TV and Film Graduate Degrees in Michigan

May 13, 2019

In Michigan, there are several programs available for students who wish to pursue study at the master's or doctoral level in the area of film and television.

Students who wish to pursue high-level jobs in the film and television markets, or do teaching and research in the field, might consider earning a graduate degree. Here, you can learn more about three programs in the state of Michigan that offer these degrees, along with some common courses students could encounter.

Graduate Degrees in Film and Television in Michigan

University of Michigan

At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Film, Television, and Media. The program is typically completed in five to six years. Students work closely with faculty and advisors to create individualized programs of study which provide a breadth in core subject areas, in addition to a depth of study in one particular area of interest. Qualifying exams and the completion of a dissertation will be expected. Professionalization workshops provide education on career strategies, grant writing, and other areas of professional concern. To apply, students should expect to provide a statement of purpose, transcripts, recommendations, samples of written work, and GRE scores.

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University, located in Mount Pleasant, offers a course of study leading to the Master of Arts in Film Theory and Criticism. Graduation requirements include the completion of required coursework as well as the preparation of a research thesis or feature-length screenplay. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree in communications with a GPA of 2.7. They should submit a resume and demo reel of audio/visual work. Funding can be provided through graduate assistantships.

Michigan State University

Students at Michigan State University in East Lansing are able to pursue a Ph.D. in Film, Visual Culture, and Digital Media. The program is cross-disciplinary through the English & Film Studies departments and covers a range of media genres. Students will be required to take core and elective courses, seminars, a comprehensive examination, and a dissertation. Knowledge of a foreign language is also required. Applicants must hold a conferred master's degree and provide evidence of scholarship.

Graduate Courses

Students who are pursuing graduate study in this field might expect to encounter a wide range of courses, some exploring the theory or history of film, and others providing practical skills. Read on to learn more about some common courses in these graduate programs.

Methods in Film Study

A course in methods of film study provides an introduction to the methods of researching, interpreting, and writing about films. Students may consider examples drawn from the history of film and conduct close analyses of these films and further their knowledge with research using primary sources. The course could also consider issues of genre and film as a social institution.


A cinematography course might provide practical skills for film. This type of class may provide practice in lighting, use of the camera, and direction. Editing of these films could be addressed as well.

Film and Propaganda

Film and other mass media can be used as an instrument of propaganda and manipulation of public opinion. This course may examine that concept in both a historical and current context. Historically, the course might consider WWI-era propaganda, Soviet film-making, Nazi propaganda films, and the Cold War. Current topics could include the 24/7 media communications and the post-fact media environment.

Film Directors

This course may provide an introduction to the works of select film directors. This sort of class might focus on the directors' visual styles and aesthetics. Different directors could be studied in various semesters.

Documentary Film

This course may provide a comprehensive examination of non-fiction films. Students could learn about the history and theory of documentaries. Production of this genre, including aesthetics and rhetoric, might be considered,as well. Examples of documentaries may be screened in class.

Earning a graduate degree in film and television could provide interesting insights into this field. There are options at the master's and doctoral levels for students who wish to pursue this type of graduate degree in the state of Michigan.

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