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Media/Film Studies 2014


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In keeping with the forum's tradition, I'm starting this year's Media/Film studies own thread. It would be great to share some thoughts, anxieties (and hopefully good news). I've found past threads to be really helpful, with insight on the various programs, which I so much need as an international student.

 

I'm looking for Media and Culture type PhD programs where I will be able to focus on Visual Culture from a non-Art History perspective.

I've found some great matches -

Brown's Modern Culture and Media,

NYU's Media, Culture and Communication,

Northwestern's Screen Cultures (if combined with the Critical Theory cluster, for instance),

Harvard's Film and Visual Studies (though it's too Film Studies-focused and therefore not quite it)

UC Santa Barbara's Film and Media Studies

 

I will submit applications to 5 programs, and I'm thinking of going for 2 really competitive ones, 1 "fighting chance" and 2 where I'm likely to be admitted.

The problem is that I'm not really sure of how competitive some of the programs are. I know that all that I listed are really hard to get into. (Except Santa Barbara, about which I have no idea).

I'm also looking at UW-Madison, Indiana-Bloomington, UCS, and I've picked up a few more names from the threads to look into.

 

Anyway, some ideas on other good but less competitive programs in terms of admissions would be greatly appreciated!!

International students tend to know of the area's more publicized programs and all else is somehow hard to evaluate.

 

It would also be great if everyone could start by making an introduction and sharing interests/program considerations.

 
 
 
 
Edited by flip-a
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For people waiting to hear back from UCLA, "All decisions will be released by the end of April"...

I've heard back from 3 of the 4 programs I applied to (USC, UCLA, Chicago). I'm not sure which schools do waitlists, but it's not out of the question that you haven't heard back because you've been pu

Congrats to those who have received acceptances (and hang in there for those still waiting)! For the emails I received from my programs, almost all of them arrived during the regular hours of the time

also applying this year for film and media studies

 

background: BA ohio state, MFA school of the art institute of chicago, fulbright (full research) 2012/2013

 

definite:

columbia, history of western art, history of photography PhD

uc berkeley, film & media PhD

harvard, film and visual studies PhD

 

maybe:

harvard, media anthropology PhD

usc, cinematic arts, critical studies PhD

 

no plans to apply for MA programs

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That's cool!

 

Actually after recently contacting faculty at several programs, my list came to resemble yours a bit more:

 

I'm also considering Berkeley (besides the program itself I'm interested in the Critical Theory designated emphasis), and USC's Critical Studies.

I've been told that Berkeley had major budget cuts and fellowships for doctoral students are now rare, though, and even more so for international students (unfortunately, I'll have to take that into consideration before applying).

 

Harvard's Media Anthropology program looks outstanding - and so does the Film and Visual Studies program + electing a secondary field in Critical Media Practice.

 

As you were in Chicago, did you have any contact with Northwestern?

Edited by flip-a
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A few thoughts from a two-time applicant:

 

1. I'd be wary of dismissing Berkeley due to budget cuts. Indeed, I do not know that fellowships are "rare;" last year I believe they admitted 4-5, presumably all with quite good funding packages. This year, they probably admitted similar numbers, and I didn't hear any complaints about poor funding. I'd investigate it in more detail.

 

2. Harvard recently lost D. N. Rodowick to UChicago. This is important because Rodowick was a crucial figure at Harvard's Visual and Environmental Studies program, and indeed the Film Studies PhD program. Their departments are very interdisciplinary, so I'm sure there were overlaps. More importantly, Rodowick was Director of the Carpenter Center. In any case, this is something to bear in mind.

 

3. Most people I knew applied to more than 5 places, simply because admissions are rather brutal. Chicago, Brown, Berkeley, Yale, etc. all admit around 3-4. They all usually get in excess of 100-150 applications. But, if you're convinced there's a brilliant fit to fewer places, then it may make sense to apply to those fewer places. 

 

4. UChicago, after some star hires very recently, presently has almost indisputably the most powerful department for Film and Media Studies. 

 

Fit is important to unbelievable levels. It's also something you may not have much control over. 

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Hey Swagato, thank you a lot (I mean it) for the info. That's really the kind of information we are needing at the moment for decision making.

Especially regarding Berkeley's program, which I was more/less about to dismiss (although I did send an inquiry e-mail to confirm the facts).

 

I understand that fit is highly important. I've corresponded via e-mail with faculty from some of these Departments, and some professors have given me positive feedback regarding my interests/fit or showed interest in working together. That looks like a good sign. However, they haven't seen my full application materials, so I still need to be extra careful in finding that perfect fit.

 

Any more sound advice you might have gathered from year 1 to 2? (Oh, and congratulations on attending a great program)

Edited by flip-a
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Hi

I deferred a place this year, so have a place if I want in Fall 2014, though I will have to compete for funding with some of you in this application season. Other than that though, I am thinking of only applying to 2 schools this go-around UIUC and USF.

