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The PhD in Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental degree that stresses the history, theory, and aesthetics of international cinema, video, television, and new media.
While the student will earn a PhD in Film Studies (granted by the Film Studies Program), he or she will also be a full member of one of five Associated Departments (English, French, Hispanic, History of Art and Architecture, or Slavic), fulfilling its requirements (many of which will overlap with those in Film Studies). The name of the Associated Department will appear as an Area of Concentration on the student's transcript. Thus, the student graduating with a PhD in Film Studies will be doubly qualified: in film studies as well as in a secondary area.
General Arts and Sciences Requirements: 72 credits total (with provisions for including the MA, dissertation credits, and/or preparation for comprehensive credits, etc. in that number).
All Film Studies PhD students will be required to fulfill the requirements of their Area of Concentration as well as the Film Studies PhD Requirements.
The curriculum for the PhD has two elements:
- Core Film Studies Requirements for all PhD Students (coursework in Film Studies, comprehensive exam in Film Studies, dissertation in Film Studies)
- Requirements for each Associated Department
Film Studies Core Course Requirements
These required courses will bring together students from all six associated departments so that they will have an opportunity to interact with each other. This core of required courses will also assure that students have a common and coherent thread in their Film Studies doctoral experience.
Note: This will not count toward seminar credit within the student’s associated department and will be given on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis.
Core Courses in Film Studies (7 credits):
- A two-course (6 credit) sequence taken in any order:
- Film History/Theory I ENGFLM 2451
- Film History/Theory II ENGFLM 2452
- One credit Film Studies Proseminar ENGFLM 2905
Electives in Film Studies (12 credits)
- Four elective Film Studies courses (in any department)
Of the total six required seminars, the student must take at least two courses taught by a member of the faculty outside of the student’s associated department. These course can include the two required core courses as well as any of the four electives.
Associated Departmental Course Requirements
Consult the website of the Associated Department to which you are applying. You must fulfill all requirements within that department although there can be overlap between requirements of the Associated Department and the Film Studies Program.
The two required core courses in Film Studies (Film History/Theory I and II) will serve as the preliminary exam in Film Studies. Successful completion of these two classes with a grade of B or better will constitute passing the preliminary examination.
For any additional Preliminary Evaluation requirements in Associated Departments, consult the website of the Associated Department to which you are applying.
The Comprehensive Exam will be taken in the student’s Associated Department. While the exam structure will differ from department to department, in all cases:
- one component (or more) of the exam will focus on Film Studies
- a second component of the exam will focus on the departmental Area of Concentration (including its relation to cinema)
- at least one member of the exam committee in the student’s associated department will be a member of the graduate faculty in Film Studies.
Consult the website of your Associated Department for more details.
The language requirement for each student is specified according to his/her Associated Department/Area of Concentration.
Consult the website of your Associated Department for more details.
All film PhD students will be required to serve as TA/TF for at least one film class. If the Associated Department does not offer film course or has no TA/TF positions for a film course, students will be required to teach one term of the undergraduate course Introduction to Film (or another such introductory course developed in the future) as part of his/her overall experience as a TA/TF.
The dissertation will be completed in the Associated Department and must involve film and/or media studies as subject matter incorporated with the student’s Area of Concentration (as determined by the dissertation director).
The Chair of the dissertation committee will be a graduate faculty member in the student’s Associated Department who is also member of the interdisciplinary Film Studies graduate faculty.
The external member of the committee will be a member of the Film Studies graduate faculty from outside the Associated Department. It is expected that students will have been exposed to these faculty members in taking the required Film Studies courses (taught by the interdisciplinary Film Studies faculty), elective Film Studies courses (outside the student’s Associated Department), and in the Proseminar (taught by the interdisciplinary faculty.
Students applying for the PhD in Film Studies will identify a departmental Area of Concentration from the list of associated departments (e.g. English, French, Hispanic, History of Art and Architecture, Slavic, and German). This area of concentration will appear on the student’s transcript when the degree is granted.
Students will submit an application to the Film Studies PhD program. That application will be simultaneously vetted by the Associated Department. Only one application fee is required. Students who wish to pursue a MA simultaneously in a Department that offers a standalone MA (e.g. French or German) can do so.
Students who have already entered graduate programs in associated departments are welcome to apply to the Film Studies PhD Program through the normal application process. If accepted into the Film Program, they are eligible to transfer a maximum of 24 credits towards the Film PhD degree requirements, and can petition to waive required courses that have been fulfilled, following normal University, School and Program regulations.
If a student who is in the Film PhD program wants to switch to a different area of concentration (e.g., from German to English) he/she is required to reapply to the new area of concentration’s departmental PhD program and be admitted before being able to change the area of concentration.
A PhD student in Film Studies who wishes to switch to a different PhD Program need to apply to that program by filling out an application for readmission.
How to Apply
Use the Arts and Sciences website's ApplyYourself® service. Select "Film Studies-PHD" then choose your area of specialization on another pull-down menu.
Contact Film Studies graduate administrator with questions:email@example.com or 412-624-6564.
Deadlines vary dependent on the Associated Department:
- English: December 10
- History of Art/Architecture: December 15
- French: January 10
- Hispanic: January 15
- Slavic: January 15
Note: If an Associated Department requires that you submit a writing sample in a foreign language, you must submit a second sample (either the same translated or different) in English.