Concordia University

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Film and Moving Image Studies PhD

Admission Requirements

Incoming students are expected to have an MA in Film Studies (or cognate field) and a minimum B+ average or GPA of 3.30. Applicants will also be assessed by the School of Cinema’s doctoral program sub-committee on the basis of a writing sample, letters of recommendation, research ability, and a letter of intent outlining research interests, to be submitted with their application. Prior to final acceptance, the student should have identified and contacted a potential supervisor. Final decision regarding supervision will be made by mutual agreement between the student, the doctoral program sub-committee, and the potential supervisor. Feasibility of proposed research and availability of a faculty member to supervise will also be considered. In certain instances students may be asked to complete qualifying graduate coursework. A detailed description of the program may be obtained from the PhD Program Director, Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.

Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Credits. A fully qualified candidate is required to fulfill 90 credits. The requirements are: 15 credits of coursework, six credits in the form of one comprehensive examination and one specialization examination essay (three credits each), six credits of thesis proposal, and 63 credits of research and thesis.

  2. Language. While English is the dominant language for activities in the School of Cinema, applicants must demonstrate a level of competence that would allow them to read technical material in French (or another pertinent language with regards to their research). Students may write reports, examinations, and theses in English or French, as they choose.

  3. Examinations and Thesis Proposal. Students must pass a comprehensive exam (three credits), followed by a thesis proposal (six credits), followed by a specialization exam essay (three credits) to be admitted to candidacy.

    The written comprehensive examination (three credits) pertains to the candidate’s major subfield of research and is based on a reading list (with an appropriate filmography) prepared by the student with the assistance of his/her supervisor. The reading list and essay are evaluated by an examination committee comprising three faculty members, including the student’s supervisor. The reading list and filmography are first approved by the supervisor and then by the other members of the examination committee, who may suggest further changes. Three to four months after the final approval of the reading list, having indicated his/her readiness to the supervisor, the student receives up to four examination questions from the supervisor, based on the reading list. The student has two weeks to produce an essay answering two of the questions. This exam should be completed by the student no later than December of his/her second year in the program (fourth term).

    The thesis proposal (six credits) consists of a 20- to 25-page document outlining the object of study of the thesis, its objectives, the research hypothesis, and the methodology that will be used or developed. A detailed bibliography must accompany the document as well as a preliminary table of contents. The thesis proposal must be defended orally before a jury consisting of the student’s supervisor and two faculty members (the student’s dissertation committee), which ideally is the same as his/her examination committee. The proposal is submitted by the student to the supervisor, and approved by the supervisor no later than April of the student’s second year in the program (fifth term). Upon approval of the proposal, an oral defense is scheduled.

    The written specialization examination essay (three credits) is a written case study intended to demonstrate the student’s capacity to perform critical analysis of research material and address the research questions in the thesis proposal. The essay is normally 6000 to 9000 words, following the professional criteria for publication. It is followed by an oral defense before the examination subcommittee. The specialization essay is submitted by the student to the supervisor and his/her examination committee, and is approved for submission no later than December of his/her third year in the program (seventh term). The oral defense is then scheduled for the following January. Upon successful completion of the specialization examination essay (and contingent on the completion of the required 15 course credits), the student is admitted to candidacy.

  4. Research and Thesis. A major portion of the doctoral program is the planning and execution of innovative and original research under the direction of a supervisor. The student’s research will be presented in a written thesis and defended orally in conformity with the regulations outlined in Concordia University’s Graduate Calendar. The candidate will submit his/her doctoral thesis to an examining committee consisting of at least five faculty members: the candidate’s supervisor, two faculty members from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, a faculty member from another department within Concordia (external-to-program examiner), and an external-to-University faculty member.
     

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.

  2. Residency. The minimum required residence requirement is six consecutive terms full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study.

  3. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.

