MA & Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies: Call for Applications from Prospective Graduate Students!

Application Deadline: December 1, 2020 

MA and PhD Cinema and Media Studies

MA and PhD Cinema and Media Studies

The MA in Cinema and Media Studies in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia has graduated students who have gone on to study at the Ph.D. level and to have careers teaching in universities and colleges as well as in a wide variety of roles in the cultural industries. Ours is a two-year program with thesis only, which allows students to grow professionally in a measured fashion. Notable features of the program include small seminars, teaching assistant experience, and editorial work on the graduate journal Cinephile.  MA students are eligible for UBC Graduate Student Initiative funding and teaching assistantships. We encourage Canadian students to apply for SSHRC funding.

The Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies accepted its first cohort of students in 2019. Admission to our program is very competitive, and we scrutinize each application carefully. Our graduate seminar sizes combining MA and Ph.D. students are usually 6-7 students. We believe that a stimulating, intellectual discussion between students and faculty is a necessary ingredient of a successful graduate program. The personal supervision we offer, together with the collegial atmosphere of our graduate cohort, strong research supports and the lively practical film environment of Hollywood North makes UBC a choice destination. All accepted Ph.D. Students are guaranteed a minimum financial package of $18,000 per year for four years (proposed to be increased to $22,000 in September 2021). Highly placed SSHRC recipients may be offered Killam top-up awards of $10,000 in each of their first two years. Students are also eligible to be considered for teaching assistantships and, when available, research assistantships. On average, UBC Ph.D. students receive $30,000 a year in combined funding and employment during their first four years. We endeavour to prepare and support students throughout their program for both academic and non-academic careers.

Students in these programs enjoy strong mentoring relationships with core faculty members and develop research expertise in an area of their choice while also training in the broader theoretical, critical, and historical contexts of the field. Graduate Faculty include Lisa Coulthard, Ernest Mathijs, Brian McIlroy, Shannon Walsh, and Mila Zuo. Among their research interests are Canadian cinema, transnational Asian and Asian/American cinemas, film philosophy, acting and performance, star studies, feminist and queer theory, critical race and ethnicity studies, indigenous film and media, sound and violence in cinema, cult cinema, film genres, film theory, documentary, affect theory, early cinema, contemporary American and European cinemas, television drama, web and online series, and the receptions of mainstream and alternative cinema. Our students can also engage with professors and students in our renowned theatre studies and theatre and film production graduate programs. Students can also draw upon affiliated faculty to the Cinema and Media Studies graduate degrees from other Departments, such as Art History, Asian Studies, Central and Northern European Studies, French, Hispanic and Italian Studies, and English.

UBC offers a world-class research library which includes the Videomatica DVD collection (30,000+titles). The Department offers the Visual Resources Centre, the Centre for Cinema Studies, and a strong research-oriented university community.

Our graduate students enjoy the opportunity to develop their academic teaching skills as teaching assistants in UBC’s undergraduate film studies classes. The program works hard to provide stable and consistent funding from departmental and university sources and supports students in their applications to national scholarship programs.

Our MA and Ph.D. students have unrestricted take-out access to resources of the Visual Resources Centre collection (over 10,000 titles on-site). Our Centre comes with its own screening room, ideal for tutorials and discussion groups, and for thesis research. MA and Ph.D. students further benefit from the research activities and Visiting Scholars at the Centre for Cinema Studies (see: We’ve enjoyed the visits of scholars from Australia, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Korea, New-Zealand, Russia, Spain, the UK, and the U.S.

The MA and Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies at UBC also offer first-rate writing and editing experiences with the graduate journal Cinephile (see: Now in its fifteenth year,  Cinephile frequently attracts high-profile guest contributors (Brenda Austin-Smith , William Beard, Martine Beugnet, Philip Brophy, Kevin Donnelly, Barry Keith Grant, Matt Hills, Scott MacKenzie, Laura Marks, Slavoj Zizek, Keith M. Johnston and filmmakers Guy Maddin and Rachel Talalay).

For more information, click on the links to Graduate programs in Cinema and Media Studies on our Department website:

For specific queries on the graduate programs, email Graduate Advisor Professor Brian McIlroy at