The Department of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara offers M.A./Ph.D and Ph.D.-only degree programs.
Building on the strengths of the department and the campus, the graduate program emphasizes the study of film from a humanistic perspective, within the broader context of global media culture. The program is designed to be:
- Deeply rooted in the discipline of Film and Media Studies and critical thinking
- Strongly interdisciplinary, drawing on the talents and training of faculty in those companion departments where interest in the study of the modern media arts and industry is emerging and flourishing
- International in its range of focus, allowing for the comparative study of diverse national cinemas and media institutions and practices within a global framework
- Innovative in its research methods and its teaching
- Innovative in its Ph.D. design
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
- On-line Application: https://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/eapp/ A $120 ($140 for international applicants) non-refundable application fee must be paid by Visa or MasterCard, check, or money order before the application will be processed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Three letters of recommendation must be sent electronically along with your application.
- 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:http://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/admissions/
Information and Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Graduate Studies: Professor Jennifer Holt
Staff Graduate Program Advisor: Catherine Cox (805-893-8535)
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: 805-893-8630120
2019-2020 TA Salary and Other Benefits
Quarterly 50% TA Salary
QUARTERLY TOTAL BENEFIT
ANNUAL TOTAL BENEFIT
Graduate Student Fees and Fee Remission
Tuition, fees, and other charges are subject to change without notice
by the Regents of the University of California.
Department of Film and Media Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010
phone: 805-893-8535 fax: 805-893-8630
Graduate Degree Programs (M.A./PH.D and PH.D.-ONLY)
The M.A./Ph.D. and Ph.D.-only curriculum is comprised of two parts: a set of six core courses together with eleven (or five for the Ph.D.-only) supplemental/elective courses designed to make the program strongly disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and international. The graduate core courses focus on fundamental areas of competence in history, theory, analysis, and cultural studies. TA Practicum units are earned in addition to these core and elective courses. (Click for graduate courses.)
The six critical studies core courses are designed for in-depth study at the graduate level and are entirely separate from undergraduate course offerings. The core consists of the following six courses: 220 Critical Analysis; 230 The Philosophy of History; 231 Media Historiographies; 240 Film Theory; 241 Television and New Media Theory; and 250 Cultural Theory.
In lieu of a single research and methods course, the core curriculum distributes methodological training across a series of courses involved with concrete research topics in order to offer a working sense of how one approaches a media object of study from a variety of perspectives.
The curriculum has a unique design that encourages students to acquire professional experience in teaching, presenting research, as well as (through an innovative M.A. exam process and Ph.D. area exam process) developing a research plan for the dissertation.
The department offers a wide range of graduate electives. Under certain circumstances—if the topic is crucial to the student’s research or a course will not be offered when needed—credit is also available for two courses in the department’s upper-division undergraduate program (using the undergraduate course number). Furthermore, there are numerous opportunities to take graduate courses in other departments. With the approval of the student’s mentor, the department’s Director of Graduate Studies, and the department’s Chair, up to five elective courses in the first three years of the M.A./Ph.D. may be taken in other departments; and up to three elective courses in the first two years of the Ph.D.-only.
In addition to the core curriculum and elective courses, there is a foreign language proficiency requirement. Other types of requirements are described below (in I. and II.).
Policy on Independent Studies Courses. Department policy is that only a total of TWO 596 courses can be taken as part of the 11 electives for the M.A./Ph.D. or as part of the 5 electives for the Ph.D.-only. Beyond the elective courses, students may take whatever they choose, including more 596’s. When a student is “abroad” doing research, he or she may arrange 596’s with the approval of the student’s mentor, the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair. The two-rule will also apply to 596’s, or similar independent study or directed reading courses, offered by faculty in OTHER departments on campus.
I. M.A./Ph.D. REQUIREMENTS
A. Master of Arts – Film and Media Studies
The department does NOT offer a terminal M.A. program. All applicants are admitted to a single M.A./Ph.D. (or Ph.D.-only) program. The M.A. degree in Film and Media Studies is treated as a valuable stage on the path to the doctorate. Although it is understood that some students may choose not to continue beyond the M.A., and that others may not be permitted to do so, the aim of the program is to provide students with research training leading to the doctoral degree.