  4. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
     

Time line for requirements

Coursework (15 credits). It is expected that students, on average, complete 12 credits of coursework during the first year and complete the remaining three course credits before being admitted to candidacy. On a yearly basis, a minimum of 12 credits of core graduate coursework is offered for doctoral students only by the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.This includes Proseminar I and Proseminar II, which are taken consecutively in the student’s first year. A detailed description of the course requirements is as follows: 

  • Core: 6 credits: Proseminar I and Proseminar II
  • Cluster: 3 credits: taken from four topics clusters of seminars labeled: Topics in Film and Moving Image History; Topics in Film and Moving Image Aesthetics; Topics in Film and Moving Image Theory; Topics in Film, Moving Image and Cultural Theory.
  • Electives: 6 credits taken from research seminars in the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and/or taken from graduate course offerings outside the School of Cinema.

Comprehensive Examination (3 credits). Upon completion of at least 12 credits of coursework, the student begins preparing the reading list and filmography (where appropriate) for the comprehensive examination, which pertains to the student’s major subfield of research. The reading list and filmography are first approved by the supervisor and then by the other members of the student’s examination committee who may suggest changes. Three months after the final approval of the reading list, the student receives up to four examination questions from his/her supervisor, based on the reading list (and filmography, where appropriate). The student has two weeks to produce an essay to answer two of the questions. This exam is completed by the student no later than December of his/her second year in the program. 

Thesis proposal (6 credits). The proposal is submitted by the student to the supervisor within three months of successful completion of the comprehensive exam, and approved by the supervisor no later than April of the student’s second year in the program. Upon approval of the proposal, an oral defense takes place no later than the following May.

Specialization Examination Essay (3 credits). The specialization essay is submitted by the student to the supervisor and his/her examination committee, and approved for submission no later than December of his/her third year in the program. The oral defense is scheduled no later than the following January. Upon successful completion of the specialization examination essay (and contingent on the completion of the required 15 course credits), the student is admitted to candidacy.

Courses

Core and Cluster Courses 
Each year the program offers FMST 806, FMST 807, and two cluster courses.

Core Courses:

FMST 806 Proseminar I (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Enrolment in Film and Moving Image Studies; or written permission of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.
Proseminar I is designed to give students a broad introduction to advanced film and moving image research by putting different periods, research methodologies, theories, and genres into dynamic relation. Written assignments are required as well as an oral presentation.
Note: Students who have received credit for FMST 800 may not take this course for credit.

FMST 807 Proseminar II (3 credits)
Prerequisite: FMST 806; or written permission of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.
Proseminar II is designed to give students a broad introduction to advanced film and moving image research by putting different periods, research methodologies, theories,and genres into dynamic relation. Written assignments are required as well as an oral presentation.
Note: Students who have received credit for FMST 800 may not take this course for credit.

Cluster Courses (Topics Clusters):
The specific content of the seminars in each of the four topics clusters will be decided by the doctoral program joint committee on a yearly basis, based on course proposals made by accredited faculty.

Cluster A:

FMST 801 Seminar in Film and Moving Image History (3 credits)
Advanced study and research in problems and issues related to film and moving image history and historiography. Topics for seminars in this cluster may include: Methods in Film Historiography; Methodological Aspects of Film-Archival Research; History of Film Technology; History of Film Institutions; History of Pre-Cinema and Early Cinema; History of Silent Cinema; History of Film Movements; History of Documentary Film; History of New Media.

Cluster B:

FMST 802 Seminar in Film and Moving Image Aesthetics (3 credits)
Advanced study and research in problems and issues of film aesthetics. Students examine the style associated with certain films, directors, genres, and national cinemas, or investigate film criticism and taste cultures. Topics for seminars in this cluster may include: Topics in Film Style and Form; Topics in Film Criticism; Film and the Other Arts: Topics in Aesthetic Theory; Topics in Directors; Topics in Moving Image and New Media Art: New Media Aesthetics; Performance.

