The film theory and criticism program focuses on film theory, history, criticism and genre study, with an emphasis on studying a variety of aspects of film as an art form. A student pursuing this degree is generally interested in investigating film as a cultural product, delving into the impact of representation, the underlying meaning of film narratives and innovations to the medium over time. Others may be more interested in film production, screenwriting and direction. Our program is best suited to students who are looking to move on to a terminal degree program in film, American studies, or popular culture/media studies, and who want to pursue a career in teaching and researching film.
Research Opportunities and Assistantships
CMU's program offers several graduate assistantship opportunities for incoming graduate students. Currently 16 students receive full funding as teaching graduate assistants. Graduate assistants receive opportunities to teach laboratory sections, assist professors with classroom teaching and work directly with students via co-curricular organizations.
In addition, students have access to state-of-the-art equipment, including two HD FM radio stations with supporting production facilities, a complete electronic cinematography production unit, a 3-camera HD television studio, a digital newsroom with three video editing stations and an AV-6 based audio recording studio.
Admission to the film theory and criticism program requires:
- A completed undergraduate degree in broadcasting, film studies or an associated discipline (usually 30 semester hours of study related to mass media);
- a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7;
- a skills-based resume; and
- a demo reel of audio and/or video production work.
Applicants who intend
to concentrate in film theory and criticism may be admitted without a
media-related degree if they possess a strong undergraduate background
in critical and cultural studies that includes some film courses.
Applicants should have a bachelor's degree or significant undergraduate coursework in mass communication, cinema studies, speech, or literary studies. To receive regular admission to the program, a student must attain an undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale.
International applicants must present a TOEFL score of at least 550 (213 CBT or 79 Internet, or IELTS of 6.5) to take graduate courses in BCA. Applicants with scores below these levels will be tested by CMU's English Language Institute (ELI) and may need to take ELI courses before they begin their BCA coursework.
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Students must complete all required coursework, which includes a thesis or research paper. Both the thesis and the paper must be defended successfully to a committee of faculty advisors, and both options require original research.
Students in the film theory and criticism concentration have the option of writing a feature-length screenplay for their Plan B research paper requirement, rather than conducting original research.