A Graduate Program in Science and Natural History Filmmaking

PI: Ronald Tobias, Department of Media and Theatre Arts, Montana State University

The Master of Fine Arts Degree Program in Science and Natural History Filmmaking is the nation's first and only degree program (graduate or undergraduate) to educate students with a degree in science to become filmmakers. The intent of this program is to produce a new generation of documentary filmmakers that is trained in the areas of science, science communication and filmmaking.

The program is an intensive non-stop three-year program of sixty semester credits. At the heart of the program is a series of interdisciplinary courses called "the Science Rotation." Based upon a student's specific scientific interests, a second year student is placed with a scientist in a leading research facility for a semester in order to learn the research being conducted at that facility. The student then proposes to produce a short film for broadcast either to PBS or to Discovery Communications (which owns a total of thirteen networks including The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, and two new digital science channels). Upon acceptance of the idea, the student then must produce the program, which in turn will be broadcast nationally.

Our ability to place these students in labs depends upon the strategic and financial cooperation of federal agencies such as NASA. This funding will allow the Program Director to introduce the program to various NASA officials and set up a cooperative relationship both with Headquarters and the various Research Centers.

Contact Information

Mail: Ronald Tobias
Department of Media and Theatre Arts
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717-4120
E-mail: Ronald_Tobias@montanapbs.org
Phone: (406) 994-5884
FAX: (406) 994-4591

Montana Space Grant Home
Updated June 19, 2006