Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

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.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

6.0

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

Master's degree in Cinema Studies, Film Studies or Media Studies.

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Cinema and Media Studies (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. However, it is not necessary for applicants to contact faculty members prior to their application.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Research Focus

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.

Research Facilities

UBC Library is the home of the 30,000 plus Videomatica collection recently purchased and catalogued, a unique resource.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
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.

Financial Support

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.

Program Funding Packages

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 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 $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 5 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $44,988.
  • 5 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 5 students was $12,140.
  • 4 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 4 students was $3,338.
  • 2 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 2 students was $1,489.
  • 5 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 5 students was $22,582.
  • 1 student received external awards valued at $35,000.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their 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.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

Career Options

We expect graduates to find employment in the teaching sector at both college and university level; in administrative posts for cultural producers, such as for Electronic games, Film and TV production companies; in research positions covering cultural policy development, such as at Creative BC, Telefilm, NFB, or the provincial or federal civil service; in journalism, freelance writing, cinematheque curation management; various posts in the field of marketing communications for both corporations and non-profits.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Cinema and Media Studies (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20232022202120202019
Applications2737312214
Offers01123
New Registrations00112
Total Enrolment55532
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year.

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Cinema and Media Studies (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. However, it is not necessary for applicants to contact faculty members prior to their application.
 
 

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.

  • Brown, William (film-philosophy, digital media, posthumanism, critical race theory)
  • Coulthard, Lisa (film theory and violence; film sound and violence, contemporary American and European cinemas, continental philosophy and Lacanian theory)
  • Frackman, Kyle (Cinema studies; Media studies (except social media and digital media); Literature and literary studies; Cultural studies; queer studies; German studies; media studies; history of sexuality; sexuality; sexuality studies; East Germany; film; Gender Studies; history of science; literature; Media; Media Types (Radio, Television, Written Press, etc.); Scandinavia)
  • Iurascu, Ilinca (Comparative literatures; Theories of cultural studies; Media, visual and digital culture; German literature; Comparative Literature; Cultural Studies; media theory; Media history; critical theory; film studies)
  • 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)
  • Laird, Colleen (Japanese media and gender studies; Gendered image production, gendered reception, and women in industry; Video games, new media, streaming media, animation (anime), and comics (manga); Paratexts: distribution, exhibition, and production materials; Film theory, genre theory, transnational cinemas and star texts, and feminist and queer theory)
  • Liu, Siyuan (twentieth century Chinese theatre and Asian Canadian theatre)
  • Malakaj, Ervin (Literature and literary studies; German studies; German Film Studies; German Media Studies; German Media History; Queer Theory and Queer Studies; Feminist and Queer Film Historiography; Critical Pedagogy)
  • Marshall, Hallie (Performing arts; Ancient Greek Theatre; Arts and Cultural Traditions; Classics; Contemporary British Theatre; Cultural Industries; History of the Book; Literary or Artistic Work Dissemination or Reception Contexts; Performance and Theatrical Productions; Poetry; Reception Studies; Religion, Culture and Space; Theatre; Tony Harrison)
  • Marshall, Christopher Warren (Cinema studies; Classical Greek and Ancient Rome history; Classical archaeology; Classical linguistics; Film, television and digital media; Religion and religious studies; Literary or Artistic Works Analysis; Performance and Theatrical Productions)
  • 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)
  • 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 (Chinese literatures; Asian history; Chinese literature; Cinema; Print culture; translation; Humor)
  • Santos, Alessandra (Cinema studies; Film, television and digital media; Latin American history; Latin American literatures; Spanish language; Artistic and Literary Analysis Models; Artistic and Literary Theories; Arts and Cultural Traditions; Arts and Technologies; Brazilian Literature and Culture; Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies; Latin American Literatures and Cultures; Modern and Contemporary Literatures and Cultures)
  • Scholte, Tom (Theatre, film, and television)
  • Smith, Tai (History of art and architecture; Art theory and analysis; Visual theory, visual culture and visual literacy; Arts and Technologies; Economical Contexts; Gender; media theory; Modern and Contemporary Art and Design; Politics of Media and Mediation; Textiles)
  • 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 (Media arts; Critical identity, ethnic and race studies; Social and cultural anthropology; South Africa; Afropessimism & Critical Race Studies; Documentary; Film Production; Indigenous studies; Environmental justice; Affect Theory)
  • Zuo, Mila (Cinema & Media studies; film studies; Contemporary Asian and transnational cinemas; Film philosophy; Acting and performance studies; Star studies; Digital and new media; Critical theories of gender, sexuality, and race and ethnicity)

Further Information

Specialization

The Cinema and Media Studies research specializes in contemporary cinemas and media culture, cult cinema, documentary studies, feminist and post-feminist media studies and sound studies among many others.

 

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-CMST
 
 
 
Supervisor Search
 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update contact details for application inquiries, please use this form.

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