School of Cinema and Media Arts


The mission of the School of Cinema and Media Arts Department is to develop a community that supports students exploring and expressing their faith and ideas with ever increasing creative and technical skills through the mastering of visual storytelling, entrepreneurial principles and critical reflection of media, inspiring these students to become leaders in the field.


The Biola School of Cinema and Media Arts is at the world's center for the development, creation, distribution and study of film, television and media. Since its founding in 1978 the media arts program has offered outstanding instruction and practice and now counts over 1,000 alumni in all areas of the entertainment industry and media production. The program has over 10,000 square feet of production space. A post-production computer lab will open Fall 2020 and a new 56,000 square foot media arts building is under development. The School of Cinema and Media Arts was designated Biola’s ninth school in July, 2018. 

Thanks to its location in Los Angeles county, the Studio Zone and nearby Orange County, students have unparalleled access to film, television, animation and video game agencies, libraries, producers and production companies.

The School of Cinema and Media Arts recognizes that a student can only truly excel in a chosen area of expertise through exposure to all elements of the art form, liberal arts, and a theological foundation. Consequently, there is an emphasis on cross-disciplinary work such as cinematographers writing stories, Cinema and Media Arts majors are the largest group in the Torrey Honors Institute, and all majors take a variety of Bible courses. 

Cinema and Media Arts is currently composed of four areas of study: media production, writing for film and television, producing, and game design.

Applicants to the School of Cinema and Media Arts must submit a supplemental application and materials in addition to admission to Biola University. Please review the Cinema and Media Arts Admissions web page for more information.

Office of Cinema and Media Arts

The Office of Cinema and Media Arts serves the students and faculty of the program and is responsible for the development and day-today operations of the school. It is the starting point for all student services except for specific course related questions. The office is located in Perez Hall, and contact information for office staff and faculty can be found on the Cinema and Media Arts web page.

Student Resources

Torrey Honors Institute

The Torrey Honors Institute is Biola's undergraduate honors program. Cinema and Media Arts has the largest enrollment within this program. Combining media studies with honors studies has produced some of our most successful graduates. Torrey Honors is distinct for its great books focus, small, discussion-only classes and one-on-one faculty mentoring. The program replaces most of the core curriculum and Bible requirements. giving you the opportunity to read and discuss hundreds of classic works to fuel your imagination and refine your storytelling. For more information and to apply, visit the Torrey Honors web page.


Internships are crucial for transition from college to career. A minimum of 3-units of internship are required for every major. This can be three 1-unit internships, one 3-unit internships or any combination in between. Up to six units of internship can count toward graduation. The most prestigious internships are highly competitive and have submission deadlines and application materials that require extensive preparation. Contact the Internship Office in the Cinema and Media Arts Office or the Career Success Office in the university’s Student Success department which also includes a peer internship advisor. With the proximity to the entertainment and gaming industries, students have access to internships at some of the largest and most influential studios and production companies.

Study Abroad Programs

Biola students can participate in a number of pre-approved off-campus programs. With these programs your tuition and most of your financial aid package remains the same as if you were on campus. For more information an applications visit the Study Abroad web page. Historically the programs of most interest to students in the School of Cinema and Media Arts have been:

  • Biola London - Students enroll in a full semester of courses at Roehampton University in London. Courses can include general studies, media studies, media production or almost any other course you would find at a university. 

  • Los Angeles Film Studies Program - Students live, intern, and take film classes in the heart of Hollywood. The program is designed to accommodate significant internship opportunities in close proximity to major studios. 

  • Contemporary Music Center - A semester in Nashville with the opportunity to focus on music recording, artist performance or music industry management.


Greenlight is the process for students to reserve equipment for projects that are not part of regular course assignments. See the department for information on starting the process which works through script submission, production schedule, budget, insurance, permits and other necessary logistics. 

School of Cinema and Media Arts Scholarships

The school offers a small number of scholarships each year based on need and merit. Applications are due approximately March 1 for the following academic year. 

Film Festival Relations

Students are encouraged to submit their work to appropriate festivals and competitions. Each semester grants are awarded to assist students with strategy and submissions.

Cinema and Media Arts Chapel

Cinema and Media Arts students and faculty meet monthly for a unique time of worship, fellowship and exploration of the abilities and calling God has granted to us and others. A wide range of special guests and experiences makes this family time an essential part of our growth as an artistic community.

Student Clubs

The Cinema and Media Arts departments supports student clubs based on interests, passions, and pursuits. Each club allows students to interact outside of the classroom setting to discuss films, evaluate each other's work, and collaborate. Examples of current clubs are The Essentials Film Club and Weekend Film Club

Student Newsletter Archive

The Office of Cinema and Media Arts maintains an archive of weekly student updates

Student Job and Internship Archive

The Office of Cinema and Media Arts maintains an archive of job and internship announcements. See the department for more details.

