Cinema Studies MA Handbook

Students must complete 36 credit points. 32 points must be taken within the department. Up to 4 graduate level points may be transferred from another department or institution, with permission of the Chair, providing these points have not been counted toward a previously completed graduate degree.

Requests for transfer of credit must be made during the student’s first semester of study.

The required courses for M.A. Students are (1) CINE-GT 1010 Film Form and Film Sense (2) CINE-GT 1020 Film Theory and (3) CINE-GT 1015 Film History/Historiography or CINE-GT 1026 Television: History & Culture.  Students with substantial academic training in any of these areas of study may request a waiver on a course by course basis to be determined by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Department Chair.

Combined Independent study or Internship credit in total shall not exceed 8 points.

All M.A. students must successfully complete 36 points, at least 24 with a grade of ‘B’ or better, and pass the Master’s comprehensive examination in order to graduate.

The Master's degree must be completed within five years of matriculation. This means that students beginning their studies in Fall 2019 must graduate by Fall of 2024.

Registration Status

The department strongly encourages full-time graduate students to register for 12 points per semester.  Students receiving most forms of financial aid or fellowships are generally required to be registered as a full-time student.

International Students on J-1 or F-1 visas are required to be full-time students each semester of enrollment.  

Part-time students must register for 5 – 8 points or 4 points with a part-time equivalency form.

Media & Production Fees

All students are assessed a fee for all CINE-GT courses. The fee is based on the number of points for which the student registers and is subject to a yearly increase. At the time of printing this handbook, the fee for 2019/2020 is $23 per point.


To receive the M.A. degree, the student must pass a comprehensive examination, which is administered three times a year in November, March, and July. The examination may be taken upon the completion of 24 points of coursework but cannot be taken later than a semester after the completion of 36 points of coursework. The comprehensive examination is a take-home examination consisting of five questions, 2 of which the student must answer in the form of ten-page essays. Answers should be drawn from the total course of study as well as material on the M.A. comprehensive filmography and bibliography, a list of important works provided by the department (available online at the Cinema Studies website or from the exam administrator), and may also refer to major texts in the field since the filmography/bibliography was last revised.

It is a requirement of these exams that they offer new and original material by the student and do not recycle writings that have already served in other contexts for the major such as coursework or application writing samples. Students have one week to complete the exam.

Students who fail the exam may retake it once.

Exam Registration

Exam dates and the corresponding registration deadlines are posted on the Department website. Students must fill out the online comprehensive registration form during the appropriate application period. The online form delivers your registration form to the exam administrator who will confirm registration once the application period has ended. Registration confirmations usually go out a few days after the deadline.

Exam Administration

The MA Comprehensive Exam and its accompanying guidelines will be delivered as a PDF to all registered students. The exam administrator will email the PDF attachments to the NYU email address provided by each student on his/her registration form. The Department assumes no responsibility for undeliverable or misdirected emails. Any student who has not received the exam by 2pm on the first day of the exam cycle, or who cannot open the attachments, must notify the exam administrator immediately. It is the sole responsibility of each student to confirm receipt of the exam.

Exams must be turned in between 10am and 4pm on the last day of the exam cycle, as stated in the exam guidelines. Completed exams WILL NOT be accepted via email—they must be submitted in person in hard copy format. Under extraordinary circumstances, exams may be mailed to the Department. Those students who are unable to turn in their exams in person and need to mail it must make a request for special arrangements at the time of registration.

Any student who does not turn in his/her exam will fail the exam. Late exams will not be accepted and will result in failure. There are no exceptions.

Exam Results

Exams are graded by a committee comprised of three faculty members. The exam taker’s identity is withheld from the committee until the three grades have been tabulated. Exams are given grades of HIGH PASS, PASS, LOW PASS, or FAIL. Students will be notified of their grades by hard-copy letter, at least one month after the exam cycle has ended. Exams are not returned to exam takers. Students who fail the exam may retake it once. Failure to pass the exam after two (2) trials will preclude the student from obtaining the M.A. degree in Cinema Studies.

