Cinema Studies

Cinema Studies: Introduction

Faculty Affiliation

Arts and Science

Degree Programs

Cinema Studies

MA and PhD

Collaborative Specializations

The following collaborative specializations are available to students in participating degree programs as listed below:


The Cinema Studies Institute (CSI) comprises 16 full-time faculty, whose competencies and research emphases contribute to a curriculum that encompasses film and media history, theory, analysis, and cultural practices. Specializations include: early cinema, technology, sound studies, architecture and space, animal studies, film philosophy, media archaeology, aboriginal cinemas, national cinemas, animation, critical race theory, postcolonial and subaltern studies, gender, migration and diaspora, documentary, digital and expanded cinemas, avant-garde, and experimental film.

The facilities, both at Innis College and in the Media Commons at Robarts Library, are equipped with the latest technologies; include a lending library dedicated to film scholarship archival and restoration facilities; several seminar rooms; mid-sized classrooms; and a lecture and screening facility, the Innis Town Hall, seating 150 visitors and boasting 35 mm, 16 mm, and digibeta capabilities. Students benefit from both the peerless campus resources as well as those institutions associated with Toronto’s wider film and media culture, including the Film Reference Library, TIFF, Bell Lightbox, a multitude of film festivals, and a highly differentiated media production and distribution landscape.

Past graduates of CSI now teach at universities across the continent and are also employed at film and media-related institutions ranging from the Toronto International Film Festival Group to the Pacific Film Archive, serving as respected executives, creators, and curators. The institute is committed to providing students with a rigorous, engaging, and memorable education. Equally important, the institute aims to introduce graduates to a close-knit academic community that shares a common goal: exploring the depth and breadth of film and media scholarship in an environment that stimulates thought and fosters collegiality.

Contact and Address

Telephone: (416) 978-5809
Fax: (416) 946-0168

Cinema Studies Institute
University of Toronto
Innis College
2 Sussex Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1J5

Cinema Studies: Graduate Faculty

Full Members

Ackerman, Alan - BA, MA, PhD
Baumann, Shyon - BA, MA, PhD
Boler, Megan - BA, PhD
Brown, Elspeth - MA, PhD
Budde, Antje - PhD
Cahill, James - AB, MA, MA, PhD (Director)
Cazdyn, Eric - BA, MA, PhD
Columpar, Corinn - BA, PhD
Fenner, Angelica - BA, MA, PhD
Jagoe, Eva-Lynn - BA, MA, PhD
Jain, Kajri - PhD
Johnson, Stephen - BA, MA, PhD
Kaplan, Louis - AB, AM, DPhil
Keil, Charlie - BA, MA, PhD
Keilty, Patrick - BA, MLIS, PhD
Legge, Elizabeth MM - BA, BA, MA, PhD
Leonard, Garry - BA, MA, PhD
Lim, Bliss Cua - AB, DA
MacArthur, Julie - BA, MPH, PhD
Maurice, Alice - BA, DPhil
Meng, Yue - BA, MA, MA, PhD
Most, Andrea - BA, MA, PhD
Price, Brian - PhD (Associate Director, Graduate Studies)
Ricco, John - BA, MA, PhD
Richmond, Scott - BA, PhD
Sammond, Nicholas - BA, MA, PhD
Sutherland, Meghan - PhD
Tcheuyap, Alexie - BA, MA, PhD
Walcott, Rinaldo - BA, MA, PhD
Zambenedetti, Alberto - MA, PhD

Members Emeriti

Armatage, Kay - BA, MA, PhD

Associate Members

Banning, Kass - MFA, MFA
Blas, Zachary - BS, MFA, PhD
Chan, Nadine - DA
Cho, Michelle - BA, MA, DPhil
Jacobson, Brian - PhD
Mandusic, Zdenko - BA, MA, PhD
Parker, Felan - AB, AM, DA
Story, Brett - BA, MSc, DA
Testa, Bart - BA, MA

Cinema Studies: Cinema Studies MA

Master of Arts

Program Description

The course-based, one-year MA program offers students the option, during their third term, of pursuing either a professional internship or a major research paper of roughly 40 to 50 pages written under the supervision of a faculty advisor elected by the student. Students have the option to concurrently enrol in one of the collaborative specializations at U of T, such as Sexual Diversity Studies, Women and Gender Studies, or Transnational and Diaspora Studies, which entails also registering for their specific core courses. The MA in Cinema Studies is a full-time program.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Cinema Studies Institute's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Successful completion of an appropriate four-year University of Toronto bachelor's degree, or its equivalent from a recognized university.

  • Minimum B+ standing, demonstrated by an average grade in the final year, or over senior-level courses.

  • Successful completion of a minimum of 6.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in cinema studies, or comparable program preparation.

  • A letter of intent addressing the academic goals an applicant wishes to pursue in the program.

