Q: What makes the AFI Conservatory different from a university program?
A: Each and every program is unique. AFI is based on a Conservatory model, which focuses the educational experience in a hands-on production environment. For example, during the first year, each Directing, Producing and Cinematography Fellow (student) has the opportunity to make three narrative projects; Editors work on up to six projects; Production Designers work on up to four; and Screenwriters write at least one of the narrative projects produced as well as commence work on a feature screenplay. The AFI Conservatory focuses training in the moving image arts.
Q: I do not have a Bachelor of Arts degree. Would I still be considered for admission?
A: Yes, you do not need a B.A. to apply to the AFI Conservatory. Upon successful completion of your program's requirements, you would be awarded a Certificate of Completion. Click here for Certificate of Completion gainful employment disclosures.
Q: My degree is unrelated to film, will I still qualify to study at the AFI Conservatory?
A: Although it is not required, applicants are recommended to have demonstrated experience and/or educational background relating to the discipline to which the applicant is applying. For example, Producing applicants may have a background or degree in business or economics and Production Design applicants may have a background or degree in architecture, theatre arts, graphic or fine arts, all of which are applicable to the desired discipline of study.
Q: May I apply to more than one discipline? Is it possible to enroll in more than one field of study?
A: The AFI Conservatory is designed for those who want to advance their craft in a specific discipline. Most applicants are committed to only one discipline, but yes, you may apply to more than one area of interest. You must submit a separate application (including a discipline-specific narrative statement, submission materials and application fee) for each discipline to which you wish to apply. Due to the collaborative nature of the program, successful applicants will be accepted into only one discipline.
Q: What submission materials are best to send with my application?
A: While each program will require examples of work specific to the chosen discipline, film submissions should be no more than 20 minutes in length (40 minutes total between the two samples), and personally demonstrate individual talent and ability. The AFI Conservatory focuses on narrative filmmaking; samples should also be narrative in format. Producer submissions can include a PDF of treatments or screenplays (20 pages maximum) that they feel display their narrative talent. Production Designer submissions should present strong evidence of their design process (i.e. - perspective, hand and computer model making skills) in their submitted portfolio. Refer to discipline requirements.
Q: I want to apply to the AFI Conservatory now, but I am only 19. The application states that all applicants are expected to be at least 21. How firm is that requirement?
A: Our program is very rigorous. The average age of Fellows is 27 and almost all have previous professional experience or an undergraduate degree in filmmaking. The maturity of the class guarantees their ability to collaborate and succeed with little introductory training. Also, due to the AFI on-set production insurance coverage and the lack of campus housing, adults are preferred. The AFI Conservatory does consider candidates who will be 21 by registration.
Q: How many individuals apply and how many are accepted?
A: The AFI Conservatory receives hundreds of applications each year. Enrollment is limited to 140 Fellows — 28 Cinematographers, 28 Directors, 14 Editors, 28 Producers, 14 Production Designers and 28 Screenwriters.
Q: Are scholarships and Financial Aid available at the AFI Conservatory?
A: The AFI Conservatory offers scholarship support to first and second year Fellows. For more information, please see the Scholarship page. Applicants are encouraged to actively explore all funding options and to research outside (non-AFI) scholarships, even before acceptance into the school, and to develop a plan to support the costs of graduate study for the duration of the program. Many outside scholarships can take up to one year to process. Applications for these scholarships should be submitted in advance of desired entry into the program. Please consult the Scholarship page for a list of outside scholarship opportunities.
Generally, Federal Direct student loans will make up the majority of aid eligibility at the AFI Conservatory. Typically, the Federal Direct Loan and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan have been the foundation of aid offered to graduate students. The Financial Aid page can provide more information on these loans.
Q: How do I apply for scholarships and Financial Aid at the AFI Conservatory? How do I know I am eligible?
A: There is no application for AFI scholarships to incoming Fellows; all first year applicants are considered for scholarships as part of their discipline application. The scholarship selection is determined by the AFI Conservatory Financial Aid and Awards Committee with advisement from select scholarship donors on a case-by-case basis. Outside (non-AFI) scholarships are also available for graduate study. Applicants must research these opportunities individually. Deadlines to apply vary. Please see the Scholarship page for more information.
To be eligible for Federal Direct student loans, applicants must either be citizens or permanent residents of the United States and among other federal requirements, must not have a current federal student loan default on record. The Financial Aid page can provide more information on these loans.
Q: What are the deadlines to apply for scholarships and Financial Aid and when will I hear if I am awarded anything?
A: Applicants will generally be notified of financial aid the month following acceptance into the Conservatory. All scholarships are awarded prior to the Fall term.
Q: Does the AFI Conservatory accept international applicants and what is required?
A: About a third of our Fellows are international and are from all over the world. Our international admission requirements only differ in providing English proficiency — a TOEFL or IELTS score is required. Please refer to the admissions requirements for international applicants. Also, if transcripts are submitted, applicants must include an original (no copies) plus an official English translation (if applicable). Please refer to the transcripts section of the admissions requirements.
Q: I applied last year and was not accepted to the AFI Conservatory. Should I reapply?
A: Yes, and you are encouraged to do so. It is strongly recommended that you reapply only if you have new work to submit and if your experience or submission materials have enhanced your qualifications.
Please note, you may not apply more than three times to the same program if you receive unfavorable results (i.e. not selected).
Q: I've heard conflicting information about Fellows transitioning into the second year. Is it true that AFI only allows a small fraction of its first year students to continue to their second year?
A: At the end of the first year, all Fellows are provided with an "end-of-year" portfolio review, which provides an overall evaluation of the Fellow's work during the first year. All Fellows are reviewed within their disciplines by the Senior Filmmakers-in-Residence and faculty. Fellows are evaluated on the basis of the quality of the work completed during the reviewed period, attendance and participation in the program, collaboration, professional attitude and creative potential. As with other graduate-level programs, continuation is based on the faculty's overall evaluation of progress and potential; a Fellow will be invited to continue in the MFA/Certificate program by decision of the faculty.
Q: Does the AFI Conservatory have rolling admissions entry for Spring? Can I apply after December 1?
A: We only have Fall entry. Our rolling admissions policy is for applications in Editing, Producing and Production Design – those disciplines' applications are open on a continual basis until the class is full. Applications completed earlier have a better chance to be considered for scholarships and a position in the class.
Q: Does the AFI Conservatory accept Veteran Administrations' benefits?
A: Yes, we do. We accept all chapters of veterans benefits. However, at this time, we do not participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. For more information, please contact the Registrar's Office at 323.856.7698.
Q: May I visit the AFI Conservatory?
A: Yes, you are welcome to visit the campus and we offer campus tours on Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. The AFI Conservatory campus tours consist of an overview of our Master's film school programs. Guests get to see the facilities and get a better understanding of the six disciplines and what it offers to prospective candidates who are interested in Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. You may e-mail the Admissions Office at CampusTours@AFI.com to RSVP. Regular office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, during the academic year. We also have a virtual tour of the AFI campus on our website at AFI.edu.