The expected time for the M.A. is two years. Students who lack a background in the discipline may be required to complete one or more additional upper-division undergraduate courses in Film and Media Studies prior to conferral of the M.A. degree.
In the first two years, the student must complete six graduate core curriculum courses and five graduate elective courses for a total of eleven courses (out of the seventeen required for the Ph.D. degree).
By the end of the second year, the student must pass an oral M.A. exam administered by the student’s M.A. Committee, based on two research papers written and revised by the student during the first two years of the program. M.A. committees are comprised of 3 members, of which 2 including the chair must be regular Senate faculty members of the Department of Film and Media Studies.
B. Doctor of Philosophy – Film and Media Studies
The expected time to complete the Ph.D. is three years following the successful completion of the M.A. The student must, sometime between the end of his or her M.A. program and the first year of the Ph.D., investigate potential locations for off-campus research. In the first year of the Ph.D., the student must a) complete six graduate courses, some or all of which will contribute to the development of the student’s emerging research program. By the end of the first year of the Ph.D. (i.e., the third year of the M.A./Ph.D.), each student will have taken and passed a total of seventeen courses.
Foreign Language Requirement
There are three kinds of requirements for the Ph.D. degree that involve the acquisition of a foreign language. These requirements are separate and independent.
1. If expertise in a specific foreign language is necessary or desirable for the purpose of conducting research for a Ph.D. dissertation, a student’s Ph.D. Committee may require competency in that foreign language. This foreign language may, but need not, be the same language that is offered to fulfill the general requirement (see below).
2. All candidates for the Ph.D. degree, prior to Advancement to Candidacy, must demonstrate reading “proficiency” or “competency,” not necessarily “fluency,” in a foreign language. This is a general requirement for the Ph.D. degree; thus any language courses that a student takes must be in addition to the required seventeen Film and Media Studies core and elective courses for the MA/Ph.D. degree or the required eleven Film and Media Studies core and elective courses for the Ph.D.-only degree. The standard is “reading knowledge.” You can complete this requirement in the following ways:
1) Completion of a language course at Level 6 (i.e., 6 quarters of study) with a minimum grade of B+; or,
2) Completion of an upper-division literature course conducted in the foreign language with a minimum grade of B+; or,
3) Completion of a reading course for graduate students (e.g. French 6 or 11A-11B, German 2G or 6 and Spanish 6) with a minimum grade of B+. Students whose native language is not English or who are fully multilingual, as affirmed by the Graduate Committee, will be deemed to have satisfied the foreign language requirement if it directly bears on their stated research project as described in the form of a petition.
4) Alternatives such as petitioning for fulfillment based on previous equivalent level 6 coursework and/or language proficiency; summer immersion courses; Fulbright study; successfully passing a Foreign Language Evaluation Exam at reading proficiency level as administered and determined by the respective language department (see relevant contacts on graduate program website); or completing a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) which can be discussed with your advisor/mentor and approved by petition to graduate committee.
Students whose native language is not English will be deemed to be at least bilingual and thus to have satisfied the foreign language requirement.
Language Evaluation Exams
Students may take Language Evaluation Exams in the respective departments of their language choice. Below is the contact information for five languages on campus that offer placement exams:
Dr. Valentina Padula evaluates the language levels of anyone above level 3. Please contact Dr. Vallentina Padula at email@example.com to schedule an appointment for a placement interview.
Dr. Jean Marie Schultz evaluates the language levels of anyone above level 3. Please contact Dr. Jean Marie Schultz at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment for a placement interview.
Two types of exams are offered, the Spanish Placement Exam for second language learners and the Spanish Fluency Evaluation for native/heritage speakers. The placement exam is offered in the department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies M-F when classes are in session and the fluency evaluation is typically offered 2 days per week, dependent upon scheduling. Please contact Laura Marques-Pascual at email@example.com.
The Portuguese placement exam is offered in the department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies by appointment. Please contact the language coordinator, Laura Marques-Pascual at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
The German language evaluation exam is in two parts, an untimed written exam administered in the advising office of the department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and an oral exam completed after the written exam and scheduled by appointment. Please contact Dr. Evelyn Reder at email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
Formation of Ph.D. Committee and Prospectus.
