Film and Digital Media

2018-19 General Catalog

101 Communications Building
(831) 459-3204
film@ucsc.edu
http://film.ucsc.edu

Faculty | Course Descriptions


Program Description

The film and digital media major at UCSC offers an integrated curriculum involving theory, criticism, and cultural analysis, as well as a production program in the aesthetics and techniques of film and digital media. This bachelor of arts degree program provides students with the critical skills, theoretical concepts, and historical knowledge necessary to conduct informed analysis of cinema, television, video art, and new media, along with the up-to-date technical knowledge, practical skills, and artistic contexts needed for the production of film, video, and digital media. The major provides a course of study that develops an understanding of moving image and digital media as essential tools of communication and artistic practice.

Students in the general film and digital media major develop an understanding of major movements in world cinema and different aesthetic approaches to the medium, while studying the cultural impact of television and the rise of video and digital art in recent decades. The critical studies concentration is designed for film and digital media majors who have a special aptitude for and interest in the history and theory of film, television, video, and digital media. This rigorous program can help prepare undergraduates for graduate work in critical studies. Students in the production concentration are encouraged to demonstrate technical proficiency and creative vision in film and digital media production while also studying the histories and theories of these media. The integrated critical practice concentration is designed for film and digital media majors who have a special aptitude for and interest in combining work in critical studies and production. The concentration provides them with a more rigorous pathway through the major and, in their senior year, allows them to work on a senior project that integrates creative and intellectual work.

Students in all facets of the major acquire skills in media analysis while maintaining a broadly based, liberal arts perspective. The UCSC program is interdisciplinary, combining theory and practice in film, video, and digital media with study in other areas of the arts, humanities, and social sciences that help students understand the role these media play in society.

As the technologies of film and video have merged with digital computer-based moving images and interactive media, and as digital media continues to expand into everyday experience, students in the major are uniquely positioned to excel in these fields. Graduates of the UCSC film and digital media program have enjoyed considerable success both in the professional world and in gaining admission into top graduate schools in the field.

Students enrolled in film and digital media production classes have access to audio, video, and digital production and postproduction equipment. Facilities include a digital media lab; stop-motion animation lab audio recording studio; sound stage with green screen; digital nonlinear editing rooms; video format conversion rooms; a computerized sound effects library; and student equipment checkout. Additionally, computer laboratories equipped for digital image manipulation, web authoring, and interactive interface design and viewing rooms are available. The critical studies facilities include classrooms equipped for high-end film, video, and data projection. The library holdings in film and video history, theory, and literature are complemented by a large collection of films, videos, laser disks, and DVDs, including a diverse range of international feature films, experimental film and video work, animation, silent films, and documentaries.

Some courses offered by the Film and Digital Media Department are restricted in enrollment; admission is based on completion of prerequisites and other specific written application requirements. Admission to advanced film production courses is generally restricted to third- and fourth-year students and is based on the submission of a portfolio of work produced in the introductory production class (FILM 170B) for the film production pathway. Students pursuing the digital media pathway must earn a grade of B or better in FILM 170A for acceptance into that pathway and other digital media production workshops.

Upper-division digital media and production studio courses require coursework to be completed on computers. Instruction in and software for production courses utilizes the macOS platform and primarily consists of Apple and Adobe video production software packages. Many UCSC students purchase laptop computers. Film and digital media students who are considering purchasing a laptop computer for production work are encouraged to consult with the department’s operations staff. A list of recommended computer configurations and information regarding education pricing on software packages is available here.

Declaration of the Film and Digital Media Pre-Major

Students who have completed one lower-division course (20A, 20B or 20C) with a grade of C or better are eligible to declare the film and digital media pre-major. Pre-majors are expected to complete the requirements to declare the major by the end of their second year. Transfer students must declare the pre-major no later than their second quarter in residence.

Declaration of the Film and Digital Media Major

Prior to declaring the film and digital media major, students must pass FILM 20A and 20B or 20C with a grade of C or better. Students may choose to take FILM 20P to fulfill the third lower-division requirement but this course does not count toward declaring the major.

