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Film and Media Studies 2010-2011 Applications

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Hi all,

I thought I would start a new topic for those of us applying to film/media studies programs for Fall 2011. I'm re-applying to Media Studies PhD programs (I already have a MA), after across the board rejections last round. My focus is in television studies broadly, but more specificlly my research interests are in fandom, participatory culture, media paratexts, and industry studies.

Right now I've just got University of Wisconsin-Madison, Comm Arts, Media and Culture; and USC, Anennburg, Media, Culture and Communiation on my list. I applied to UW last year, and came very close, but was unltimately rejected, so I'm really hoping this round will work out as it is my top choice.

Anyone have any suggestions for programs that fit with my areas of study? I applied to UCLA, UCSB, UW-M, U Michigan, Indiana University, and UT last year, and honestly, the fit wasn't right with many of them, so I'm trying to be more selective this round to places that would be a great fit with my research. Anyone know of any other programs? Canadian or UK schools would interest me as well.

Thanks for the help and good luck to everyone!

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Hi all,

I thought I would start a new topic for those of us applying to film/media studies programs for Fall 2011. I'm re-applying to Media Studies PhD programs (I already have a MA), after across the board rejections last round. My focus is in television studies broadly, but more specificlly my research interests are in fandom, participatory culture, media paratexts, and industry studies.

Right now I've just got University of Wisconsin-Madison, Comm Arts, Media and Culture; and USC, Anennburg, Media, Culture and Communiation on my list. I applied to UW last year, and came very close, but was unltimately rejected, so I'm really hoping this round will work out as it is my top choice.

Anyone have any suggestions for programs that fit with my areas of study? I applied to UCLA, UCSB, UW-M, U Michigan, Indiana University, and UT last year, and honestly, the fit wasn't right with many of them, so I'm trying to be more selective this round to places that would be a great fit with my research. Anyone know of any other programs? Canadian or UK schools would interest me as well.

Thanks for the help and good luck to everyone!

I'm applying to most of the same schools you are (I did last year and the year before too!--It's rough out there!)I think you have unique ideas so it might be hard to find a match but I know a lot of professors are into fandom so keep looking. When I was browsing sites today I know I saw some...I just can't remember which ones. Apply broadly is my advice since it's soooo tough so anything to increase your chances is good--I understand this is hard when you can't find a match though.

Good luck.

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Hi, I'm finishing my Master's thesis next Spring and I'm applying to a number of PhD programs in Film Studies (at universities that would place somewhere between 25-50 at a top 100 list) . As an international student (who has an excellent GPA yet no publications and who is probably not gonna score very well on the GRE), it somehow occured to me that I might have a better chance of being admitted into Master's programs than PhD programs. Do you think I should give this a chance and try to obtain a second MA degree in the USA hoping that it might provide me with a better opportunity of being ultimately admitted into an American Phd program, or should I just take the risk and apply for PhDs only? And, what do you think would the chances of receiving a full scholarship/fellowship in American universities for an MA program in Film Studies be? Thanks!

Edited by Damla

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Hi Guys,

After reading a number of these threads I'm kind of freaking out, though maybe I'm not so bad. Though I'd post my stuff here and see if anyone has any advice:

My list of schools: USC (Critical Studies PhD), UCLA (MA in Cinema/Media Studies), UCSB (MA/PhD Film/Media Studies), Northwestern (Screen Cultures Phd), Brown (Modern Culture and Media PhD), Michigan (Screen Arts and Cultures Phd), and Madison (UComm-Film Phd)

My stats:

Earning BA in spring at Top 5 University

3.7 GPA, though about 3.9 in Film Studies major, which is a highly academic-writing intensive program and has only included one production class

GRE: 630V/780M/5.5W (630 puts me at the 91st percentile, which i hope is enough)

3 Great Professors writing recommendations, two of them well known in the field

No Research :( but a decent amount of internships/positions—film editor at paper, accredited film critic for New York Film Festival, interned for IFC Films, wrote a musical for 3000 people

Am I shooting myself in the foot by applying for PhD? Do I need more safety schools? Did I miss opportunities to do undergrad research? (I was wait listed for UCLA's SROP Humanities program last summer, though I guess those programs aren't designed for privileged white males) Any advice or thoughts would be more than appreciated!!

