MA in Film and Media Studies

The Master’s Program in Film and Media Studies at Columbia takes up the evolution of cinema as an art, an institution, an object of philosophical study, and an international socio-cultural phenomenon. Recently renamed to emphasize both motion picture film and the newest of new media, the program facilitates exploration from the one to the other and back. It is designed to consider current theoretical approaches and to look historiographically at trends such as the transition from motion picture film to digital media.

MA in Film and Media Studies students elect to concentrate in either the Cinema/Media or Emergent Media

The Cinema/Media track focuses on history, theory, and critical approaches to the study of cinema and media. This includes an introduction to historiography and the study of film style, genre, auteurs, silent and sound cinemas, the avant-garde, national cinemas, the political economy of world cinema, the transition from photochemical film to digital, and film and digital archives. The track also introduces an overview of current developments in film theory and critical thinking in relation to issues of race, gender, and sexuality; documentary; new media; cinephilia; spectatorship, and other major concerns in the field.

The Emergent Media track examines the new forms and technologies of moving-image media in the digital present, such as video games, interactive fiction, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT). Working in collaboration with instructors from Columbia’s Digital Storytelling Lab, students on this track take a range of classes on New Media Art, Media Archaeology, and Digital Storytelling, with topics ranging from the history of interactivity to world-building. Courses in this track combine the concerns of history and theory with practical and design applications. 

Students can choose electives both from the School of the Arts and from Columbia University Arts and Sciences departments. They do so, furthermore, in a world capital of film and television culture, where they are afforded the advantages of research in New York area film and television archives and libraries: New York Public LibraryThe Paley Center for Media, and have held internships at Museum of the Moving ImageMuseum of Modern Art, and Film Society of Lincoln Center

A few Teaching Assistantships are available. Student Service positions employ students as Programming Assistants and Research Assistants.