DePaul, Second City to offer comedy film degrees

No Joke: DePaul collaborates with world’s largest school of improvisation to offer degrees in comedy filmmaking

(Chicago — 3 May 2018) The Second City and DePaul University today announced a collaboration designed to expand comedy education.

Starting in fall 2018, DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts will offer comprehensive new undergraduate and graduate degrees in comedy filmmaking:

Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting with a concentration in comedy

Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and television with a concentration in comedy filmmaking

Minor in comedy filmmaking

Students will attend classes at The Second City, as well as within DePaul’s expansive studio and classroom facilities at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, where network dramas Empire, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med regularly shoot.

Classes offered to DePaul students will include:

DNA of The SecondCity
Evolution of Comedy
Comedy Improvisation for Filmmakers
The Comedy Director at Work


Andrew Alexander
Andrew Alexander

“Second City has been nurturing comedic talent in Chicago for nearly sixty years,” said Second City CEO Andrew Alexander. “Two years ago, in starting the Harold Ramis Film School, we successfully expanded our approach to attracting and developing nascent screenwriters and directors. By partnering with DePaul, we will now have the opportunity to teach an even broader range of students comedy in an accredited environment.”

Gary Novak
Gary Novak

“Together, DePaul and Second City will merge the crafts of comedy storytelling and filmmaking into the most comprehensive program of its kind. The curriculum will give students the opportunity to create, develop and showcase their comedic writing and directing from the script to the screen,” said Gary Novak, director of DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts.

DePaul’s 35,000-square-foot facilities at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios on the city’s west side include three professional soundstages, green screen cycloramas, a 3-ton grip truck and high-end editing suites and mixing studios.

“Usually, Chicago is used as a backdrop in film, and the ideas and money come from elsewhere. What’s changing now is that we have the opportunity to develop the ideas and scripts here, and we have the means to oversee post-production and distribute the final product. It’s very empowering for our city to be able to offer that,” said filmmaker Dan Klein, an assistant professor in the School of Cinematic Arts.



The Second City’s Harold Ramis Film School was named in honor of the late Second City and “SCTV” alumnus Harold Ramis, creator of iconic comedies ranging from “Ghostbusters” to “Groundhog Day.” The world’s only film school dedicated entirely to comedy, the institution’s faculty, master class guest lecturers and advisory board include some of the film industry’s top names.

“I’m happy to know that the partnership with DePaul will allow even more emerging comedic minds to learn and build under the legacy of Harold Ramis and The Second City. There’s a special skill to being a collaborative and innovative filmmaker with an eye for comedy. Harold did this exceptionally well, and I feel confident that with our colleagues at DePaul we will continue to help foster the next generation of talent,” said Trevor Albert, Harold Ramis Film School chair.

To learn more about the new degrees in comedy filmmaking, click here.