Independent Study & Internship

Independent Study

A student wishing to conduct independent research and receive credit must obtain approval from a faculty member who will supervise an independent study for up to 4 points. This semester-long study is a project of special interest to the student who, with the supervising faculty member, agrees on a course of study and requirements.

Before registering for CINE-GT 2900/2902 Independent Study, a student must present a faculty approved Independent Study contract to the department’s main office.  This form should clearly detail the independent study project as well as have an approval signature from the faculty supervisor.


Many students in the department receive credit of up to 4 points (per internship) for working at various film libraries, archives, museums, journals, production companies, and film research labs.

Cinema Studies students can receive a combined maximum of 8 points of Independent Study/Internship during their academic career.

Looking For Internships
Students looking for internships should seek information from the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development, Tisch Office of Career Development, or from emails sent from the department with internship opportunities.  New internship postings usually coincide with registration for each term. Students are highly encouraged to initiate their own internships, as this may be the best method of matching specific student interests with particular companies or organizations.  If there is an organization a student is interested in s/he should approach the organization and inquire about internship positions.

Registering For Cinema Studies Internships
Once a student has found an internship that s/he is interested in, the faculty sponsor, typically the Director of Graduate Studies, must grant permission to the student and agree that the internship is relevant to the student’s coursework and/or academic interests. The student must also go through the necessary interview with the organization to obtain the internship. Students must establish the internship responsibilities with the organization and negotiate the number of hours to be worked each week.  Keep in mind that 16 – 20 hours per week is the standard amount for a 4 point internship. 2 point internships are also acceptable if students work 6 – 10 hours per week.

The student cannot register for the CINE-GT 2950/2952 Cinema Studies Internship until an Internship Learning contract has been filled out and signed by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Internship Site supervisor.

Please be aware that all students planning to enroll in internships must negotiate any requirements with the Director of Graduate Studies before the registration procedure is complete.

All internships will be graded pass/fail.  Students will be graded on the quality of their performance as it is reflected in the Midterm and Final Report submitted by their internship supervisor. In addition, the student Midterm and Final reflections on their internship will be taken into account when assessing their final grade.  Grade to be submitted by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Departmental Fellowships

The Department of Cinema Studies offers the following forms of fellowships for M.A. students: fellowship points and named scholarships.  These awards are based primarily on academic merit. All interested students, including international students, are considered for these awards.  Approximately 35-40% of M.A. students receive some form of fellowship from the department.

Fellowship Points

A fellowship point will pay for one credit point of tuition.  Awards are generally made in clusters of fellowship points (i.e. 4, 8, 12 points etc.).

Recipients of fellowship points should be aware that they are responsible for all registration fees.  Fellowship points cannot be used to pay registration fees or outstanding bursar arrears.

Named Scholarship Awards

There are a small number of named scholarships the department awards each year.  These limited fellowships supply stipends must be applied specifically to tuition costs.

Award Consideration

All returning M.A.  students must submit a departmental Fellowship form in early February for consideration for monies for the forthcoming academic year.   The form is available each year beginning in January through the due date in February. Even if the student received an award in the previous year, they MUST submit a fellowship form.  

Award Notification

All departmental fellowships for the upcoming academic year will be awarded to the students in writing by the department.  Primary award letters are usually sent in late in May.

Unclaimed Fellowship

(Emergency Allocations During The Academic Year)

In some cases, fellowship points can be re-allocated when an awardee declines an offer. Unclaimed fellowship is generally reallocated in July and November.  Students should contact Ken Sweeney to inquire about eligibility.

Students should be aware that it is unusual for the department to have large amounts of unclaimed fellowship.  When the department has more than a small amount of unclaimed fellowship available, notices will be posted throughout the department and an email notice will be sent to the list serve.

For information regarding Federal Financial Aid for United States Citizens and Residents, please contact the NYU Office of Financial Aid to obtain a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Student Travel Grants

GSAS and the Department of Cinema Studies provide funds to graduate students for travel to academic conferences in which they are actively participating. Grants may be used for travel, lodging, and related expenses. All applications should first be submitted to GSAS electronically via their travel grant application website; application details must then be copied from the online form and emailed to Liza Greenfield at the time of application in order for students to be eligible for supplemental or alternate funding. Departmental grants are subject to GSAS application deadlines and students who neglect to email their application information to the Department prior to the deadline for the current period will not be considered for supplemental or alternate funding.


