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 2020; Remote

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.

35503 Contemporary Horror - James Lastra

Autumn Quarter 2020; Remote

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.

38921 Introduction to 16mm Filmmaking - Thomas Comerford

Winter Quarter 2021; Blended Sessions

The goal of this intensive laboratory course is to give its students a working knowledge of film production using the 16mm gauge. The course will emphasize how students can use 16mm technology towards successful cinematography and image design (for use in both analog and digital postproduction scenarios) and how to develop their ideas towards constructing meaning through moving pictures. Through a series of group exercises, students will put their hands on equipment and solve technical and aesthetic problems, learning to operate and care for the 16mm Bolex film camera; prime lenses; Sekonic light meter; Sachtler tripod; and Arri light kit and accessories. For a final project, students will plan and produce footage for an individual or small group short film. The first half the course will be highly structured, with demonstrations, in-class shoots, and lectures. As the semester continues, class time will open up to more of a workshop format to address the specific concerns and issues that arise in the production of the final projects

48108 Film, Music, Emotion - Berthold Hoeckner

Winter Quarter 2021; Remote 

This course explores the role of emotions in movies.  Films represent emotions, such as the feelings of a character; and they elicit emotions in viewers, making it part of their cinematic experience.  Cinematic emotions are often constitutive of genre, ranging from the laughter in slapstick comedy to cathartic tears in melodrama. While film has long been scrutinized for the visual representation of emotions (for example with the close-up of a face), sound and music are vital contributors to representing and eliciting emotions. This seminar will focus on a series of films that mix emotions in order to express social dilemmas and dramatic conflict, often connected to issues of gender, sexual, and racial identity. Films discussed range from Stella Dallas (1937) and Imitation of Life (1937) to Moonlight  (2016) and Parasite (2019)Readings will include scholarship in film studies, affect theory, and some empirical research in cognitive and social psychology. 

61120 Issues and Aesthetics in Contemporary Black Film - Kara Keeling

Winter Quarter 2021; Remote

This seminar considers innovations and trends in Black film aesthetics and politics over the past twenty years. We will focus specifically on their implications for film theory and criticism.


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