The M.A. in Cinema Studies is intended for individuals who wish to pursue research in selected areas of film scholarship. Building on course work in narrative and non-narrative cinematic history, theory and criticism, students produce a thesis that allows for focused research on a specific topic related to their interests. Although open to all students that meet admission requirements, the program specializes in preparing students for:
Ph.D. Programs: Graduates of the program have gone on to earn doctorate degrees at such prestigious schools as UCLA, USC, and Harvard, among others. Several have gone to hold tenure line positions at universities around the world.
Media Arts Management: Graduates have secured successful careers as managers of local and regional media arts organizations, curating film festivals, and as media archivists and librarians.
Entertainment Industry: Graduates have found work in Hollywood, holding positions as varied as studio archivist and audience analyst, to producer and creative executive.
The M.A. in Cinema Studies program's learning objectives are designed to enable students to:
- Demonstrate a broad knowledge of cinema theory, history, and criticism.
- Conduct close analyses of cinematic texts to include film, television, and digital media.
- Craft written arguments and analysis utilizing appropriate source materials.
- Conduct independent research that leads to a thesis project.
- Demonstrate teaching skills appropriate to undergraduate cinema studies coursework.
All students must complete at least 30 units for the degree, of which 6 are electives and 3 constitute the thesis requirement. All 30 units must be for graduate-level courses (i.e., undergraduate courses cannot fulfill the 30-unit requirement). Students are encouraged to select electives in consultation with a faculty advisor.
Two courses are required: CINE 700, Introduction to Graduate Studies, which must be taken in the Fall of the student’s first year, and CINE 898, Masters Thesis, which must be taken in the student’s second year (typically the final semester). To complete the 30-unit requirement, students are encouraged to select at least 18 units of Cinema graduate M.A. courses (720-749; 820-829). The six units of electives may be Cinema graduate courses or graduate courses outside the Cinema discipline. In all cases, students are encouraged to discuss their options with a faculty advisor.
A typical trajectory might look as follows (although this is by no means prescriptive):
|CINE 700||Introduction to Graduate Studies||3|
|CINE 720||Critical Paradigms and the Cinematic||3|
|CINE 852||Directed Experience in Film Education*||3|
|CINE 721||Cinematic Documentary||3|
|CINE 722||Independent Cinema||3|
|CINE 747||Post-colonial Cinema||3|
*CINE 852 can be applied to the six units of elective credit on the advice and consent of the Graduate Coordinator and/or Chair. Only students planning to work as paid course assistants or as Graduate Teaching Associates should take CINE 852. Completion of CINE 852 is a prerequisite for appointment to any paid position. If a student does not wish to take CINE 852 in the fall of their first year, they may take another course.
|CINE 749||Critical Practices||3|
|CINE 891||Professional Development*||3|
|CINE 898||Master's Thesis||3|
|CINE 823||Curation and Cinema||3|
*CINE 891 can be applied to the six units of elective credit on the advice and consent of the Graduate Coordinator and/or Chair. CINE 891 is designed to prepare students for a host of professional activities, including conference presentation, preparation of the CV, doctoral applications, and the management of the annual Cinema M.A. conference.
After completing course work in film and media theory and history and criticism, students produce a thesis based on the standard length of an article (25-35 pages) in a cinema journal. The thesis process is initiated in the second year in consultation with an advisor. Students intending to use their thesis as a writing sample in an application to doctoral programs can elect to initiate the process at the end of their second semester in the program. To initiate the process, students must assemble a committee (typically a chair and either one or two other members of the faculty). In either Fall or Spring of the second year, the student enrolls in CINE 898: Master's Thesis to complete and file the thesis. The student’s thesis committee reviews the thesis before it is approved. Current and recent thesis projects include:
- “Exploring the Art and Mind of Matsumoto Toshio,” Miyo Inoue (Professor Aaron Kerner, thesis supervisor)
- “Steven Moffat's Doctor Who as the Manifestation of Dreams,” Nettie Brock (Professor Randy Rutsky, thesis supervisor)
- “Pipes, Bytes and Bodies: The Production of Space Along the Infrastructural Migration Route in Rithy Panh’s The Land of Wandering Souls and Ursula Biemann’s Black Sea Files,” Chi-Hui Yang (Professor Bill Nichols, thesis supervisor)
- "This is not a Remembrance of Singularity: Memo-abstractions, Ephemera and Cinema," Alexander Farrow (Professor Jenny Lau, thesis supervisor)
Advancement to Candidacy
Students must also meet all general university requirements for advancement to candidacy, receive a B or better in all required courses for the MA degree, and successfully pass their thesis committee review. It is incumbent upon the student to fill-out and file all the paperwork required by the SFSU Graduate Division here. The Advancement to Candidacy Form is filled out in the first semester of the final year of the program.