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University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 15, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Film and Media Studies Master’s Certificate

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In the Spring of 2018, the Film Studies Master’s Certificate was renamed to Film and Media Studies Master’s Certificate. Students who were enrolled prior to the Spring 2018 term have the option to stay Film Studies master’s certificate or change to the Film and Media Studies master’s certificate. They will have until the end of the Fall 2017 term to choose to complete the program under the current name. Students who choose to complete their program under the current name must do so by Summer 2020 term. There are no program requirement changes.


Students engaged in an A&S master’s program at Pitt can enroll in the Film and Media Studies Master’s Certificate Program at any point in the course of their study by submitting a completed Graduate Certificate Application Form to or 454 Cathedral of Learning. The master’s certificate is awarded only after the completion of all degree requirements for the MA in the student’s home department, school, or program.

Course Work

Four Film and Media Studies courses (12 credits) including:

Three Electives

(one outside home department)

Research Paper

The MA Certificate requires a research paper in the field of Film and Media Studies (approx. 25-30 pp. in length) to be written for and evaluated by a Film and Media Studies faculty member who teaches one of the seminars that the student takes for his/her Certificate requirements.

The procedure is as follows:
At the beginning of a Film and Media Studies course that counts for the Certificate, the student will inform the faculty member teaching the course that he/she wishes for his/her seminar to count as the official Research Paper for the Certificate Program. The faculty member will then require something more ambitious than the normal seminar paper (see Guidelines for Certificate Research Paper below) and meet with the student during the term to advise him/her.

At the end of the course the student has two options: (1) submit the Certificate Research Paper for both the course and Certificate requirements or (2) submit a paper that satisfies the course requirements and continue to work on the expanded Certificate Research Paper over the following semester. The paper should be turned in for the Certificate requirement no later than the end of the semester following the course in which the paper was conceived.

Guidelines for Certificate Research Paper

The research paper that qualifies for the MA and/or PhD Certificates in Film and Media Studies should go beyond the average seminar paper for a course, though (as per above) it should begin as such a seminar paper in conjunction with a member of the Film Studies faculty. In essence, the research paper should aspire to be one publishable in an academic journal (though there is no requirement that it actually be published). Such a paper might go beyond a standard seminar paper in any or several of the following ways:

  1. Have a demonstrated original point of view or approach to a given topic
  2. Articulate a clear and demonstrated argument about a topic that clarifies important issues in media studies
  3. Involve substantial research with primary sources
  4. Forge new theoretical or historical terrain
  5. Consider hitherto ignored media texts.

 It will be up to the Film and Media Studies instructor/advisor to determine how the paper might meet some of the above standards.

Additional Conditions

  • Only one directed study course (supervised by Film and Media Studies faculty) can be counted toward the master’s certificate.
  • All courses must be passed with a B or higher.
  • Students should notify the program director of their intention to file for graduation at the beginning of their final semester.

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