Where can I find information on your eligibility criteria and application process?

Yes, for more information please visit the Admissions page.


Is there a minimum GPA an applicant must have to be considered? 

No, we do not have a minimum GPA requirement. Scores are one among many aspects (including writing, personal statement) considered in the application.


It says that I only need to submit an unofficial transcript. What is considered an unofficial transcript?

Yes, you only need to submit an unofficial transcript with your application. This can be either a downloaded transcript from your college's student portal or a scanned copy of an official transcript. Accepted students will be required to submit official transcripts for all attended undergraduate and graduate institutions before beginning the program. 


Do you require GRE scores?

No. GRE scores are not required. 


The application fee poses a financial hardship for me. Is a fee waiver available?

Our fee waivers are managed by the Grad Division of the School of Arts and Sciences. To request a waiver, you should email Patricia Rea (, Associate Director for Admissions, with a brief letter stating the reason for your request. Please be advised that applicants must demonstrate a clear and compelling case of financial hardship and fee waivers may be considered for U.S. citizens or permanent residents only.If you are granted a waiver, you will receive a code to enter into the application at time of submission. Please do not submit your application while your request is pending.


What are the English language requirements of your program? Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?

Graduate students in the Cinema & Media Studies Department must have a strong command of English to be successful in coursework, dissertation writing, and teaching undergraduates. Applicants with citizenship or permanent resident status in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, or New Zealand do not have to prove their English proficiency. Citizens of other countries may satisfy this requirement by either 1) submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores, or 2) submitting proof of having graduated from an institution where English was the primary language of instruction (in most cases, your transcripts will suffice). If choosing the latter option, please write to Davor Svetinovic ( before submitting your application.

Our TOEFL code is 2986. For the IELTS, the University of Pennsylvania only accepts hard copies of scores, which can be sent by mail to: University of Pennsylvania, Department of Cinema & Media Studies, 3340 Walnut Street, Rm 209-A, Philadelphia, PA 19104, Attn: Davor Svetinovic, Graduate Coordinator 


Does the admissions committee interview applicants?

The admission committee may use interviews in the last stages of their decision making to help evaluate applicants' potential for success in the program. The interviews will be conducted online over zoom. Those who are asked to interview will be briefed in advance about the format and length.


I already submitted my application but realized that I attached the wrong writing sample file (or transcript, statement of purpose, etc.). Is there a way for me to submit the correct file?

Yes, you may submit corrected materials by email attachment to Davor Svetinovic ( He will include a hardcopy of your corrected materials with your application.


When can I expect to hear the results of my application? How are applicants notified?

As the admissions cycle varies each year, decisions are released on a different date each year. However, a decision will be made by early March.


If I am accepted to the M.A. program, can I continue on with the Ph.D. program upon completion of the Master’s?

No. Our CIMS MA program is a terminal MA program. After completing your M.A., you would need to reapply to be accepted into the PhD program. 

Do you require Ph.D. applicants to have a master's degree? Would having a master's degree improve my chances of acceptance?

PhD applicants do not need a Masters degree.


Does the Cinema & Media Studies department accept recommendation letters from Interfolio for the Ph.D. in Cinema & Media Studies application?

We do not accept Interfolio as it is not compatible with our application system. Letters should be uploaded directly into your application (ApplyWeb/CollegeNet) by your recommenders. 


What funding is available for Ph.D. students and are there opportunities to work as a TA, Research Assistant, etc.?

Yes, all accepted full time PhD applicants are offered a generous fellowship which includes the cost of tuition, fees and health insurance as well as providing an annual stipend. The term of the fellowship is for the first five years with the student remaining in good academic standing. For supporting their dissertation writing in the sixth year, students will have to apply for competitive college-wide fellowships or external grants.


Are either the M.A. or Ph.D. programs available to take online or part-time? 

No. The PhD program is an in-person program with no online version. We only accept full-time graduate students at this time.