Film & 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, cultural studies, gender studies, and political theory to the newer disciplines of film studies and digital media, applying the tools of post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, new historicism, media archaeology, Frankfurt School, feminist theory, queer theory, post-colonialism, and critical race theory. 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 outside the Department of Film & Media 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 and media research 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 contliext for rigorous cross-disciplinary thinking and promotes innovative research in the theory and history of cinema and media studies.

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Admission to the University

Applying for Graduate Admission

Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. The Graduate Division hosts a complete list of graduate academic programs, departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application and steps to take to apply can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Admission Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;

  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and

  3. Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.

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 either FILM 201, offered each fall semester, or FILM 200, taught every spring.

Doctoral Degree Requirements


FILM 200Graduate Film Theory Seminar4
FILM 201Graduate Film Historiography4
FILM 203Film Studies Proseminar2-4
Film Electives: Graduate seminars (4 courses)16
Outside Field Electives (2 courses) 8

Designated Emphasis Requirements


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

Qualifying Examination (QE)

A member of the Graduate Group in Film Studies must be a formal member of the PhD qualifying examination committee. If applicable, 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.


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.”


Film and Media

Contact Information

Department of Film and Media

7408 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1415

Fax: 510-642-8881

Visit Department Website

Film & Media Department Chair

Miryam Sas

Film & Media Graduate Advising Office

Graduate Student Advisor

7407 Dwinelle Hall

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