The Certificate Program in Film Studies is open to students already enrolled in a program at the Graduate Center and external applicants (as of Fall 2023). Candidates for the certificate must take a total of 15 credits (five courses) in Film Studies including a required three-course “core” and two additional electives offered under the auspices of any participating Ph.D. program or the certificate program itself. Many courses are simultaneously cross-listed in several doctoral and interdisciplinary programs to facilitate student enrollment.

The Required Core

This course introduces students to graduate-level film analysis by acquainting them with basic film techniques, strategies, and styles. Central topics to be studied include narrative and nonnarrative forms, mise-en-scène, composition, camera movement, editing, sound and music, genre, and spectatorship. In addition, students will become familiar with a variety of critical perspectives on film as well as the essential bibliographical sources and fundamentals of research in the field.

Each one-semester course is devoted to intensive analysis of the development of the cinema as a medium and art form throughout the world during the period covered. Many key films representing various technological or artistic innovations are screened and discussed. The growth of the international film industry, above all of Hollywood, the emergence of representational codes, popular genres, and cinematic canons, and the cinema's impact on society as well as other art forms will be central topics of discussion. Different strategies and theories of historiographic research will be extensively analyzed.

This course presents a survey of "classical" and contemporary film theory. The contributions of the most important early theoreticians such as Eisenstein, Bazin, Epstein, Arnheim, Dulac, Merleau-Ponty, Balázs, and Kracauer, as well as such contemporary theorists as Metz, Mitry, Baudry, Mulvey, and Heath will be reviewed and contextualized. Questions about the structure and functioning of the filmic text, the nature of cinematic representation, and film spectatorship raised by the various scholls of thought, including phenomenology, Marxism, semiology, psychoanalysis, and feminism, will be of major concern. Attention will focus on the analysis of primary theoretical texts, although secondary texts as well as historical works and films that assist in contextualizing film theory may be assigned as well.


These two courses can be taken under any participating Ph.D. program or the Film Studies Certificate Program.  Many courses are simultaneously cross-listed in several doctoral and interdisciplinary programs to facilitate student enrollment.

Check here for the full list of courses being offered under the Certificate Program.