Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree in Cinematic and Media Arts


Program Description

Compass College of Cinematic Arts offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree in Cinematic and Media Arts, combining an intensive, applied study of the film and media art creation process with four concentrations: Executive Producing, Writing, Post-production and Acting. This program is designed for students who are looking to work for a major studio such as Warner Brothers, Disney, Pixar or Paramount, where a Bachelor's Degree is required. It’s also an excellent choice if you are an entrepreneur looking to build your own production company or multimedia business, or work in corporate marketing or multimedia agencies.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts program is a minimum of 120 credit hours and starts immediately training students in film and media arts production. You'll start from day one learning the art of narrative storytelling and how to transfer this skill into a screenplay or other forms. You'll learn producing, equipment, lighting and film aesthetics. From there, you'll move on to classes focused on pre-production, post-production, cinematography and directing.

If you choose to participate in the acting track, you’ll also get right to work studying different acting techniques and refining your natural skill in classes like Voice and Movement and Acting for the Camera. Plus, you’ll gain hours of on-camera experience as you act in the many film projects being created each semester!

At the end of the semester, you and your classmates will compete to pitch a story to the school studio for the Capstone project. You'll develop scripts and make bids for positions on the project’s set. Then it’s quiet on the set while the best stories get made into a film. Just like it's done in the real world - real budgets, casting calls and location searches. After the final wrap, you’ll experience your work in a public film premiere event, where all the projects are reviewed and critiqued.

And that’s just the first year in the B.F.A. program.

During the next two years, you’ll spend countless hours on film sets, learning and practising the craft of great storytelling. Depending upon your interests and concentration of study, you'll move into deeper tracks of story, production or post-production. You will absorb theHow do I apply?FAQsProgram Objectives latest information on ways to reach your audience through writing, marketing and other benchmark business practices while still connected to film projects on campus. Your hands-on training continues, making your skills and talents valuable in any visual media channel.

The program wraps up with an internship. And’s time to begin your new journey as a respected Compass College of Cinematic Arts graduate. You will have earned it.

Program Objectives: B.F.A. Degree

Compass College's primary education goal is to train students in filmmaking and media arts, giving them the creative tools needed to succeed in the entertainment industry. CCCA's story-centric curriculum and instruction are integrated, project focused, and hands-on. Through this comprehensive approach, students learn and apply the process of writing and production and the elements needed to be successful in the film and media arts industry. To accomplish this, CCCA provides a variety of program objectives for our students.

Compass College's B.F.A. program provides students with the necessary competencies for employment, first, by understanding the film and media production elements, second, by engaging in deeper study around a specific track of study (Executive Producing, Post-Production, or Story), and third, by practising the elements through hands-on learning. Some of the skills students will learn in this program include the ability to:

  • Create a film from concept to creation and provide a screening for family, friends and the general public.
  • Function as a contributing member of a production team.
  • Understand the relationship between filmmaking communication and culture.
  • Build key relationships with class members, alumni, and professionals.
  • Understand the basic requirements of each primary film department head: Writer, Executive Producer, Unit Production Manager, Director, 1st Assistant Director, Director of Photography, Gaffer, Field Sound, Art Director, and Key Grip.
  • Build and practice skill sets needed for employment and further academic learning, such as: - Communicating and networking in a professional setting - Problem-solving - Expressing creative ideas clearly - Collaborating with and/or leading team members in specific tasks - Ability to research and confirm topics and ideas - Setting goals - both personal and professional - Appreciating ideas and opinions contributed by individuals.
  • Critically examine visual media and other art forms and relate them to their life and work.
  • Communicate in a clear, professional, and concise manner.
  • Examine domestic and global cultures from different perspectives, such as marketing and religion.
  • Raise their skill level in a chosen speciality (Executive Producing, Post-Production, Story).
  • Build and practice skill sets needed for employment and further academic learning, such as:
    • Develop a professional demo reel and/or portfolio of work
    • Synthesize information into creative ideas in a team setting
    • Achieve goals in a realistic timeline

Frequently Asked Questions: B.F.A. Degree

What degree will I have after completing the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program?

You will receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree in Cinematic and Media Arts.

Why should I pursue a B.F.A. degree?

Not only will a B.F.A. degree from Compass College provide you with deeper knowledge, skills, and experience in the industry you want to enter, it will open more opportunities for employment and career growth.

What type of classes will I be taking?

The B.F.A. program provides you with a broader base of knowledge and the opportunity to specialize in a specific discipline. You may choose between Executive Producing, Post-Production, Story (writing), and Acting. Each concentration has a set of courses specific to advancing your knowledge in a particular area. Depending on which concentration you choose, you schedule may have room for a few electives where you can choose to take classes from a different concentration that interests you. For complete information and course descriptions, please visit our College Catalog.

You keep mentioning these different "concentrations." How do I learn more about my options? As mentioned, in the B.F.A. program, you will be able to choose a specific concentration area: Executive Producing, Post-Production, Story, or Acting. To learn more, visit our College Catalog. Course descriptions for the B.F.A. concentrations begin on page 15.

How many credits do I need to complete to graduate with a B.F.A. degree? Students will complete 60 credit hours during their first year of studies at Compass College (freshman/sophomore year - typically completed in two years at any other college). Another 60 credits are required during the final two years, totalling 120 credits overall.

How many credits will I take each semester?