Students need to complete the lower-division courses early in their studies so that the petition to major status is accomplished before the first quarter of the junior year. Acceptance into the film and digital media major does not constitute acceptance into any of the concentrations (production, critical studies, or integrated critical practice). Transfer students should consult the Transfer Student section for instructions about declaring the major.

Undergraduate Program Learning Outcomes

Students who earn a B.A. in film and digital media will gain the skills, knowledge, and understanding that will enable them to:

1. Demonstrate their ability to employ research skills, including the use of appropriate print and technology sources in the discipline, to construct effective arguments.

2. Demonstrate that they understand the pre-production, production, and postproduction digital media and filmmaking process.

3. Demonstrate the relationship between different types of form and meaning through the creation of film and digital media projects or the critical analysis of them.

4. Demonstrate their ability to work collaboratively to produce a film or digital media project.

5. Demonstrate broad knowledge of film and media history internationally.

6. Demonstrate scholarly writing skills appropriate to the discipline of film and digital media.

7. Demonstrate an ability to analyze, interpret, and critique films and media from a variety of theoretical perspectives using the critical vocabulary and methodologies of the discipline.

8. Demonstrate their ability to articulate and defend their research and practice in a critical environment.

Requirements of the Major

The general film and digital media major requires three lower-division and nine upper-division courses in residence and satisfaction of the senior comprehensive requirement. Students must include among these 13 courses at least one upper-division, 5-credit course that focuses on diversity  (i.e., non-Western perspectives; races/ethnicities, genders, classes, sexualities or abilities). A list of courses satisfying the department’s diversity requirement is available at the department office. Students in the general film and digital media major may apply for admission to the critical studies concentration (see Critical Studies Concentration below), the production concentration (see Production Concentration below), or the more rigorous integrated critical practice concentration (see Integrated Critical Practice Concentration below) within the major.

Lower-Division Requirements

20A Introduction to Film Studies

Two additional 20-level courses:

20B Introduction to Television Studies
20C Introduction to Digital Media
20P Introduction to Production Technique (cannot be used toward declaring the major)

General Film and Digital Media Major

Students in the general major complete the following required upper-division core curriculum:

120 Introduction to Media Theory

One course from each of the following three groups:

130 Silent Cinema
132A International Cinema to 1960
132B International Cinema, 1960 to Present

134A American Film, 1930–60
134B American Film, 1960–Present

136A Experimental Film and Video
136B History of Television
136C Visual Culture and Technology: History of New Media
136D Documentary Film and Video

One course from the following to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement:

194A Film Theory Seminar
194B Electronic Media Theory Seminar
194C New Media Theory Seminar
194D Film History Seminar
194E International Cinemas
194F Film and the Other Arts: Music and Dance
194G New(s) Media
194S Senior Seminar: Special Topics

And five upper-division elective courses are to be chosen from the following:

  • up to five additional upper-division critical studies courses in film and digital media
  • up to two upper-division courses in film and digital media production (see “Requirements for the Production Concentration” for a list of upper-division production courses)

  • up to two upper-division courses offered by other departments or another institution; course substitutions must be pre-approved by the Film and Digital Media Department

Film and Digital Media Major Planners

The following are two recommended academic plans for students to complete during their first two years as preparation for the film and digital media major. Plan One is a guideline for students who are committed to the major early in their academic career; Plan Two is for students who are considering the major.

Students who are interested in the production concentration, the critical studies concentration, or the integrated critical practice concentration should consider Plan One to be better prepared for application to production studio classes or either the critical studies concentration or the integrated critical practice concentration in their junior year. However, four-year students following Plan Two should be able to pursue a concentration and still meet their expected graduation term. FILM 20A is not guaranteed to any incoming frosh and most four-year students will use Plan Two as a guideline.

