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Frequently asked questions about the cinema arts portfolio requirements and submission process

  1. How many students apply and are admitted into the cinema arts department each year?
  2. Does the creative sample for the portfolio require a film-related sample (short film, screenplay, animated short, etc.)?
  3. Once I submit my portfolio, what happens after that?
  4. How much film, animation and visual effects and/or screenwriting experience/training should a prospective student have prior to attending Point Park?
  5. Does the cinema arts department offer scholarship and work study money to students?
  6. What should I expect from the curriculum within the cinema arts department?
  7. As a transfer student, how many years should I expect it to take to complete a degree within the cinema arts department?
  8. Can I double major or declare a minor?
  9. Do I need to bring a camera, editing or animation software with me when I start at Point Park?
  10. What is the average size of cinema production, animation and visual effects and screenwriting classes at Point Park?
  11. Does the cinema department provide budget money for student films?
  12. What are the advantages that Pittsburgh will add to my education?
  13. How does Point Park help graduating seniors with career employment?
  14. Have student films screened at film festivals?
  15. Would Point Park University own the creative work I make as a student within the program?

How many students apply and are admitted into the cinema arts department each year?

The number of students who apply to the different cinema arts programs fluctuates each year. On average, the cinema department receives nearly 300 applications for approximately 90 spaces.

Does the creative sample for the portfolio require a film-related sample (short film, screenplay, animated short, etc.)?

No. If you have a short film, animation project, digital arts piece or script that you want to submit, that's great. However, we are also interested in looking at anything you've done creatively. This could include poetry, a short story, music, photographs, etc. We really want to see something artistic that has come from you.

Once I submit my portfolio, what happens after that?

Upon receipt, cinema arts portfolios are reviewed by the faculty within the program you have applied to in the department. Applicants will be notified of artistic decision and possible artistic achievement award as academic and artistic decisions are made. The cinema arts faculty reserve the right to request a phone or in-person interview as necessary.

How much film, animation and visual effects and/or screenwriting experience/training should a prospective student have prior to attending Point Park?

You are not required to have any film, animation and visual effects and/or screenwriting experience prior to entering the cinema arts department. If you do have experience in one or more areas of cinema production, this will help you become acclimated to the technology more quickly.

Does the cinema arts department offer scholarship and work study money to students?

More than 75 percent of cinema arts students receive scholarship and apprenticeship money.

Please note: apprenticeships are offered to students within the cinema arts department based on an application and interview process. Apprenticeships are job-related award and students are hired based on the skills for the available apprenticeship positions available each school year. The student will be expected to work a set number of hours per week in exchange for a monthly stipend.

What should I expect from the curriculum within the cinema arts department?

Our program includes an intensive curriculum that requires all of our students to collaborate with fellow students on projects, meet strict deadlines, communicate in class through critiques and discussions, and share artistic work in a public setting through either readings, presentations or screenings. To successfully complete this program in a timely manner, we recommend all of our students hold full-time status.

As a transfer student, how many years should I expect it to take to complete a degree within the cinema arts department?

All of our B.F.A. programs in the cinema arts department are sequential and demanding, and therefore we require all students — including transfer students — to complete all four years of our program.

The B.A. programs in the cinema arts department are still sequential and demanding, but do not require a thesis and have some flexibility when it comes to completion. Depending on the number of transfer credits brought into Point Park University from your previous school, it is still safe to anticipate being in the program for at least three years.

Transfer credits for cinema arts related courses will be considered on a case-by-case basis, only if the student has earned a B or better for the course, and the course meets with faculty approval (based on review of the previous institution’s syllabi and course descriptions).

Can I double major or declare a minor?

Due to the intensity and rigor of our program, a double major can be pursued, but the student should expect to take more time to complete both degrees — usually one or two additional semesters. Minors are available in many of the programs, and we encourage our students to pursue additional interests.

Do I need to bring a camera, editing or animation software with me when I start at Point Park?

No. The cinema arts department provides all the cameras, lighting, equipment and computer labs with required software that you'll need while in the program.

What is the average size of cinema production, animation and visual effects and screenwriting classes at Point Park?

The average ratio for cinema production, animation, and screenwriting workshop classes is 15:1, and most advanced production, animation and writing classes have a class ratio of 10:1.

Does the cinema department provide budget money for student films?

The department does provide a production budget to students who take CINE 350: Production 3, CINE 451/452: Production 4 (Thesis), and DIGI 451/452: Animation (Thesis).

What are the advantages that Pittsburgh will add to my education?

Other than great locations to use for productions, whether it is an inner-city story or a quick escape to the rural surroundings, Pittsburgh has become a magnet for feature film and television production. The city has the largest sound stage on the East Coast and hosts many productions that students can work on in multiple production and post-production positions.

How does Point Park help graduating seniors with career employment?

From the beginning of freshman year, each cinema, animation and screenwriting student is assigned a career counselor in the Career Development Center to work with throughout his or her years at Point Park. In conjunction with the Career Development Center the cinema department helps students obtain internships and employment with production companies and productions in Pittsburgh, as well as in Los Angeles and New York. We also hold a number of public screenings of student work.

Have student films screened at film festivals?

Yes. Student work has been screened at national and international film festivals. 

Would Point Park University own the creative work I make as a student within the program?

All intellectual property is retained by the student, as is any income made from distribution of that work. In exchange for total ownership, students grant Point Park University the right to use their work to promote the cinema arts department.