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Ph.D. in Film & Digital Media

Student with equipment crosses street at sunset in tripoli.

The Ph.D. program in Film and Digital Media challenges the traditionally conceived borders between creative and critical practice. The program enables potential 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, the Ph.D. program participants 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. 

Integrating critical and creative practice: 

In our research and teaching, we explore the intersections of what have been, or have become, separated modes in our field of media studies: theory and practice. We seek to nurture dialogue between creative practice and scholarly inquiry as related forms of intellectual work.

Working across media: 

Our approach to media studies and media production incorporates a range of technologies and platforms, stressing their historical and intertextual relationships.

Pursuing new modes of social and political engagement: 

Media literacy, broadly defined, is an essential component of participation in our increasingly mediated lives. A new generation of media makers and media interpreters has the power to re-shape the world.

Fostering global cultural citizenship: 

Making and studying media today necessitates a global and historical perspective. By thinking and working across boundaries of nation, culture and identity, we are creating new forms of knowledge and new media forms that respect and investigate differences of race, class, gender, sexuality and nation.

Film and Digital Media Ph.D. Program Learning Outcomes

Students who earn a Ph.D. in Film and Digital Media will gain the skills, knowledge, and understanding that will enable them to:

1. Demonstrate that student’s critical study of media informs the student’s media-making practices
2. Demonstrate knowledge of video and/or digital media production
3. Demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills appropriate doctoral work in to the discipline of film and digital media
4. Demonstrate research skills appropriate to doctoral work in the discipline of film and digital media
5. Demonstrate scholarly writing skills appropriate to doctoral work in the discipline of film and digital media

Prospective Applicants:

Candidates must have demonstrated skill in critical, theoretical and historical scholarship, and a demonstrated interest in film, television, video and new media studies. We are particularly interested in candidates with demonstrated experience in some form of artistic production, and an interest in combining creative work with critical and theoretical study. 

Candidates should also be aware that we will prioritize those who, in their application, outline a project or form of work that integrates critical and creative work together in a hybrid form that would be difficult or impossible to pursue in a either a conventional humanities program or a studio or production degree program. The Ph.D. program in Film & Digital Media is designed to provide a platform for the creation of hybrid work that would not be possible to accomplish elsewhere.

For program requirements, please review our Program Statement

Apply Here

For more information about UCSC applications, consult the Graduate Division website and their Admissions Pages.