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Am I shooting myself in the foot by applying for PhD? Do I need more safety schools? Did I miss opportunities to do undergrad research? (I was wait listed for UCLA's SROP Humanities program last summer, though I guess those programs aren't designed for privileged white males) Any advice or thoughts would be more than appreciated!!

I'm in a pretty similar situation--just graduated from a top school, high GPA, good GRE scores, ...but no research or publishing. Well, except for the whole honors thesis thing. Are you writing a thesis? That helps. If not, no real worries. Just play up the research you did for seminar papers or whatnot. The point is to prove to them that you've had enough exposure to research to know what you're doing when producing an academic paper (as exemplified, hopefully, by your writing sample), that your topics of interest are cool and fit in with the program & professors in question, that you're a mature enough scholar to survive in a grad environment, and ultimately, that you'll make good contributions to academia on behalf of their school/program.

This doesn't necessarily mean being published in journals and having attended conferences already, especially for you and me, who just completed our BAs. Remember that most of the schools you/we are applying to are just as interested in people with BAs only as they are in people with BA+MAs, so I'm inclined to think they almost expect us to lack the research experience and publishing that many people with MAs will have when applying next to us.

As for the "safety schools" issue, I'd say you're being pretty reasonable with your choices (more so than I am, certainly), in that you're applying to both PhDs and MAs. You should only bother applying to places where you'd not only go but be happy if you got in. As many people on these forums have stated...there's almost no such thing as a safety school since almost all departments, especially in the humanities, are highly competitive and nothing is guaranteed; even if everything about you is objectively amazing, the adcoms may simply agree that despite your awesomeness, your interests just don't quite fit in. (And this could happen over and over again, with every school--eek!) I will say that the acceptance rates of unfunded or partially-funded MA programs tend to be higher than fully-funded PhDs or MAs, for obvious reasons, so I suppose those would normally be termed "safety schools" but unfortunately, the MAs you're applying to are among the most popular ones so their "safety"-ness just flew out the window. Thus, I understand your concern and share your desire to find some "safety schools" for peace of mind... But as I said, I can't even come up with a program I could comfortably classify as a "safety."

My opinion, in sum and fwiw: stick to this list, add more schools if you find more that seem to really match your interests, but don't stress too much about your lack of research experience, especially since there's nothing you can do about it now. Again, you'll just have to play up what you did do (i.e. your great work experience--it's all pretty academic and impressive), and wow them with such a strong SoP & writing sample that they don't notice or care about your meager experience. At least, that's my plan? Maybe we'll get lucky, or maybe we'll follow in the footsteps of many others on this forum and be forced to apply again next round with a completely different/more effective approach...not that I can afford it...

Phew, sorry this was so long. Good luck!

Edited by blackshirt

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I'd have to agree that getting an MA is not necessary before the PhD, unless it explicitly states an MA requirement in the admissions info, and there's no reason to worry if you are missing conference/publication experience. My thoughts on this, since I did apply last year and have gotten a pretty good feel for this field's process of selection, it's all about fit. I have an MA, great GPA in MA and BA (not so great GRE scores), great LORs from relatively well-know scholars, a good writing sample that's been revised and critiqued many times, teaching experience, and a couple conference presentations. I didn't get into any of the 7 programs I applied to last year. While much of this was probably due to luck, and the not so hot economy, which results in less funding/fewer spots, I think the main reason I didn't get in was that I didn't express how my research interests fit with the programs I applied to well enough. I wasn't specific enough and I think that absolutely held me back. I am sure people with BA's and less experience got in ahead of me because they simply sold themselves in terms of how they fit with the program much better than I did. After getting some really amazing and detailed feedback from my top choice rejection last year, I am actually not changing much about my application other than the fit section of my SOP. I was told that what held me back was nothing more than they wanted students that were a good fit will all of the faculty in the area, it's a small program area. I was in probably the last 20 of the applicant pool, and the feeling I got from the feedback, was there was little more I could do other than selling my fit better this round.

