second year of graduate studies, students who are ready to begin the MFA Creative Project must submit:

  1. A portfolio with 3-5 comprehensive examples of past work or work in progress. These samples should be in the media formats intended for the creative project. However, samples of additional creative work outside the area of focus are also acceptable.
  2. A proposal for the culminating experience creative project. The proposal should include a rationale, theoretical foundation, methods, production schedule, and evidence that the student has the resources and skills to complete the creative project.

Learning Outcomes

PLO #1. Demonstrate mastery of aesthetics, production, and writing for and about broadcast and electronic media.

SLO #1: Students will write critiques of professional broadcast and electronic media programs.
SLO #2: Students will write treatments and scripts for broadcast and electronic media programs.
SLO #3: Students will demonstrate advanced skills in broadcast and electronic media production.

PLO #2. Apply appropriate theory to the creation and evaluation of broadcast and electronic media storytelling.

SLO #4: Students will write literature reviews that evaluate and synthesize relevant theory and research concerning effective broadcast and electronic media storytelling.
SLO #5: Students will apply relevant theory to the analysis of broadcast and electronic media programs.

PLO #3. Conduct original research on the effects and role of broadcast and electronic media in society.

SLO #6: Students will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of broadcast and electronic media theory and research.
SLO #7: Individually and in groups, students will conduct original research about the role of broadcast and electronic media in society.
SLO #8: Students will write original research papers and submit them to academic conferences.

PLO #4. Analyze the ethical, legal, and business practices in broadcast and electronic media.

SLO #8: Students will employ theories of media processes to understand the way broadcast and electronic media function in society.
SLO #9: Students will apply ethical theories and professional codes of conduct to the evaluation of broadcast & electronic media activities.
SLO #10: Students will develop the skills to secure funding for broadcast & electronic media content production and distribution.

PLO #5. Apply pedagogical theory to the teaching of broadcast and electronic media.

SLO #11: Students will apply principles of media literacy and pedagogical theory to the development of materials for teaching broadcast and electronic media.
SLO #12: Students will evaluate undergraduate papers and productions in broadcast and electronic media.
SLO #13: Students will present lectures in undergraduate classes in broadcast and electronic media.

PLO #6. Create broadcast and electronic media content grounded in principles of social justice. SLO #14: Students will explore the cultural and social justice implications of broadcast and electronic media production, distribution, and economics.

SLO #15: Students will consider social justice implications of the broadcast and electronic media content they produce.
SLO #16: Students will evaluate professionally produced broadcast and electronic media productions for stereotypes and social justice implications.

Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (M.F.A.) – 60 units minimum

Core Requirements (45 units)

BECA 700Introduction to Graduate Study3
BECA 701Formula and Creativity in the Public Arts3
BECA 702Ethics and Responsibility in Electronic Media3
BECA 706Seminar in Media Aesthetics and Production Theory3
BECA 750Seminar in Developing and Funding Productions for Electronic Media3
BECA 752Seminar in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Pedagogy3
BECA 822Seminar in Media and Society3
BECA 852Directed Experience in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Education3
BECA 876Graduate Internship3
Take the following courses twice for a total of 6 units each18
Seminar in Electronic Media Production
Research for Thesis and Creative Project Proposals
Independent Study

Electives (12 units)

  • Electives may include two upper-division undergraduate courses, as approved.
  • Electives may include a graduate class from another department, as approved.
  • One elective class (3 units) must be a graduate seminar that focuses on media writing, such as but not limited to:
BECA 770Media Writing and Performance3
BECA 870Seminar in Television Dramatic Writing3

Other possible electives include:

BECA 7073
BECA 725Television and Video Program Design3
BECA 735Aesthetics of Sound3
BECA 746Electronic Field Production II3
BECA 790Seminar in New Electronic Communication Technologies3

Culminating Experience (3 units)

BECA 894Creative Work Project3

Additional Requirements

• Students must submit a portfolio for review in year two to their Committee Chair.

• Students must submit the ATC in year three, prior to registering for BECA 894

BECA 701, BECA 702, BECA 706, and BECA 822 must be completed within the first three semesters.

• A portion of the Culminating Experience proposal must be completed and approved by the 894 committee chair to complete BECA 897 the first time. Students must defend the full Culminating Experience proposal to pass BECA 897 the second time.