Film and Media

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

PhD in Film and Media

Students in the Film and Media PhD 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.

Designated Emphasis in Film Studies

PhD students at Berkeley may add a Designated Emphasis in Film Studies to their major fields. The designated emphasis provides curricular and research resources for students who want to concentrate on film within their respective disciplines and have their work formally recognized. Designed to bring together faculty and students from different departments, the program provides a unique context for rigorous cross-disciplinary thinking and promotes innovative research in the theory and history of cinema.

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Admissions

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Designated Emphasis Program

Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program at Berkeley and must have completed FILM 200, offered each fall semester.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Curriculum

FILM 200Graduate Film Theory Seminar4
FILM 201Graduate Film Historiography4
FILM 203Film Studies Proseminar2-4
Film Elective: Graduate seminar4
Outside Field Elective 2

Designated Emphasis Requirements

Coursework/Curriculum

A minimum of three graduate seminars in Film Studies must be taken at Berkeley. Independent study courses are not acceptable to fulfill this requirement.

Required courses
FILM 200Graduate Film Theory Seminar4
FILM 201Graduate Film Historiography4
FILM 240Graduate Topics in Film (or a graduate seminar cross-listed with Film and Media)4

QE

A member of the Graduate Group in Film Studies must be a formal member of the PhD qualifying examination committee. Under most circumstances, the Film Studies Graduate Group member in the student’s home department will serve in this function. A member of the Graduate Group may also serve as the outside member of the qualifying exam committee. A Film Studies topic must be included as a subject on the qualifying examination.

Dissertation

A member of the Graduate Group in Film Studies must be a formal member of the dissertation committee. The dissertation must contribute to the study of film and moving-image media.

Degree Conferral

Upon completion of these requirements and the dissertation, the student will receive a designation on their transcript to state that they have completed a “PhD in [major] with an Emphasis in Film Studies.”

Courses

Film and Media

Faculty and Instructors

Faculty

Weihong Bao, Associate Professor. Film theory and history, media archaeology, critical theory, visual and performance culture, Chinese language cinema, transnational genre cinema, comparative media history and theory.

Mark Berger, Adjunct Professor. Film studies, film production, film sound.
Research Profile

Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor. Photography, film, contemporary art, critical theory and aesthetics of Spanish America and Brazil.

Mary Ann Doane, Professor. Feminist theory, semiotics, cinema, media, cultural theory, archaeology of media technology, poststructuralism.
Research Profile

Jacob Gaboury, Assistant Professor. Digital media, visual culture, media archaeology, queer theory, 20th century histories of technology and computation, computer graphics, and the intersection of contemporary art and technology.

Anton Kaes, Professor. Film studies, modern literature, literary and cultural theory, cinema, interdisciplinary and comparative aspects of Weimar culture, contemporary literature and film, literary theory, theory of cultural studies, film history, film theory, history of cinema.
Research Profile

Russell L. Merritt, Adjunct Professor.

Anne Nesbet, Associate Professor. Culture, film studies, Slavic languages, early Soviet culture, Sergei Eisenstein, silent film, Soviet film, GDR history, children's literature and Stalinism, the Soviet Union, American minority movements.
Research Profile

Mark Sandberg, Professor. Silent film, late nineteenth-century visual culture, theater history, comedy, Scandinavian design, serial television, film historiography, Scandinavian film history, Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian literature, Nordic literary history.
Research Profile

Miryam Sas, Professor. Comparative literature, 20th century avant-gardes, Japanese literature, film, theater and dance, contemporary art, critical theory, gender theory.
Research Profile

Jeffrey A. Skoller, Associate Professor. Film history, theory and practice of documentary, avant-garde film, film as art, activist media, Third Cinema., film/video production.
Research Profile

Kristen Whissel, Professor. Cinema and technological change, computer-generated images and contemporary cinema, digital visual effects, the history and theory of special effects, cinema in transition, American film history, silent American cinema, modernity and early cinema.
Research Profile

Damon R. Young, Assistant Professor. Digital media; global art cinema (with a focus on French and francophone); gender and sexuality studies; critical theory.

Lecturers

Emily Carpenter, Lecturer.

Eileen M. Jones, Lecturer.

J. Mira Kopell, Lecturer.

Contact Information

Department of Film and Media

7408 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1415

Fax: 510-642-8881

rfa@berkeley.edu

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Mark Sandberg

7408 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-6485

sandberg@berkeley.edu

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Marcus Norman

7407 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1416

mdn@berkeley.edu

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