Applicants must be matriculated students in good academic standing in a graduate program.  

Applicants must be presenting a paper at a scholarly or professional conference. Attendance only cannot be funded; presentations at graduate student conferences cannot be funded.

Applicants must be invited or accepted to present a paper; however, applications can and should be submitted prior to receiving confirmation of acceptance.

Funding is limited for graduate student travel. Therefore, deadlines will be strictly enforced.

Receipts are required in order to receive funds from the department.

MA students may receive only one grant during pursuit of their degree at NYU. Departmental grants are generally assigned on a first come basis until the department’s budget is depleted.


Grants are awarded three times per year for student travel.

GSAS applications can be submitted through the online form.

Students are encouraged to apply while awaiting confirmation of acceptance from conference organizers; however, no grant checks will be issued without the receipt of this documentation.

Early, incomplete, or late applications will not be accepted. Deadlines are strictly enforced.

Students may apply for only one conference per period and can be granted only one grant per academic year.

All applications must be received by both GSAS and the Department by the final day of the application period. Late applications, regardless of the date sent or reason for lateness, will not be accepted. It is the applicant's sole responsibility to submit the application by the deadline.

Students who apply and are accepted to a conference after the application dates for a travel period have passed may submit an application for consideration in the immediately-following travel period.

Condition of Grants

International students whose countries do not have a tax treaty with the U.S. will be taxed at 8% or 14% of the GSAS grant, depending on their visa type.

Student Travel Grant funds may be used as the student sees fit to cover travel expenses related to the conference presentation. Grant recipients must make their own arrangements for travel and accommodations, including any passports, visas, and tickets.

Notification of award is sent via email.

Be sure to keep a copy of the completed application for yourself.

Departmental grants are processed as reimbursements. Therefore, all receipts must be retained and submitted to the Department of Cinema Studies within 2 weeks of the completion of travel. Full instructions for submitting your receipts to the Department will be included in your grant award letter.

Please be advised that any meals for which reimbursement is requested must be fully itemized.

For further information, please contact Liza Greenfield.

Please note: It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain the GSAS portion of their grant directly. The Cinema Studies Department will send information about any supplemental or alternate funding under separate cover if applicable.


The Certificate Program in Culture & Media, established in 1986, is an interdisciplinary course of study combining theory and practice, bringing together the rich resources of the departments of Anthropology, Cinema Studies and the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at NYU. This graduate program is an intensive, concentrated experience that integrates three kinds of critical practice: study of the uses and meanings of media in a range of communities and cultures that prepares students to employ ethnographic research methods; critical theory and history of documentary and ethnographic media; and documentary production. This program is open to both M.A. and Ph.D. students in Cinema Studies.

Course of Study

Students pursuing the Certificate must fulfill all of the requirements (30 points) in the following curriculum:

  • CINE-GT1402 [4 pts] // Culture & Media I: History & Theory of Ethnographic Documentary
  • CINE-GT1403 [4 pts] // Culture & Media II: Ethnography of Media or approved substitute
  • CINE-GT1999 [6 pts] // Language of Sight & Sound: Documentary (summer only)
  • CINE-GT2001 [4 pts] // Cultural Theory & the Documentary
  • ANTH-GA1010 [4 pts] // Social Anthropology Theory & Practice or approved ANTH-GA substitute
  • CINE-GT1995 [4 pts] // Video Production Seminar I
  • CINE-GT 1996 [4 pts] // Video Production Seminar II

In order to obtain an M.A. in Cinema Studies with an Advanced Certificate in Culture & Media, students must complete a minimum 44 points of coursework. In addition to the above advanced certificate courses (30 pts), students must take the 3 courses (12 pts) required for the M.A. (Film Form & Film Sense; Film Theory; and Film History/Historiography or Television: History & Culture). Students may complete their 44 point requirement with an elective course or independent study in Cinema Studies equivalent to 2 points.

