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Film & Media Studies Graduate Program

  • Film & Media Studies Graduate Program
  • Film & Media Studies Undergraduate Program
  • B.A. Production
  • Film & Media Studies Minor
  • Film & Media Studies: Culture and Studies
  • Film & Media Studies: Production

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Curriculum Requirements 

Core Requirements (18 hours)

18 hours of core courses are required. Doctoral students in film and media studies must take a core of courses aimed at strengthening methodological, historical, and theoretical grounding. 1 graduate-level production course is required, and 1 course in FMS 902 Film Seminar is mandatory.

Film and Media Studies Professional Development Requirement

6 hours of FMS 801 are required. This will be satisfied by attending the FMS colloquia throughout the semester. (1 day per week each semester)  

Elective Requirements (9 hours) 

9 hours of electives are required. Elective courses focus on the academic study of history, international cinema, popular culture, and film criticism. These courses are selected with a graduate advisor to reflect the student’s special interest. The advisor may increase the number of hours, depending on the student’s academic needs.

Production Requirements (3 hours)

3 hours of production courses are required. Production courses give students an understanding of the production process in making film, video, or animation pieces. On graduation, doctoral students can perform as competent artisans in addition to research scholars. Production courses are selected with a graduate advisor to reflect the student’s specific interest. The advisor may increase the number of hours, depending on the student’s academic needs.

Secondary Field Requirements (9 hours)

9 hours of secondary field courses at the graduate level from outside the Department of Film and Media Studies are chosen to assist the student in writing the dissertation. They are related to the student’s proposed area of specialization. Examples include English; History; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; American Studies; Education; and Social Welfare.

Additionally, students will select their second Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship from their secondary field.

Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship (6 hours) 

KU requires all doctoral students to meet the Research Skills requirement before proceeding to comprehensive exams. Compliance with this policy requires all graduate students to receive training in responsible scholarship pertinent to the field of research and obtain research skills pertinent to the doctoral level of research in their field(s).

Research Skills requirements may be satisfied by:

FMS 902 Film Seminar in: _____ (with the topic of "Research Methods  and Applications of New Media" or "Visual Methods")
An additional RSRS course outside of the department, approved by the Director of Graduate Study, preferably from the student's secondary field 3

 Comprehensive Examination

Two publishable papers are due at the time of the examination. The examination includes on-site written responses to questions in history, theory, and area of specialization, followed by an oral examination.


Students who have completed the comprehensive exam are required to enroll in accordance with the post-comprehensive enrollment policy. The finished dissertation must constitute a palpable contribution to knowledge in the candidate’s chosen field. After its completion, an oral defense must be held no less than 4 weeks before the graduation deadline. The exam committee must meet Doctoral Student Oral Exam Committee composition requirements.

Core    18
FMS 800 Introduction to Graduate Study in Film/Media   3
FMS 801 Professional Development Seminar (repeated for 6 credits)   6
FMS 862 Survey of Film and Media History   3
FMS 865 Contemporary Film and Media Theory   3
FMS 902 Film Seminar in: _____ (Special Topics)   3
Electives: Select 9 hours of FMS electives in consultation with advisor.    9
Secondary field: Select 9 hours in consultation with advisor    9
Production: Select one of the following:    3
FMS 675:  Problems in Basic Video Production    
FMS 702: Graduate Seminar in:                
FMS 773: Problems in Intermediate Screenwriting    
FMS 895: Intensive Film Project Seminar    
FMS 897: Practicum in Film     

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FMS Film Rally 2020 Alumni Video

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