A Ph.D. committee must have four or five members. At least three members must be regular Senate faculty in the Department of Film and Media Studies. At least one member must be from outside the Department. Affliliated faculty, for this purpose, are considered to be outside the home department. A fifth member is optional. The prospectus must consist of an original topic, contributing new knowledge to the field and offer a solid blueprint for the dissertation research. It should include an extensive rationale for the project, a discussion of methodology, a survey of relevant literature, a bibliography (including reference to relevant film and media works), a descriptive table of contents, and a firm, realistic timeline. The prospectus should be from 3750 – 5000 words in length (15 – 20 pages) not including the bibliography.
Timeline for Ph.D. Committee and Ph.D. Qualifying Exam.
The Ph.D. Qualifying Exam consists of written and oral portions. By the end of week four of Spring quarter of the third year of the M.A./Ph.D., a student must form a dissertation committee by the end of week ten of Spring quarter, he or she must choose three areas of specialization, together with appropriate reading lists as well as film and media works, relating to the dissertation topic and prospectus developed in consultation with the committee; by the end of week three of the fall quarter of the fourth year, the student must pass a written examination administered by the doctoral committee covering the three areas of specialization, and by the end of week seven pass an oral defense of the of the written exams and prospectus. Upon successful completion of the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam, the student will file for Advancement to Candidacy.
Ph.D. Written Exam.
The exam will focus on broad questions and the important texts within the three chosen areas of specialization. It consists of a take-home exam, administered over the course of three consecutive days, beginning Monday or Tuesday. Prior to the exam, the student will arrange the time for pick up and drop off of the questions and responses with the student’s Dissertation Committee Chair and the Graduate Program Assistant. Questions will be given out day by day and the student writes a response over a 24-hour period. The typewritten response will be twelve to twenty double-spaced pages in a 12-point font for each question. A choice of two questions for each area will be given, from which the student chooses one. Each student may choose the order of his or her area exams.
Ph.D. Qualifying Oral Exam.
The oral portion of the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam takes place over a two-hour period and covers the student’s Written Exam and dissertation prospectus. The format of the exam—that is, the allocation of time to presentation by the student, questions from the Committee Chair and members, and group discussion—is determined by the Dissertation Committee Chair in consultation with committee members. The student may be asked about Written Exam questions (answered or unanswered) and any matters related to the three areas of study of the prospectus.
Following the end of the Oral Exam, the designation of Pass, Pass with Conditions, or Fail will be given to each of the three Written Exam questions and the prospectus.
Since faculty are employed on a nine-month year, they are normally unavailable for teaching, mentoring, or consultation responsibilities during the summer.
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense.
Upon completion of the writing of the dissertation based on original research, the student will defend the work orally before the dissertation committee at a forum open to the public. Submission of the completed dissertation to the entire dissertation committee must be made at least one month in advance of the defense date. See Graduate Student Handbook for more details on the Dissertation and Defense.
II. PH.D.-ONLY REQUIREMENTS
The Ph.D.-only degree is for those students who hold an M.A. or M.F.A. degree in Film and Media Studies or a closely-related discipline. Forty-four (44) units of coursework are required (eleven 4-unit courses), including the six graduate core courses. In addition, there is a foreign language proficiency requirement that must be satisfied before advancement to candidacy (see above for details on both requirements). Expected time for advancement to Ph.D. candidacy is seven quarters (two years plus one quarter).
The procedures governing the Ph.D Committee, Prospectus, Written Exam, Oral Exam, and Oral Dissertation Defense are indicated above (but occur one year sooner than in the M.A./Ph.D.).
Exam Policy Guidelines
The M.A. degree in Film and Media Studies is a valuable stage on the path to the doctorate. The normative time for the M.A. is two years. By the end of the second year, the student must pass an oral M.A. exam administered by the student’s M.A. Committee based on two research papers written and revised by the student during the first two years of the program. Students who complete the M.A. graduate work and pass the oral exam with sufficient distinction will be invited to continue working toward the Ph.D.
The guidelines for the M.A. exam are as follows:
- Each candidate for the M.A. degree will nominate a M.A. Exam Committee Chair and select the members of the Committee.
- Committees are comprised of three faculty members, two of whom, including the chair of the committee, must be Department of Film and Media Studies graduate faculty and Academic Senate members. Affiliated faculty and non-affiliated faculty from other departments may serve on the committee with prior approval from the Department Chair and Graduate Studies Director.