Entering the Program

Students intending to complete the advanced certificate must:

  • Indicate their interest upon application to and entry into the graduate program

  • Enroll in CINE-GT 1402 Culture & Media I in the fall term of their first year and earn a grade of B+ or better

  • Meet with the Cinema Studies co-director of the Advanced Certificate Program in their first fall term

Upon completion of these steps, approved students will be formally enrolled in the Advanced Certificate Program, typically in the spring of the first year. Upon admission, students will be able to register for the summer production course (CINE-GT 1999 Language of Sight & Sound: Documentary) and may be eligible for funding to cover their remaining points in the Certificate.

Students must then:

  • Make plans to complete all advanced certificate requirements in the appropriate time frame

  • For M.A. students, by the end of their second year

  • Maintain a B average or better in Cinema Studies courses, and a B+ average in core courses

  • Meet each term with the Cinema Studies co-director for advising

All students are required to complete an independent, original ethnographic film or video project; this will be completed in the second semester of the Video Production sequence, which the student will take in the fall and spring semester of their second year of study. Information about student projects from previous years can be found on the Anthropology website.


Students intending to graduate with the Advanced Certificate are responsible for ensuring, in consultation with the Cinema Studies co-director, that they have met all requirements for graduation, and that they have filed for graduation with the Certificate in their final semester. Students are responsible for filing for graduation, applying to do so via Albert.


Toby Lee
Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies
Co-director of the Certificate Program
721 Broadway, Room 639
212 998 1821

For more information about the Advanced Certificate Program and the required courses, visit the Anthropology website.


Grading Policies

Grades are assigned the following "weights":

A    = 4.000
A-   = 3.667
B+  = 3.333
B    = 3.000
B-   = 2.667
C+  = 2.333
C    = 2.000
C-   = 1.667
D+  = 1.3
D    = 1.0
F    = 0.0

Graduate students are required to maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 and must have successfully completed 66 percent of credits attempted while at NYU (not including the current semester) to remain in good standing.  Courses with grades of I, W, and F are not considered successfully completed. Except for “W” and “Pass,” all grades for graduate courses taken for credit at any division of NYU are computed in your GPA, beginning with those earned during your first term of registration. Grades for courses taken at other colleges and universities are not computed in your cumulative GPA.

If a student repeats a non-repeatable course, the second grade will be computed in the grade point average.  However, the student will only receive credit toward the overall credits once. Please note that a notation will appear on the transcript indicating that the course was repeated. If you repeat a course with a passing grade and it has not been designated as a course that can be repeated for credit, only the first grade will be computed in your GPA.  If you fail a course and wish to repeat it, only the second grade will be computed, although the first grade will continue to appear on your transcript. Notation will be made on your transcript indicating that the course was repeated. Transcripts cannot be changed for any reason after the student has graduated.

Grades of Incomplete (“I”)

Students are expected to complete all coursework by the end of each semester. If, for compelling reasons, such as illness or a family emergency, a student is unable to complete coursework by the end of the semester, he or she may request a grade of Incomplete. To do so, the student must fill out an Incomplete Request Form, available on the Student Affairs website, and bring it to the instructor for his or her approval before the last day of classes. The awarding of a grade of Incomplete is at the discretion of the instructor and is not guaranteed. If the instructor agrees that a grade of Incomplete is warranted, he or she will specify on the Incomplete Request Form the deadline by which outstanding work must be completed, not to exceed the end of the semester following the course, as well as the final grade the student will receive if the outstanding work is not completed by the deadline. The Incomplete Request Form will be registered with the department sponsoring the course and a copy will be provided to the Office of Student Affairs. If the incomplete work is not completed within the designated period, the grade will lapse to the final grade indicated by the instructor. Final grades cannot be changed except in cases of faculty or administrative error. Incompletes lapse to F after one semester unless a change of grade is processed.

