Why pursue a doctorate in film and moving image studies?
Introduced in 2008, the PhD in Film and Moving Image Studies is a dynamic program that emphasizes multidisciplinary approaches to critical studies of cinema and audiovisual media. While grounded firmly in film and critical theory, research is open to new directions in global cinematic cultures and evolving media. The program embraces a broad range of scholarly interests, which are reflected in the selection of the PhD seminars offered each year.
PhD students are integrated into wider international scholarly networks through regularly held international Film Studies conferences, seminars and workshops, research teams and working groups housed at Concordia. Students’ professional development is furthered through collaborative research with faculty members, innovative pedagogical training opportunities and teaching experience. During their studies, PhD students often train as teaching assistants and instructors. The online student publication Synoptique offers opportunities for students to work together on publishing initiatives. Support for conference participation is available from various sources.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Film and Moving Image Studies is an academic degree with no studio component. The expected time to completion of the degree is 4 years, which includes one year of coursework, comprehensive exams in the chosen area of specialization, thesis proposal, and dissertation, both of which are accompanied by oral defense.
The School of Cinema is Canada’s largest university-based centre for the study and creation of moving images. In addition to the Master of Arts in Film Studies, it offers a PhD in Film and Moving Image Studies. These graduate programs attract students from across the country and around the world. The diverse backgrounds and perspectives of students and faculty members make for a lively and intellectually stimulating learning and research environment.
The School’s film and film and video collections are comprehensive and accessible to graduate students. Screening rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art digital projectors, as well as 16mm and 35mm projection, to ensure optimal viewing conditions. Supported by over 23 tenured and tenure-track faculty, a steady group of part-time instructors, and a growing number of students enrolled in the doctorate program, The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema is the place for looking at cinema under different lenses.
You are invited to take a look at our faculty pages for an idea of the rich diversity of innovative and award-winning research, teaching interest, and academic and professional achievement housed within our program.
The Film Studies program has extensive ties with the city’s leading film institutions, including the Cinémathèque québécoise, the National Film Board of Canada and all the Montreal-based film festivals, such as Fantasia, Festival de noveau cinema, RIDM, etc. It collaborates with many of the city’s private film and video production facilities. These, organizations provide students with unique opportunities for interdisciplinary and self-directed programs of study and research. They also provide internships or practicum placements that expose students to ‘real world’ experiences and career possibilities in the cultural industries, programming and exhibition and arts journalism.
In addition, the School of Cinema has an ongoing exchange program with the prestigious Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television (EICTV) in Cuba to explore collaboration in education and research for students and faculty. Other exchange possibilities include France, Germany and Italy.
Faculty members encourage students to explore the multidisciplinary nature of film, visual art and contemporary culture and to integrate new technologies and theoretical currents with traditional cinematic practices and perspectives. Collaborations with faculty members at Montreal’s three other universities are supported and encouraged for additional academic expertise.
The vibrant the culture of our program includes opportunities for students to get involved in Concordia-based film journals, research groups, yearly conferences and active reading groups.
The Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture and the Advanced Research Team in History and Epistemology of Moving Image Studies host conferences, sponsor lecture series and provide support for interdisciplinary research groups that include students and faculty.
Graduate students have access to various other research centres, including the Hexagram Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies, Canada’s largest arts and design based new media lab. Hexagram was established by Concordia and the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and plays a significant role in shaping cultural debates on the national and international stage.
Film studies graduates join a thriving group of alumni who continue to distinguish themselves as leading critics, educators, curators and artists.
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 onespecialization examination essay (three credits each), six credits of thesis proposal, and 63 credits of research and thesis.
Residency. The minimum required residence requirement is six consecutive terms full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study.
Language. International students whose first language is not English must meet a minimum score of 80 for TOEFL iBT (or 550 for TOEFL PBT) to be admitted to the program. 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.
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.
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.
Admission Requirements. Incoming students are expected to have an MA in Film Studies (or cognate field) and a minimumB+ 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.
Priority will be given to those who apply within the official deadlines listed above. Some programs may continue to accept applications after these deadlines. For more information, please contact the department.
Faculty research interests include a diverse array of national cinemas, theoretical methods, and critical approaches, enabling students to pursue a wide variety of research objectives. Graduate students have the opportunity to work with internationally renowned scholars, both faculty and visiting scholars.
Faculty areas of expertise includeCanadian, US, European, Russian, Arab, South American, Japaneseand transnationalcinema and media, experimental, documentary and ethnographic film, early cinema, feminist film theory and practice, cinema and the archive, teen media, sound studies, media convergence, film and media theory, queer film and video, film technology, and the study of cultural institutions such as museums and film festivals.