The MA program in Film Studies is ideal for students who wish to engage in graduate level work in film theory and/or history, but don't yet have the qualifications (or just aren't quite ready) for a PhD Program. During their four semesters in the program, our MA students benefit from competitive financial support, while also gaining hands-on teaching experience, as well as the academic and professional skills to pursue a PhD in the field if desired. Graduates from the program include many celebrated scholars, and many of them go on to complete PhDs either in our own program or in other top programs in the country.

The MA program allows students to take a deep dive into film theory and history, while also helping them work towards the completion of an MA thesis. At roughly 6000 words, the thesis takes the form of a scholarly article and has the goal of helping students learn to produce publishable work that makes an original contribution to knowledge.

MA students are also integrated into the larger community of graduate students in Cinematic Arts (including PhD and MFA students). Once admitted, graduate students mix freely in graduate courses and collaborate in areas such as event organization, departmental service (e.g. graduate reps), participation in local film programming, and much more. Students also enjoy numerous opportunities for community-building in Iowa City through institutions such as FilmScene and Public Space One.

For a good overview of what your MA trajectory might look like, you can consult our Graduate Student Handbook of Policies and Procedures, especially the section outlining the two-year MA timeline. And for more information on the course requirements for the MA degree, please consult the university’s general catalogue.

For more information on graduate student funding, please our Funding page here.

If you are interested in applying, please consult the Graduate Admissions page, which includes deadlines and minimal requirements.

For any further questions, you may also contact our Director of Graduate Studies, listed on the People page of this website.