Emerson College

General Information

The Department of Visual & Media Arts offers undergraduate and graduate programs in film, video, television, radio and audio, new media and media studies.

The programs recognize that the visual and media arts are powerful forces that affect the minds, emotions and behavior of humankind, and they seek to educate students to become informed and ethical leaders as well as creative and successful practitioners.

The faculty includes a five-time Emmy Award-winner, a filmmaker-historian who specializes in cinema of the African Diaspora, a former White House speechwriter, and the director of the Prague Summer Experience in Film.

Graduates of the program have risen to the tops of their fields in major media and entertainment organizations in Hollywood, New York and elsewhere.





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Charles Wesley Emerson founded the Boston Conservatory of Elocution, Oratory, and Dramatic Art in 1880, a year after Boston University closed its' School of Oratory. Classes were held at Pemberton Square in Boston. Ten students enrolled in the conservatory's first class. The following year, the conservatory changed its name to the "Monroe Conservatory of Oratory," in honor of Charles Emerson's teacher at Boston University's School of Oratory, Professor Lewis B. Monroe. In 1890, the name changed again to "Emerson College of Oratory" and was later shortened to Emerson College in 1939.[3]

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Emerson College is a private coeducational university located in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1880 by Charles Wesley Emerson as a "school of oratory," Emerson is "the only comprehensive college or university in America dedicated exclusively to communication and the arts in a liberal arts context."[2] Offering over three dozen degree programs in the area of Arts and Communication, the college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. Located in the Boston Theatre District on the edge of the Common, the school also maintains buildings in Los Angeles and the town of Well, Netherlands

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My experience


I'm a current member of the MFA program - I was in the MA and am now pursuing the terminating degree in the Visual and Media Arts department. The program is a newbie, the professors are the same from the MA and are dedicated and very helpful. If you'd like to check out how they've been treated by the administration in the past, google the Boston Globe articles on the racial discrimination and tenure controversy of last year. I received an extremely generous tuition compensation to do the MFA based on my work in the MA, or I else I would not have attended for the MFA. Here's the deal, guys: the professors are great. Really experienced, there to help you - full stop. My peers range the gamut from unable to write in their native English language to quite creative and brilliant (much like most grad school, the emperor often has no clothes in the hallowed halls). As far as professional achievements after, there is definitely A LOT of talking up that goes on in terms of recruitment - but if you want to be a filmmaker, you're going to have to be resourceful. It is, ultimately, a great place to network. The equipment rentals are always an ordeal - the guy who runs the place literally has a secret website dedicated to him that shows him sleeping at his desk in different positions over the last ten years. They'll definitely treat you like they're doing you a favor as you put yourself in long term debt (as I did while in the MA) - I'll reiterate. It's an ordeal to get decent equipment (which is scarce) or have access to the equipment you need to be a professional. Without a doubt, the biggest drawback is financing. As I said, I was helped with tuition (this was based on my academic performance and was a faculty decision - it had nothing to do with administration). If you check out the Princeton Review, you'll see that Emerson ranks with the worst in terms of available financing, and to boot, had a scandal and criminal investigation for kickbacks from big lenders in the financial aid department a couple of years ago. Heads did not really roll, and the administration continues to act not as advocates for students, but as real estate developers. The financial aid department will be happy to put you in debt for tuition but will give you a very measly sum for living expenses. Compared to other schools in the area with terminating degrees, the living expenses projected are a joke. $600 a month for rent in an MFA program in Boston? Also, you cannot purchase your own equipment through financing, like at other schools. They will allow you a $4K computer, but you must PURCHASE it first, and then show proof of the purchase. I don't know a lot of film making students with $4K lying around. Estimate yearly living costs are $11K a year - at other schools (like MIT and BU), students are awarded a stipend of 20K from grant money (which Emerson has plenty of - it cost $70 million dollars to construct the Paramount Building) and have estimated costs of $30-40K a year to live on, which is pretty reasonable. You'll also not be allowed to take out loans to finance your MFA project, so forget about budgeting for anything even close to a professional venture. As I said, we've got to be resourceful, but the roadblocks the administration puts in place for students has been an awful experience for myself and many of my peers. To boot, you are not allowed to work while in the MFA, as it is to be considered a full-time job. I have very mixed feelings about my experience - as I said, great faculty but ridiculous conceptions about who MFA students are. We're given the same budget to live on as freshmen living in dorms and leave with no equipment of our own. And yes, I do have a chip on my shoulder! :) Anyway, I do hope it helps those of you who are not being supported by a sugar daddy.

not so great.

Honestly, I didn't have the best experience at Emerson. There was some good stuff that you mentioned, but there was all kinds of stuff that was so unbelievably disorganised. The admin had things all over the place, the students accounts would always get messed up, the lottery system of giving away classes was completely unfair, and really stupid system. The people who got any class they wanted played varsity, or were in an honors program. The equipment check out system was also almost unbearable. It was super expensive, and thats the only reason why it worked at all. At one point I also heard that there was a drug ring running out of the dorms... so i guess that kind of gives the other side of things...


especially liked the fact that you have "The programs recognize that the visual and media arts are powerful forces that affect the minds, emotions and behavior of humankind, and they seek to educate students to become informed and ethical leaders as well as creative and successful practitioners ".
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Whoever you heard that from,

Whoever you heard that from, its true. Emerson is a good program, and they have experts because they offer the MA as well. They have good cameras and stuff, but you really have to fight to get what you want. Its not so bad when you realise that in the real world nothing gets handed to you. It is expensive also, but they do have a pretty good financial aid that i know a lot of people used to get through the program. Not a bad college at all, if anyone is interested in applying.

From what I have heard, this

From what I have heard, this school has some great production and post production equipment but its difficult to get at. Also, While things are ok when going there, the students are kind of misled about the industry. I know that its a big gamble to try and get into such a uge and competitive industry if you don't know the right people, and the admin at ths school apparently claim that they can get you a job (unlikely). Anyways, if anyone has had a good experience in terms of learning a lot of stuff and actually getting work in their field, let me know.

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