Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH)

What is MAPH?

The Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) is designed to allow you the freedom to focus on one academic discipline or explore interdisciplinary interests that may not fit well within a traditional Master’s program. The flexibility and strong support network offered with this program can help you take the next step in your professional and academic life in a short period of time—more than 90% of MAPH students graduate in 9 months.


The Cinema and Media Studies Option

Although students may take all of their coursework in CMS, many expand their study into overlapping subjects like Art History, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, English Language and Literature, Gender and Sexuality, Romance Languages and Literature, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Theater and Performance Studies, and Visual Arts.

Students who would like a more directed course of study may want to complete the MAPH Cinema and Media Studies Option. Students who complete the following requirements will receive a Cinema and Media Studies notation on their MAPH transcript:

  • The MAPH Core course
  • The following Cinema and Media Studies courses
    • Methods and Issues
    • History of International Film I and II
    • One or Two Elective courses in Cinema and Media Studies
  • A thesis on cinema/media under the supervision of a member of the Cinema and Media Studies faculty

Another track students can choose is the Two-Year Language Option (TLO) which is ideal for students interested in translation studies, in need of advanced proficiency for admission to a PhD program, or looking to pursue a language study to enhance their academic work. In addition to the regular MAPH curriculum core courses, students take additional language courses at the intermediate and advanced levels. More information on this option can be found here.

For more information on the application process and requirements, please refer to the MAPH website.


Recent Cinema and Media Studies Thesis Projects

Annette Lepique, MAPH '20: "An American Childhood: The Mother, the Veil, the Deer, and the Gaze in Jordan Peele’s 'Get Out'"

Thomas Quist, MAPH '20: "The Material and Perceptual Folds of Cinematic Space"

Yi Liu, MAPH '20: "Ghostly Camera, Recurring Banquets: Slowness in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s 'Flowers of Shanghai'"

Nicholette Lindsay, MAPH '20: "I Know You Are But What Am I: A Critical Reading of Pee-wee Herman"


Sample Elective Courses

40000 Methods and Issues - Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky

Autumn Quarter 2021; one seminar meeting + one screening weekly

This course offers an introduction to ways of reading, writing on, and teaching film. The focus of discussion will range from methods of close analysis and basic concepts of film form, technique and style; through industrial/critical categories of genre and authorship (studios, stars, directors); through aspects of the cinema as a social institution, psycho-sexual apparatus and cultural practice; to the relationship between filmic texts and the historical horizon of production and reception. Films discussed will include works by Griffith, Lang, Hitchcock, Deren, Godard.

38003 Issues in Film Sound - James Lastra

Autumn Quarter 2021; two lectures + one screening weekly

This course takes the modern horror film as its object. For the purposes of this class, modern horror spans the period from 1960 to the present, although much of our attention will be directed toward the period from the 1980s to the present. We will examine key problems in the genre including, but not limited to an examination of the nature of the horrific, close formal analysis (which typically is neglected in favor of more culturally oriented approaches), questions of POV and camera movement, the articulation and construction of space, the role of gender in the genre, the changing importance of women as performers, characters, directors, and spectators, found footage/surveillance, and the genre's address to the viewer.

68820 Film Propaganda - Maria Belodubrovskaya

Autumn Quarter 2021; one seminar meeting + one screening weekly

This seminar explores film propaganda and propaganda films. We will look at various conceptions of propaganda and ask: What is the difference between propaganda, rhetoric, and persuasion? What is the relationship between film propaganda, mass art, and information? What is the relationship between film propaganda and the state? Is film propaganda an art form, and what are its formal features? How has film propaganda been used throughout film history, including in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the United States, and China? And what do we know about propaganda films’ effects on audiences?


31806 New Latin American Cinema - Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky

Winter Quarter 2022; two lectures + one screening weekly 

This course will introduce students to Latin American film studies through an assessment of its most critically celebrated period of radical filmmaking. The New Latin American Cinema (NLAC) of the late 1950s–70s generated unprecedented international enthusiasm for Latin American film production. The filmmakers of this loosely designated movement were defining themselves in relation to global realist film traditions like Italian Neorealism and Griersonian documentary, in relation to—mostly failed—experiments in building Hollywood-style national film industries, and in relation to regional discourses of underdevelopment and mestizaje. Since the late 1990s, a reassessment of the legacy of the NLAC has been taking shape as scholars have begun to interrogate its canonical status in the face of a changed political climate. In the sphere of filmmaking, contemporary Latin American new wave cinemas are also grappling with that legacy—sometimes disavowing it, sometimes appropriating it. We will situate the NLAC in its historical context, survey its formal achievements and political aspirations, assess its legacy, and take stock of the ways and the reasons that it haunts contemporary production.

61120 Performance Captured - Marc Downie

Winter Quarter 2022; one seminar meeting + one screening weekly 

Technologies that turn human action, appearance and performance into data for storage, transformation and redisplay have a long history inside and outside of moving image arts. This class will look at the opportunities, aesthetics and politics of these approaches running through contemporary special effects, traditional and experimental animation, dance on camera and live performance at a moment when boundaries between these categories have become especially porous. 


48700 History of International Cinema Part III - James Lastra 

Spring Quarter 2022; two lectures + one screening weekly 

This course will continue the study of cinema around the world from the late 1950s through the 1990s. We will focus on New Cinemas in France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries. We will pay special attention to experimental stylistic developments, women directors, and well-known auteurs. After the New Cinema era we will examine various developments in world cinema, including the rise of Bollywood, East Asian film cultures, and other movements.

37880 Videogame Consoles: A Platform Studies Approach - Chris Carloy

Spring Quarter 2022; two lectures + one play-session weekly 

While videogames’ mix of art, play, and advanced technology gives game studies much of its vitality, the technological and computational aspects of the medium can be daunting for many would-be students and designers. And yet no approach to the study of videogames can be exhaustive without some consideration of the material and technological grounds that make games possible. With this in mind, this course will introduce approaches to videogame studies that emphasize the platforms – the hardware, operating systems, etc. – on which games are played, and is intended for students with all levels of familiarity with the technological side of videogames. How do the various components of game platforms, from computer architecture to controllers to the underlying code, affect how games look, sound, and feel, how they are played, who designs them and how, how they are marketed and to whom, and how they are preserved? How do platforms emerge from particular technological, industrial, social, and cultural contexts, and how do they in turn affect the course of game history and culture?


A complete listing of offerings is available at the Department’s course page.