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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

The degree requires 60 hours not including language proficiency. Please meet with your advisor or graduate director each semester to assess your progress.

Core Requirements (24 hours)

Doctoral students in Film and Media Studies must take a core of courses aimed at strengthening methodological, historical, and theoretical grounding. One course must be taken in non-Western/indigenous film; two graduate-level production courses are required, and two courses in FMS 902 Film Seminar are mandatory.

Elective Requirements (9 hours)

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 (6 hours)

Production courses are required so that students may gain an understanding of the production process in making film, video, or animation pieces. Upon graduation, doctoral students will be able to 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)

Secondary field courses, which include nine hours 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's Studies, American Studies, Education, Social Welfare, etc.

Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship (6 hours) 

Per the policy, http://policy.ku.edu/graduate-studies/research-skills-responsible-scholarship, all doctoral students must meet the Research Skills requirement before proceeding to comprehensive exams.  The requirement must include at least two components:

  • Every doctoral student is required to have training in responsible scholarship pertinent to the field of research.
  • Every doctoral student is required to obtain research skills pertinent to the doctoral level of research in their field(s).

FMS 902 Film Seminar in Visual Methods or FMS 902 Film Seminar in Research Methods and Applications for New Media Studies may count towards fulfillment of the RSRS requirement.  Please check with your advisor for more information. 

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, production, and literature/criticism, followed by an oral examination.


The finished dissertation must constitute a palpable contribution to knowledge in the candidate's chosen field. Following its completion, an oral defense must be held no less than four weeks before the deadline for graduation. The committee consists of one chair, three departmental members, and an outside member.

Core (24)  
FMS 800 Introduction to Graduate Study in Film/Media 3
FMS 801 Professional Development Seminar (1 hour/3 semesters) 3
FMS 862 Survey of Film and Media History 3
FMS 863 Survey of Documentary and Experimental Film and Media 3
FMS 865 Contemporary Film and Media Theory 3
FMS 902 Film Seminar in: _____ (Special Topics) 3
Select one graduate-level non-Western/indigenous film course 3
Electives (9)  
Select 9 hours of the following in consultation with the advisor: 9
American Film Criticism  
Graduate Seminar in: _____  
Development of African-American Images in Film  
Asian Film  
Latin American Film  
Development of American Popular Culture in the: _____  
Film Seminar in: _____ (Special Topics)  
Investigation and Conference (for Doctoral Students)  
Others to be added from semester offerings at the graduate level
Production (6)  
Select two of the following: 6
Problems in Basic Screenwriting  
Problems in Basic Video Production  
Problems in Basic Film Production  
Graduate Seminar in: _____  
Problems in Intermediate Screenwriting  
Problems in Intermediate Video Production  
Intensive Film Project Seminar  
Practicum in Film

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