About the Department

The new Department of Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is a hub for humanistic inquiry into film, television, audiovisual artworks, material texts of various kinds, digital media, as well as environmental media. 

The intellectual core of the undergraduate and graduate programs places an emphasis on the history, intellectual and formal analysis of film and media practice. Students are exposed to screenwriting and production as well as to film and media theory, engaging critically with the study of national and global film movements as well as with the long history of all manner of media. You are invited to consult our Alumni page for a sampling of the successful careers our former students have pursued within the academy and in every segment of the film and media industries. This is supported by a robust internship program for undergraduates, allowing students to gain experience working with some of the most exciting film festivals, distributors, agencies, management and production companies in the business today.

The Department is proud of its ambitious public-facing programming, including screenings, lectures and workshops. We regularly host artists, filmmakers and scholars while collaborating with the various film clubs at Penn and film festivals across Philadelphia. Our programs at the Cannes Film Festival and in London allow students the opportunity to explore theater, art, culture and investigate how film functions in the context of celebrity culture and international marketing.

The University of Pennsylvania has long been home to innovative approaches to moving images and other media, dating back to Eadward Muybridge's influential and controversial animal locomotion studies of 1886. The Core Faculty and Graduate Group in Cinema & Media Studies recognizes the vital importance for humanities education to be able to think historically and critically about the operations, ethics, aesthetics and interactions of media ranging from stone tablets to digital infrastructures and machine learning. 

We believe that global and comparative approaches to studying media and cinema require an understanding of specific national and regional frameworks, including a comprehension of the histories of literature and art in particular regions and cultures. Our affiliated faculty in the Graduate Group belong to various language and literature departments as well as to History of Art, Anthropology and the Weitzman School of Design. Our faculty members, regardless of specialization, are committed to providing our students with training that spans the often-divisive categories of cinema and media; theory, history, and practice; traditional scholarly writing and multimodal methods. 

We encourage you to explore our faculty profiles, sample courses, undergraduate and graduate curricula. We are currently soliciting applications and look forward to welcoming a first cohort of graduate students in the fall semester of 2024. We hope to see you at many of our exciting events, including the weekly Wednesday lunch colloquia. 

Please don't hesitate to be in touch with any questions!