Programs / Graduate Program


Students in the Film & Media Ph.D. are encouraged to situate moving images within the larger theoretical and analytical frameworks of a range of other disciplines. They integrate the traditions of History, Law, Literature, Religion and Political Theory to the newer disciplines of Film Studies and Digital Media, applying the tools of Post-Structuralism, Psychoanalysis, New Historicism, Frankfurt School, Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Post-Colonialism and Deconstruction. Many combine their degree study with a campus Designated Emphasis (graduate “minor”) in New Media, in Critical Theory, or in Women, Gender and Sexuality.

The Film & Media Ph.D. emphasizes film and media history and theory, but also includes a digital-media production component that can be interwoven with the student’s other areas of study. Through a cooperative effort with the Department of Art Practice and the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, the Department of Film & Media has helped to found the Digital Media Labs Consortium, a humanities-based initiative that pools production resources and coordinates courses of instruction to widen the possibilities in advanced digital-media production. Art Practice also offers an MFA that includes production in digital media and new genres. Other production degrees on campus include the Graduate School of Journalism’s M.A. in documentary film production.

During their first two years, graduate students in the Film & Media Ph.D. take a course in Film Theory, a course in Film Historiography, a Proseminar that orients new students to the professional field of Film & Media Studies, and other seminars chosen from a range of electives (see sample topics in the “Courses” section). Beginning in their fifth semester, students begin to prepare in greater depth for their doctoral Qualifying Examinations and dissertation research. Because the Department of Film & Media at Berkeley is committed to interdisciplinary research, students are required to work in significant ways with faculty in other departments as well as with Film & Media Faculty.

The Film & Media Ph.D. has about 25 graduate students. Students are admitted to the program in the Fall semester only. The application deadline for admission in Fall 2025 is December 3, 2024, 8:59 p.m. PST. Start the online application at: Applying for Graduate Admission. Please note that the Department of Film & Media admits students for a Ph.D. only. Although an M.A. degree is awarded after partial completion of the requirements for the Ph.D., there is no M.A. program as such with its own curriculum.

Graduate Student Handbook 2024-2025