A full-time, accelerated student will take 60 credits during the first year, equaling approximately 22 credits the first term, 24 credits the second term, and 16 credits the third term. During the second and third years, a full-time student will take 12-16 credits per semester. Classes also are available a la carte.

How long does it take to complete the program?

This depends on whether you complete the first year (60 credits) in the 12-month track or if you extend that to the 24-month track. After you've completed the first year (in either 12 or 24 months), it will take approximately five additional semesters at a full-time pace to complete the remainder of the B.F.A. program.

Does Compass College accept transfer credits from other colleges?

Yes, on a case-by-case basis. If you previously attended another college, please have your transcripts sent to Compass College and complete and return this form to the CCCA Registrar's Office. If you have other questions, please call our Registrar's Office at 616.988.1000.

Does Compass College accept Advance Placement (AP) class credits that I took during high school?

Compass College will grant credit for scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the AP tests. To receive credit, the student must request that the College Board send score reports to the Compass College Office of Admissions. To learn more about how credits apply, we encourage you to review our AP Equivalency Chart. If you have other questions, please call our Registrar's Office at 616.988.1000.

What is the tuition for the B.F.A. program?

Cost of tuition is available on our Financial Aid page or by calling the Financial Aid Office at 616.988.1000.

Is Financial Aid available?

Yes, financial aid is available. You will need to complete a FAFSA (available in January for the upcoming school year) to allow the Financial Aid Office to put together an award package for you.

Will I be able to complete an internship as a part of the program? Yes. The capstone to the B.F.A. program is the internship course. You will be required to complete a minimum of 135 clock hours at an internship, as well as participate in group meetings and other written course work.

Application Requirements

Compass College of Cinematic Arts accepts applications from students who are eager to learn the process of filmmaking and who have the drive to implement the skills they develop. Admission takes place on a rolling basis until all cohort seats are filled. However, priority consideration will be given to applicants who have completed their portfolio and application before April 1. Applications received after April 1 will be considered if space is available. You are welcome to call and check on availability at any time.

We currently offer one start date during the year - September - but there is no sense in waiting to apply! If you are a high school senior or beyond, don't wait! If filmmaking is your passion and you know it, it's never to early to submit your application for review. Applications are available for download now.

A complete application includes:

  1. An application form completed by and signed by the student

  2. Non-refundable $25 application fee

  3. Official high school transcript (with graduation date) or proof of completion of GED

  4. College transcript(s) from previously attended colleges or universities (Students must complete this form if they desire to transfer credits in from another institution)

  5. ACT or SAT test scores (CCCA's ACT code is 6098, and SAT code is 5933)

  6. Two essays (250+ words each)

  7. Academic Recommendation Form

  8. Character Recommendation Form

  9. Portfolio of creative work related to film and non-film work

  10. An in-person or phone interview with a CCCA Admissions Representative

When all admission requirements have been satisfied, applicants will receive a written notice of their program acceptance status. An admissions committee reviews applications and the applicant is notified of his or her acceptance status within four weeks of the completion of application requirements. CCCA reserves the right to chance the application minimums and requirements at any time.

Portfolio Requirements

The purpose of the portfolio is to allow the staff and faculty at Compass College to get a sense of who you are and where you are on your journey as an artist. It is meant to show us your creative and artistic talents and to share your experiences with us. Don't be shy. Now is the time to show off your best work!

A complete portfolio should include the following:

  1. A minimum of two film-related items. This can include any films, scripts, treatments, documentaries, music videos, production sketches and/or storyboards, etc.

  2. A minimum of two non-film related, creative items: This can include photography, painting, sculpture, poetry, creative writing, building, music, or other creative venture.

Please include comments regarding the position you held in each project (i.e. writer, editor, actor, photographer, director, etc.). Each item of your portfolio should also be labelled with your name. The admissions review committee does consider the presentation of the portfolio (hand-written vs typed, loose papers vs binder/folder, etc.).

Note: Please do not include flash-drives, original pieces of artwork or photography, etc. that you desire to have returned to you, as we cannot be responsible for original materials. Instead of original pieces, we invite the applicant to submit film-related work on a DVD or via internet links. Non-film related work (sculpture, paintings, etc.) may be photographed, and the photographs may be submitted in place of the original item. Submitting pieces in this way will not effect the outcome of the admission team decision.

Portfolios may be submitted in a variety of ways:


United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, or another carrier All media, including scripts and creative writing, may be submitted on one DVD (not required, may be submitted separately, if desired).

Note: Please make sure to confirm that all media is on the submitted discs and that all discs are clearly labelled with the applicant's name and contact information. Please also remember that the applicant is required to submit comments regarding the position held on each project. This may be included as a document on the disc or a separate sheet of paper included with the disc.


You may e-mail portfolio materials to the Admissions Office. Please use .pdf or .jpeg formats and clearly title each document in the following format: lastname_firstname_nameofapplicationcomponent (i.e. Essay, Film Related, etc.) You may also send us links to online video materials using Vimeo or YouTube.

Last updated Jan 2018

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About the School

Welcome to a college that is different than any other school you’ve ever experienced. We are the only conservatory-style, interdenominational college in the nation whose curriculum is specific to the ... Read More

Welcome to a college that is different than any other school you’ve ever experienced. We are the only conservatory-style, interdenominational college in the nation whose curriculum is specific to the entertainment industry. With a unique, performance-based curriculum, we’re defined by the quality of filmmaking education we offer and by the successes of our alumni. Read less