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MFA in Documentary Film and Video Admissions

Stanford University is committed to building a diverse student population. To that end, we encourage applications from students of all ethnic and economic backgrounds.

The program is intensive and requires residency for two consecutive years. The admissions committee seeks applicants who are highly motivated, have some work experience beyond their undergraduate years, and can articulate why they want to learn documentary film and video production. The committee looks for evidence of the likelihood of success in an academically demanding program that emphasizes creative work. The conceptual and technical skills required for documentary work are sufficiently different from fictional narrative to make the Stanford program inappropriate for students interested in narrative filmmaking.

University Application Materials

The application  for admission  as well as general information about applying is available from the Graduate Admissions website, please visit  to Graduate Admissions to apply. Prior to applying you must first determine if you are eligible - application eligibility (undergraduate degree requirements)

Prospective students may begin to apply late September (please verify this date on the Graduate Admissions website).   The following documents are required by the university and can not be waived,  please click on the links for more detailed information about each:

  • GRE scores (required for ALL applicants - scores expire after five years)

* Please note - application materials will not be returned nor released to another institution, please keep a copy for your own record.*


Portfolio Requirement

In addition to the above university application materials, applicants must submit an online portfolio.  Your portfolio must be submitted through Slide Room: There will be a $6.00 fee.  Please follow the instructions on how to upload your portfolio (online tutorial provided). If possible, we would like to screen a film or video work for which the applicant has had creative control. The work must be well labeled and accompanied by a brief synopsis, running time of the clips, and the applicant's creative role. Total running time for the work sample should not exceed 15 minutes and may consist of more than one project. Please do not submit work on which the applicant had only a "production assistant" role. You may submit student work.  Applicants who have had only minimal film or video production experience should submit an example of their best creative work, in any visual medium.  Please note we do not save or return portfolios.
* Please note - application materials will not be returned to applicant nor released to another institution, please keep a copy for your own record.  Re-applicants must submit new supporting documents and complete the online application as outlined above. Only prior official test scores can be reactivated.


For admission in Fall 2016, all application materials must be received by Tuesday, December 8, 2015 to the Department of Art & Art History. 
  • All materials required to be submitted electronically must be uploaded by 9pm Pacific Time on the application deadline date.
  • Please allow extra time to upload your portfolio materials to SlideRoom, in case of any technical difficulties (late applications will not be accepted).

Selection Process

The application review takes place between mid-February and mid-March; applicants are notified by email of their status by March 15th. Accepted students are admitted for the following Autumn Quarter; no applicants for mid-year entrance will be considered.  You will be contacted via e-mail regarding your application status after the deadline; please do not contact the Department.

Start Your Application