Ph.D. in Film Studies Program Information

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in film studies offers students the most advanced level of education in the field. Programs will focus on a wide range of theoretical and practical aspects of film making to prepare for future careers.

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Essential Information

Doctoral students use the knowledge acquired in bachelor's and master's degree programs in order to research new cinematic topics. They discuss a variety of cinematic subjects, including film criticism, documentary films and film history. Students may also develop teaching skills by leading undergraduate film theory courses. A dissertation is usually required and must be defended in front of a panel of academics in order to complete the degree program. Doctoral students must also pass comprehensive oral and written exams in order to complete their studies. These exams are generally taken in the second and third semester of study and may include both written and oral sections. Due to the hands-on nature of film studies, completely online doctoral degree programs are rare.

Most programs require students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in film studies to have completed a master's degree in a related field. Some programs may admit students directly from a bachelor's degree program. Students are generally required to include a statement of purpose with their application. A writing sample, such as a critical or theoretical piece specific to the field of film studies, is usually required. Official GRE scores and transcripts are required by most doctoral degree film studies programs.

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Ph.D. in Film Studies

Students in film studies Ph.D. programs take a variety of film-related courses that introduce them to advanced topics in the field. The following is a list of possible core course topics in a Ph.D. in film studies degree program.

  • History of film
  • Trends in documentary filmmaking
  • Silent cinema
  • Modern Japanese cinema
  • Media and culture
  • Film theory and experimental film

Popular Career Options

Students graduating with a Ph.D. in film studies may be qualified for a variety of film-related careers. Because the majority of Ph.D. programs focus on academic research, most graduates tend to pursue a scholarly or research-based career path. Students interested in film production may need to complete a fine arts or another similar degree before finding employment. Below is a list of careers for which a doctoral degree in film studies may prepare students.

  • College professor
  • Film producer
  • Script supervisor
  • Film archivist
  • Cinematographer

Students interested in film studies can pursue a doctorate degree to study advanced topics and conduct original research in the field. Graduates can work a variety of jobs ranging from researchers to film producers and archivists.

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