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Film Studies

Graduate Program Coordinator: Assistant Professor Anne Ciecko

Director: Professor Catherine Portuges, Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies

Adviser: Nancy Inouye, Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies

The Graduate Certificate in Film Studies offers graduate students the opportunity to have their work and interest in film studies formally acknowledged as an important part of their graduate training and as evidence of relevant knowledge for those seeking academic positions and developing related careers. Certificate students benefit from advanced study in a growing field, mentored by internationally renowned, award-winning faculty specialists in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Academic institutions often seek candidates from traditional fields who can also demonstrate pedagogical and scholarly strengths in cinema studies. This certificate program responds to these intellectual and professional currents, providing a clear but flexible curriculum for graduate students whose work intersects with film studies, preparing them with skills and knowledge to research and teach film in order to advance their own work in the field. The Graduate Certificate in Film Studies, as part of a graduate degree, acknowledges and formalizes this specialty area.

Beginning with the assumption that the moving image is ubiquitous in contemporary discourse across cultures and disciplines, the certificate trains future scholars, teachers, researchers, and other film studies professionals in historical, theoretical, methodological, and critical perspectives. In addition, courses in production focus on the relationships between theory and practice. Ranging from the silent era to new media, courses include documentary film; French, Maghrebi and Francophone cinemas; Central and East European film; German and Scandinavian film, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian film; Middle East and pan-Asian cinemas; African and African diasporic cinemas; Hollywood and American independent cinema; Latin American cinemas; emerging and Third World Cinemas; melodrama and film noir; gender and representational studies; digital media; photography; visual anthropology; film theory; and curatorial studies.

Students acquire critical skills and knowledge of both film studies as a discrete discipline with its own methodology and of related perspectives from the disciplines in which they are matriculated. This exceptional intellectual and cultural environment is complemented by colloquia, collaborative research and publishing projects, community service learning and volunteer opportunities, academic exchange, invited lectures and annual film festivals including the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, Arab Cinema Panorama, Youth Film Showcase, New Asia Cinema, the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival, and the Northampton Independent Film Festival, and film series from the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It provides an ideal setting for the next generation of visionary educators, scholars, artists, curators, administrators, business leaders, and policy makers.

Certificate students are defined as those matriculated for a master’s degree or doctoral candidates in any graduate program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst whose application for admission has been approved by the Graduate Film Certificate Program and who are pursuing the requirements for the certificate.

1. An application submitted to the Graduate Film Certificate Program, containing a completed application form, transcript, and personal statement of interest in and qualifications for undertaking the Graduate Certificate, which can only be earned in conjunction with a film-focused master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation, or approved final project and terminal graduate degree in a University of Massachusetts Amherst program.

2. Students must complete 15 credits of approved graduate film courses, selected from a list of courses to be determined by the Graduate Film Certificate Program, to include the following:
a. one course in introductory film theory (3 credits)
b. a minimum of two courses (six credits) taken outside their degree-granting department and college
c. a minimum of two courses (six credits) with an international and/or intercultural focus

3. Upon completion of coursework, certificate students submit an updated transcript and a written statement to the Graduate Film Certificate Program demonstrating the ways in which their coursework constitutes an integrated, interdisciplinary film studies concentration. If a student’s comprehensive exams are certificate-related, a written statement must be submitted to the Graduate Film Certificate Program.

4. The Graduate Film Certificate Program must approve film-oriented master’s theses or doctoral dissertations at the prospectus stage and upon filing the completed thesis or dissertation with the Graduate School, students must submit to the Graduate Film Certificate Program a copy of the abstract, table of contents, and signatory pages.

5. The Graduate Certificate will be awarded only upon completion of these requirements and by approval of the program’s Advisory Committee at the time students receive their terminal graduate degree.

1. A maximum of two 3-credit independent study courses may be applied to the certificate requirement.

2. A minimum of three approved graduate film courses, of at least 3 credits each, must be taken at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

3. Students may appeal to the Graduate Film Certificate Program for course substitutions up to 6 credits for work undertaken elsewhere, such as augmented upper-level Five College courses and graduate courses from other accredited academic institutions.

The Film Studies website contains information about application deadlines, course listings, and related topics.