Admissions Guidelines For Future Years of Instruction

To apply to the Cinema and Media Studies PhD program, you must submit your application through the Division of the Humanities Admissions website by December 15 for admission the following fall quarter. The application window is open each year from mid-September until December 15. Once you submit your application to the Humanities Division it will be forwarded to our department for review. Please note that we cannot consider late applications. 

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-Degree Programs

Students in the PhD program may wish to pursue joint PhD degrees with  another department or program. To do so, students can either petition to do a 'standing joint-degree (Theater and Performance Studies) during the admissions process or, once they have matriculated, create an 'ad-hoc' joint-degree (e.g., Art History, East Asian Languages and Civilizations). 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. 

Before deciding to undertake a joint PhD degree, students should consult with the Directors of Graduate Studies in both departments. Anyone interested in petitioning for a joint-degree should consult the guidelines provided by the Humanities Division. It is also possible to do a joint-degree with a department or program in another division, such as Anthropology or the Committee on Social Thought.


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. 

- At least three letters of recommendation submitted by persons able to describe your academic achievements and promise. 

- Transcripts from all previous colleges and universities.

- 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). Current scores are no more than two years old at the time of application submission. A complete description of the English proficiency policy may be found at this website, and questions about the English proficiency requirement should be directed to


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, or reach out to the Director of Graduate Studies.

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.