Applications to the Cinema and Media Studies PhD program must be submitted through the Division of the Humanities Admissions website. The application is open and closes on December 15.

Each year we have a limited number of slots for which we are able to offer admission, and our faculty carefully review each application. Final admission decisions are made by the faculty as a whole.

Application Requirements

  • 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. 
  • Three letters of recommendation submitted by persons able to describe your academic achievements and promise. 
  • Transcripts from all previous colleges and universities.
  • Application fee of $90 (fee waivers are available to applicants for whom the fee represents a financial hardship).

English Language Proficiency

Applicants for whom English is not a primary language may be required to submit current scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Scores can be no more than two years old at the time of application submission.

Joint Degree Programs

PhD students may wish to pursue joint PhD degrees with another department or program. For a joint Cinema and Media Studies and Theater and Performance Studies program, students indicate their interest during the admissions process. For all others, students may petition to do an 'ad-hoc' joint-degree with another department or program once they have completed at least one year of study in the PhD program.

Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH)

The Cinema and Media Studies 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). Students in MAPH can choose to concentrate in cinema and media studies and complete an MA thesis supervised by a CMS faculty member.

More Information

If you have any questions about the PhD program that are not answered by our website, please contact us at

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.

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.