Doctor of Philosophy in Cinema and Media Studies (PhD)
The Ph.D. program offers students the opportunity to pursue Cinema and Media Studies through coursework, comprehensive exams, a viva, and a dissertation project. Students are expected to give primary attention to an area of expertise of their choice while training in the broader theoretical, critical, and historical contexts of the chosen field.
Faculty research specialties include strengths in contemporary cinemas and media culture, one that highlights media and film theory, cult cinema, documentary studies, early cinema, feminist and post-feminist media studies, American, Canadian and European cinemas, television studies, and sound studies. There are particular strengths in contemporary Anglophone cinema and television products and cultures within a global context. Our students occasionally engage with professors and students in our renowned directing, design and film production graduate programs.
We accept up to two students per year, and we strongly urge applicants to consider whether their project matches our faculty’s past expertise or current research interests.
What makes the program unique?
B.C.’s favourable position as a hub for the international film and media production industry allows opportunities for research topics and case studies not easily available elsewhere.
As a selective boutique program, we provide close mentorship of all accepted students. We are usually able to provide teaching assistant experience to PhD. students in our large first and second year undergraduate courses. At the ABD stage, students may have the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course. Graduate students have the opportunity to work on the film studies journal Cinephile. The Visual Resources Centre provides access to nearly 10,000 DVDs. The Centre for Cinema and Media Studies in the Department occasionally sponsors visiting scholars. UBC has the second largest research library in Canada, including the 30,000 Videomatica collection, a unique resource.
With strengths in contemporary cinemas and media culture, the current faculty offer a program that highlights media and film theory, cult cinema, documentary studies, feminist and post-feminist media studies, American, Canadian and European cinemas, television studies, and sound studies. There are particular strengths in contemporary Anglophone cinema and television products and cultures within a global context.
UBC Library is the home of the 30,000 plus Videomatica collection recently purchased and catalogued, a unique resource.
The first intake for this program will be September 2019.
TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement
IELTS Overall Score Requirement
Prior degree requirements
Master's degree in Cinema Studies, Film Studies or Media Studies.
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date25 September 2020
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Coulthard, Lisa (film theory and violence; film sound and violence, contemporary American and European cinemas, continental philosophy and Lacanian theory)
Frackman, Kyle (German studies, gender studies, sexuality studies, literature, film, East Germany, Scandinavia, affect, media)
Iurascu, Ilinca ( German literature, media theory, cultural studies, film studies, critical theory, visual studies, media archeology)
Johnston, Kirsty (Dramatic literature and theatre history with particular interest in disability arts and intersections between health, disability and performance )
Karwowska, Bozena (Sexuality, Body and Gender in Nazi Concentration Camps)
Liu, Siyuan (twentieth century Chinese theatre and Asian Canadian theatre)
Marshall, Hallie (Theatre, Ancient Greek Theatre, Classics, Reception Studies, History of the Book, Tony Harrison, Contemporary British Theatre, Poetry)
Mathijs, Ernest (film, alternative cinema, independent cinema, European cinema, horror film, David Cronenberg, film audiences, film festivals, censorship, fantasy film, Lord of the Rings, Film studies)
McIlroy, Brian (Documentary, Early Cinema, Irish Cinema, Canadian and US Cinema, Television Drama, British Cinema, Cultural history)
Mota, Miguel (Post-1945 British literature, print culture)
Orbaugh, Sharalyn (modern Japanese culture (literature, film, manga, animation, kamishibai); East Asian women’s issues; anti-racist pegagogy, Japanese narrative and visual culture)
Rea, Christopher (Modern Chinese literature and cinema since the 19th century, Chinese cartoons and visual culture, Chinese print and popular culture, Chinese internet culture, humour and satire, Taiwan, Chinese culture, modern Chinese history, translation )
Santos, Alessandra (Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies , Latin American Literatures and Cultures , Brazilian Literature and Culture, Modern and Contemporary Literatures and Cultures)
Scholte, Tom (Theatre, film, and television)
Smith, Tai (Modern and Contemporary Art and Design, Media Theory, Politics of Media and Mediation, Gender, Textiles)
Soussloff, Catherine (Art, Art History, European Art, Performance Art, Performance Studies, Art Theory, Aesthetics, Philosophy of art, historiography and theory of European art)
Testa, Carlo (Italian literature, history of cinema, theory/film studies )
Tomc, Sandra (Nineteenth-century US literature, twentieth- century US entertainment and film, gothic literature and film, screenwriting, affect and psychoanalytic theory, fear and horror, film and image theory)
Walsh, Shannon (South Africa, Indigenous Studies, Afropessimism & Critical Race Studies, Documentary, Environmental Justice, Affect Theory)