Learning Opportunities

Biola Sundance 

As part of the Sundance course students can spend a week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah during January. Students obtain access to film screenings, filmmakers and industry workshops. As a Windrider participant, students engage with other Christian filmmakers from around the world on faith, film and culture.

In Focus Forums

Designed to spark candid conversations, creativity and inspiration, the In Focus Forums are workshops and events held every semester that bring top industry professionals to our cinema and media arts students. The mission of the In Focus Forums is for students to not only be encouraged and inspired, but equipped with a tangible game plan to push their artistry, career and faith forward.

Biola Screenings

Cinema and Media Arts holds multiple screenings every semester and goes behind the scenes with a question and answer with filmmakers and/or cast and crew. From major theatrical releases to documentaries, independent films and alumni work, Biola Screenings are a how to for students to tell stories that make an impact.


The Office of Festival Relations presents Screeners, which meets to review award-winning short films on the festival circuit. Festival programmer guests discuss submission strategies and how to make the most of your experience once your film gets selected to a festival. Student work is also screened for peer feedback.

Production Facilities

The School of Cinema and Media Arts maintains a variety of production support facilities for students, including but not limited to the following. For an introduction click here for the Studio Facilities web page. The page includes a virtual tour of facilities. For more detailed information, click here for the Production Center web page to access the student manual and other forms. Studios and editing facilities are available 24 hours a day to current students.

  • Equipment Room - Field gear for student use including cameras, lenses, support, lighting, audio and anything else needed for field production. Cameras are available from various manufacturers including RED, Sony, and Canon. 

  • Grip Truck - 3-ton grip truck including basic grip package for location production.

  • Post Production Lab - Dedicated computer lab to support post production editing, game design, animation, visual effects and other computationally intensive production.

  • Screening Room - 38-seat exhibition space with Christie projector and Genelec surround sound

  • Studios - Studio A: 1,810 SF soundstage, Studio B: 1052 SF soundstage with 12’ green screen cyclorama and multi-camera setup, VO: 150 SF anechoic room for voice over, ADR, Foley, and instrument recording

  • Edit bays and audio mixing rooms.

558 Alumni Network

The 558 Alumni Network is an independent professional association for alumni of Biola University in the entertainment & creative industries. Members work in film, television, music, theatre, photography, video games, design, advertising, brand management, interactive, new media and other related fields. Seniors are invited to participate in 558 activities to help guide their transition from college to career. Participation in 558 after graduation is contingent open an application to 558. 

General Requirements

Substitution or Waiver of Course Requirements

Under special circumstances waivers or substitutions are granted. Contact the Office of Cinema and Media Arts. Waivers require demonstrated competence in all areas of a course and must be supported by the instructor of the course. Substitutions are considered on a case by case basis. All course waivers and substitutions must be approved by the Dean.

Acceptance of Transfer Units

The School of Cinema and Media Arts does not accept courses taken in film and/or television production at other institutions to fulfill degree and minor requirements. Up to 9 credits in basic media history, appreciation, or criticism courses can sometimes be accepted for transfer credit. No transfer credit will be accepted in lieu of CNMA 240 Introduction to Production I: Directing in Narrative, Documentary and Serial Media, CNMA 245 Introduction to Production II: Media Lab, and upper-division production courses. 

Student Advisement

It is the goal of Cinema and Media Arts that students move through their academic programs in a timely minor. Majors are expected to meet with an advisor every semester to review their progress. Advisors are available to answer questions about degree programs, grades, advisement and other matters. Academic course advising is provided through students' faculty advisors in the Office of Cinema and Media Arts, or through the university’s Advising Center and their peer academic advisor.

Minimum Grade Point Average Requirements

A minimum grade of C must be earned in all required and prerequisite courses in order to progress to the next course level. Students may attempt to improve a grade lower than a C only one time by registering and retaking the specific course. Departmental approval is required in order to retake a School of Cinema and Media Arts (CNMA) course. In addition, a minimum grade point average of C must be achieved to earn all cinematic arts degrees. Students who do not satisfy the degree requirement after repeating a class or maintain the minimum grade point average will be disqualified from the program.

Interim Dean and Chair: Gerald Fisher, Ph.D.
Professors: Fisher, Gonzales
Associate Professors: Schmidt, Swain, Tucker, Yamada
Assistant Professors: Steffen, Vang
Emeritus Professor: Nash

Course Descriptions