Cluster C:

FMST 803 Seminar in Film and Moving Image Theory (3 credits)
Seminars in this cluster offer an in-depth investigation of a theory or a theoretical tradition in Film and Moving Image Studies. The course may focus on the work of a single theorist, or a particular approach or methodology. Topics for seminars in this cluster include: Interpretation and Hermeneutics; Reception Theory Narrative Theory; Topics in Classical Film Theory; Topics in Contemporary Film Theory; Topics in Film and Philosophy; Psychoanalysis and Film; Genre Theory; Semiotics; Topics in Cognitive Theory; Textual Analysis.

Cluster D:

FMST 804 Seminar in Film, Moving Image and Cultural Theory (3 credits)
Seminars in this cluster investigate film and the moving image from social and cultural perspectives. Topics for seminars in this cluster may include: Cinema and Modernity; Postmodernity and Globalization; Film, New Media, and Visual Culture, Queer Theory; Feminist Theory; Post-colonial Theory; Topics in Social and Political Theory; Topics in Cultural Studies, Film in the Context of Television and Consumer Culture.

Elective Courses (Joint MA/PhD seminars):

Students take a maximum of six credits of elective coursework. Students are entitled to enrol in PhD seminars that are cross-listed with MA seminars, provided they do not repeat seminars taken at Concordia during their MA degree. (Doctoral students registered in these courses will be expected to perform at PhD level).
Note: The focus of any given topics course in a given year determines the cluster to which it belongs. For example, “Topics in Cinéma Québécois” may belong to Cluster A when the focus is on historiography or it may belong to Cluster B when the course centers on aesthetic issues in Quebec cinema.

FMST 805/FMST 605 Topics in English Canadian Cinema (3 credits)
This seminar explores the spectrum of Canadian cinema and video produced in English, and features screenings of historical and contemporary works within fiction, documentary and experimental areas, and in some instances, video and television as well. The culture, political and institutional contexts of production and reception are emphasized, with textural analysis at the core.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 605 may not take that same topic under FMST 805 for credit.

FMST 810/FMST 610 Topics in Cinema Québécois (3 credits)
The course explores Québécois cinema culture. Emphasis is placed on the cultural and political contexts of production and reception. Topics may include the structure of the film industry in Québec, the role of the NFB and other institutions, avenues of distribution and exhibition, also particular groups of films, such as cinema direct, or on specific time periods, or the work of specific filmmakers.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 610 may not take that same topic under FMST 810 for credit.

FMST 815/FMST 615 Topics in European Cinema (3 credits)
This course covers topics in Russian, German, French, Italian, British, Spanish and Eastern European Cinemas. Questions of national culture, patterns of film production, distribution and reception, and aesthetic histories are covered. The course incorporates future experimental and documentary films as well as readings in specific cultural histories.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 615 may not take that same topic under FMST 815 for credit.

FMST 820/FMST 620 Topics in Non-European Cinema (3 credits)
This course focuses on Asian, African and South American filmmaking, film cultures and film industries, and comparative studies of issues pertinent to more than one of these cultures.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 620 may not take that same topic under FMST 820 for credit.

FMST 825/FMST 625 Topics in Film History (3 credits)
This course explores specific problems and methods of film historiography, and examines the practices associated with one or more of these methods. Course topics emphasize various historiographic methods and theories, problems of methodology and analysis.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 625 may not take that same topic under FMST 825 for credit.

FMST 830/FMST 630 Topics in Film Theory (3 credits)
This course is devoted to close readings of key tests in film theory, examining their background, intellectual histories, and analyzing their significance. Topics may concentrate on historical developments in film theory, or they may address a given method or approach.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 630 may not take that same topic under FMST 830 for credit.

FMST 835/FMST 635 Topics in Aesthetics and Cultural Theory (3 credits)
This course examines the broader cultural and aesthetic histories relevant to film theory and practice. These theories are studied in depth, beyond the limits of film studies, in order to situate film history and theory within other interdisciplinary perspectives. Topics may include postmodernism, modernism, philosophical aesthetics, sexual representation, Frankfurt School theory, postcolonialism, Marxism, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 635 may not take that same topic under FMST 835 for credit.