If a student has good reason for not being able to complete the outstanding work in the specified period, they may apply for an extension by the instructor. To receive an extension, the student must fill out an Extension on Completion of Work Outstanding form, available on the Student Affairs website, and submit the form to the instructor, who will then decide whether or not to grant the extension. Requests for further extensions must receive the approval of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

It is the student’s responsibility to request a grade of Incomplete and instructors are not obliged to grant an Incomplete. Outstanding grades of Incomplete do not count as earned credit hours and therefore may affect registration time and/or eligibility for financial aid. Students with more than one grade of Incomplete in a semester may be placed on academic probation.

Grades of Withdrawal (“W”)

The letter W represents official withdrawal from the course. A grade of "W" will be issued beginning the 1st calendar day of the start of the 3rd week of classes.  Any tuition refund will be in accordance with the refund schedule for that semester. Check with the Bursar’s website for tuition refund deadlines.  

The letter W represents official withdrawal from the course. A student may withdraw from a course at any time prior to the scheduled final date. There is no refund of tuition after the start of the third week of classes.

Change of Grade

A change of grade is only granted to students who have either made up previous coursework or successfully appealed a permanent grade.  The student must make arrangements for the instructor to submit a Change of Grade online.

If the Change of Grade is approved by both the Chair of the department and the Dean of Student Affairs, it is then electronically sent to the University Registrar for final approval.  The grade is typically posted within 1-2 business days from departmental approval.

Academic Probation

If academic performance falls below either the Graduate School or departmental standard of a 3.0 semesterly grade point average, student(s) are automatically placed on academic probation. Written notification of probationary status is mailed to the student(s) by the TSOA Office of Student Affairs. Student(s) will have until the end of the next complete semester (following the date of the probation letter) in which to meet the criteria set by the department. Student(s) on probation are not eligible for extensions of time to degree, waivers of Maintenance of Matriculation Fees, or extensions of incomplete grades.


If the student does not meet the probationary criteria within the time limit, they will be formally terminated from the graduate program. Students may apply for readmission no sooner than one year following termination.

Right of Appeal

Students have the right to appeal termination, a probation decision, or the criteria set for the reversal of probation within one month of date of the letter announcing the assignment of termination or probation. Students may file a written appeal with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies and should receive a hearing within two weeks and a written final determination within four weeks of the date of the letter of appeal. If the department’s response is not satisfactory, a written appeal can be filed with the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. The appeal must be submitted within two weeks of the date of the response from the department. A hearing with the Associate Dean must be held within two weeks of receipt of the letter of appeal and the Associate Dean must provide a written final determination within two weeks of the hearing. If the student wishes to challenge the finding of the Associate Dean, they may file a grievance with the University Judicial Board through the Office of Executive Assistant to the President.

Transfer of Credit

M.A. students can transfer up to 4 points toward their degrees with the approval of both the Chair and the Office of the Dean. These points can come from graduate courses previously taken at NYU or other universities.  If you are requesting the transfer of outside credit, you must do so during your first semester of attendance.

Points applied to a previously completed Master’s degree cannot be applied to your M.A. program in Cinema Studies.  Official transcripts must show whether the points in question have been applied to other degrees. No transfer credit can be processed without an official transcript; only grades of B or better will be transferred.

To request credit transfers, please contact Melanie Daly.

Continuous Enrollment

Students are required to remain enrolled in the department from the commencement of coursework to final degree conferral. If a student is not registered for courses, it is his/her responsibility to register for Maintenance of Matriculation. This is not only a departmental regulation, but also a University-wide requirement.

Maintenance of Matriculation

If a student has finished all coursework, but has, for example, the M.A. Comprehensive Exam remaining, s/he must register for Maintenance of Matriculation (MAINT-GA 4747.002) and pay the matriculation fee ($509 plus registration and service fees of $539 for domestic students and $629 for international students for Fall 2019).  Payment of this fee entitles students to use the library and research facilities, audit courses, participate in University activities, purchase student health insurance, and use the University’s Health Services. There is also a special membership rate at NYU Athletic Centers for students maintaining matriculation.

The University will not award a degree to any student who owes matriculation fees.  There is no matriculation fee for the summer term; students who maintain matriculation in a spring semester will automatically be considered matriculated for the following summer.  You must maintain matriculation every semester after coursework until you graduate.