 

My background is MA New Media and Society (Dissertation based) with a 3.2 GPA. I'm really interested in autoethnography, media and representation and post colonial studies and these two departments seem as perfect a fit as I can find. Anyo info on either or both departments will be appreciated.

 

My mistake last cycle was focusing on the broad field of study and not the specifics of my proposed project. I swung five times and missed the ball all but once.

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Hey dbrunton,

 

You should post your question in the Communications forum. 

 

By the way, I see you're an international student. Make sure you mention that whenever you cite your GPA because your GPA of 3.2 is not equal to a GPA of 3.2 here in America. 

Edited by DrF8
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Checking in to this forum again after a successful round of applications last year...

 

During the 2013 cycle, I applied to IU-Bloomington, UC-Santa Barbara, UT-Austin, Northwestern, and UW-Madison, and was accepted into the first three (all film/media PhD programs). If anybody has any questions about these particular programs (whether about applying, visitations, department climate, or anything else), feel free to PM me.

 

Applications and their subsequent wait games are horrible. As someone in your shoes this time last year, I wish all of you the best.

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Hello everyone!

This is my first post but I have been enjoying all your collective advice for a while. Recently I have been rethinking my future plans and am again entertaining the idea of grad school in film/language studies. I am currently serving in the military overseas in Korea as a linguist and would love to hear any advice on east asian programs that have strong faculties. My enlistment contract doesn't end until early 2015 but I'm trying to start researching early, especially since I have been out of the loop for a while now. Thank you in advance and for all the past support you have all shown each other!

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Hi all,

 

Long-time reader, first-time poster. I'm throwing my hat into the film studies PhD ring this cycle, and thought I'd share my plan. I'm applying to six programs this year, all in either film or English with structured emphases in film. I'm fairly picky about where I'll live (at this point in my life), so I didn't even give a second look to some of the biggies in the fleld (NYU, USC, Chicago ,etc.). Anyway, the list:

 

Oregon

Washington

Wisconsin

Pittsburgh

Iowa

Concordia University, Montreal

 

It's been helpful to read others' plans, struggles, successes, etc. along the way. I'll share more if anyone is curious. Thanks.

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I'm not prepared to live in LA, NYC, Chicago, etc. right now due to their size. I prefer smaller cities or college town atmospheres. Where I live contributes a great deal to my level of happiness, which is my #1 criteria at this point. 

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Fair enough. Having lived in cities of varying sizes (New Haven, Chicago, NYC, Albuquerque...) I can say that Chicago is actually a strange mix of small-town ambience with many of the attractions of a major city. While you get your major cultural attractions and downtown fun, you also find a very relaxed vibe that is definitely not present in, say, NYC (at least for me). It's worth thinking about.

 

Also, UChicago is in Hyde Park, which definitely feels somewhat detached from the rest of the city. Not as familiar with Northwestern, but I think that, too, is in a more secluded, smaller area.

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I wish I had seen this thread when I was actually in the process of applying. My final applications were due on December 15th, so now I am waiting. I applied to six schools, all in or near the Midwest, after earning my MA in New York. They are:

 

Northwestern

Pittsburgh

Indiana

Michigan

Wisconsin-Madison

UChicago

 

My reason, at first, for applying only in the Midwest is to be near my husband, who is in Chicago. Fortunately, most of these programs fit my interests really well. I considered applying to NYU and USC, but decided I would be very happy to attend any of the above six schools. I also considered Concordia, University of Toronto, and UBC.

 

Now I'm waiting, and it's really awful. I'm 99.9% certain that I won't be accepted to Chicago, because as Swagato said it's a very, very strong program. Swagato is right that Harvard just lost D.N. Rodowick (as well as Dominique Bluher) to UChicago. UChicago also recently collected Jacqueline Stewart from Northwestern and Dan Morgan from Pittsburgh. I heard that UChicago received roughly 250 applicants this year. Madison also has a very competitive Film Studies program. At this point, I trust the faculty to determine whether I will be a good fit at a given school. I'm also trying to prepare myself for the possibility that I will need to reapply for a second time in 2014 (well, third, if you count my first round that resulted in my MA).

 

It's good to hear about others' experiences applying to Film/Media/Visual Studies programs!

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Genre film, especially horror, and films that are on the margins of good/bad; women in filmmaking, especially horror; exhibition & audience studies.

Edited by timbodi
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Thanks for the information in this forum. Operationchampagne: I was also keeping my eye on the French language issue, but I've heard from both professors at Concordia and friends who've lived in Montreal that I would be fine studying there as I work on my French in the meantime. (But I'm not expecting to go to Concordia, in all honesty.) Montreal would indeed be cool, though...

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In browsing through older forums, it appears that this is about the time some applicants start hearing whispers from their programs. If anyone wants to share any news, 'tis the season.

Edited by billthekid
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Congratulations on the interviews! How exciting! So far I've interviewed and been accepted to the Media and Communication program at Temple, but my other application statuses haven't changed yet and I haven't heard a peep from any of the remaining schools since I submitted in December.
 

Hopefully there will be a little more movement this week, but it is still a bit early.
 

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