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Doctor of Philosophy in Film and Media Studies

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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. is an academic degree, but students are expected to complete 6 hours in film and video production.

To be admitted, a student ordinarily is expected to have a Graduate Record Examination score of at least 600 (verbal), 500 (quantitative), and 4.5 (analytical writing). The applicant also must have a grade-point average of at least 3.2 for undergraduate and at least 3.5 for graduate work and a master’s degree acceptable to the graduate faculty. Deficiencies in background may require make-up work.

Ph.D. Degree in Film and Media Studies

The degree requires 60 hours not including language proficiency. Please meet with your adviser or graduate director each semester to assess your progress.

Core Requirements

24 hours of core courses are required. Doctoral students in film and media studies must take a core of courses aimed at strengthening methodological, historical, and theoretical grounding. 1 course must be taken in non-Western/indigenous film; 2 graduate-level production courses are required, and 2 courses in FMS 902 Film Seminar are mandatory.

Elective Requirements

9 hours of electives are required. Elective courses focus on the academic study of history, international cinema, popular culture, and film criticism. These courses are selected with a graduate adviser to reflect the student’s special interest. The adviser may increase the number of hours, depending on the student’s academic needs.

Production Requirements

6 hours of production courses are required. Production courses give students an understanding of the production process in making film, video, or animation pieces. On graduation, doctoral students can perform as competent artisans in addition to research scholars. Production courses are selected with a graduate adviser to reflect the student’s specific interest. The adviser may increase the number of hours, depending on the student’s academic needs.

Secondary Field Requirements

9 hours of secondary field courses at the graduate level from outside the Department of Film and Media Studies, are chosen to assist the student in writing the dissertation. They are related to the student’s proposed area of specialization. Examples include English; history; women, gender, and sexuality studies; American studies; education; and social welfare.

Foreign Language or Other Research Skills Requirement

The student must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language or competence for use as research skills in two foreign languages. For one of the languages under the second option, the student may substitute a research skill pertinent to the specialty (e.g., computer language, research methods, American Sign Language). Courses may be taken within or outside the department.

Note: Responsible scholarship requirements were approved after this catalog was finalized. Contact your department or program for more information about this requirement for doctoral students.

Comprehensive Examination

2 publishable papers are due at the time of the examination. The examination includes on-site written responses to questions in history, theory, production, and literature/criticism, followed by an oral examination.


18 hours of dissertation credit are required. The finished dissertation must constitute a palpable contribution to knowledge in the candidate’s chosen field. After its completion, an oral defense must be held no less than 4 weeks before the graduation deadline. The committee consists of 1 chair, 3 departmental members, and an outside member.

Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies Program of Study

Core (24 hours)
FMS 800 Introduction to Graduate Study in Film/Media 3
FMS 801 Professional Development Seminar (1 hour/3 semesters) 3
FMS 862 Survey of Film and Media History 3
FMS 863 Survey of Documentary and Experimental Film and Media 3
FMS 864 Classical Film and Media Theory 3
FMS 865 Contemporary Film and Media Theory 3
FMS 902 Film Seminar in: _____ (Special Topics) 3
1 graduate-level non-Western/indigenous film course 3
Electives (9 hours chosen in consultation with the adviser)
FMS 621 American Film Criticism (3)
FMS 702 Graduate Seminar in: Film Studies (3)
FMS 814 Development of African-American Images in Film (3)
FMS 841 Asian Film (3)
FMS 842 Latin American Film (3)
FMS 880 Development of American Popular Culture in the: _____ (3)
FMS 902 Film Seminar in: _____ (Special Topics) (3)
FMS 998 Investigation and Conference (for Doctoral Students) (3)
Others to be added from semester offerings at the graduate level
Production (6 hours)
FMS 576 Animation (3)
FMS 673 Problems in Basic Screenwriting (3)
FMS 675 Problems in Basic Video Production (3)
FMS 676 Problems in Basic Film Production (3)
FMS 702 Graduate Seminar in: Production (3)
FMS 773 Problems in Intermediate Screenwriting (3)
FMS 775 Problems in Intermediate Video Production (3)
FMS 895 Intensive Film Project Seminar (3)
FMS 897 Practicum in Film (3)

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