Plan One

Year

Fall

Winter

Spring

1st
(frosh)

FILM 20A

Low-div
FILM req

Low-div
FILM req

College core

Gen ed

Gen ed

Gen ed

(Declare
pre-major)

(Declare
major)

2nd
(soph)

FILM critical
studies core

FILM 120

FILM critical
studies core

FILM elective

FILM elective

FILM elective

Gen ed

Gen ed

Gen ed

 

Plan Two

Year

Fall

Winter

Spring

1st
(frosh)

FILM 80A
or 80M

Low-div
FILM req

Low-div
FILM req

College core

Gen ed

Gen ed

Gen ed

 

(Declare
pre-major

2nd
(soph)

FILM 20A

FILM 120

FILM critical
studies core

Gen ed

FILM elective

FILM elective

(Declare
major)

Gen ed

Gen ed

Critical Studies Concentration

The critical studies concentration provides a more rigorous pathway through the film and digital media major and offers classes specifically reserved for seniors who have exceptional abilities. Students are eligible to apply for the critical studies concentration in spring quarter of their junior year, provided they have completed FILM 120 and at least three other upper-division critical studies classes. Applicants must already be declared film and digital media majors in good academic standing.

Students will be asked to submit the following application materials:

  • a completed application form

  • a one-page statement of purpose

  • a sample essay

  • a FDM faculty statement of support (submitted directly to the department)

Application materials and instructions are available at the Film and Digital Media Department office. Applications are reviewed by a committee of film and digital media critical studies faculty. Admission to the critical studies concentration will be granted to students who have excellent grades in film and digital media courses, an outstanding writing sample, a clear statement of purpose, and a strong FDM faculty endorsement. Students may reapply a second time if not accepted, but not later than the first quarter of their senior year. Students accepted in the fall quarter of their senior year are not eligible to propose a student-directed seminar as part of their senior comprehensive requirement.

Requirements for the Critical Studies Concentration

Students in the critical studies concentration complete the following required upper-division core curriculum:

120 Introduction to Media Theory

One course from each of the following five groups:

130 Silent Cinema
132A International Cinema to 1960
132B International Cinema, 1960 to Present

134A American Film, 1930–60
134B American Film, 1960–Present

136A Experimental Film and Video
136B History of Television
136C Visual Culture and Technology: History of New Media
136D Documentary Film and Video

165A Film, Video and Gender
165B Race on Screen
165C Lesbian, Gay and Queer Film and Video
165D Asian Americans in Media
165E: Chicana/o Cinema
165G Gender and Global Cinema
187 Advanced Topics in Television Studies
189 Advanced Topics in Electronic and Digital Media Studies

And three courses to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement. One course from the following:

194A Film Theory Seminar
194B Electronic Media Theory Seminar
194C New Media Seminar
194D Film History Seminar
194E International Cinemas
194F Film and the Other Arts: Music and Dance
194G New(s) Media
194S Senior Seminar: Special Topics

And
199   Tutorial (supervised independent study for thesis or student-directed seminar preparation)

And
192   Student-Directed Seminar or
195   Senior Thesis

And two upper-division elective courses are to be chosen from the following:

Production Concentration

Admission to the production concentration is selective, based on promise and accomplishment shown in the student’s work. After completing FILM 170B (prerequisite for most film/video production courses) students may apply to the production concentration. Students who complete FILM 170A (prerequisite for most digital media production courses) with a B or better are also eligible to pursue the production concentration though they will aim to fulfill the requirements with digital media production courses and other production courses that do not require the FILM 170B prerequisite.

FILM 170B students apply by submitting works created in 170B to a portfolio review conducted at the end of each quarter. These student works are reviewed by a committee of film and digital media production faculty. Instructions for the portfolio review are available at the Film and Digital Media Department office. Students should note that production courses are in high demand and that faculty/student ratios and equipment resources limit the number of applicants accepted into the production concentration. Students may reapply a second time if not accepted.

FILM 170A students who complete the course with a B or better apply by submitting a statement of intent to pursue the digital media pathway in production. Students are required to meet with the undergraduate adviser to discuss their digital media plan prior to submitting their statement of intent.

If a student accepted into the production concentration is unable to meet all the requirements for the concentration, they will be advised to complete the graduation requirements for the general major. Application materials and instructions for all production courses are available each quarter online.

