Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts


The mission of Biola University's Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts (CMA) is to impact the world through the media by sending out highly skilled graduates into all layers of the entertainment industry, to engage, educate, inspire and to transform lives.


Within the Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts, we're more than just a film school. We're called to prepare students to be excellent at what they do, as the entertainment industry demands it, but we're also here to prepare them to be excellent at who they are, because the industry (and the world through it) needs to see and hear what faith looks like. 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.


Located a short drive from the world's entertainment epi-center, CMA has grown to become one of the world’s leading media schools, with multiple Hollywood publications listing Biola University as housing one of the Top-50 film schools in the world and Top-30 in North America. Unlike any other listed university, CMA was noted as “championing a sense of community” and emphasizing “collaboration over competition.”
Due to its location in Los Angeles County, the Studio Zone and nearby Orange County, students have unparalleled access to the industries of film, television, digital media and video games, together with the studios, agencies, networks, production companies and the corporations which operate them. This provides students a significant advantage for access to internships, guest speakers, networking, tours and other industry experiences.

Since its founding in 1978, the media school has prepared over 1,000 alumni now working in a broad variety of areas within the entertainment industry. 

Campus facilities include over 10,000 square feet of production space and over $4 million of industry-grade equipment, which students can access beginning day one of their education. In addition, a new 56,000 square foot studio is under development. This new facility will bring together all aspects of content creation including ideation, pre-production, production, post-production and exhibition into one building. 

CMA is currently composed of three majors, seven concentrations and one minor. Majors: Cinema and Media ArtsWriting for Film and Television and Game Design and Interactive Media. Concentrations: Production, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Visual Effects and 3D Animation, Creative Producing and Entertainment Business. Minor: Media Studies.

Admission into most degrees within Biola’s Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts requires a supplemental application in addition to admission to Biola University. Please review the Cinema & Media Arts Admissions web page for more information.

Office of the Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts

The Office of the Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts serves the students and faculty of the CMA program. It's responsible for the daily operations of the school including but not limited to course development, class scheduling, production management, events, budgeting, the Office of the Dean, and related day-to-day activities. It’s the starting point for all CMA student questions, scheduling and production-related needs. The office is located in Lower Metzger, and contact information for office staff and faculty can be found on the Cinema & Media Arts web page.

CMA Production Office

The CMA Production Office is tasked with assisting students with their production-related needs. This role serves to centralize the paperwork and logistical support required for student productions. It begins with a “Greenlight” form, which is required for students to reserve equipment for projects, both for regular course assignments and extracurricular learning projects. Additional categories for support include, but are not limited to permit protocols for off- and on-campus locations, safety guidelines, talent and guild compliance, equipment protocols, contracts, purchase requisitions, along with ensuring student compliance with Campus Safety and Risk Management’s safety guidelines.  

CMA Events Office

In addition to weekly courses, CMA hosts events throughout the year to provide students with an enhanced education. Events include the following: CMA-specific chapels, seminars, celebrity guests, industry leaders, alumni panels, exclusive screenings, film camp and so many more. These events also provide job opportunities for student workers.

CMA Internship Office

Within the media industry in particular, internships are a critical component of a college education. They not only provide exposure to real-world operations, but will enhance a student’s educational experience. 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 (3) credits total between the Internship Prep Seminar and the internship experience for each on-campus major within the program. If a student’s schedule will allow, we encourage multiple internships in any combination of one, two, or three credits.

CMA provides a full-time Internship Manager to assist students with finding the right placement. Together with the proximity to the LA hub of entertainment, students have access to some of the largest and most influential studios and production companies. Keep in mind, the most prestigious internships are highly competitive and have submission deadlines and application requirements. 

We’re here to help. Contact the CMA Internship Office or the Career Development and Success office for assistance.

CMA Alumni Office

Becoming a part of the CMA family doesn’t end upon graduation. Alumni are celebrated and supported throughout their careers. We’re always here to help them! The walls of the CMA's office and the Production Center are lined with alumni accomplishments as a continued reminder that their stories matter to us. Our alumni make us stronger as a school. They not only are Biola’s voice into the entertainment business, but they also give back to current students through guest teaching, mentorships, internships and job placement.

CMA Office of Festival Relations

Students are encouraged to submit their work to appropriate festivals and competitions as we love to have their work showcased. In fact, recent student films were semi-finalists in the Student Academy Awards and the Television Academy Foundation's College Television Awards! We have an office dedicated to help with these submissions.

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, learn in a rigorous discussion group format to think and express themselves clearly in both verbal and written forms. This 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.

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.


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.

Cinema & Media Arts Chapel

CMA students and faculty meet 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.

Biola Women in Entertainment

Founded within CMA, the mission of the organization, LAYR (Lift As You Rise), is to develop leaders amongst our CMA women who ultimately will lift as they rise, creating more opportunities for talented, young media creators. Mentorship initiatives exist to promote more roles for women on CMA productions from freshman to senior year, as well as to connect students to mentors in the entertainment industry.

Student Clubs

CMA 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 Newsletters

CMA publishes a weekly newsletter to keep its students informed of upcoming events, student and alumni accomplishments, deadlines, festivals and other pertinent information for their time here. Students should prioritize reading these as they provide key information to make your college experience the best it can be.

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

Sundance Study Tour

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 limited-capacity event has become a highlight for students each year. Incremental costs/fees apply and are subject to enrollment minimums.

Production Facilities

The Snyder 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. 
  • 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 industry-grade 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.
  • 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 - Theatre-style exhibition space with Christie projector and 7.1 surround sound.
  • Convergent journalism newsroom.

General Requirements

Separate Application Required

In addition to the application and acceptance into Biola University, most degrees within CMA require 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 Snyder 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 CMA that students move through their academic programs in a timely manner. Majors are expected to meet with an advisor every semester to review their progress. Advisors are available to answer questions about degree programs, grades, 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 Snyder 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.


Tom Halleen, M.A.


Lee, Yamada

Associate Professors

Schmidt, Steffen

Assistant Professors


Emeritus Professors

Fisher, Gonzales, Nash

Course Descriptions