Screen Arts and Cultures


Screen Arts and Cultures

Information and forms can be found at The deadline for receiving submissions is December 15. Applicants should submit:

  • a college transcript demonstrating the expected completion of a B.A. degree,
  • a personal narrative,
  • a statement of purpose and interest,
  • three recommendation letters,
  • two samples of critical writing,
  • and GRE scores.

International applicants should also submit their TOEFL scores. We are committed to diversity in terms of both enrollment and funding.

Please use the following information when completing the application.
Code: 01881; Academic Program: Screen Arts & Cultures; Ph.D.
Code: 01917; Academic Program: Screen Arts & Cultures; Certificate


Chair: Johannes von Moltke

Professors: Hugh Cohen, Caryl Flinn, Amanda Lotz, Markus Nornes, Yeidy Rivero, and Johannes von Moltke

Associate Professors: Giorgio Bertellini, Colin Gunckel, Daniel Herbert, Sheila Murphy, and Matthew Solomon

Assistant Professors: Candace Moore and Sarah Murray

Lecturers: Jim Burnstein, Victor Fanucchi, Dawn Hollison, Mark Kligerman, David Marek, Chris McNamara, Veerendra Prasad, Robert Rayher, Terri Sarris, Dan Shere, and Oliver Thornton

Degree Programs

Doctor of Philosophy

Ph.D. Mission Statement

The Ph.D. program at University of Michigan's Department of Screen Arts & Cultures is dedicated to the study of media produced for exhibition/display on and consumption through the screens of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. We regard the screen as a point of intersection where various industries, audiences, and modes of representation converge and from which a range of ideologies, identities, and cultural formations emerge. In turn, our emphasis on media "cultures" derives from our faculty's interdisciplinary research and teaching interests, including cinema, television, video, digital and online media. The program's curriculum is intercultural in focus and international in scope, designed to acknowledge "convergence" and "interdisciplinarity" as definitive features of media and media studies in the 21st century. Thus, the mission of Screen Arts & Cultures is to provide the aesthetic, pedagogical and theoretical tools for our doctoral students to engage film studies, television studies, and digital media and their various social, national, cultural, and/or historical contexts as the film, television and digital media scholars of the new millennium.

Funding Support

Accepted candidates will be awarded five years of support through a combination of fellowships and graduate student instructorships (GSI). In the course of their study, students also will become eligible for further forms of funding such as the Rackham Humanities Research Fellowship and various Dissertation Fellowships, in competition with other University of Michigan doctoral candidates.

Degree Requirements


Students must complete a total of 39 credit hours of coursework toward the doctoral degree. As per Rackham rules, they must complete at least 18 of those credit hours on the Ann Arbor campus. In the first year, students are strongly advised to take 9 hours of courses in each of the two initial terms; among them must be SAC 600: Introduction to Screen Arts and Cultures and at least one of the other three required core courses - SAC 601: Seminar in Theories of Film or Electronic/Digital Media, SAC 602: Seminar in Film or Electronic/Digital Media Historiography, and SAC 603: Seminar in Material Practices.

Required, core courses (to be offered once a year): 3 credit hours each
SAC 600: Introduction to Screen Arts and Cultures
SAC 601: Seminar in Theories of Film or Electronic/Digital Media
SAC 602: Seminar in Film or Electronic/Digital Media Historiography
SAC 603: Seminar in Material Practices
SAC 700: Directed Research

Supporting Area Courses (minimum of 3 courses)

Working with your advisor, you will develop a program of at least 3 additional seminars you can take that will form an individualized and integrated study of film, television and digital media. At least one of these seminars must be relevant to one of the three core survey courses and at least two should supplement/expand an area of interest pertinent to your proposed dissertation topic. These courses can be taken from any of the offerings of the Graduate School, including those in the Department of Screen Arts and Cultures. While advisors may provide information about sets of courses you might find useful, you and your advisor make your own selection.

Additional Requirements

First Year Review

Students will be required to submit first year review materials by early September in the fall of their second year. Materials must include one representative writing sample, two faculty letters of recommendation, an unofficial transcript and a self-evaluation that serves as a record of the student's activities, both academic and professional, throughout the year and also indicates goals and needs for the upcoming year. By the end of October students will receive feedback on review in a meeting with the Director(s) of Graduate Studies and their advisor. The self-evaluation component of review will be repeated annually and submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Language Requirement

In order to master a wide range of critical work, Screen Arts & Cultures doctoral students must demonstrate proficiency in at least one language other than English. Demonstration of proficiency must occur by the end of the second year, prior to the preliminary exam. Proficiency is determined by successful completion of either an advanced undergraduate course in a foreign language (with a grade no lower than B-) or, in the case of students whose dissertation will involve specific area studies (i.e., Asian Languages and Literatures), at least one graduate level course offered in a language specific to that area (with a grade no lower than B). When appropriate, the deadline for fulfilling this requirement may be extended with the Graduate Program Committee's approval.