So, even though some may disagree with this tactic, this year I'm applying to only 3 programs, each of which I know are good fits and I would love to go to any one of them, though one is by far my top choice. Honestly, I have very specific research interests, and I'd rather forego the PhD rather than go to a program that just won't work with what I want to do. It's a waste of my time, and it's a waste of the faculty's time to support someone whose research doesn't mesh with theirs. That said, if you have broader interests, you should absolutely apply to as many places as you can that you believe would be a good fit. I think that my situation is kind of unique, in that I know very specifically what I want to study, and that significantly narrows down my choices. But applying broadly is a good call for people that aren't so narrowly focused as I am. It's a tough field and a tough time to be applying, so widening your chances can't hurt. Also, the previous poster was right about MA's being a bit easier, though not a sure thing, in terms of acceptance. Unfunded/partially funded programs just have more spots available. Also, MA students don't have dissertation requirements, so there is less one-on-one faculty/student interaction, which means they can support a larger cohort.

This is a long way of saying, just apply to the places that feel right and sell yourself as best you can. I can honestly say, after a truly horrible year filled with not only grad school rejections but job application rejections, it's not the end of the world to not get accepted. I feel much more confident this round, both in terms of my application and on a personal level, and I'm going to be okay if it's rejections again this year. I won't like it, and I'll be upset, but there are other things I can do with my life that I will find just as fulfilling.

Just my two cents on this whole crazy, anxiety-producing process.

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I see that many of you are applying to CA schools (UCLA, USC, etc). Does anyone know how difficult it is to get an offer of funding from these schools for the PhD in Media/Film/Critical Studies? If accepted, must I exclusively rely on grants, fellowship, and scholarship applications in order to pay for it? Or is it possible that the school will arrange guaranteed funding fro its PhD students?

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Hi dgailen, From my understanding, almost all PhD programs in our field fund their PhD students through the entire program. There may be some that don't offer full funding, but I haven't come across them. Generally, what I have seen is that if you are accepted, you receive a TA position and/or fellowship, with tuition waiver, health insurance, and a stipend, funding over the summer varies among programs, but some offer summer research stipends. I myself was actually fully funded through my MA program, and while it wan't quite enough for me to live off of without taking out loans, it would be now that I've taken a few years off and saved up some money.

Your best bet in terms of finding out the exact funding package provided for PhD students in any given program, is to look on the program website. Sometimes this information may not be readily available, in which case you can email someone in the program to find out that information. And, you can take this with a grain of salt if you want, but it's been my understanding and my opinion about PhD programs, that if you're not fully funded, you should probably decline the offer. I guess this just depends your own financial situation and the amount of debt you're willing to undertake.

Hope this helps! Best of luck!

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I wanted to throw in my 2 cents here.

I'm currently at the University of Chicago's MAPH program, Cinema and Media Studies track. Now the MAPH has a shifting perception depending on who you talk to, but based on my first quarter's experience, I can say that it is super-intense. In the CMS track we currently have 5 MAPHers and the usual PhDs. We're doing exactly the same coursework, except we're asked to do a lot more than the first-year PhDs since we are, essentially, attempting to cover a standard two-year duration AM within our single year of the MAPH. Chicago does have some of the foremost film scholars today, and based on what I've gleaned from them, I'm told that there is no real preference with regard to external applicants. Chicago tends to look at the MAPH group as well as the external applicants--there's no solid benefit here except that they (obviously) know an internal applicant better. I'm also told that Chicago encourages their undergraduates to go elsewhere for graduate studies.

As far as my situation goes, I had a sub-3.0 GPA, despite being pretty damned good at what I do--it was a question of poor advising, culture shock, and lack of focus for my initial years. I find myself gaining a huge bonus from the MAPH because I get to do my thesis under people like Tom Gunning/Miriam Hansen/etc., and I'm doing very well presently. I won't have any publications or research conferences (well, it's unlikely at best) by the time I apply for the 2012 fall admission (the MAPH finishes in June '11). They're not a dealbreaker. Very few PhD admits already possess academic chops like conferences/publication. In conversations with current PhDs, I found only two who had any sort of publications (one had an undergraduate essay included in an anthology on women's studies topics, and another had a paper presented at Pittsburgh). I'm also told that my lack of language proficiency doesn't matter, since one can always take courses once in the PhD and then take the proficiency exams when ready.

