Skip to content

Cinema & Media Studies MA

Whether aiming for a career in academia or the bustling world of entertainment, the Cinema and Media Studies Program at UCLA equips students with historical insights, theoretical frameworks, and practical skills to navigate an ever-evolving media landscape.

Two distinct MA tracks are presented within CMS: the Academic Track and the Professional Track.

Academic Track: This track caters to scholars intending to dive deeper into academic pursuits, eyeing university-level teaching and research careers. With a firm foundation in film and media history, theory, and analysis, it primes students for doctoral study. The course structure allows room for exploring practical facets of the industry, from film production to screenwriting.

Professional Track: Designed for individuals looking to solidify their place in the entertainment sphere. Recognizing the interconnected nature of today’s media, this track gives students a front-row seat to the digital transformation of film and television. Practical experiences, in the form of internships and seminars, are strongly advocated.

World-Class Faculty

Sean Metzger
Head of Theater and Performance Studies; Professor
View profile for Sean Metzger
Shelleen Greene
Vice Chair, Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor
View profile for Shelleen Greene

Requirements

The CMS Media Professions MA Degree Track is an MA for students planning to pursue careers in film and media festival programming, archives, and the entertainment industry. The degree can be completed in three quarters, but students are permitted to take up to seven quarters to complete. This degree offers the option of a professional internship, which students should begin to seek in their first quarter of residency. Completing the Media Professions MA Degree Track requires successful completion of 36 units and at least 9 courses.

The PhD Program is intended primarily for students who wish to build a career around excellence in university teaching and research. The PhD Program requires successful completion of a minimum of 7 Core Courses and at least 7 elective courses (not counting those completed at the Masters level) and successful completion of the Intellectual Statement, Sixth Quarter Review, Comprehensive Exam, Prospectus Review, Foreign Language Requirement at level three or higher and successful submission and defense of the Dissertation.

CMS Media Professions MA Degree Track

Completing the Media Professions MA Degree Track requires successful completion of 36 units and at least 9 courses, which consist of the following:

Required: 4 Core Courses: These courses are required during the 1st year in the CMS Media Professions MA Degree Track.

  • FTV 210 Common Course (Fall)
  • FTV 215 Theory and Method (Fall)
  • FTV 211 Historiography: Media, History and the Archive (Winter)
  • FTV 213 Capstone Seminar (Spring)

Required: 5 Elective Graduate Seminar Courses

  • A maximum of two elective courses may be taken outside of CMS.

Recommended: Internship:

  • FTV 498 Professional Internship: students are encouraged to seek internships as part of their professional development. This course is recommended but not required.

Recommended: Teaching Assistant Training

  • FTV 495A, Section 1 TA Training: students are encouraged to enroll in the TA Training course. Students who have been awarded at Teaching Assistant position or who wish to apply, must have completed or be currently enrolled in 495A to accept a TA position (offered one time/year in fall).

Recommended: CMS Colloquium

  • FTV 212 CMS Colloquium (Fall, Winter): students are encouraged to enroll in or attend the CMS Colloquium during all quarters to participate in screenings, research presentations and discussions. May be repeated for credit. Even if students are not enrolled, they are encouraged to attend the lectures as a practice of engaging in the intellectual community of the program.
CMS Ph.D. Degree Track

The PhD Program requires successful completion of a minimum of 7 Core Courses and at least 7 elective courses (not counting those completed at the Masters level) and successful completion of the Intellectual Statement, Sixth Quarter Review, Comprehensive Exam, Prospectus Review, Foreign Language Requirement at level three or higher and successful submission and defense of the Dissertation.

Year One 2023-2024: 4 Core Courses, Intellectual Statement

  • FTV 495A Teaching Assistant Training (does not need to be repeated if taken during MA)
  • FTV 210 Common Course (with all of FTVDM incoming MA, MFA, and PhD students) (Fall)
  • FTV 215 Theory and Method (Fall)
  • First Quarter reflection (500 word-minimum) & Five-Year-Plan (Due beginning of Winter Quarter)
  • FTV 211 Historiography (Winter)
  • Academic Progress Report/Intellectual Statement (Spring)[1]
  • Begin taking courses toward language requirement
  • Establish California residency (U.S. citizens and permanent residents only)
  • Academic Progress Report (April 1st)

Funding and Fellowship Applications (Strongly Recommended): 

[1] The Intellectual Statement is an end-of-the-year review of progress for students in the PhD program. It is designed to assess the milestones, development, and epiphanies that occurred, as well as to talk through any problem areas or concerns. It should also elaborate plans for the upcoming summer. Each student will meet with their advisor to discuss their progress and plans. See the CMS Milestones doc for more details.