Preliminary Exams

In addition to coursework, students in the program are required to devote substantial time to professional development activities and research projects. The program requires each student to present independent research at either department colloquia or national conferences. Students are also expected to teach for at least two terms at the college level (as GSI or lecturer). Between the fall of their third year and the winter of their fourth year, all students must pass preliminary exams in theory, historiography, and one supporting area before being able to advance to candidacy.

Students must work with their advisors to formulate committees of three faculty members to read and evaluate each of the three examinations. When possible, the committee should include instructors for the core courses of historiography, film, television or digital media theory, an overview of screen studies and for an area pertinent to the student's proposed dissertation area (for example: class and/or ethnicity and/or gender and/or sexuality and film/television/digital media, film and/or television history, etc.) The preliminary exams will be based upon reading lists compiled by the students and their exam committees no later than four months prior to the examination. Each individual exam will consist of three (3) questions: the student must answer three (3) questions in essays of no more than 5000 words each. The questions will be given to the student on Friday at 10AM and essay responses must be submitted (electronically or in person) by Tuesday at 10AM. All three exams must be passed before a student sits for a prospectus exam.

Prospectus and Dissertation

By the end of the term that follows the completion of the Preliminary Exam, students must submit a formal written dissertation proposal, 25 pages in length. The dissertation proposal should provide an overview and analysis of the field(s) to which the candidate's scholarship will contribute, identifying major debates that characterize the field. It should clearly identify the topic and argument of the dissertation, its organization, the methodologies to be used, and a research plan (including archives to be consulted and a timetable). It should also indicate how the dissertation would constitute an original and scholarly contribution to the field. Each student will present his or her proposal to a small group including the Graduate Program Committee and potential dissertation committee members in order to provide faculty feedback on the project's merits and areas to be further refined during research and writing.

Candidates should submit a dissertation committee roster to the Graduate Program Committee soon after successful completion of the Preliminary Exam. The committee should be constituted of at least four members. One member must hold an outside appointment in a cognate field related to the student's dissertation topic. The Graduate Program Committee will monitor each candidate's progress by having students arrange regularly scheduled meetings with their dissertation committee chairs and make use of the GradTools website.

After all members of the committee have approved the draft for defense, candidates will be given a public forum to defend their dissertation with their committee. Candidates are expected to complete the dissertation by the end of their tenth term or fifth year of enrollment. (Candidates should consult Rackham deadlines on conferral of degrees.)

Pedagogical Training

Prior to the first term of a GSIship, students will participate in the New GSI Teaching Orientation organized by CRLT. They also will participate in two workshops organized by Screen Arts & Cultures: one to be held shortly after the CRLT Orientation and the other at the midpoint of the term that they first act as GSIs. The first workshop will consider pedagogical issues specific to Screen Arts & Cultures and involve a variety of informative exercises. The second will have the new GSIs meet with several faculty and experienced GSIs to address issues and questions that have arisen in their courses.

In addition to the specific requirements listed, see the Doctoral Degrees section of the Rackham Graduate School Academic Policies.


University of Michigan

6330 North Quad
105 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285
Phone: (734) 764-0147
Fax: (734) 936-1846


The following courses constitute the range of approved offerings at the time of the assembly of the publication. Not all of the courses listed below are available for registration. Please see the Schedule of Classes on the Office of the Registrar's website for course offerings by term. The final authority for changes in course offerings rests with the academic departments.

Screen Arts & Cultures (Subject Code: SAC)
335.  Authorship & Arch.  Required pre-requisite: SAC 236; (C- or better) or graduate standing  Advisory pre-requisite: SAC 272  (3 credits)

400.  Dramatic Narr II.  Advisory pre-requisite: A 300- (or 400-) level production course in a relevant emphasized area: SAC 300, 301, 302, or 304.  (3 credits)

401.  Documentary II.  Required pre-requisite: (FILMVID 301 or SAC 301) and (FILMVID or SAC Concentrator)  (3 credits)

402.  Television II.  Required pre-requisite: (FILMVID 302 or SAC 302) and (FILMVID or SAC Concentrator)  (3 credits)

404.  Topics in Med Pro II.  Advisory pre-requisite: A 300- (or 400-) level production course in the relevant emphasized area: SAC 300, 301, 302, or 306; and permission of instructor.  (1 to 3 credits)

405.  Screendance.  Advisory pre-requisite: A 300 (or 400) level production course in the relevant emphasized area: SAC 300 or 301 and permission of instructor.  (3 credits)

