School of Film and Photography

The Master of Fine Arts Program in Science and Natural History Filmmaking 

The Master of Fine Arts Program in Science and Natural History Filmmaking at Montana State University is the largest and best known of only three programs in the world dedicated to this unique and rewarding field of filmmaking.  Our mission is to provide filmmaking knowledge to students with formal education and experience in science, engineering and technology so they may create accurate, innovative, and exciting programs that advance the public understanding of science.

Graduates have pursued successful careers as award-winning independent filmmakers, staff creators at major agencies and organizations, production leaders at major channels and streaming platforms, and channels including National Geographic, PBS, and the BBC, communications executives with foundations, NGOS, government agencies, and tenure-track and tenured professors at major universities.

Students have produced films for the National Park Service, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Agriculture, NOAA, NASA, National Geographic, Discovery, and such non-profit organizations as the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, the Field Museum and the Boston Museum of Science. Students’ work has also been featured in numerous festivals internationally. Students and alumni have received several student Emmys and multiple Primetime Emmy Awards along with numerous honors at festivals and juried competitions.

Our students have also been awarded Fulbright scholarships, a Fred Rogers Scholarship from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Webby awards, and many other honors. They have documented the work of explorers and scientists in almost every field from astrophysics to zoology and on every continent in the world including Antarctica.

Candidates for the MFA take courses that include film and video production, the history and theory of science and natural history communication, cinematography, sound, production management, editing and writing. All students must also work at one or more production internships during their time as MFA students. Our students are in great demand, even before graduation, and most leave the program with their first professional credits as well as their MFA degree.


We seek candidates with at least an undergraduate degree in biological or physical sciences, engineering, technology, or the social sciences, and preferably with some research experience. Candidates are not expected to have any formal education or experience in filmmaking. Candidates with filmmaking degrees or degrees in other fields must have a minor in a scientific field or equivalent work experience.

Financial Assistance

Depending on the availability of funds, a limited number of teaching assistantships and research fellowships are available each year.

Contact Information

Visual Communications Building   |   Room 202   |   P.O. Box 173350   |   Bozeman, MT 59717-3350

Phone: 406-994-5884   |   Email: snhf@montana,edu