In addition to departmental requirements for graduate admission, applicants must fulfill University requirements found in the UCSB General Catalog (General Requirements for Graduate Degrees)

To be considered for admission to the M.A./Ph.D. and Ph.D.-only degree programs in Film and Media Studies, a student must show a strong aptitude for scholarly work and demonstrate intellectual maturity. Students who are admitted will be required to attain a basic level of competence in the discipline in conjunction with their specific program of study. Many of the students admitted to the program will have achieved such a base level of competence by having completed an undergraduate major in film and media studies or taken film and media studies courses while majoring in a closely related humanities, arts, or social science discipline (such as literature, dramatic arts, philosophy, history, or women’s studies) with an emphasis on critical thinking and writing.

Applications to both the M.A./Ph.D and Ph.D.-only programs are accepted during the fall only. The application deadline for all applicants is December 1, when the department will begin screening applications for a limited number of competitive openings and funding opportunities.

Admission to the M.A./Ph.D. and Ph.D.-only programs is based on seven application components (for detailed information on all components see

  1. 1. On-line Application: A $90 ($110 for international applicants) non-refundable application fee must be paid by Visa or MasterCard, check, or money order before the application will be processed.

  2. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended must be uploaded to the online application. A 3.0 GPA for the bachelor’s degree is a campus-wide minimum requirement for UCSB graduate study.

  3. A Statement of Purpose describing the applicant’s reasons for wishing to earn a Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies, a Statement of Personal Achievements/Contributions, and a resume or CV must be submitted electronically.

  4. A writing sample that demonstrates a high level of ability to write theory, criticism, or historical narrative must be submitted online under "Supplemental Documents". It should be 15-20 pages of a coherent, complete essay, and does not have to be about film or media.

  5. Three letters of recommendation must be sent electronically along with your application.

  6. GRE exam scores (Institution Code 4835) are sent electronically via ETS. Scores are good for five years.

  7. Either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam scores or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores must be submitted by international students whose native language is not English. A minimum TOEFL score of 600 paper / 100 internet is required prior to admission. The minimum IELTS score for consideration is an overall score of 7 or higher.

UCSB does not admit students conditionally in order to learn English prior to beginning an academic program; an excellent command of written and spoken English is required prior to enrollment.

Detailed procedures about the ELPE (English Language Proficiency Exam), Minimum Proficiency Requirements in Spoken and Written English, and the TA Language Evaluation Exam are outlined under English for Multilingual Students (EMS) Requirement on the Graduate Division Admitted International Students page:

For further clarification and elaboration, please see the Graduate Division website:

Information and Questions:

Director of Graduate Studies: Professor Peter Bloom

Graduate Program Assistant: Catherine Cox (805-893-8535)

Graduate Program
Department of Film and Media Studies
Social Sciences and Media Studies Building
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010

phone: 805-893-8535 fax: 805-893-8630