M.A. in Cinema Studies

The M.A. in Cinema Studies provides students with an advanced course of study in the history, theory and criticism of motion pictures.  Graduates from the program have gone on to successful careers as film curators, programmers, preservationists, as well as film critics, instructors, screenwriters, filmmakers and industry professionals.


M.A. coursework is traditionally completed in three semesters with full-time enrollment. Part-time enrollment is permitted for working students.

Core Courses

As a masters student, you’ll take a sequence of three core courses over the course of your time at NYU: Film Form/Film Sense, Film Theory, and either Film History/Historiography or Television: History & Culture.  Core courses are offered in the evening for the convenience of working students.


Lecture courses include screenings and discussions, and often focus on a specific genre of film or national cinema. Recent topics include Expanded DocumentaryFilm/Novel, French New Wave, Hollywood 1939, and Japanese Cinema.

Advanced Seminars

Seminars provide an intimate setting for in-depth, discussion-based exploration.  Recent topics include Adorno In America: The Frankfurt School; Black Stars, Celebrity & Double Consciousness; Theories of History, and Touch/Screen.


Small theory/practice courses allow students to put their theoretical knowledge into practice in the areas of screenwriting, film criticism, and forms of filmmaking.

Master's Comprehensive Exam

All masters students are required to pass the Master’s Comprehensive Exam in addition to their coursework. Offered three times each year, the exam consists of five questions, two of which the student must answer over the course of a week in the form of 2 ten-page essays. Answers should be drawn from the total course of study as well as material on the M.A.filmography and bibliography, a list of important works provided by the department. Exam questions and answers may also refer to major texts in the field published since the bibliography was last revised. The exam is graded by a confidential committee of three faculty members.  Read more about the exam.

Current students should consult the M.A. Handbook for rules and regulations.