Requirements for the Production Concentration

Students in the production concentration complete the following required upper-division core curriculum:

120 Introduction to Media Theory

170A Fundamentals of Digital Media Production (prerequisite for most digital media production courses) or
170B Fundamentals of Film and Video Production (prerequisite for most film/video production courses)

Two upper-division film and digital media production courses from the following:

150 Screenwriting
151 Film Directing
170A Fundamentals of Digital Media Production
170B Fundamentals of Film and Video Production
171A Special Topics Workshop: Sound
171C Special Topics Workshop: Found Footage
171D Special Topics Workshop: Social Information Spaces
171F Special Topics Workshop: Autobiographical Film
171S Special Topics in Film and Digital Media Production
172 Narrative Video Workshop
173 Narrative Digital Media Workshop
175 Documentary Video Workshop
176 Experimental Video Workshop
177 Digital Media Workshop: Computer as Medium
178A Personal Computers in Film and Video
178B Advanced Personal Computers in Film and Video
179A Special Topics in Animation
179B Special Topics Workshop: Documentary Animation Workshop

Two critical studies courses taken from two of the three following groups:

130 Silent Cinema
132A International Cinema to 1960
132B International Cinema, 1960 to Present

134A American Film, 1930–60
134B American Film, 1960–Present

136A Experimental Film and Video
136B History of Television
136C Visual Culture and Technology: History of New Media
136D Documentary Film and Video

One course from the following to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement:

194A Film Theory Seminar
194B Electronic Media Theory Seminar
194C New Media Seminar
194D Film History Seminar
194E International Cinemas
194F Film and the Other Arts: Music and Dance
194G New(s) Media
194S Senior Seminar: Special Topics
196A Senior Project in Film and Video Production
196B Senior Project in Screenwriting
196C Senior Documentary Workshop
197 Senior Digital Media Workshop

and four upper-division elective courses are to be chosen from the following:

  • up to two additional upper-division film and digital media production courses (150 through 179B, see complete list above)

  • at least two additional upper-division film and digital media critical studies courses

  • up to two upper-division critical studies or production elective courses from another department or another institution; course substitutions must be pre-approved by the Film and Digital Media Department.

Integrated Critical Practice Concentration

The integrated critical practice concentration (ICPC) provides a more rigorous pathway through the film and digital media major and offers classes specifically reserved for seniors with exceptional abilities in both critical studies and production who seek to combine creative and scholarly work. Students are eligible to apply for the integrated critical practice concentration in the last quarter of their junior year, provided they have completed FILM 120 and at least three other upper-division critical studies classes. Students not already admitted to the production concentration should apply simultaneously to the production and ICPC concentration. Acceptance into the production concentration is a required pre-condition for acceptance into the integrated critical practice concentration. Applicants must already be declared film and digital media majors in good academic standing.

Students will be asked to submit the following application materials:

  • a completed application form

  • a one-page statement of purpose

  • a sample essay

  • a FDM faculty statement of support (submitted directly to the department)

Application materials and instructions are available at the Film and Digital Media Department Office. Student application materials are reviewed by a committee of film and digital media faculty. Admission to the integrated critical practice concentration will be granted to students who have excellent grades in film and digital media courses, an outstanding writing sample, a clear statement of purpose outlining a senior project that integrates critical studies and production work, and a strong FDM faculty endorsement. Students may reapply a second time if not accepted, but not later than the first quarter of their senior year.

Requirements for the Integrated Critical Practice Concentration

Students in the integrated critical practice concentration complete the following required upper-division core curriculum:

120 Introduction to Media Theory

One course from each of the following five groups:

130 Silent Cinema
132A International Cinema to 1960
132B International Cinema, 1960 to Present

134A American Film, 1930–60
134B American Film, 1960–Present

136A Experimental Film and Video
136B History of Television
136C Visual Culture and Technology: History of New Media
136D Documentary Film and Video

170A Fundamentals of Digital Media Production
170B Fundamentals of Film/Video Production

194A Film Theory Seminar
194B Electronic Media Theory Seminar
194C New Media Theory Seminar
194D Film History Seminar
194E International Cinemas
194F Film and the Other Arts: Music and Dance
194G New(s) Media
194S Senior Seminar: Special Topics

Two courses to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement:

199 Tutorial, and one of the following:
195 Senior Thesis
196A Senior Project in Film and Video Production
196B Senior Project in Screenwriting
196C Senior Documentary Workshop
197 Senior Project in Digital Media

And five upper-division elective courses to be chosen from the following:

