Requirements, Rules and Procedures


During their first 3 years, students must be registered for a minimum of 3 course units (CUs) per semester in order to be considered full-time students in good standing.

Graduate seminars are assigned 5000- to 9000-level course codes.


MA students will take the core introductory course Cinema & Media Studies Theory and Methods (CIMS 6001). They will complete 8 CUs in 2 years. The student’s M.A. thesis should be approved by their advisor and the department’s executive committee. Students will take a CIMS 9999 course in the fall or spring of their second year to support the completion of the M.A. thesis, which should be submitted no later than the end of the second year. The M.A. thesis is a substantial piece of original scholarship that often begins as a research project for a 6000- or 7000-level course and is continued as an independent study (CIMS 9999), according to the advice of the supervising instructor and with the approval of the Graduate Chair. Alternatively, it can originate as an independent study project.


First Year
CIMS 6001 - Theory and Methods (plus 3-4 additional seminars)

Second Year
CIMS 8001 - Pedagogy Course (plus 3-4 additional seminars)
Qualifying Exam

Third Year
CIMS 8500 - Field List
CIMS 8510 - Dissertation Proposal

After Third Year
CIMS 9999 - Independent Study/Dissertation Writing

Each student must take courses that fulfill four distribution requirements:

1. One course involving multimodal methodologies and/or formats: 5000-5333 | 7000-7333

2. One course explicitly engaging a particular historical period (e.g. Early Cinema): 5334-5666 | 7334-7666

3. Two courses across which students engage three different geographies. At least one course must focus on a specific place: 5667-5999 | 7667-7999.

4. One course from outside of the CIMS department exploring the relationship of this field of study to other disciplines or media (e.g. music, literature, painting).

For a representative sample of additional seminars offered, see the graduate courses taught by CIMS Faculty over the years.


CIMS 6001 - Theory and Methods
This proseminar will introduce a range of theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches (and some debates about them) informing the somewhat sprawling interdisciplinary field of Cinema and Media Studies. It aims to equip students with a diverse— though not comprehensive—toolbox with which to begin conducting research in this field; an historical framework for understanding current theories and methods in context; and a space for reflecting on how theories, methods, ideologies, and epistemologies inform one another – as well as how to choose appropriate theories and methods for various research projects.

CIMS 8001 - Pedagogy Course
The pedagogy seminar is required for all second-year graduate students, who will
be either grading or TAing (and running discussion sections) of one of the large 1000-level CIMS courses. The seminar will be devoted to discussing course texts and teaching methods, and managing pedagogical issues as they arise during the semester.

CIMS 8500 - Field List
A reading list as well as exam areas must be chosen by the end of Fall semester of the third year, and students receive one credit for the Independent Study they take to help them prepare this material. Field Exam lists focus on three areas of specialization or emphasis. While the exact number of texts on each list is left to the discretion of the advisor and advisee, students should, as a general rule, aim to engage with at least 20 books and articles.

CIMS 8510 - Dissertation Proposal
The Dissertation Proposal will be developed in an independent study with the advisor in students’ fifth semester (third year). The Proposal is a 5-10 page document + bibliography that lays out the scope, method(s) (including any multi-modal work), and significance of the planned dissertation.