- Committees must be determined, and Master’s Form I submitted to the Department’s Graduate Assistant, by Friday of the fourth week of Winter quarter of the second year. Form can be found under “Forms and Petitions” on the Graduate Division website www.graddiv.ucsb.edu. [Do not submit form to Graduate Division.]
- Candidates for the M.A. will work with the exam Committee to select two papers by the student that will provide the subject of the exam. It is expected that both papers will be revised and polished prior to the exam.
- It is the responsibility of the student to communicate with Committee members, whether individually or as a group, prior to the exam to determine the date of the oral exam and the focus and direction of revisions.
- Candidates must provide the Committee members with the revised papers that will be the subject of evaluation for the Master’s exam no later than two weeks prior to the exam date.
- The duration of the exam will be no longer than two hours. The exam has two parts: an initial formal presentation by the student of approximately 20-30 minutes to be followed by questions from the committee and responses by the student.
- Candidates will be expected to discuss the subject matter of each paper and its context within the field. The student will not read aloud his or her papers as part of the exam, nor simply repeat ideas in the papers, since it is assumed that the essays will have been read in advance by committee members. The student’s presentation should reflect on the larger issues raised by the two papers and address the possibilities for further research.
- All of the candidates must have completed their exams by the end of the fourth week of Spring quarter of their second year.
- The student will be informed of the results of his or her exam at the end of the exam. There are three outcomes: Pass, Fail, and Revisions Required. A student who does not pass the exam or who is required to further revise essays, must resubmit papers to the committee within six weeks of the date of the exam.
213 Autobiographical Screenwriting
Explores the creative process in autobiographical screenplay construction through writing exercises as well as film viewing. Seeks innovative means of character and story development including but not limited to Internet personas and autobiographical tourism. Offered concurrently with Film Studies 113AU.
220 Critical Analysis
Examines a range of methodologies and critical approaches to the study of film and media, with the specific topics chosen by the instructor.
222AA-ZZ Special Topics in Film Analysis
Close examination of an element of film style–such as, sound, color, or camera movement–and its impact on interpretation.
223 Black Film Criticism
Explores the social, cultural, aesthetic and economic contexts of black critical writing on film over the past century. Studies the black critique of racial representation in Hollywood and other cinemas, the black independent cinemas, and black spectatorship.
226 National Cinemas
Close analysis of theories of nation, nationalism, and national cinema, with a focus on the contentious relations between culture, history, media capital and the state. Topics include evolving genres, styles, movements and institutions; local lifeworlds and cultural difference within a post-national context; and the spectral nature of contemporary national formations. Offered concurrently with Film Studies 187AA-ZZ.
230 Philosophy of Film History
Studies works and concepts in philosophy of history that have informed the researching and writing of film and media history. Will also consider the ways in which film and media texts have extended debates about and concepts of historiographic practice.
231 Media Historiographies
Comparative analysis of various historical accounts of cinema, television and digital media that have shaped the field of film and media studies. Emphasis on issues and debates that have dominated efforts to write rigorous, methodologically explicit histories of different media.
232AA-ZZ Special Topics in Film and Media History
Close examination of a topic in film and/or media history.
234 History, Memory and Media
Explores how visual and acoustic media have influenced the writing of public histories and the formation of collective memories, and the possibilities and limitations of representing historical events in both fiction and nonfiction audio-visual forms.
240 Film Theory
Examines the history and rhetoric of thinking about the ontology, epistemology, ideology, and aesthetics of film.
241 Television and New Media Theory
Explores important theoretical writings concerning electronic and digital media. Course readings will define the unique properties of these mediums, consider their ontological status, and discuss how they differ from one another and other cultural forms.
242LA Film Theory and Practice in Latin America
Studies the history, works, ideologies, and concepts in film theory produced in Latin America with emphasis on the global and regional flow of ideas. Course readings include foundational texts, key sources of influence, as well as the screening of significant works.
243AA-ZZ Special Topics in Critical Thinkers
Explores in depth the work of one particular thinker relevant to the field of media and cultural studies, for example, Freud, Barthes, Benjamin and others.