  • Two upper-division critical studies courses in film and digital media chosen from the following:
160  Film Genres
161B Documentary Animation
162  Film Authors
165A Film, Video, and Gender
165B Race on Screen
165C Lesbian, Gay, and Queer Film and Video
165D Asian Americans and Media
165E Chicana/o Cinema, Video
165G Gender and Global Cinema
168 National Cinema and Culture
180 Writing About Film, Television, and Digital Media
185D Sound and Image in Theory and Criticism
185R The Film Remake
185S Advanced Topics in Film Studies
185X EyeCandy Seminar
187 Advanced Topics in Television Studies
189 Advanced Topics in Digital and Electronic Media Studies
  • Three upper-division courses in film and digital media production (see “Requirements for the Production Concentration” for a list of upper-division production courses.
    • Graduate seminars, taken with permission of the faculty adviser, may substitute for one of the electives
    • A maximum of two electives may be taken in another department or another institution if pre-approved by the Film and Digital Media Department.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major’s upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement.  Film and digital media majors receive detailed information and guidance about the major's DC requirement from the department's undergraduate adviser.

The DC requirement is met by passing one course from each of the two following categories:

130 Silent Cinema
132A International Cinema to 1960
132B International Cinema, 1960 to Present
134A American Film, 1930-1960
134B American Film, 1960-Present
194A Film Theory Seminar
194B Electronic Media Theory Seminar
194C New Media Seminar
194D Film History Seminar
194E International Cinemas
194F Film and the Other Arts: Music and Dance
194G New(s) Media
194S Senior Seminar: Special Topics
196A Senior Project in Film and Video Production
196B Senior Project in Screenwriting
196C Senior Documentary Workshop
197 Senior Digital Media Workshop

Comprehensive Requirement

Seniors in the general film and digital media major satisfy the comprehensive requirement with a senior seminar (courses in the 194 series).

Seniors in the production concentration satisfy the comprehensive requirement with either a senior seminar (courses in the 194 series) or a senior project course (FILM 196A, 196B, 196C, or 197).

Seniors in the critical studies concentration must complete the following to satisfy the campus exit requirement: A FILM 194, FILM 199, and either FILM 192 or 195.

Seniors in the integrated critical practice concentration must complete FILM 195, 196A, 196B, 196C, or 197 combined with FILM 199, Tutorial.

Transfer Students

All transfer students must enroll in at least one lower-division course (20A, 20B, or 20C) during their first quarter in residence. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to enroll in 20A during the Summer Session preceding their first quarter in residence. After completing one lower-division course (20A, 20B, or 20C) with a grade of C or better, transfer students may declare the film and digital media pre-major.

All transfer students must earn a C or higher in two 20-level courses, FILM 20A and 20B or 20C (at least one must be taken at UCSC) to declare the major. Three lower-division courses, nine upper-division courses, and satisfaction of the senior exit requirement are required for completion of the general major. Transfer students should be able to complete the general major within two years. As preparation, prospective transfer students are encouraged to complete FILM 20A through UCSC Summer Session prior to their transfer, especially if they will be pursuing one of the concentrations available. Transfer students must petition the department to have equivalent lower-division courses taken at community colleges count toward their Film and Digital Media major requirements.

Students who have not fulfilled their general education requirements prior to transferring pursue one of the film and digital media concentrations, pursue a double major or minor, or study abroad may need additional time to complete their requirements.

Transfer students are strongly advised to attend a UCSC Summer Orientation session for transfer students. Transfer students must consult with a film and digital media academic adviser prior to enrolling in classes to determine their status and to begin the declaration of major process as soon as possible.

Two-Year Transfer Planner

Year

Fall*

Winter**

Spring

3rd
(junior)

FILM 20A

FILM 20C

FILM 20B or 20P

FILM 130/132/
134/136

FILM 120

FILM 130/132/
134/136

5-credit course

FILM 130/132/
134/136

FILM 170B or
upper-div elective

4th
(senior)

FILM upper-div
elective

FILM upper-div
elective

FILM upper-div
elective

FILM upper-div
elective

FILM upper-div
elective

FILM 194 or 196

5-credit course

5-credit course

5-credit course

*Students who completed FILM 20A in UCSC Summer Session or have an approved substitution will be given enrollment priority for an additional upper-division elective. These students will attend a declaration workshop to create an academic plan and declare the pre-major in fall quarter.

