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The program is designed to provide in depth knowledge of the field of film and media, while allowing students to develop and design interdisciplinary research by taking coursework and attending events in other programs across the humanities and social sciences.

Students are required to take eight core Screen Cultures courses as part of their overall number of coursework units designated by The Graduate School (TGS). In addition to these 8 units, students may take PhD courses, with permission of the instructor, offered by affiliated faculty in other departments. With permission of the steering committee, students may take courses by non-affiliated faculty. Students coming in with a Bachelors degree only may be advised to take up to three undergraduate Radio/Television/Film (RTVF) courses, depending on levels of preparedness. Students are expected to spend the summers (on stipend) working with, or under the supervision, of one or more faculty members to pursue research and/or directed reading.

Coursework Requirements

Four of six 400 level core courses are required.



RTVF 402 – Television and Media Theory1
RTVF 403 – Media and Cultural Theory1
RTVF 410 – Historiography1
RTVF 420 – Film Theory and Criticism1
RTVF 422 – Textual Analysis1
RTVF 426 – Global Media

Two of three cultural history courses are required.



RTVF 411 – Cultural History of Television1
RTVF 412 – Cultural History of Film1
RTVF 413 – Cultural History of New Media1

Additional Required Courses

At least three different RTVF Seminars (available in different topics each quarter)
  • RTVF 443 – Advanced Seminar Film & Media
  • RTVF 584 – Research Seminar
RTVF 502 – Writing PracticumRequired for all screen cultures graduate students to be taken in the spring quarter before they take their PhD Exam and defend their prospectus.

Independent Studies: Students may take up to two Independent Studies (RTVF 499) courses. Normally, students save these for work on their prospectus and their comprehensive exam reading lists.

The student, in accordance with Screen Cultures policy, elects any additional coursework.

Exams and Other Ph.D. degree requirements

  • Annual Graduate Student Review is submitted in the Spring quarter of every academic year
  • Students submit a prospectus at the end of their fourth year

Master’s Exam
Students who enter with a BA will be expected to take a qualifying exam in the early-to-mid spring quarter of the first year of coursework. This one-day, open-book take-home exam covers only coursework; students choose two of their Screen Cultures PhD courses on which they will be examined. The courses must be taught by core (steering committee) Screen Cultures faculty, who write the questions. Students respond with a 7 to 9 page answer per question. Students may continue toward the PhD if they pass the exam and maintain at least an overall “B” average.

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam
To advance to candidacy, students take a qualifying exam at the end of their final year of coursework. The qualifying exam is a take-home, open-book exam taken over three days; it covers three fields of expertise.

The main activity after passing the PhD Qualifying Exam is research and writing for the dissertation.