School of Cinema & Media Arts

Mission

The mission of the School of Cinema & Media Arts (CMA) is to deliver a community of students and faculty who together engage in the exploration and integration of faith into the art of visual storytelling, from technical mastery through one’s character. We’re committed to excellence in developing and equipping our students with the practical, adaptive and technical skills needed to excel in the entertainment industry and the work ethic that represents their faith. Students are taught how to create compelling and redemptive stories by those within the industry who share a common faith, through which they will see how their faith provides them strength, wisdom, insight and opportunity. We will prepare our students so that they can, in turn, teach by their words, through their stories and especially by example.  

Vision

Our vision for Biola’s School of Cinema & Media Arts is to impact the world of the media (and the world through it) by sending out highly skilled graduates into all layers of the industry—locally, nationally and globally—with the skills to compete, empowered with a voice and demonstrating the Christian character to be a light into the world. It’s our desire to prepare students to become powerful voices in the entertainment industry, for they are the next generation of storytellers, executives and influencers.

Overview

Biola University’s School of Cinema & Media Arts is located at the world's epi-center for the development, production, distribution and study of film, television and digital media. Since its founding in 1978, the media arts program has offered outstanding instruction and practice, resulting in over 1,000 alumni working in a broad variety of areas within the entertainment industry. Campus facilities include over 10,000 square feet of production space and millions of dollars of equipment for students to use beginning day one of their education. A new post-production and game design computer lab recently opened, and a new 56,000 square foot CMA studio facility is under development.

Thanks to its location in Los Angeles County, the Studio Zone and nearby Orange County, students have unparalleled access to the industries of film, television and video game design, together with the studios, agencies, networks, production companies and the corporations which operate them. This provides CMA students a significant advantage for access to internships, guest speakers, networking, tours and other industry experiences.
 
CMA is currently composed of four majors and eight concentrations. Majors: Cinema and Media Arts, Entertainment Business, Writing for Film and Television and Game Design and Interactive Media. Concentrations: Production, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Sound Design, Visual Effects and 3D Animation, Entertainment Producing and Entertainment Business.

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

Office of Cinema & Media Arts

The Office of Cinema & Media Arts serves the students and faculty of the program, as is responsible for the program development, events and day-to-day operations of the school. It’s the starting point for all CMA student questions, scheduling and production related needs. The office is located in Perez Hall, and contact information for office staff and faculty can be found on the Cinema & Media Arts web page.

Student Resources

Torrey Honors College

The Torrey Honors College is Biola's undergraduate honors program. It’s dedicated to forming leaders through the study of the master works of Western civilization, with a special emphasis on the Bible and Christian authors. Students in the program, who come from a variety of majors, are outstanding examples of academic ability, Christian character and potential for leadership. They learn in a rigorous discussion group format to think and express themselves clearly in both verbal and written forms, which becomes an effective blend for CMA students looking to fuel their imagination and refine their storytelling. Combining media studies with honors studies has produced some of our most successful graduates. For more information and to apply, visit the Torrey Honors web page.

Internships

Within the media industry, internships are a critical component of a college education to help prepare students for a career. They not only provide exposure to real-world operations, but will enhance a student’s educational experience when they can witness their learnings from the inside. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, they provide students the opportunity to demonstrate to these media organizations how invaluable they can be as future employees. It’s for these reasons CMA requires a minimum of three credits of internship for every major within the program. As we encourage multiple internships, these can be taken in any combination of one, two, or three credits at a time. Up to six credits of internship can count toward graduation. 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. The most prestigious internships are highly competitive and have submission deadlines and application requirements. We’re here to help. Contact the Internship Office in the Cinema & Media Arts office or the Career Development and Success office for assistance.

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, visit the Study Abroad web page.

Greenlight

Greenlight is the process for students to reserve equipment for projects, both for regular course assignments and extracurricular learning projects. We want our students out making films from day one, so see the Production Center (PC) for more information on starting the process.

Scholarships

Beyond Biola University scholarships, CMA also offers scholarships each year based on need and merit. Applications open up in March for the following academic year.

Film Festival Opportunities 

Students are encouraged to submit their work to appropriate festivals and competitions. We want your stories seen and have an office dedicated to help.

Cinema & Media Arts Chapel

CMA students and faculty meet monthly for a special time of worship, fellowship, testimony and prayer. This has become a meaningful and enriching time, and an essential part of our growth as a CMA community.

