Graduate Admissions

All applications to the Department of Cinema and Media Studies PhD program must be submitted through the Division of the Humanities Admissions website by December 15 for admission the following fall quarter. Please know that we cannot consider late applications.

The application window for Fall 2018 admission to the PhD program is now closed. Applicants can still apply to the MAPH program for Fall 2018. 

Once you submit your application to the Division it will be forwarded to our Department. Each year we have a limited number of slots for which we are able to offer admission, and our faculty carefully review each application in order to select the applicants which we will recommend to the Division of the Humanities for admission. Final admission decisions are made by the faculty as a whole rather than by individual faculty members.
Master of Arts Degree
Our department does not offer a stand-alone MA program. Instead, the Division of the Humanities has a one-year Master of Arts Program in the Humanities - MAPH provides students with strong pedagogical support, including a core course in interpretive theory and master's thesis workshops. Students in the MAPH program can choose to concentrate in cinema and media studies and complete an MA thesis supervised by a faculty member.

Joint Degrees
Students in the PhD program may wish to pursue joint PhD degrees with Cinema and Media Studies and another department or program. Prospective students are welcome to apply directly to the joint-degree program with Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) during the admissions process. This joint initiative allows students to complement their doctoral program in Cinema and Media Studies with a program of study in TAPS that reflects their particular training and interests, encompassing both academic and artistic work.

Students may also petition joint-degree with another department or program once they have completed at least one year of study. Anyone interested in petitioning for a joint-degree should consult the guidelines provided by the Humanities Division. Most recently, students in Cinema and Media Studies have completed joint-degrees with Art History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations.


Application Requirements
  • Transcripts from all previous colleges and universities.
  • At least three letters of recommendation submitted by persons able to describe your academic achievements and promise.
  • A statement of purpose which describes the intellectual issues you hope to explore at the University of Chicago.
  • A writing sample of approximately 20 pages in length; this could be an undergraduate thesis, research paper, or a section of your MA thesis that best demonstrates your critical thinking and scholarly writing.
  • GRE scores that are less than five years old. The admissions committee does not stipulate a minimum score.
    • The GRE code for the University of Chicago is 1832.
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores that are no more than two years old (for non-native English speakers only). The minimum required TOEFL score is 104, with scores of 26 on each subsection. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0, with 7.0 on each subsection.   
Please also visit the FAQ page for the Division of the Humanities. 
Admissions Decisions
All admissions decisions are sent by the admissions office through the online application system in mid-February. No decision information can be given by phone or email from the department. Unless you are contacted by the department, please direct all questions about your application directly to
Contact Us: If you have any questions about the PhD program that are not answered by our website, please contact us at

Prospective or admitted graduate students may join a tour of campus. Tours are offered by the UChicagoGRAD Office and led by current graduate students. For additional questions or special accommodations, please contact UChicagoGRAD.

For questions about the status application materials and other general questions about the admissions process, please contact the Office of Admissions of the Humanities Division at or 773-702-1552.