FMST 840/FMST 640 Gender Issues in Film (3 credits)
This course provides an opportunity to contextualize a range of historical and theoretical feminist positions, and women’s film practices. Sample course topics include pornography, experimental feminist praxis, gender and race, or constructions of gender in specific historical periods or countries.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 640 may not take that same topic under FMST 840 for credit.

FMST 845/FMST 645 Topics in Film Genres (3 credits)
This course explores specific narrative film genres, such as the musical, the western, comedy, horror, melodrama and film noir. In each case, the history of the genre and its socio-historical dimensions is explored. Questions of genre transformation, popular mythology, cultural sources and parallel media, institutional analysis (studio practices) and spectatorship are addressed.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 645 may not take that same topic under FMST 845 for credit.

FMST 850/FMST 650 Topics in Experimental Film and Video (3 credits)
This course examines the history, aesthetics, theory and practice of experimental/avant-garde film and video, and may be organized around specific bodies of work, or theoretical issues such as the politics of representation, pure cinema, poetic structures, reflexivity, or documentary representation. Questions of medium specificity, modernism/postmodernism, performance art and theory, exhibition, distribution, canonization and criticism are addressed.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 650 may not take that same topic under FMST 850 for credit.

FMST 855 (PhD)/FMST 655 (MA) Topics in Documentary (3 credits)
Documentary history, aesthetics and theory are addressed in this course Questions of ideology, narrative and style in the context of specific groups of films are studied. Topics may relate to specific countries, histories, methods, institutions and cultural issues and methodological and theoretical problems arising from the concomitant evolution of television journalism, rapidly evolving technology, and changing patterns of exhibition and reception are examined.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 655 may not take that same topic under FMST 855 for credit.

FMST 860 (PhD)/FMST 660 Topics in Film Directors (3 credits)
This course examines the work of one or more specific directors from stylistic, aesthetic, cultural and historical perspectives. Directors that may be studied include Welles, Dreyer, Eisenstein, Hitchcock, Lang, Pasolini, Godard, Von Sternberg, Akermann and Arzmer, have been the foundation of extensive film studies scholarship.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 660 may not take that same topic under FMST 860 for credit.

FMST 865/FMST 665 Topics in Film Studies (3 credits)
From time to time, courses in topics that do not fit into any of the topics courses listed above are offered. These courses may include technical studies such as film acting, or special topics related to an instructor’s research project.
Note: Students who have received credit for a topic in FMST 665 may not take that same topic under FMST 865 for credit.

Other elective courses

FMST 870 Independent Study (3 credits)
Independent Study courses offer students opportunities to research and write about particular topics in film studies that are not covered in the courses offered in a given year. Students must propose a topic to a full-time faculty member, under whose supervision they complete the course.

FMST 880 Research Seminar (3 credits)
Film Studies faculty in the School of Cinema may organize seminars on a current research project.

Other program activities

FMST 885 Thesis Proposal (6 credits)
Once the examinations are completed students are eligible to submit their thesis proposal (it must be submitted no later than the second week of September or the third year into the program). The thesis proposal consists of a 40 to 60 page document outlining the object of study of the thesis, its objectives, the research hypothesis and the methodology that will be used or developed. A detailed bibliography will accompany the document as well as a preliminary table of contents. The thesis proposal must be defended orally before a jury consisting of the student’s supervisor and two faculty members.

FMST 887 Comprehensive Exam (3 credits)
A written comprehensive examination pertains to the candidate’s major field of research. A reading list of approximately 50 books and essays along with an appropriate and relevant filmography will be prepared by the student with the assistance of his/her supervisor.

FMST 888 Specialization Examination Essay (3 credits)
This course functions as a written case study that demonstrates the candidate’s capacity to perform critical analysis of research material and address research questions as outlined in the thesis proposal.

FMST 890 Research and Thesis (60 credits)
A major portion of the doctoral program is the planning and execution of innovative and original research under the direction of a supervisor. The doctoral thesis defence will be an oral examination conducted by a chair who shall be the Dean of Graduate Studies or a delegate.

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