247 Feminism and Media Theory
An intellectual history of feminist film and television theory from the 1970s to the present. Course readings are discussed in relation to gender representations in various screenings. Areas covered include psychoanalysis, structuralism, poststructuralism, queer theory, and cultural studies.
249 Postcolonial Media Theory
Studies colonial ideologies and representations, and postcolonial challenges and negotiations, with emphasis on concepts such as imperialism, Eurocentrism, Orientalism, Third Cinema, hybridity, voice and identity. Interrogates the institutions, frameworks and processes involved in the production of knowledge.
250 Cultural Theory
Explores key ideas, issues, and developments in cultural studies and critical theory through close readings of primary texts. Possible approaches include the Frankfurt School, the Birmingham School, Freudianism/Lacanianism, semiotics/structuralism, and postmodernism/post-structuralism.
251 Theory and Practice of Popular Culture
Surveys contemporary approaches to the study of popular culture. Readings include theorists who have critically engaged the Frankfurt School, who have written before and beyond the Birmingham School, or who have taken a comparative international perspective. May be offered concurrently with Film Studies 190PC.
252PM Political Media: Social Media Activism and Platforms
Explores aspects of film and media studies’ evolution in the wake of the influential (and elastic) digital humanities (DH) turn during the early 2000s. Propelled in large measure by the advent of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat, Tumblr, and other social media platforms, citizen journalism, hashtag activism, remix and meme cultures, digital media technologies in the 21st century require new epistemologies to understand some new modes and codes of interactive media production, consumption, and circulation. Thus, we will interrogate humanistic approaches to video game studies contemporary media studies that have expanded to include software, code, and platform studies that too often bifurcates DH into oppositional camps of so-called “makers” and “talkers.” In this vein our seminar will also explore political economies of social media activism and diffusion among diverse population blocs (local and global) and modern political movements/organizations such as MoveOn.org, Obama for America, Netroots Nation, American Crossroads, the Tea Party, Wikileaks, Black Lives Matter, the Woman’s March, among others. As we approach 2020, a consequential electoral cycle in U.S. politics, this seminar is particular timely.
262AA-ZZ Special Topics in Film and/or Media Globalization
Close examination of a topic in the globalization of film and/or media.
267 Media Industries
This course examines the business strategies, political economy, regulatory dimensions and cultural products of contemporary media industries. A focus on the dynamics of globalization, convergence and new technologies grounds our exploration of the interconnected industrial, economic and cultural/artistic aspects of film, television, and digital media.
268 Paradigms of Globalization
Analysis of various theories of globalization, with specific focus on ‘global media.’ Interrogates the ways in which transnational networks and flows of capital, information, technology, people, representations, aspirations and actions are constitutive of contemporary life.
295I Professional Internship
501 Teaching Assistant Practicum
593 Programming and Curation
Graduate students from any department are eligible to enroll in this one- or two-unit course. The course is offered in the fall and winter quarters: in the fall, we will discuss the basics of curation and individual programs; in winter, we will focus on larger questions of series programming and seriality. In each quarter, students will examine broader issues related to curation, including the construction of cultural value, economics of prestige, audiences and publics, the questions of pleasure. Students will have the opportunity to propose programs for the Pollock Theater and related Carsey-Wolf Center research events. The course aims to foster the skills needed to create effective public and academic events through class discussions of methodological issues. If students want to take the course for elective credit toward the Film and Media Studies Ph.D., they must register for 2 units in each of the two terms.
594AA-ZZ Special Topics in Film and Media
595AA-ZZ Group Studies
596AA-ZZ Directed Reading and Research
597 MA Orals and PhD Exam Preparation
598 Preparation for Dissertation Prospectus
599 Dissertation Research and WritingCritical
M.A. Committee must be constitued and form submitted by end of 4th week of Spring.
M.A. Oral Exam taken by end of 4th week of Spring
Dissertation Committee must be constituted and form submitted by end of 4th week of spring.
Dissertation topic and exam areas must be chosen by Spring
Reading lists formulated by 10th week of Spring
Language Requirement met by end of Spring
All coursework completed by end of Spring
Prospectus submitted by 1st day of Fall
Qualifying Exams taken by end of 3rd week of Fall
Prospectus Defense completed by 7th week of Fall
Ph.D. (5-year) Completed by end of Spring
Ph.D. (6-year) Completed by end of Spring