Summer after Year 1: Recommended Research Development Milestones

  • Start to prepare a paper you have written for presentation or publication
  • Investigate conferences related to your research topic
  • Begin to consider what fields you will cover in your exams
  • Reach out to potential advisors before the Fall
  • Begin to develop and hone central research questions by reading in your prospective subfields and developing preliminary reading lists
  • Begin gathering prospective primary materials for your proposed dissertation (develop a media-filmography, visit archives, identify potential interviewees, visit potential field sites)
  • Continue progress toward completion of language requirement

 

Year Two/Academic Year 2024-2025: 2 Core Courses, the 6th Quarter Review and Completion of the PhD Study Plan

  • FTV 274 Research Design A (Bibliography and Exam Prep) (Fall)
  • Exam Lists (End of Fall, should be sent to Brian Brown and all of your advisors)
  • FTV 274 B (Exam Prep with advisors)
  • PhD Comprehensive Exam (End of Winter /Stipend quarter)
  • (If you pass the exam you can move to the next stage and prepare for your prospectus, if you fail your first attempt you can re-sit the exam at the end of Spring Quarter, but if you fail your second attempt the Program will recommend you for dismissal from the program).
  • FTV 274 Research Design III (Writing the Prospectus) (Spring)
  • Continued progress toward language requirement (must be completed by the end of the 3rd Year)
  • Prospectus Review (End of Spring)
  • Academic Progress Report (April 1st)

 

       Funding and Fellowship Applications (Strongly Recommended): 

 

Take a stipend term in Winter to prepare for exams: The winter stipend term is meant to provide time for intensive reading and towards the exam at the end of the term. You should plan to meet with your faculty regularly during the term. Read for exams on the basis of lists created in bibliography course; plan which conferences you will attend in the coming year.

 

Summer after Year 2: Recommended Research Development Milestones

This summer is meant to provide time for intensive writing / revision of your prospectus and preparing for the advancement-to-candidacy meeting/oral exam in the Fall. You should plan to meet with your faculty committee regularly during the summer.

 

Year Three 2025-2026: Nomination of Doctoral Committee and Advancement to Candidacy

  • Advancement to Candidacy/Nomination of Doctoral Committee (Fall) (Contingent upon language requirement completion, passing comprehensive exams and passing the preliminary dissertation review by CMS faculty)

 

Winter/Spring/Summer Year 3: Post Advancement to Candidacy:

In this period, you will finish your required classes at UCLA, though you may continue to develop your research skills through auditing seminars. The post-advancement time requires close coordination with your dissertation chair and intensive independent dissertation research. You will be coordinating with your chair to create a timeline for the completion of your dissertation research (see advising timeline template linked in the CMS Milestones document). It is recommended that you also actively participate in major conferences, including SCMS and/or other related conferences (American Studies Association, Film History conference, Screen, or others).

 

       Funding and Fellowship Applications (Strongly Recommended): 

  • Apply for outside fellowships for dissertating students
  • Apply for Donor Awards (Deadline: Winter)
  • Consult UCLA Fellowship website to find other internal and external funding sources: https://grad.ucla.edu/funding/
  • Apply for TAships for summer and next AY (Deadline Spring)
  • Academic Progress Report (April 1st)

 

Years 3, 4, 5

  • Dissertation research and writing, in close consultation with your Dissertation Chair.
  • Continued submission of Academic Progress Reports April 1st.
  • By the end of year 4 you should have one completely finished chapter (if you want to apply for a DYF, you need 2 completed chapters by the end of January in order to apply for a DYF)
  • By December of year 5 you should have two completely finished chapters (and apply for a DYF)

 

Year 6 (contingent on external funding)

Continued time for dissertation research and writing, pending external funding (e.g., DYF)

Normative time to degree is 6th year, we cannot fund or promise any funding beyond year 5.  After your 8th year you will have to reapply to the program.

 

PhD Program Reminders:

Required During Years One – Three: 5 Elective Graduate Seminar Courses. A maximum of 2 of elective courses may be taken outside of CMS. Additional permitted by petition.

 

Required During Years One-Three: Language Requirement Courses & Petition. Completion of level 3 language training or higher (as determined by Dissertation Committee) must be provided prior to student Advancement to Candidacy.

 

Recommended During Years One-Three: Colloquium. Students are encouraged to enroll in or attend Colloquium during all quarters to participate in screenings, research presentations and discussions. May be repeated for credit.

  • FTV 212 CMS Colloquium

World-Class Students

Krystal Ledesma
Ph.D. Student, Cinema Media Studies
View profile for Krystal Ledesma
Zama Dube
Ph.D. Student, Cinema Media Studies
View profile for Zama Dube
Michael Mazzacane
M.A. Research Professions track, Cinema Media Studies
View profile for Michael Mazzacane