**Students who earned a C or better in the fall offering of 20A attend declaration workshop to create an academic plan and declare the pre-major. Students will be admitted to the major at the end of winter quarter after passing 20C with a C or better.

Honors

Honors in film and digital media are awarded to graduating seniors whose academic performance in their major coursework is judged by a faculty committee to be consistently excellent to outstanding. Students must have at least a cumulative GPA of 3.5 in the major to be considered for Honors.

Minor

The minor in film and digital media offers a foundation in visual culture and contributes important scholarly techniques of value to other disciplines. Students earn a minor in film and digital media by completing eight courses: FILM 20A and 20B or 20C, and six upper-division courses including three from the core curriculum of the general major and three electives. There is no production component in the minor, nor is there a comprehensive requirement.

Declaring the Film and Digital Media Minor

Students who pass FILM 20A, 20B or 20C are eligible to declare the film and digital media minor.

Lower-Division Requirements

20A Introduction to Film Studies

and one of the following two courses:

20B Introduction to Television Studies
20C Introduction to Digital Media

Upper-Division Requirements

Students in the minor must complete the following upper-division core curriculum.

One course from each of the following three groups:

130 Silent Cinema
132A International Cinema to 1960
132B International Cinema, 1960 to Present

134A American Film, 1930–60
134B American Film, 1960–Present

136A Experimental Film and Video
136B History of Television
136C Visual Culture and Technology: History of New Media
136D Documentary Film and Video

And three upper-division elective courses to be chosen from the following: any three additional upper-division film and digital media critical studies courses other than production studio courses (150, 151, 170A through 179B) that have not been used to satisfy the above upper-division core curriculum. One of the electives may be substituted from another department or institution. Course substitutions must be approved by the Film and Digital Media Department.

Film and Digital Media Ph.D.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in film and digital media challenges the traditionally conceived borders between creative and critical practice. The program enables dialogue between creative practice and theoretical knowledge as related forms of intellectual work and provides the conditions for students to realize a wide range of possible projects, including those that exist across the traditional divides of critical studies and production. Focusing on a diverse range of cultural production that includes cinema, television, video art, and Internet-based media, Ph.D. students interrogate the historical, aesthetic, political, ideological, and technological aspects of these media forms across a range of international contexts, investigating their points of connection and convergence as well as their relationship to broader cultural and historical change. The program thus prepares students for intellectually informed creative practice as well as theoretical and critical production in a range of environments, not limited to traditional academic contexts.

Requirements

Coursework

  • A minimum of 108 units of study in coursework at UCSC. Residence for a minimum of six quarters.

    • Applicants who already hold an M.A. or M.F.A. degree may petition to waive up to 30 credits of coursework; such a waiver is subject to the approval of the director of Graduate Studies.
  • Residence for a minimum of six quarters.
  • When in residence, students will take a minimum of 36 credits per year until advancement to candidacy.

  • First year students will be required to take the three foundational courses (200A-B-C), plus at least two film and digital media graduate elective courses.*

  • Second year students must then take at least four film and digital media graduate elective courses.*

  • Students are not permitted to enroll in 295 (Directed Reading) classes during their first year and are limited to one during their second year, unless they enter the program with an M.A. or M.F.A.

  • Third year students arrange three Directed Readings (FILM 295) to prepare for the three topic areas of their qualifying examination.

  • Prior to advancing to candidacy, students will continue to meet the minimum number of credits with other 2-5 credit elective courses as appropriate.
  • A student will thus take at least nine film and digital media graduate courses over the degree, not including 295, 297 and 299 classes.

    • The remaining course units may be selected from film and digital media graduate courses or graduate courses other departments, subject to approval from the student’s faculty adviser.

  • Students must obtain permission from the Director of Graduate Studies, their faculty adviser to take advanced undergraduate courses.

  • Students are expected to complete at least one year of supervised teaching as part of the degree requirements.

*Non-film and digital media graduate courses that are taught by film and digital media faculty can count as film and digital media graduate electives. Graduate electives in this category are listed in the annual and quarterly courses posted on the Programs page on department’s website, select Courses.

