Graduate Programs

Our Graduate Programs are designed for students with research interests in the analysis, histories, and theories of moving image-based visual culture, from the 19th through the 21st centuries. Students work closely with faculty to extend their formal intellectual training and explore film and electronic media as evolving global phenomenon. Advanced training in Film and Media Studies will develop students' scholarly understanding of all forms of the moving image, as well as the artistic, cultural, industrial, philosophical, political, and social implications of these forms.

The Graduate Certificate and MA program emphasize multiple approaches to the academic study of film and media. Graduate alumni have gone on to pursue careers in curating, research, teaching, and other professional activities related to moving image media.

MA Program


The MA degree will advance a student’s scholarly understanding of all forms of the moving image and their artistic, cultural, industrial, philosophical, political, and social implications. Coursework towards the degree emphasizes multiple approaches to the academic study of film and media. In addition, a required Practicum in Film and Media Studies provides students with mentored opportunities to explore curating, researching, teaching, and other professional activities centered on film and other moving image media.

Launch Pad

Our program offers the advantages of small class size and an extraordinary level of faculty attention. Our approach to film and media education gives students a secure analytical and historical foundation for future PhD work or potential flexibility to enter a number of professional environments that require expertise in moving image media — including but not limited to film. Students may apply the skills and knowledge that they acquire in the program to continued graduate study, or to administrative, archival, curatorial, or writing careers focused on all forms of the moving image.


Students already enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis may wish to consider this program as part of an accelerated BA/MA option.

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Graduate Certificate

The Program in Film & Media Studies offers a Graduate Certificate for which it is now accepting applications.   This program is designed to provide PhD students with interests in the theories and history of “visual culture” an opportunity to extend their formal intellectual training into one of the 20th and 21st century’s most influential artistic and cultural arenas.   The Graduate Certificate Program in Film & Media Studies assures that graduate students accepted into this program acquire appropriate graduate level knowledge in film and media studies approaches to criticism, history, and theory.  While providing substantial knowledge in the discipline of Film & Media Studies, completion of this program also gives a student a secondary research and instructional specialty and enhances the ability to do interdisciplinary research.  

Fifteen units are required for the Graduate Certificate in Film & Media Studies.  Six of those hours may also count towards the PhD requirements. In employing this overlap, students who earn the Graduate Certificate in Film & Media Studies with their PhD may complete a total of eighty-one units rather than the seventy-two units required for the PhD alone.  Students should check with their doctoral home unit.  Students in the Graduate Certificate Program must fulfill all requirements of the PhD expected by their respective home departments and the Graduate School in order to receive the Certificate.  Students interested in applying for the Graduate Certificate in Film and Media Studies should contact Prof. Gaylyn Studlar.

Teaching Opportunities

Graduate certificate students in Film & Media Studies are encouraged but not required to complete at least one semester as a teaching assistant to an undergraduate course within the FMS Program. Advanced FMS graduate certificate students, especially those who are writing a dissertation with film or electronic media content, have the intention of teaching film and media studies in their academic career, and already have significant teaching experience, will be encouraged to develop a lower level undergraduate course in the Program in Film and Media Studies that they might teach on their own during the regular or summer terms. We would encourage the development of a course that might be crosslisted between their home unit and FMS, and all graduate certificate students who teach in film and media studies will be under the mentorship of a FMS faculty member.

Applied Learning Experiences

The Film & Media Studies Program is committed to preparing graduate students for a wide range of career opportunities through applied learning experiences.  We believe that graduate education should foster a range of skills, including verbal communication, critical judgment, and leadership.  We also believe that a graduate degree in film and media should expand the academic, pedagogical, and media production knowledge acquired in FMS coursework and bring that knowledge to bear on other aspects of film and media culture which interest the student. The graduate practicum encourages our master’s students to become contributing members of the Washington University community as well as of broader film and media communities.  Our master’s students are required to complete a practicum (one course, or 3 credit hours) that may take many forms but which should be relevant to their interests and plans for the future. FMS-based applied learning experiences are intended to provide our master’s students with the skills needed to pursue careers in such fields as academia, education, film curating and programming, publishing, the media industry, and law, among others..


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