M.A. Concentration in Film Studies

Advisor: Marsha Gordon

The graduate concentration in film studies includes training in writing, research, analysis, and theory.  There are only two literature courses required for the film track in the MA; the remainder of the coursework is in film and media studies. The culminating capstone project will be focused on a subject of the student’s choosing in consultation with a member of the film faculty. For the capstone, past students have researched and written traditional academic articles or produced documentaries and video essays.  The 33-hour program does not include production courses. 

NCSU’s Library system is one of the best in the country, and our state-of-the-art Hunt Library has everything you need— from equipment to how-to workshops to green screen, music recording, and editing facilities—to become skilled at producing work in digital humanities, web-based, or video production contexts during your time in the program.

The graduate school offers excellent professional development resources, including certificate programs and career readiness opportunities.

The Triangle also boasts a rich film culture. Every spring we send a cohort of upper-level undergraduate and MA-level students to the Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, where they get to experience the festival and attend small filmmaker seminars with other students from around the country.  In addition to the excellent film programs at the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Gregg Museum of Art (which is adjacent to the English Department), NCSU’s campus hosts screenings and filmmakers throughout the year.  There’s so much more, including the North Carolina Museum of History’s annual film festival; NCSU Alumnus Skip Elsheimer, the A/V Geekone of the nation’s largest collectors of 16mm educational film, who does screening programs on campus and off and has student interns every semester, including from our MA film concentration; and Raleigh’s excellent commercial movie theaters, many of which include film society/arthouse type programming.  

Our alumni have gone on to PhD programs in film and media, as well as to teaching careers at the community college and high school level. See our alumni page for more information about what our graduates go on to do. 

How to Apply

Check Out Comments from Alumni:

Story 1

"passionate, knowledgeable, and supportive..."

The Film Studies faculty at NCSU are extremely passionate, knowledgeable, and supportive.

                             -- MA ‘18 graduate, Film Concentration

Story 2

"It's so important to make connections like this..."

Meeting the brilliant minds in the Film Studies program at NC State made my experience here worthwhile. I’ve been able to work with them both in and out of the classroom at academic conferences. It’s so important to make connections like this in a world (academia) where networking is the first step to getting your research out there to the public.

                       – Kenneth Pinion, MA ‘15, Film Concentration

Story 3

"wonderful opportunity to build upon... an undergraduate liberal studies degree"

The graduate program provides a wonderful opportunity to build upon the foundations of an undergraduate liberal studies degree, while simultaneously preparing individuals for the modern workforce.

                                 -- MA '16 graduate, Film Concentration
Story 4

"...excellent student-teacher ratio."

Tremendous faculty, good resources (film especially), excellent student-teacher ratio.

                              -- MA ‘15 graduate, Film Concentration


Please see the English Department course sampler (be sure to select the appropriate semester on the left side, and then scroll down for 500-level courses) for specific course descriptions.

Research Component (6 credit hours)

  • Research methods course required in the first semester:
    ENG 587 Interdisciplinary Studies: Methods and Theories in Media Studies (3 credits) 
    Or advised alternative
  • Final semester:
    ENG 676: Master's Capstone Project (3 credits).  In the film studies concentration, the capstone project typically takes one of the following forms:
              • Substantial essay based on original research with a brief oral presentation.
              • Film or video project accompanied by a paper that employs film studies research methods to reflect on the project with a brief oral presentation.

    See more info about the Capstone Process here.
    See the Capstone Abstract Archive for past topics.

Disciplinary Core (15 credit hours)

  • 9 hours of 500-level film courses (this excludes 592s)
  • 6 hours of film electives 

The electives may include an additional 500-level film studies course, 592 Styles and Genres (this is a dual level/upper level undergraduate course for which 592 students will do graduate-level work), or Eng 636 Directed Readings (S/U graded courses)

Distribution Requirements (6 credit hours)

  • To connect with other core areas of English Studies, all M.A. in English students take two courses in Literature, Rhetoric and Composition, or Linguistics.

Open Electives (6 credit hours)

  • 6 hours of open electives in any area, including film (may also be English 585s, 592s, or 636) or another area of complementary study chosen in consultation with the student's advisor.