Student Clubs

Cinema & Media Arts encourages student-led 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.

Student Newsletter

The Office of Cinema & Media Arts publishes a weekly newsletter to keep CMA students informed on upcoming events, student and alumni accomplishments, deadlines, festivals and other pertinent information for their time here.  

Student Job and Internship Newsletter

As we want to help you with your career goals, CMA publishes and maintains a current job and internship newsletter that you will have access to as a CMA student.

Additional Learning Opportunities

Biola Sundance 

Students have the opportunity to spend a week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah during January, where they have access to film screenings, filmmakers and industry workshops. In partnership with the Windrider Institute, students engage with other filmmakers from around the world on topics of faith, film and culture. This event has become a highlight for students each year. Incremental costs/fees apply and subject to enrollment minimums.

Industry Guest Panels 

Designed to spark candid conversations, creativity and inspiration, CMA hosts a series of events every semester that bring top industry professionals to CMA students. These events provide an exclusive experience, networking opportunities, access and perspectives from successful industry insiders that have worked with companies including Marvel, Disney, Pixar, Fox, Netflix, HBO, Dreamworks, Lighstorm, and more. Whether hearing from corporate leaders, on-screen talent, or experts in their field, students discover insights intended to help them on their career paths.

Biola Screenings

Cinema & Media Arts hosts multiple screenings every semester, featuring Q&A with the filmmakers and/or cast. From theatrical releases to documentaries, independent films and alumni projects, Biola Screenings endeavors to provide students with an exclusive experience as they learn from other storytellers.

Screeners 

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 & Media Arts maintains a variety of production support facilities for students including multiple soundstages and a suite of edit and audio rooms. For an introduction visit the Studio Facilities web page where students can find a virtual tour of our facilities. For more detailed information, visit 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. CMA facilities include:

  • Two soundstages - Studio A for larger sets and Studio B with a 12’ green screen cyclorama and multi-camera capability. 
  • 150 sq ft voice over booth used for ADR, Foley and instrument recording.
  • Nine editing bays.
  • Surround sound mixing room.
  • Control room/screening room.
  • Dolby Atmos sound with theatre style seating.
  • Equipment Room featuring millions of dollars of gear students can access starting day-one. Field gear for student use including cameras, lenses, camera support, lighting, audio and all of the support equipment needed for field production. Cameras are available from various manufacturers including RED, Sony, Canon and ARRI. 
  • Grip truck loaded with grip and electric gear for location production.
  • State of the art dedicated computer lab designed to support editing, audio post production, game design, visual effects, VR (HTC and Oculus platforms), film budgeting and scheduling, and much more.
  • Screening Room - 38-seat exhibition space with Christie projector and 7.1 surround sound.
  • Convergent journalism newsroom.

558 Alumni Network

The 558 Alumni Network is an independent professional association for alumni of Biola University in the entertainment and 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 upon an application to 558. 

General Requirements

Separate Application Required

In addition to the application and acceptance into Biola University, students interested in a degree within the School of Cinema & Media Arts must submit a supplemental application to be considered for acceptance. Please review the Cinema & Media Arts Admissions web page for more information.

Substitution or Waiver of Course Requirements

Under special circumstances waivers or substitutions are granted. Contact the Office of Cinema & 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 Credits

The School of Cinema and & Media Arts may accept, upon review and subject to approval, comparable courses from other institutions to fulfill degree and minor requirements.

Student Advisement

It’s the goal of Cinema & 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 & Media Arts, or through the university’s Advising Center and their peer academic advisor.

Writing Competency Requirement

Every Biola student must fulfill the Writing Competency Requirement (WCR). Students fulfill the WCR by passing ENGL 313 with a C+ or better or by taking the Writing Competency Exam if they are not required to take ENGL 313. The Exam is offered once a semester through the CMA office. Students are allowed to retake the exam once. If they fail to meet this requirement, they must consult with their major advisor for an alternative WCR pathway. For more information, see the section titled "Writing Competency Requirement" under the Admission, Enrollment and Graduation Requirements section

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 & 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.

Dean: Tom Halleen, M.A.
Professors: Lee, Yamada
Associate Professors: Hope, Schmidt, Steffen
Assistant Professors: Vang
Emeritus Professor: Nash

Course Descriptions