PhD in Film Studies

Learn how you can research film history, theory and production techniques through a doctoral program in film studies. Check the prerequisites for admission to these programs, explore the curriculum, and learn about the examination and dissertation requirements. Review your job options with a Ph.D. in Film Studies. Schools offering Film degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Admissions Requirements for the Ph.D. in Film Studies?

Prerequisites for a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in Film Studies include a bachelor's degree and, at some schools, a master's degree in film studies or a related field, such as cinema and media studies. You'll need to submit three letters of recommendation and an example of scholarly writing.

Some schools require that you know at least two languages to be admitted into the program, and other schools require a basic knowledge of a foreign language, which you must acquire through the program if you do not already have it. These programs require in-person attendance, and online programs are generally unavailable.

Prerequisites Varies, depending upon the institution; may include bachelor's or master's degree in related field, scholarly writing sample, proficiency in a foreign language
Common Courses Foreign films, film history, film theory, technology in film
Graduation Requirements Written and oral exams, dissertation
Possible Careers Film archivist, professor, film museum worker, cinematographer

What Courses Will I Take?

Through a Ph.D. in Film Studies, you'll explore film as an entertainment medium and as a means for communication. You'll study various types of films, as well as exploring film history and the ways that directors and writers integrate their perspectives on history, religion and life into film. Some courses you could take include:

  • Historiography
  • Film theory
  • Foreign films
  • New media and technology in film
  • Theory and method of film
  • Film authors

What Are the Additional Requirements?

A Ph.D. program in film studies is very research-intensive. As such, you'll need to complete a qualifying paper in film studies to be advanced to Ph.D. candidacy. You'll also need to take a general exam that will test your knowledge of film and film history in addition to taking an oral exam, which will test your ability to defend your position in your qualifying paper and your written tests. A dissertation is also required to finish the degree program, which you must write on a theoretical, historical or critical aspect of film, then verbally defend it. After giving your dissertation, you can begin teaching film studies as an assistant professor.

How Can I Use This Degree?

With a Ph.D. in Film Studies, you can become a professor or assistant professor of film or media studies at the university level. You could also find a career working in a film museum organizing, cataloging and presenting the material. The Ph.D. could also lead to a career as a film archivist or a cinematographer.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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