Programs / Graduate Program

FAQs – admissions

Q: What is the required word count for the Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement, and Writing Sample?
A: We do not have a maximum word count for the Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement. However, 1,000 words is a common maximum among applicants. At least one writing sample of a maximum of 30 pages is requested (this may be excerpted from a longer paper, but we suggest it not exceed 30 pages).

Q: Do you offer funding packages for the PhD program?
A: We offer five-years of funding for our graduate students who are admitted, which includes stipend and tuition/fees. The funding packages for each student may differ, but each is made up of fellowships, stipends, and Graduate Student Instructor positions. 

Q: Do I need to provide English Proficiency Tests if I am an applicant from abroad?
A: To learn more about these language tests and English proficiency requirements for admissions to UC-Berkeley, please see here.  According to the Graduate Admissions Page for UC Berkeley: “There are two standardized tests you may take: the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).”

Q: I have questions about Letters of Recommendation and how to have them sent?
A: Letters of Recommendation can be sent through the dossier service Interfolio. If you would like to learn more about letters of recommendation FAQ, please see this page. Also, letters of recommendation are due the same day as the student’s application.

Q: Where can I find out more information about the general admissions requirements for UC-Berkeley in general?
A: The UC-Berkeley Graduate Admissions webpage is a great resource, please see here for steps to apply. For more frequently asked questions, you can find information here.

Q: Who can answer my questions about the application and the admissions process, financial support, etc.?
A: Please contact

Q: Who can answer my questions about academics?
A: You may contact Professor Weihong Bao, who is Faculty Head Graduate Student Adviser for the Department of Film & Media, at 

Q: How can I contact Film & Media faculty members?
A: The profiles, research interests, and contact information of our faculty are available on this website. We invite you to study their biographies and descriptions of current research, and to contact by email those whose interests are closest to yours, should you have specific questions.

Q: Do I need to be admitted by a faculty mentor before I can be admitted to the program?
A: No. Applications are reviewed by our admissions committee faculty and the admission process is holistic and reviewed by the entire committee, not one single faculty member.

Q: Can I speak with current students in the program?
A: The profiles and research interests of our current graduate students are posted on our department website, along with their contact information.    

Q: Can I pursue a doctorate while living outside of the San Francisco Bay Area?
A: Because students take courses on campus for the first three years and teach regularly in the program, it is not possible to pursue our doctoral program on a commuter basis. In the summers and in the fourth or fifth years, students whose research requires national or international travel are certainly allowed to relocate for an appropriate period of time.    

Q: Is a Master’s Degree required for admission?
A: We do not require the completion of a master’s degree prior to admission.