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PhD in Cinema & Media Studies

The PhD in Cinema & Media Studies is a dynamic program in which students pursue innovative and interdisciplinary research into the full range of sound and moving image media practices and traditions.

Each year the program selects a small group of exceptional students who will join a lively intellectual community at York University, attend innovative research events, and receive close attention from faculty supervisors.

We welcome applicants with educational backgrounds in Film Studies, Media Studies, Communications, Cultural Studies, Art History, English, Women’s Studies, Queer and Sexuality Studies, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Education, History, Area Studies, and other disciplines that nurture theoretical, historical and critical frameworks of research in sound and moving image media, including research-creation. Two of our students are profiled in the FGS Knowledge Now series:

Michaela Pnacekova

Aaron Tucker

Domestic PHD students receive more than $24,000/year along with healthcare benefits and other forms of research support. With York University’s emphasis on access in higher education, our graduate students pay the lowest graduate tuition in Ontario.

In recent years, most Cinema & Media Studies (CMS) PhD students have received additional funding through awards like SSHRC Doctoral Awards ($20K & $35K/year), Elia Scholars Award ($30K/year), GFAD ($20K/year), OGS ($15,000/year), and Susan Crocker and John Hunkin Scholarship in the Fine Arts ($12,500/year), in part due to the Program's emphasis on strong professional development, including grant writing.

Three current CMS PhD students hold Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships ($50K/year), Canada's top award for graduate student academic and leadership excellence, Alison Humphrey, Claudia Sicondolfo and Debbie Ebanks Schlums.

Our renowned faculty, who number among Canada’s finest cinema and media studies researchers and practitioners, offer a diverse selection of courses and in-depth mentoring that provide students with a core formation in the critical, theoretical, and historical analysis of a broad range of cinema and contemporary media. Faculty members pursue wide-ranging research in cinema and cultural theory, media technologies, archives, documentary and experimental film and media, digital media (including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), and film history. York University’s mission of social justice is reflected in the Program’s strong commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in relation to the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, Indigeneity, and ability.

Many of our faculty pursue interdisciplinary research methodologies, including research creation. Four faculty members are current or former Canada Research Chairs and all of our faculty participate actively in international and Canadian conferences and publications.

Teaching, publication, and professional academic development are key components of this minimum four-year degree. After completing course work and comprehensive exams, students write a research dissertation that makes a decisive intervention in the discipline. Several students incorporate research creation as part of their courses and dissertations.

The PhD prepares students for academic and research careers in cinema and media studies and related fields like cultural and visual studies and communications research. Students’ highly developed historical and contemporary knowledge of cinema and media work is applicable to careers in the arts, entertainment and other media-related research areas.

PhD students benefit from York University’s rich tradition of being at the vanguard of interdisciplinary research, social justice, knowledge mobilization and emerging technology, and directly participate in the many research-intensive initiatives and media labs housed in the School of Arts, Performance, Media and Design (AMPD) and across campus:

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The Graduate Program in Film at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Program Assistant to learn more.