Program Requirements

See below for descriptions of the four required MA courses:

I. FILM R 6160 Pro-Seminar in Film History - Semester One (Fall)
II. FILM R 6130 Pro-Seminar in Film Theory - Semester Two (Spring)
III. FILM R 8990 Thesis Prep Seminar - Semester Three (Fall)
IV. FILM R 9001 Graduate Thesis Research - Semester Three (Fall)
Students take 30 credits of coursework over three semesters (full-time) or five semesters (part-time). See below for Residency requirements.

Masters Thesis: In the third semester, students will complete a 50 to 60-page written work of original scholarship on a topic chosen in consultation with the faculty.

Eligibility: The Master's Degree in Film Studies is designed for students who have already completed significant undergraduate or graduate work in the study of film or associated fields. Note: Students in the MA Program in Film Studies are not eligible to enroll in directing, screenwriting or film production classes.

Residency: All Masters of Film Studies candidates who have completed 30 credits of coursework and have not completed the degree requirements may register for one additional semester of MA Extended Residence. Students must complete all course and degree requirements in no more than three semesters (full-time) or five semesters (part-time). Any extensions to these deadlines (a) must be approved, in advance, by the program head and (b) may carry additional fees. For changes to these requirements, or for more specific information, please contact the School of the Arts Admissions Office at
Required MA Courses

Semester One (Fall)
I. Pro-Seminar in Film History: An introduction to issues and cases in the study of cinema century technologies. This class takes up the definition of the historiographic problem and the differences between theoretical and empirical solutions. Specific units on the history of film style, genre as opposed to authorship, silent and sound cinemas, the American avant-garde, national cinemas (Russia and China), the political economy of world cinema, and archival poetics. A unit on research methods is taught in conjunction with Butler Library staff. Writing exercises on a weekly basis culminate in a digital historiography research "map" which becomes the basis of a final paper.

Semester Two (Spring)
II. Pro-Seminar in Film Theory: Begins with a general overview of current developments in film theory-issues, for example, related to cultural studies, the emergence of new media, Asian film theory, new formulations of film spectatorship and then proceeds to a close examination of one or two contemporary issues in film theory. Close readings of selected texts, with frequent in-class presentations of material by the students themselves.

Semester Three (Fall)
The final semester of study for MA Film Studies students is dedicated to researching and writing the Master's Thesis. Students may not enroll for additional course work during this final term as they are expected to work full-time on their thesis project.

III. Thesis Prep Seminar: The third semester of the program is devoted to the writing of a Master's Thesis on a topic approved by faculty. In this course students present their works-in-progress and receive commentary and criticism.

IV. Graduate Thesis Research: Students register for this course to receive academic credit for the research done for the thesis project.

MA in Film &
Media Studies
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.