  • Three letters of recommendation.

  • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.

  • An academic writing sample of no more than 3,000 words.

Program Requirements

  • The MA is a coursework-only program and therefore does not require a thesis.

  • Students must successfully complete a total of 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) over the course of an academic year, normally extending from September until August, as follows:

    • 1.0 FCE mandatory core courses: CIN1101H and CIN1102H.

    • 1.0 FCE devoted to either the writing of a major research paper (CIN1006Y) or pursuing an internship (CIN1007Y).

    • 2.0 FCEs may be completed in the following way:

      • from elective CIN courses chosen from rotating special topics courses, also under the CIN rubric, but possibly cross-listed with another department, depending on the instructor’s departmental home.

      • from film-related courses offered by other units (non-CIN designator) but approved as relevant to the Cinema Studies master's program curriculum.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S)

Time Limit

3 years full-time

Cinema Studies: Cinema Studies PhD

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Description

Launched in September 2013, the Doctor of Philosophy program in Cinema Studies addresses the changing role of moving image media within global culture. Past and present configurations of cinema are studied through a constellation of theoretical, textual, social, and historical rubrics. The core curricular offerings engage with debates and questions that persist within the scholarship while also examining how the field contends with emerging disciplinary issues and intermedial formats today and at earlier historical junctures. Throughout the program of study, the synthesis of history and theory, textual analysis, and cultural study is emphasized.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Cinema Studies Institute's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Letter of intent outlining the academic ambitions, including possible thesis topic, the applicant aims to pursue in the program.

  • Three letters of recommendation.

  • A writing sample.

  • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.

Program Requirements

  • The student's program of study must be approved by the Cinema Studies Institute (CSI).

  • Coursework. Students must successfully complete a total of 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • 1.0 FCE required courses: CIN2100H History and Historiography of Cinematic Media and CIN2101H Pressures on the Cinematic. Students who have already taken these courses, or their equivalent, will be required to enrol in alternate course selections, with the Graduate Coordinator's approval.

    • 1.5 FCEs offered in cinema studies.

    • 1.0 FCE elective courses offered in cinema studies or by other graduate units and chosen in consultation with the student's faculty advisor.

    • 0.5 FCE: CIN2999H Research Seminar in Cinema Studies (Credit/No Credit).

  • All coursework is normally completed by December of Year 2 of study, except for CIN2999H which may extend beyond that date.

  • Completion of one Qualifying Examination. Students generally undertake the Qualifying Examination after the completion of coursework in Year 2 of study.

    • The Qualifying Examination covers two special fields and has two components: a written examination and an oral examination. These exams are scheduled by the student’s supervisor and committee members. Examinations are marked on a pass/fail basis. (Should the committee deem their work exceptional, students may pass with distinction.) Students are allowed two attempts to pass the written examination and two attempts to pass the oral examination.

  • Students must have completed all requirements for the degree, exclusive of thesis research, by the end of Year 3 of study in order to remain in good academic standing and in order to achieve candidacy.

  • Completion of a PhD dissertation based on original research conducted by the candidate on an approved topic in cinema studies. The dissertation proposal should be approved by the supervisor no later than May of Year 2 of PhD studies. Each student is required to meet at least annually with a supervisory committee, which includes the supervisor and two faculty members, to review academic progress, and to consult about future directions.

  • The thesis must be presented within six years of first enrolment in the PhD program. Successful defence at the SGS Doctoral Final Oral Examination.

Program Length

4 years full-time

Time Limit

6 years full-time

Cinema Studies: Cinema Studies MA, PhD Courses

Not all elective courses are offered every year. The department should be consulted each session as to elective and non-CIN course offerings.

MA Core Courses

Course Code Course Title
Theories and Practices of Cinema
Key Developments in Film History

Plus one of:

Course Code Course Title
Major Research Paper in Cinema Studies
Internship in Cinema Studies

PhD Core Courses

Course Code Course Title
History and Historiography of Cinematic Media
Pressures on the Cinematic
Research Seminar in Cinema Studies (Credit/No Credit)

Elective Courses (Subject to Change)

Course Code Course Title
CIN1005H Special Studies in Cinema
CIN1008H Independent Research and Reading in Cinema Studies
CIN1011H Colour and the Moving Image
CIN1100H The Textual Object
CIN1772H The Politics of Non-Fiction Film
CIN3002H Cinema and Nation
CIN3004H Documentary and Non-fiction Media
CIN3006H Media and Philosophy
CIN3008H Topics in Film and Media History
CIN3010H Topics in Film and Media Theory
CIN6153H Race and Cinema
CIN6803H Intertextuality in Feminist Cinema: The Counter-Cinematic Impulse
JFF1101H The Art of Exploration: How to Think the World
JFF1102H Animages/Animots/Animotions
JGF1733H Autobiographical Documentary: History, Alterity, and Performativity