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For those still waiting to hear from UCSB, I got an email from the graduate coordinator - turns out, they've sent out all their rejects, they're still waiting for clarification on their funding before

Without knowing the list of places you've applied to this season, it's difficult to make a suggestion either way. However, most of the more prominent programs have already announced their admissions,

Iowa really is late this year. I've spoken with the graduate coordinator on two occasions, weeks apart, and both times she could only apologetically mention that the committee hasn't released any notifications officially--positive or otherwise. There was a lone positive claimant some weeks ago, but no further details were posted. At this point I'm not even waiting on them, but it would be nice to find out one way or the other.

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Are any of you be willing to give any general advice to those who are preparing applications this fall? Would anyone be willing to PM me your SOP? If not, any advice for writing that? Did you contact any professors? When? How did they respond?

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I am not from USC, I just have a decent knowledge of the department. In terms of research interests, the great thing about USC is that they have faculty strengths in almost any area you can think of. They have a number of faculty working in transnational cinema including Nitin Govil (who they just hired this year), Marsha Kinder (who is retiring, sadly), Aniko Imre, and Priya Jaikumar. In media policy and industry studies, they have Ellen Seiter, Nitin Govil, Rick Jewell, and Drew Casper. Tara McPherson is amazing, and she works on digital media. Todd Boyd does race. David James is an expert in experimental cinema. Bill Whittington is great, and he works on science fiction and sound (and has done work on adaptations). Priya Jaikumar, Ellen Seiter, Iniko Imre, Tara Mcpherson and Kara Keeling do gender studies.

Thanks, ci1717! That's very helpful. It sounds like identity politics is a strong focus at USC, but I feel as though that's been true at most cinema studies programs I've come across. Especially between USC and UCLA, have you discovered a program that might have more of a focus on aesthetic analysis or film theory, or am I mischaracterizing USC?

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In each of these programs you will get a substantial grounding in both aesthetic analysis and theory. The department at USC is "CRITICAL Studies", implying that your education will be strongly embedded in critical theory. In fact, theory and aesthetic analysis will be very strong components of any reputable film studies program (same with history). When I list the expertise of the faculty, I mean that these are some of the subject areas that they are known for publshing in/teaching on. Of course, they also employ theory and aesthetic analysis to do this work; in fact, most film scholars employ these two things in almost all of their work no matter what their speciality is. These two things you identified are essential components of all film programs and most film scholarship. You will learn to do them at either school. Perhaps if you can talk a little bit more about your interests (it doesn't need to be that specific) I could help you more? Did you get in to both UCLA and USC? Feel free to PM me.

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In each of these programs you will get a substantial grounding in both aesthetic analysis and theory. The department at USC is "CRITICAL Studies", implying that your education will be strongly embedded in critical theory. In fact, theory and aesthetic analysis will be very strong components of any reputable film studies program (same with history). When I list the expertise of the faculty, I mean that these are some of the subject areas that they are known for publshing in/teaching on. Of course, they also employ theory and aesthetic analysis to do this work; in fact, most film scholars employ these two things in almost all of their work no matter what their speciality is. These two things you identified are essential components of all film programs and most film scholarship. You will learn to do them at either school. Perhaps if you can talk a little bit more about your interests (it doesn't need to be that specific) I could help you more? Did you get in to both UCLA and USC? Feel free to PM me.

I haven't focused my interests with any certainty yet, so a school with a good range might be the best fit for me. However, I do know that I'm not interested in focusing on a specific national cinema, or a specific era in cinema, or a specific cultural or ideological approach to cinema (feminist, Marxist, black cinema, etc.). I come from a screenwriting background, and mostly I'm interested in studying narrative, the way a script shapes the viewing experience and meaning of a film. I'm also interested in the history of cinematic technique. How have musical scores evolved, for instance, or how do filmmakers view the close-up, and what industrial factors have shaped these evolutions? If I had a better grasp of the terms used to designate various fields in cinema studies, I could articulate my interests better, but I'm a newcomer to the subject. Right now, I'm trying to decide between Emory, USC, and UCLA.