Foreign Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English. This may include a computer programming language instead of a natural language when such a language is integral to the student’s field of study. The language requirement may be satisfied in one of two ways:

  • by passing an upper-division course in a language related to the student’s research

  • by passing a reading proficiency test administered by a qualified person approved by the director of Graduate Studies.

A student must pass the language requirement before taking Ph.D. qualifying examinations. There are three exceptions. (Documentation for the exception must be received and approved by the director of Graduate Studies at least two months before the qualifying examination.)

  • The “foreign” language requirement may be waived for a non-English native speaker who has passed the proficiency test in English required for admission.

  • The requirement may be waived for a student who is a native speaker of another language in addition to English. The student must submit a statement to the director of Graduate Studies attesting to their proficiency in the additional native language.
  • The requirement may be waived if a student has proof of proficiency in a language other than English in the form of a language major or minor from recent undergraduate or master’s level education or equivalent. This must have been completed within the past five years at an accredited institution.

Timeline: Course Sequence, Examinations, and Dissertation

During the first year of study in FILM 200A-B-C classes, students will be introduced to the methodologies of developing a critical practice approach. This will occur while students simultaneously strengthen, with the appropriate elective classes, areas of theory or practice that pertain to their focus.

During the second year, the student will focus on selecting classes from the film and digital media elective series numbered 210–289. Students will also be encouraged to take electives from other graduate programs on campus.

At the end of the second year, undergo a second year review which functions as the master’s examination. Students will submit four to five coursework projects for the examination. One of these must be the final project from 200C.  Students will also submit a statement about that work and its contexts, which will form the basis for oral examination questions by faculty members. 

Students may nominate faculty members to the committee. The student’s faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies will assemble the committee, taking into account the student’s nominations.  The committee will have a minimum of three faculty members, at least two of whom must be from the film and digital media faculty. One of those two must be the faculty adviser, who will chair the meeting. The committee must also include the Director of Graduate Studies. (The Director of Graduate Studies will not necessarily sit on the student’s committee for future exams/reviews.) The examination is closed; only the student and the faculty committee will be present.

For students entering without a master's degree, the committee will recommend one of three grades for the M.A. examination: fail, pass, or pass with permission to proceed. Students who fail may retake the oral component of the examination one time. A student with a pass only may leave the program with the degree of master of arts. Students who pass with permission to proceed may enter the third year of coursework toward the Ph.D. For students entering with a master's degree, the committee will discuss the result of the review and its recommendations for further progress in the program, including the timeline to the Ph.D. qualifying examination (QE).

The third year will be spent developing three qualifying examination topics that will lead to the dissertation in close consultation with the student’s faculty adviser. (This may occur earlier for students who enter with a master’s degree.) Students work with three faculty members to develop three distinct topic areas with a corresponding bibliography/mediagraphy in 295 (Directed Reading). Topic areas must be pre-approved by the director of Graduate Studies who will ensure that the breadth requirement is met.

Students will also begin assembling a qualifying examination committee. The QE committee will be comprised of four faculty members, at least one of whom must be from another discipline at UCSC or from another campus. Students will also nominate a faculty member to chair the examination committee. The chair should be a tenured faculty member from the Film and Digital Media Department, holding a Ph.D., but should not be the student’s primary faculty adviser or the person who will chair the dissertation. The composition of the QE committee must be approved by the Graduate Division and must be submitted to the director of Graduate Studies at least five weeks prior to the written examination.

The qualifying examination will typically be scheduled for the fall of the fourth year and no later than the end of the fourth year. (Students who enter with a master’s degree may be eligible to take the qualifying examination before their fourth year.) The QE will consist of a written examination and an oral examination. A student who fails the Ph.D. qualifying examination will be permitted to re-take it one time. During the qualifying examination quarter, students may enroll in up to two 299 (Thesis Research) classes with members of their committee.

No later than two academic quarters after successfully passing the qualifying examination, students must submit a Dissertation Prospectus. The candidate’s qualifying examination committee must approve this prospectus. After the dissertation prospectus has been approved, the student will schedule a dissertation colloquium open to all film and digital media faculty and graduate students. The colloquium can be scheduled before or shortly after the official advancement to candidacy.

