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University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 20, 2024
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Film Studies Doctoral Certificate

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Students engaged in an A&S doctoral program at Pitt can enroll in the Film Studies Doctoral Certificate Program at any point in the course of their study by filing the proper form with the program director or the film studies graduate advisor (Jeff Aziz, Mark Kemp, Lori Campbell). The doctoral certificate is awarded only after the completion of all degree requirements for the PhD in the student’s home department, school, or program.

Course Work

Six film studies courses (18 credits) including:

Five Electives:

Including at least two areas of study (e.g., national cinema, theory/themes, genre, etc.); at least two courses must be outside the student’s home department.

Research Paper

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

The procedure for so doing is as follows:
At the beginning of a Film 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 well as the official Research Paper for the Certificate Program. The faculty member will then require of the student 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 at 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 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).

This 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 Studies instructor/advisor to determine how the paper might meet some of the above standards.

Additional Conditions

  • Only two directed study courses (supervised by film studies faculty) can be counted toward the doctoral 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.


The film studies program director will advise students and keep records. A Graduate Steering Committee will address ongoing curricular and administrative issues and evaluate special students.

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