DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY REQUIREMENTS
COURSE OF STUDY
The Doctor of Philosophy degree is conferred for advanced studies in which the student demonstrates outstanding original scholarship. It signifies the student can conduct independent research and has both a broad basic knowledge of all areas of his or her field and an intensive knowledge of one field in particular.
A doctoral candidate must complete all requirements no later than ten years from matriculation into the NYU Cinema Studies master’s program or seven years from the time of his or her initial matriculation if the candidate holds a master’s degree from another department or institution.
Students must complete 36 credit points* of course work in addition to their M.A. degree (which will be assessed at 36 points) to total 72 points; three qualifying exams; a foreign language requirement; an oral defense and approval of the dissertation proposal; and an oral defense and approval of a doctoral dissertation. Students are permitted to enroll in up to 2 classes (8 credits) outside the department in a related humanities field of study and may not exceed that limit. Independent study or internship may not exceed 8 credits.
*Of the 36 points, students must complete the following required courses: CINE-GT 2601 PhD Research Methodologies Seminar in the first semester, CINE-GT 3907 Directed Reading in the third semester, and CINE-GT 3902 Dissertation Seminar in fourth semester.
The Corrigan Fellowship Award
All Ph.D. students are fully funded by the school with The Corrigan as follows:
QUALIFYING COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS
Each student must pass three qualifying comprehensive exams, two of them as written take-home exams and the third as an oral exam. The two written exams must include one in the field of film/culture/media theory and one in the field of film/media history. These exams must be taken in the first year of coursework, Spring and Summer (See Ph.D. Trajectory). The third exam is an oral exam that will be conducted at the time of the student’s dissertation proposal defense at the end of the fourth semester. The oral exam covers material from the student’s specific area of research.
The theory exam areas include:
- Gender, Sexuality, and Representation
- Race, Nation, and Representation
- Cultural Theory
- Media Theory
- Theory of Narrative and Genre
- Theory of Image and Sound
The history/historiography exam areas include:
- American Film 1895 to 1929
- American Film 1927 to 1960
- American Film 1960 to the Present
- History of French Film
- History of Italian Film
- History of Japanese Film
- History of Soviet and Post-Soviet Film
- History of German Film
- History of the International Avant-Garde
- History of Documentary Film
- History of Latin American Film
- History of British Film
- History of Chinese-Language Cinema
- History of Indian Cinema
Bibliographies for each exam area are available on the department’s website or in the administrative offices.
The written take-home exams consist of six questions, 3 of which are to be answered, each in the form of a 10-page essay. The student has one week to complete the take-home exam. Each subject area is offered for examination once a year either in the Spring or Summer semester.
A scheduled list of the areas offered in a particular semester is available on the Cinema Studies Department’s website. Semester-specific deadlines are included online. All students must register for each exam by the appropriate deadline.
Written exams are graded by three faculty members. The student receives a grade of high pass, pass, low pass, or fail. Students will be notified of their grades by email, at least one month after the exam cycle has ended. Exams are not returned to exam takers. If a student fails an examination, the exam in the same subject area must be re-taken the next time it is offered. Upon failing an exam in any one area twice, the student must leave the Ph.D. program.
The oral exam is comprised of a series of questions pertaining to the student’s specific area of research drawing from the previously completed third semester directed reading and the dissertation proposal. The exam is conducted and graded by three faculty members. The student receives a grade of high pass, pass, low pass, or fail. If the student fails the oral exam, they must reschedule another examination to take place the following summer semester. Upon failing the exam twice, the student must leave the Ph.D. program. Students take their oral exam at the start of their fourth semester during their dissertation proposal defense meeting.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT
A student must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language. Six languages are accepted toward fulfilling the Ph.D. language requirement: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish.
Students proficient in another language may request an exemption from this requirement from the Director of Graduate Studies. Exemptions must be requested in writing, before the last semester of coursework.
Language proficiency may be demonstrated by any of the following:
- Passing the foreign language proficiency examination given by the Graduate School of Arts and Science. Formal application for the Graduate School foreign language proficiency examination (not the department’s) must be filed on the appropriate form in the Degree and Diploma Office of the Office of the University Registrar not later than five weeks before the examination date. Please consult the current GSAS calendar for examination dates and application deadlines.
- Passing a departmental examination. Formal application for the Departmental language examination must be made at least 30 days before the desired test date. Arrangements for this exam should be made via email with the exam administrator.
- Completing or having completed, not more than two years before matriculation, a full or final intermediate-level college course in the language with a transcript grade of B or better.
School of Professional Studies (SPS) courses do not satisfy this requirement; however, students with no previous knowledge of a foreign language or those who wish a review are encouraged to enroll in the SPS special reading courses for graduate degree candidates. A two-semester sequence is offered in French, German, Chinese and Spanish (plus Italian and Russian in the summer session). For information, call the SPS Foreign Language Program, (212) 998-7030.
Students who have met the language requirement in another graduate school not more than two (2) years before matriculating in the department may request that such credentials be accepted by the department.
ADVANCED CERTIFICATE PROGRAM IN CULTURE & MEDIA
The Advanced 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.
For more information about the Advanced Certificate Program and the required courses, visit the Anthropology website.
Academic Policies, Procedures & Services
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 Department Administrator Marisa Shepard 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.
Once all requirements are finished for PhD candidacy status, students are eligible for adjunct teaching positions (both inside and outside of the department).
The dissertation must show the ability to follow an approved method of scholarly investigation and evidence of exhaustive study of a special field. It should add to the knowledge of the subject or represent a new, significant interpretation. Every dissertation should contain a clear introductory statement and a summary of results. The dissertation must include an analytical table of contents and a bibliography and, when submitted to the Degree and Diploma Office of the Office of the University Registrar, must meet formatting requirements and be accompanied by an abstract.
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Checklist
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.
Information current as of March 8, 2023.