Students will advance to candidacy once they have successfully: 

  • Completed all required coursework with satisfactory grade

  • Satisfied the language requirement

  • Passed the Ph.D. qualifying examination

  • Submitted a dissertation prospectus approved by their dissertation committee

  • Organize an approved dissertation committee, through the dissertation nomination form.

Completion of the Degree

Upon successful advancement to candidacy, students must then complete the following requirements for the Ph.D.

Dissertation: The dissertation, or Ph.D. thesis, is to be an original contribution of high quality to the field of film and digital media. If a student’s thesis contains a substantial creative component, the thesis project must also include a written component of no less than 75 pages. The dissertation must be approved by a committee consisting of a minimum of three faculty members, at least two must be from the film and digital media faculty. If the dissertation director does not hold a Ph.D. degree, then the majority of the remaining committee members must hold Ph.D.s.

The Ph.D. candidate shall submit the dissertation providing a minimum of 45 days for the committee members to review it. Once the committee has deemed it ready to defend, the candidate will work with the department and committee to schedule the oral dissertation defense.

Oral Defense: The oral defense will be comprised of a brief introduction of the dissertation’s form and content, and an articulation of the scholarly and artistic intervention it forges; the student will then answer questions posed by their dissertation committee. Invited members of the academic community may attend the defense, but the discussion will remain among the candidate and the committee.

Once the student has passed the oral dissertation defense, responds to any questions or suggestions for revisions, and has the dissertation approved by the committee, they will be eligible to “Announce Candidacy for Ph.D.”  by submitting the dissertation and required documents to the Division of Graduate Studies.

Sample Student Program for Each Year (Years 1-4)

Year 1: three core film and digital media courses; three electives, at least two of which are film and digital media courses or courses taught by film and digital media faculty

Fall

FILM 200A, Introduction to Graduate Study
Elective
Foreign language/other elective (at least 2 credits)

Winter

FILM 200B, Theory and Praxis of Film and Digital Media, Part 1
Elective
Foreign language/other elective (at least 2 credits)

Spring

FILM 200C, Theory and Praxis of Film and Digital Media, Part 2
Elective
Foreign language/other elective (at least 2 credits)

Year 2: six electives; at least four of which are film and digital media courses or courses taught by film and digital media faculty

Fall

Elective
Elective
Foreign language/other elective (at least 2 credits)

Winter

Elective
Elective
Foreign language/other elective (at least 2 credits)
Student suggests M.A. examination committee; prepares for examination.

Spring

Elective
Elective
Foreign language/other elective (at least 2 credits)
Student takes M.A. examination. If successful, advances to third year.

Year 3: three required film and digital media courses, three electives from Film and Digital Media or another department

Fall

FILM 295, Directed Reading
Elective
Foreign language/other elective (at least 2 credits)

Winter

FILM 295, Directed Reading
Elective
Foreign language/colloquium study/other elective (at least 2 credits)
Student develops three topic areas for Ph.D. qualifying exam

Spring

FILM 295, Directed Reading
Elective
Foreign language/other elective (at least 2 credits)
Student assembles Ph.D. dissertation committee, nominates Ph.D. qualifying examination committee.

Year 4: Student takes Ph.D. qualifying examination, registering for FILM 299, Thesis Research. If successful, advances to candidacy and continues research and writing of dissertation.

Designated Emphasis

UC Santa Cruz graduate students enrolled in doctoral programs may obtain a designated emphasis in film and digital media as part of their Ph.D. degree. Students must meet the following requirements in order to obtain the designated emphasis:

  • Secure approval from a member of the film and digital media core faculty to serve as the adviser for the designated emphasis.

  • Submit a significant piece of writing, or a project that includes both writing and creative practice, that demonstrates competence in the field of film and digital media. A writing submission could take the form of a seminar paper or dissertation chapter. A writing/creative project may be constituted from a range of possible media such as film, video, web-based or other digital media. The submitted project must meet the approval of the student's film and digital media adviser.

  • Successfully complete four graduate courses (not independent studies) taught by either core or affiliated faculty of the film and digital media Ph.D. program. The courses must be pre-approved by the student's designated emphasis adviser.

Social Documentation M.F.A.

(See Social Documentation)

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Revised: 07/15/18