406.  New Med Prac II.  Advisory pre-requisite: SAC 306 or equivalent experience and permission of instructor  (3 credits)

410.  Scrnwr II: Rewrite.  Advisory pre-requisite: SAC 310 and SAC concentrators  (3 credits)

422.  Avant-Garde Film.  Advisory pre-requisite: SAC 230 or 236  (3 credits)

423.  Pract Screenwriter.  Advisory pre-requisite: SAC 290, 310, and 410  (3 credits)

440/AAS 440.  African Cinema.  Advisory pre-requisite: AAS 200  (3 credits)

441.  National Screens.  Advisory pre-requisite: SAC 230 or 236 or 360  (3 credits)

442/AAS 442.  Third World Cinema.  Advisory pre-requisite: AAS 202 or SAC 236  (3 credits)

451/AMCULT 490.  Am Film Gnrs.  Advisory pre-requisite: Junior standing  (4 credits)

455.  Topics in Film.  Advisory pre-requisite: SAC 230 or 236  (3 credits)

458/ASIAN 458.  Korean Film Culture.  (3 credits)

460.  Tech&Moving Image.  Required pre-requisite: SAC 230 or 236  (3 credits)

461/WOMENSTD 461.  Feminist Flm Thr.  Advisory pre-requisite: WOMENSTD 240 or AMCULT 240; and junior standing  (3 credits)

485.  The Global Screen.  Required pre-requisite: Junior or Above  Advisory pre-requisite: Junior standing; SAC 230 or 236  (3 credits)

500.  Directed Study.  (1 to 4 credits)

600.  Research&Materials.  Advisory pre-requisite: Graduate standing  (3 credits)

601.  Thr Film/Elec/Digit.  Advisory pre-requisite: Graduate standing  (3 credits)

602.  Flm/Elec/Digit Hist.  Advisory pre-requisite: Graduate standing  (3 credits)

603.  Sem Material Pract.  Advisory pre-requisite: Graduate standing and permission of instructor.  (3 credits)

620.  Elec/Digit Media&Cul.  (3 credits)

621.  Thr&Prac Documentary.  (3 credits)

622.  Trans Flm/Elec Media.  (3 credits)

631.  Adv Thr Flm/Elec Med.  (3 credits)

632.  Adv Flm/Elec Dig Med.  (3 credits)

700.  Directed Research.  Advisory pre-requisite: SAC 600 and 601, permission of advisor and SAC Graduate Committee  (3 credits)

990.  Diss/Precand.  Advisory pre-requisite: Graduate standing  (1 to 8 credits)

995.  Diss-Cand.  Required pre-requisite: Candidate  (4 or 8 credits)

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Program Statistics: Ph.D.

Ph.D. Admissions
Fall 2016 5 Year Average
Number of applications 37 43
Number of new doctoral students 1 2
Ph.D. Enrollment
Fall 2016 5 Year Average
Total enrollment 11 11
Female 36% 41%
Male 64% 59%
International 27% 32%
U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident 73% 68%
Ph.D. Enrollment, U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, by Race
Fall 2016 5 Year Average
African American 0% 0%
Asian American 13% 13%
Hispanic (one or more races) 25% 18%
Native American 0% 0%
Pacific Islander 0% 0%
White 63% 68%
Two or more races (excludes Hispanic) 0% 0%
Not indicated 0% 0%
Ph.D. Degree
2016 5 Year Average
Number of degrees awarded 1 6
Median years to Ph.D. 5.70 5.26
Percent of students who entered the doctoral program between 2000-01 and 2004-05 and completed the Ph.D. as of August 31, 2016
Percent of students who entered the doctoral program between 2005-06 and 2009-10 and completed the Ph.D. as of August 31, 2016 67%
Funding (external funding paid directly to Ph.D. students, without being disbursed by the University, is not included)
2016 5 Year Average
Enrolled Ph.D. students with tuition AND stipend support 100% 100%
Enrolled Ph.D. students with tuition OR stipend support (in many cases, students competed successfully for external funding and did not need additional financial support) 0% 0%
Enrolled Ph.D. students who received no financial support (in many cases, students competed successfully for external funding and did not need additional financial support) 0% 0%
Ph.D. Placement Data
Position type tenth year after graduation, 2003 - 2007 cohorts Position type fifth year after graduation, 2008 - 2012 cohorts Position type first year after graduation, 2012 - 2016 cohorts
Tenure-track faculty 50%
Postdoctoral / Traineeship / Fellowship 0%
Non-Tenure Track Faculty / University Researcher / University Administrator 50%
Business / Industry 0%
Other professional employment / Government / Non-Profit 0%
Not employed 0%
No data available 0%
Total Ph.D.s awarded 0 0 6

Program statistics are updated annually in December. Last updated December 22, 2016.