Graduate FAQ

Can I earn a doctoral degree in Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh?

Yes. You can earn a PhD in Film Studies in conjunction with one of six associated departments. When you graduate, your transcript will read: PhD in Film Studies with an “Area of Concentration” in the department you select.

Can I earn a master’s degree in Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh?

You cannot apply for a stand-alone MA in Film Studies. If you are a PhD student in Film Studies and do not complete the degree, it is possible you will be eligible for a Terminal MA in Film Studies.

What is a master’s or doctoral certificate in Film Studies? How does it relate to one’s departmental status?

Certificates (at both the MA and PhD level) can be earned in film studies. They are granted by the interdisciplinary Film Studies Program and are supplemental to your degree from a particular department.

If I complete a Certificate in Film Studies, will my transcript indicate a specialization in film studies?

Your transcript will list a Certificate in Film Studies (MA or PhD).

If I enroll in one graduate department at the University, will I be able to take film studies courses in other departments?

It is typical for graduate film studies classes to be composed of students from numerous departments, all of whom share an interest in and focus on cinema. Speak with the director of graduate studies of your home department to determine the precise number of courses you can take outside your department.

Can I ever enroll as a graduate student in an undergraduate film studies course?

Some departments allow graduate students to take a very limited number of undergraduate courses for graduate credit, often with the requirement that they do additional work for the course (in consultation with their professor). Consult your department’s Director of Graduate Studies.

Are there any courses in film production at the graduate level?

No. We offer undergraduate courses in film, photography, and videography through an affiliated organization near our campus: Pittsburgh Filmmakers. While graduate students do not receive credit for taking such classes, those who are funded for summer teaching are allowed to take classes free of tuition charges at Pittsburgh Filmmakers (although lab fees must be covered by the student).

Do you have to have your MA to apply to the PhD program?

No, we admit students with both BA and MA degrees directly into the PhD program. If you enter with a BA, you have 10 years to receive your degree. If you enter with an MA, you have 8 years to receive your degree.

What are the acceptance rates for the PhD program?

There is no standard acceptance rate because it depends partly on the acceptance rate for each associated department to which students apply.

Is the Film Studies PhD program nationally ranked?

There are no official rankings of Film Studies departments and programs. But the Film Studies program is nationally renowned with faculty active in the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

What type of teaching experience should I expect to receive while working toward my PhD?

In addition to the teaching opportunities offered by your associated department, the Film Studies program will offer you teaching experience in at least one summer course in film studies.

Do I have to pay two application fees?

No, you will pay $50 for one application. You will apply to the Film Studies PhD program and choose an associated department.

How does the application process work?

Your application will be vetted first by the associated department you have designated, and if accepted, your application will then be vetted by the film studies program.

What focus should the writing sample have, film or the associated department?

Since your application will first be vetted by the associated department, your writing sample should be relevant to that department. Ideally, it should also be on a topic that is relevant to film studies.