Prospective Graduate Students

How to Apply

The Office of the Dean of Students in the Humanities Division administers the applications and admissions process for the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, as well as the other departments in the Humanities. The application process is completed entirely online. All of your materials should be submitted electronically through the online application. The Department does not accept additional materials sent on paper.

The application requires the following materials:

  • 15-20 page writing sample
  • a statement of purpose (the applicants personal statement)
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • transcripts for all previous degrees and coursework – all applications must be translated into English.
  • GRE test scores
  • an application fee
  • TOEFL or IELTS test scores (if needed) to meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement.

For more information about the application, including test requirements and answers to common questions, please visit the Division's 'Frequently Asked Questions' page.


The PhD Application

The entire application to the PhD program must be submitted through the Humanities Division website. Materials should not be sent directly to the Cinema and Media Studies Department. Please see the Humanities Division online application for details and instructions.


Program Overview

The Department of Cinema and Media Studies offers a Ph.D. program that focuses on the history, theory, and criticism of film and related media. Faculty are drawn from a wide range of departments and disciplines primarily in the humanities. In addition to offering its own doctoral degree, the Department offers courses and guidance to students who specialize in film and related media within departmental graduate programs or might be pursuing a joint degree. For more information, see our Graduate Program pages and the Graduate Handbook.

The requirements of graduate work are covered in some depth on our Graduate Program Requirements page.

To familiarize yourself further with the program, please take a look at the research interests and dissertations of our current students, as well as the exciting research and publications of our faculty.


Resources Available to Graduate Students

We offer access to a range of libraries, centers, committees, graduate workshops, and film groups – this page is continually evolving as exciting groups establish themselves within our community, and all make excellent places to begin, or continue, scholarly research.  


Fellowships and Financial Aid

The University of Chicago offers generous fellowship support to applicants admitted to our doctoral program. For further information, please refer to the divisional web site. Current students should also refer to the fellowships section of the Humanities Division site.

Students admitted to doctoral study are typically awarded a five-year fellowship package that includes full tuition, an annual living stipend, summer stipends, and medical insurance. Teaching training is a vital part of the educational experience at the University, so all fellowships include a required teaching component. Generally, students focus on their course requirements during the first and second year and fulfill the teaching requirement during the third through fifth year in the program.

For more information on this requirement please consult the teaching section from the Division of the Humanities, as well as Teaching Opportunities outlined by CMS.


Visit or Contact Us

To arrange a visit to the Cinema and Media Studies Department, please contact the CMS Office. Please also consult the 'Visit and Connect' section of Graduate Admissions page for more information on visiting the University, Hyde Park, and Chicago as a whole. Tours of campus are offered starting at 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday; walk-ins are welcome, but Campus Tours asks you to register in advance.


After the Degree

Cinema and Media Studies Alumni, as well as graduate students whose home lies in other departments within the University of Chicago, have worked on a great range of issues over the past several decades; the titles of past dissertations and who authored them can be found here. Additionally, our alumni have found jobs at prestigious institutions both domestically and abroad.