University of Southern California

School of Cinematic Arts

The Peter Stark Producing Program

Master of Fine Arts

The Peter Stark Producing Program is a two-year (four semester) full-time graduate program.

Approximately 24 Peter Stark Program students are enrolled each fall (there are no spring admissions). The curriculum places equal emphasis on the creative and the managerial, to enhance and develop artistic skills and judgment while providing a sound background in business essentials. Each course is continually updated to ensure that the Stark program remains responsive to the needs of our students and the ever-changing film, television and new media landscape, and prepare students for careers as creative decision-makers in those fields.

A minimum of 44 units of 500-level courses is required for the Peter Stark Producing Program leading to the MFA degree. There are no electives; all Stark students take the same classes at the same time in a mandated sequence. In CMPP 541ab, first-year students get hands-on filmmaking experience, working on collaborative projects in different roles. Projects are shot and edited digitally. Equipment is provided by the school.

The thesis completion requirement is a detailed plan for a film, documentary, television or webseries project comprising a developed script and notes for improvement, a schedule, budget assumptions and a marketing/distribution plan.

The completion of an entertainment industry internship of at least eight weeks, at some point in the program, is a requirement for graduation. One possible way of doing this is the summer internship program (in the summer between the two years) in which the Stark program solicits paid internships for students at film, television and new media companies. However, though the program has been fortunate in securing enough paid positions in the past, they are dependent on how many companies sign up, so the paid summer internships are not guaranteed. Therefore, students often find internships (some paid, some unpaid) on their own or through opportunities the program receives, during the two-year program.

During the second year, Peter Stark Producing Program students have an opportunity to initiate and produce a 20-minute short film financed by the program. Projects are selected on a competitive basis.

Films must be produced by a Stark student or team of two Stark students. Each Stark student may only perform one major task on the film, i.e., director or writer or producer. Each team has a professional adviser available as needed.

Inquiries regarding the program should be addressed to: The Peter Stark Program, USC School of Cinematic Arts, University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2211. Telephone (213) 740-3304, FAX (213) 745-6652 or email .

Two-Year Requirements for the MFA in Producing for Film, Television, and New Media

Year One, First Semester Units
CMPP 541a Producing Workshop 4
CMPP 548 Introduction to Producing for Television 2
CMPP 550 Script Analysis for the Producer 2
CMPP 563 Producing Symposium 1
CMPP 589a Graduate Film Business Seminar 3
Year One, Second Semester Units
CMPP 541b Producing Workshop 4
CMPP 560 Script Development 2
CMPP 568 Producing for Television 2
CMPP 589b Graduate Film Business Seminar 4
Year Two, First Semester Units
CMPP 561 Motion Picture and Television Marketing 2
CMPP 565 Scheduling and Budgeting 4
CMPP 566 Finance 2
CMPP 571 Producing the Screenplay 2
Year Two, Second Semester Units
CMPP 564 Digital Media and Entertainment 2
CMPP 569 Seminar on Non-Mainstream Producing 2
CMPP 570 Advanced Television 2
CMPP 592 Individual Project Seminar 4

Grade Point Average Requirement

An overall GPA of 3.0 (A = 4.0) is required for graduation. Courses in which a grade of C- (1.7) or lower is earned will not apply toward a graduate course. A grade of C-, D or F in any course may be cause for termination.

Time Limit

Students must maintain satisfactory progress toward their master’s degrees at all times. The degree must be completed three years after the beginning of graduate work at USC.