Program Requirements

Students are expected to complete seventeen courses during their course of study, of which a minimum of twelve have to be listed among the offerings of the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. Required courses must be taken for a quality grade (not pass/fail). These Cinema and Media Studies courses will include:

Four (4) required courses originating in the department:

  • CMST 40000 Methods and Issues in Cinema and Media Studies (offered in Autumn Quarter each year): an introduction to research methods, key concepts, and theoretical frameworks, using case studies to introduce students to debates and issues in the field;
  • CMST 48500 and 48600 History of International Cinema, Parts I and II (offered in Autumn Quarter [Part I] and Winter Quarter [Part II] each year) : a two-quarter survey course that is designed as both a beginning-level graduate and an upper-level undergraduate course.
  • CMST 69900 Pedagogy (offered in alternating academic years; next offered in AY2019-2020): an introduction to pedagogical methods in the field of Cinema and Media Studies. 

Five (5) elective courses that either originate in or are cross-lsited with CMS; these courses should ideally fit into the student's overarching research goals. 

Three (3) advanced-level CMS seminars (60000-level) - graduate seminars taught by CMS faculty are the only courses which are given a 60000-level desgination. CMST 69900 does not count towards this requirement. 

Five (5) elective courses that can originate in other departments and may or may not cover cinema related subjects. Students should use this coursework requirement to work with faculty members outside of CMS and add interdisciplinary elements to their own scholarship. 

A sample program for students entering the Department without previous graduate study in Cinema and Media Studies would consist in the following:

  • Year 1: Students should take between 7 and 9 courses - required courses (CMST 40000, CMST 48500, CMST 486000), a minimum of two courses listed or cross-listed in CMS, and at least one 60000-level course.
    • Students should fulfil their first foreign language requirement by the end of Summer Quarter after first year. 
  • Year 2: Students should take a minimum of 4 elective courses listed or cross-listed in CMS and should try and fulfil the required number of 60000-level seminars. In years that CMST 69900: Pedagogy is offered, students must enroll. 
  • Year 3: Students should complete coursework and foreign language requirements during Autumn and Winter Quarter; students must take CMST 69900: Pedagogy if it was not offered during their second year. 

PhD students entering the department with a master's degree from another institution (or from within the University of Chicago via the MAPH program) may request to be exempt from some coursework requirements. Such requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis, but no student may recieve a waiver for more than three (3) courses.

Fields Examination: Students entering the Department without previous graduate study in Cinema and Media Studies are expected to take their Fields Examination by the end of the third year; students entering with an M.A. may be encouraged to take the examination earlier.

Foreign Language Requirement: Given the highly international nature of the field of cinema and media studies, proficiency in two modern foreign languages has to be demonstrated by earning High Passes on the University's Foreign Language Reading Examinations. The first of these two languages must be either French or German, and proficiency should be demonstrated by the beginning of the Autumn quarter of the student's second year. The second language will be chosen in consultation with the graduate advisor, and proficiency must be demonstrated before the student will be permitted to take the Fields Examination. Students can fulfil their languages requirements either through coursework (a grade of A or A- is required) or by receiving a High Pass (P+) on a University adminsitered language exam. 

Teaching: We will make every effort to assure that all students who apply for a course assistantship have at least one quarter of supervised teaching during their years in the program, and more if specified by the terms of their award package. Further information on teaching in CMS and other opportunities to teach at the University of Chicago can be found in the CMS Graduate Student Handbook and from the Office of the Dean of Students.

Dissertation Proposal: Before being admitted to candidacy, students must write a dissertation proposal under the supervision of the dissertation committee.

Dissertation Defense: Upon completion of the dissertation, the student will defend it orally before the members of the dissertation committee.

Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for more detailed information.