Graduate Certificate in Cinema & Media Studies

The Graduate Certificate Program in Cinema and Media Studies (CMS) is available to any student currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Washington.

Applications are accepted throughout the year and will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Students will receive the Certificate upon completion of one required course, CMS 520 (5 credits), three electives (15 credits), and a capstone.

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Application | Description | Courses | Requirements 


Any University of Washington student enrolled in a graduate degree program is eligible to apply to the Cinema and Media Studies graduate certificate program. Students are required to have a total GPA of 3.5 in their home department prior to admission in this program.

Students are strongly encouraged to take CMS 520 before applying.

Please submit the following Online Application Form to apply to the certificate program. 

Applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. An advising session with the Graduate Program Advisor will be established following admission to the program.  Please email the Graduate Program Advisor if you have any questions about the certificate application:


This graduate program emphasizes the study of film and related media from a humanistic perspective, within the broader context of global culture. While our curriculum centers on the medium of film, we understand the key concerns of film history and film theory as a productive horizon for assessing the phenomenal advances of digital and electronic media as well as a cinematic genealogy that stretches back to encompass the magic lantern, photography, sound recordings, and television among other technologically-produced art forms. At the core of our curricular goals, then, we emphasize the fundamental skills of cinema studies: an ability to interpret and clearly communicate the formal and stylistic elements of moving-image and audio-visual texts; a knowledgeable assessment of the canon of popular, art-cinema, and avant-garde cinemas, as well as animation and documentary forms; a capacity to engage the philosophical and social debates most germane to film theory since the early 20th century.

Our curriculum stresses a comparative framework. In particular, students will be encouraged to assess our objects of study as they cross national borders, historical periods, and media forms.


Cinema and Media Studies Electives

Past Courses in Cinema and Media Studies 


Course Requirements

This certificate program requires a total of four Cinema and Media Studies courses (20 credits). One of these (CMS 520) is a requisite introductory course that offers a basic grounding in the theory, history and criticism of moving images, and introduces central debates, topics and methods in the field of cinema and media studies. The remaining three courses will be electives. One of these electives (five credits) may be an independently directed study. One of these electives (five credits) may be a 400-level seminar. All of these credits must be earned in graded courses. Please note that overlap of coursework applied towards the certificate program and degree program must not exceed 6 credits and is limited to elective coursework in the degree program.  Successful completion of the CMS Certificate requires a cumulative GPA of 3.5 for courses required for the Certificate as well as a grade of 3.5 or higher for each course counted toward the Certificate.  

Capstone Requirements

Students have three capstone options for completion of the CMS Certificate Program. 

  1. Research Paper. One option takes the form of a research paper (approximately 20-25 pages). The paper should be developed from a course paper in a previous Cinema and Media Studies seminar.

    This option will allow the respective student to work closely with a faculty member on their writing and research in a manner otherwise limited by the constraints of a 10-week seminar. The goal of this option is thus to produce a paper of publishable quality, and students will be encouraged to explore peer-reviewed journals related to the field and to consider the different methodologies and concerns relevant to these publication venues. Publication of the research paper, however, is not required.

  2. Qualifying Examination and Dissertation. Alternately, the student may choose to include one or more Cinema and Media Studies topics on their PhD Qualifying Examination. In these cases, at least one member of the Cinema and Media Studies faculty must be a formal member of the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination committee.

    In the event that a student initially opts to incorporate film and media studies materials in the dissertation, but either alters the project to exclude these materials or does not finish the dissertation, he/she may then opt to write a research paper and conclude the certificate requirements in this way.

  3. Students enrolled in the DXARTS PhD program are permitted to have their DXARTS "Final PhD Project" constitute the concluding requirement.  DXARTS students will pursue their "Final PhD Project" in accordance with the requirements established by DXARTS program and under the supervision of DXARTS faculty.