What -really- matters is fit and research interests. Chicago is well-known for its historicist/aesthetic bent. We're not big on 'new media', radio/tv, etc. Yet, our most recent hire in the department is a post-doc whose field is new media. So there are shifting tendencies which need to be kept in mind during applications.

Please remember that all of this is Chicago-centric. I would expect similar stories/variations across different universities.

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Hello all! I want to wish everyone best of luck on their applications. I finally finished applying, and I wanted to see if a few others could weigh in on my chances of getting in anywhere. I'm really nervous and I'm starting to freak out...

-I have 3.97 GPA at a small, liberal arts college (4.00 in Film Studies, my minor. Major is English. Taken about 8 film studies courses). Will graduate with Honors thesis, summa cum laude BA in May 2011.

-Was a SPUR scholar in Film Studies at UCLA for Summer 2010

-Have one publication, one forthcoming in a professor's book. About 4 conference presentations, two of them at national conferences.

-Glowing, detailed letters of recommendation from professors who know me very well.

-Teaching assistantship for Sexuality & Film course this past fall.

-Started a Film Club on campus, film Critic for school newspaper, lead discussions for international film series, etc.

-GRE 610V (88 percentile), 660Q (64 percentile, although I've heard that the Q doesn't matter too much), 5AW (84 percentile).

Anyway, I'm nervous because I'm not from a large school like others (although I've heard that this could help because of the intensity of discussion, writing courses, etc.), and I'm only earning my BA. I've applied to:

-Indiana (MA)

-Michigan (PhD)

-NWern (PhD)--but do they take some for MAs as well? I didn't realize that they did that.

-Chicago (PhD)

-TX @ Austin (MA)

-UCLA (MA)

-Wisconsin (MA)

What are my odds of getting in at any of these places, and do people know the admissions stats for any of the above (and when they respond)? I'm especially interested in Indiana, NWern, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Thanks for all your input! It is much appreciated! I hope that everyone gets in where they want :)

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Hello all! I want to wish everyone best of luck on their applications. I finally finished applying, and I wanted to see if a few others could weigh in on my chances of getting in anywhere. I'm really nervous and I'm starting to freak out...

-I have 3.97 GPA at a small, liberal arts college (4.00 in Film Studies, my minor. Major is English. Taken about 8 film studies courses). Will graduate with Honors thesis, summa cum laude BA in May 2011.

-Was a SPUR scholar in Film Studies at UCLA for Summer 2010

-Have one publication, one forthcoming in a professor's book. About 4 conference presentations, two of them at national conferences.

-Glowing, detailed letters of recommendation from professors who know me very well.

-Teaching assistantship for Sexuality & Film course this past fall.

-Started a Film Club on campus, film Critic for school newspaper, lead discussions for international film series, etc.

-GRE 610V (88 percentile), 660Q (64 percentile, although I've heard that the Q doesn't matter too much), 5AW (84 percentile).

Anyway, I'm nervous because I'm not from a large school like others (although I've heard that this could help because of the intensity of discussion, writing courses, etc.), and I'm only earning my BA. I've applied to:

-Indiana (MA)

-Michigan (PhD)

-NWern (PhD)--but do they take some for MAs as well? I didn't realize that they did that.

-Chicago (PhD)

-TX @ Austin (MA)

-UCLA (MA)

-Wisconsin (MA)

What are my odds of getting in at any of these places, and do people know the admissions stats for any of the above (and when they respond)? I'm especially interested in Indiana, NWern, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Thanks for all your input! It is much appreciated! I hope that everyone gets in where they want :)

Sounds like you've got a great chance. If your writing sample and SOP are solid I'd say you've got a strong package.

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Hi there,

Does anyone know of film and media programs with Jan deadlines? I've applied to USC (cinematic arts), NYU steinhardt, Ut-Austin and UCSB. But all of these are top colleges and I am looking for 'safety nets'. Any help will be appreciated.