Edited by waitingforgodard
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Your interests sound like they would actually be a great fit with Wisconsin; if you didn't apply or get in this time around, you might try again the year you get your MA. For a Masters, you could certainly do well at any of the three programs you're choosing among; I'd say give great weight to funding packages, benefits, and quality of life (UCLA doesn't fund most MA students, right?).

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If waitingforgodard has been admitted to Emory's MA program, s/he is almost certainly fully funded, since when I was waitlisted there back in 09-10, I learned that they admit ~6 and fund them fully. The downside is that USC and UCLA are both more prestigious in this field, and that should help them greatly next time around.

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I haven't focused my interests with any certainty yet, so a school with a good range might be the best fit for me. However, I do know that I'm not interested in focusing on a specific national cinema, or a specific era in cinema, or a specific cultural or ideological approach to cinema (feminist, Marxist, black cinema, etc.). I come from a screenwriting background, and mostly I'm interested in studying narrative, the way a script shapes the viewing experience and meaning of a film. I'm also interested in the history of cinematic technique. How have musical scores evolved, for instance, or how do filmmakers view the close-up, and what industrial factors have shaped these evolutions? If I had a better grasp of the terms used to designate various fields in cinema studies, I could articulate my interests better, but I'm a newcomer to the subject. Right now, I'm trying to decide between Emory, USC, and UCLA.

Your interests sound like they would actually be a great fit with Wisconsin; if you didn't apply or get in this time around, you might try again the year you get your MA. For a Masters, you could certainly do well at any of the three programs you're choosing among; I'd say give great weight to funding packages, benefits, and quality of life (UCLA doesn't fund most MA students, right?).

This is sound advice. WFG it sounds like you tend toward a formalist methodology. In that case any of the programs you got in would suit you well. Although I might suggest USC. As long as you pick a program that is more "film studies" rather than "media studies" or "cultural studies" you will be taught a formalist methodology (though some, such as Chicago or Wisconsin (film), are more formalist than others).

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Chicago isn't very formalist...I'd say Yale's Film Studies program is much more formalist in comparison. Aside from Professor Yuri Tsivian's Cinemetrics project (which can probably be taken as formalist approach, but I think it is more about mass-scale structural analysis), most of Chicago's focus is in historical/international approaches. They are also expanding into new media and East Asian studies particularly. If anything, Chicago's ethos can be summed up by claiming their interest is in the tradition of moving and projected images--in all their manifestations.

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This is sound advice. WFG it sounds like you tend toward a formalist methodology. In that case any of the programs you got in would suit you well. Although I might suggest USC. As long as you pick a program that is more "film studies" rather than "media studies" or "cultural studies" you will be taught a formalist methodology (though some, such as Chicago or Wisconsin (film), are more formalist than others).

Thanks, ci1717, Swagato and softparade, you've all been really helpful. Well, I officially accepted my admission to USC's MA program today. Hopefully, I'll run into you folks down the line.

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Hi!

I've seen s.o posted they got accepted into York University (Toronto) Cinema and Media studies PhD. Please, could that person contact me or give further information.

Thanks!

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After a terrific visit, I've decided to accept the Master's offer at IU-Bloomington. Future applicants reading this thread, feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions about the program. (And keep in mind that everyone, Master's and PhDs alike, gets full tuition waivers and stipends in exchange for teaching, which was a big plus for me.)

I also turned down NYU, USC, and Florida today, so I hope that helps anyone waiting for any of those.

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Hello everyone,

Been reading all of your comments for awhile. I'm still stymied on my final decision. I was accepted to the MA programs at UCLA and UT-Austin, and I've also been waitlisted for the MA at NYU. Rejected at Madison, and Berkeley, never heard from USC (which can be taken as a rejection). In a surface-level comparison of Austin and UCLA, I have found little to help differentiate. Their funding packages were essentially the same (if loans count as funding :P) and their costs aren't wildly different. The layout of their programs varies slightly, with UCLA a little less eager to pin students down to a specialized research area in the first year. I just wanted to get some other opinions.