Full-Time / Part-Time Equivalency

Students receiving certain kinds of loans or fellowships, as well as international students on J-1 or F-1 visas must always have full-time status. For M.A. students in Cinema Studies a full-time program of study is generally 12 points per semester. A half-time program is considered 5- 8  points per semester. In order to claim full-time equivalency, you must register for at least 8 points and fill out the department’s equivalency form at the time of registration. If you want to claim half-time equivalency, you must register for at least 4 points and fill out the department’s equivalency form. You can also claim full-time equivalency if you register to maintain matriculation (MAINT-GA 4747.002).  An M.A. student can claim full-time status, including the years taking courses, for only six (6) semesters.

The Department cannot certify your equivalency if you are not an active student; this means you must either be registered for coursework or Maintenance of Matriculation.

Leave Of Absence

A student in good standing who is obliged to withdraw temporarily for national service, serious illness, or compelling personal reasons may request a Leave of Absence that, if granted, maintains matriculation and assures readmission at the end of the leave. A leave of absence (except for national service) does not change any time limits fixed by NYU or the department for completion of the degree.  Students requesting a leave of absence must see Melanie Daly for rules/regulations governing a leave and the procedures involved. You may find the form on the Student Affairs website.

Transcripts and Final Grades

Registrar Services at StudentLink, 383 Lafayette Street, issues official transcripts and records address or name changes.

Students should always notify both the Cinema Studies department and  Registrar Services of any change in your mailing address and telephone number. A student should also update their address and telephone number by using ALBERT; yet, in this case, still should contact the department with their change.

Official copies of the transcript can be requested on ALBERT.  While there is no charge for paper transcripts, there is a fee for eTranscripts.

Students can check on ALBERT for final grades at the conclusion of each semester. Due to university procedure, final grades are usually posted within three (3) days from the conclusion of the semester.

Graduation Procedures

Degrees are conferred in September, January and May of each academic year.  A student is eligible for graduation at the conclusion of the semester in which they satisfy all degree requirements.


Students are not automatically graduated upon completion of degree requirements.  At the beginning of the semester in which they plan to graduate, they must use ALBERT to apply for graduation.  Application periods are listed on NYU’s Registrar’s website. If a student does not apply within the scheduled period, they can apply for the next semester’s graduation list.


Two months prior to graduation, students who have applied for graduation will receive a Graduation Checksheet from the University Registrar. This checksheet will outline all degree requirements “satisfied” and “not satisfied.”  If there is a discrepancy between a student’s personal record of their program and the Registrar’s checksheet, the student should contact Melanie Daly immediately. All inquiries will be matched between the department’s copy of the student’s checksheet and their departmental file.  If a student has not satisfied a specific degree requirement after this inquiry, they register themselves for the next semester’s graduation list.

Salute, Convocation & Commencement

In March of each academic year, information will be sent regarding TSOA Salute, GSAS Convocation, NYU Commencement, and University-wide graduation festivities to: A) students who have had their degrees conferred the previous September and January and B) students who have applied for May graduation.  These ceremonies take place at the conclusion of each Spring semester throughout the University.

PLEASE NOTE: Deadlines for tickets, academic attire and other graduation materials are strictly enforced.  We ask that all students adhere to these deadlines as exceptions are rarely granted.

All materials are sent to the student’s local address on file with the Registrar.  Students who have not received this information may not have: A) changed their address with Student Services; or B) applied for graduation within the application period.

Students who have applied for May graduation, yet will not complete all degree requirements until September, may still have the opportunity to take part in May graduation exercises. These students should contact Melanie Daly for information.


If the Registrar finds that you have not met all criteria for graduation, you will be sent an email stating that you have been deleted from graduation and the reason for your deletion (e.g. Comprehensive Exam has not been taken).  The email is sent after the actual day of degree conferral because of the strict schedule that the registrar must adhere to; grades are submitted only days before graduation exercises, and the final evaluation of the completion of all degree requirements occurs at the same time as graduation exercises.  All correspondence regarding your degree requirements are sent to your NYU email address. If you are deleted from graduation, you must reapply for the next graduation cycle. You must also contact the Registrar if you change your address at any point during the graduation process.