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Hi there,

Does anyone know of film and media programs with Jan deadlines? I've applied to USC (cinematic arts), NYU steinhardt, Ut-Austin and UCSB. But all of these are top colleges and I am looking for 'safety nets'. Any help will be appreciated.

I don't think there are any. Harvard has a December deadline but I guess that doesn't help much.I don't think there is too much of a safety net when it comes to schools in our field. You have a good mix next year around-if you have to do this again-just apply to more schools. Good luck. I hope you get in!

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Thank you three wishes left. I had been going crazy looking for the not-so-good colleges. Besides, the waiting period is soooooo agonisingly long. Anyone heard from any of the colleges? UCSB says they will finish their review and inform by the end of this month, which is by far the earliest. All the rest are set to complete the process by Feb end-early March.

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Thank you three wishes left. I had been going crazy looking for the not-so-good colleges. Besides, the waiting period is soooooo agonisingly long. Anyone heard from any of the colleges? UCSB says they will finish their review and inform by the end of this month, which is by far the earliest. All the rest are set to complete the process by Feb end-early March.

The waiting period is long. I remember one year I heard from UCLA around this time. I think I do remember one year when UCSB told us around this time too. Feb and March is when most schools start to let us know.

I can't think of a "not-so-good" college offering a PhD or MA in Film. I think they are all good and all competitive.

One school no one ever talks about and I rarely see on the results page in University of Kansas film PhD program. I didn't even know they had a program but there was on post on their. Don't know if they are good. I applied this year and we'll see what happens.

Good luck.

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The waiting period is long. I remember one year I heard from UCLA around this time. I think I do remember one year when UCSB told us around this time too. Feb and March is when most schools start to let us know.

I can't think of a "not-so-good" college offering a PhD or MA in Film. I think they are all good and all competitive.

One school no one ever talks about and I rarely see on the results page in University of Kansas film PhD program. I didn't even know they had a program but there was on post on their. Don't know if they are good. I applied this year and we'll see what happens.

Good luck.

Speaking of Kansas,I just looked at their website and they have a Feb. 15th deadline (no funding if you submit by this day though since the funding deadline was January).

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The results board indicates that interview invitations have been sent out by:

USC's Cinematic Arts / Critical Studies MA/PhD

UC-Irvine's Visual Studies PhD

Northwestern's Screen Cultures PhD

Any other details I'm missing?

Congrats to those invited! Anyone want to claim some glory and let us know about your research interests?

-CM

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The results board indicates that interview invitations have been sent out by:

USC's Cinematic Arts / Critical Studies MA/PhD

UC-Irvine's Visual Studies PhD

Northwestern's Screen Cultures PhD

Any other details I'm missing?

Congrats to those invited! Anyone want to claim some glory and let us know about your research interests?

-CM

I had an interview with Wisconsin-Madison Communication Arts in the Media and Cultural Studies program. I think a couple of other people also had interviews. No word on any acceptances yet, though. My research interests are in the area of contemporary television audiences and industries, convergence, participatory culture/fandom, and new media.

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Anyone hear anything else from NWern Screen Cultures? I only saw one post saying they had been invited to the interview, and no decisions have been rendered yet.

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I had an interview with Wisconsin-Madison Communication Arts in the Media and Cultural Studies program. I think a couple of other people also had interviews. No word on any acceptances yet, though. My research interests are in the area of contemporary television audiences and industries, convergence, participatory culture/fandom, and new media.

Congrats on your UW interview, aem88! Keep us posted!

CM

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I would also like to know if anyone else out there has heard from Northwestern Screen Cultures!

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Anyone heard from UCSB? There's one rejection in the results section. No response from grad coordinator, result unavailable on website :|

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I would also like to know if anyone else out there has heard from Northwestern Screen Cultures!

I have a friend who also was invited to interview. My impression is that they only take people they have interviewed. Decisions will be after the third week in February then.

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Anyone heard from UCSB? There's one rejection in the results section. No response from grad coordinator, result unavailable on website :|

I also checked the website after seeing the rejection in results, and there was no decision available. Not sure what that means...

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