I haven't narrowed my field of study very much yet, but at the moment my interests center on Silent/Early Film History. Over the next year or so I anticipate diving deeper into Historiography and/or Gender. Has anybody been through either program, or do you have some familiarity with the faculty that could help me decide?

Thanks,

Asher

Edited by Asher Ford
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Hello everyone,

Been reading all of your comments for awhile. I'm still stymied on my final decision. I was accepted to the MA programs at UCLA and UT-Austin, and I've also been waitlisted for the MA at NYU. Rejected at Madison, and Berkeley, never heard from USC (which can be taken as a rejection). In a surface-level comparison of Austin and UCLA, I have found little to help differentiate. Their funding packages were essentially the same (if loans count as funding :P) and their costs aren't wildly different. The layout of their programs varies slightly, with UCLA a little less eager to pin students down to a specialized research area in the first year. I just wanted to get some other opinions.

I haven't narrowed my field of study very much yet, but at the moment my interests center on Silent/Early Film History. Over the next year or so I anticipate diving deeper into Historiography and/or Gender. Has anybody been through either program, or do you have some familiarity with the faculty that could help me decide?

Thanks,

Asher

Just a couple benefits of Texas: Austin cost of living is much lower thant LA, Texas might be the place to be for gender studies (with Mary Kearney and Janet Staiger - though Janet is retiring), at Texas you do an MA thesis which is great experience if you want to go on to a PhD, Texas often funds students in their second year

UCLA is great too though. Their PhD program is extremely renowned, they have many excellent scholars, and the resources of LA are a great benefit.

I would suggest emailing some of the current students at each of the programs.

Edited by ci1717
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Hi Asher,

I can tell you a bit about UCLA's CMS program. One thing to consider would be UCLA's quarter system vs. the semester system. My undergrad operated the same way, and while things move along pretty quickly, it allowed me to take all sorts of classes, which I enjoyed. As far as I know, Janet Bergstrom and Allyson Field specialize in European and African American silent/early film, respectively. Kathleen McHugh does feminism and directs UCLA's Women Studies Center. UCLA is also great if you're interested in archival research/studies. As ci1717 mentioned, LA has excellent resources, whether you want to do research (you'd have access to UCLA's remarkable archive, as well as the Academy library and others) or get connected with the industry.

I don't know much about UT-Austin, but I've heard many good things about the city and program! I also think it's a good idea to talk with current students, and look into the courses they're currently offering at each school. Good luck!!!

Edited by andypaperbag
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Well, colour me purple.

Just received an email from U. Iowa informing me that I'm waitlisted. If any of you good GradCafe folks (or anyone else reading this) know that you won't be attending Iowa, please do the right thing (and pay homage to Spike Lee). I will post further details when I am able to.

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Great news Swagato... really hope that works out. Location aside, Iowa's got a lot going for it.

I've officially decided on USC for the Fall.

For the sake of posterity, if anyone has questions about that program, or the Columbia program (where I did my MA), feel free to shoot me a message.

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  • 2 weeks later...

No problem... I remember going through this process myself a few years back.

I only applied to two MA programs, but I got news from NYU the 2nd week of March and from Columbia on April 1. Check the results search on this site to get a sense of your other programs' notification patterns.

hey, I was accepted into both programs too. did you accept NYU or Columbia? Just curious

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I'm in the same boat as Andy, but deciding between Columbia and NYU ( though also still hopeful that I may get picked off Harvard's PhD waitlist as I have a "very high" spot). Any thoughts on the MA programs though? I've heard NYU's MA program is not very competitive at this point, while Columbia's is more selective. I'm interested mainly in theory and avant-garde film, so any knowledge of the programs' strenghts would be appreciated.

Thanks and congrats to all!

Hey, I was accepted by both programs too and couldnt decide which one to attend. Just curious which program you are planning to attend and why? cheers

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