Harvard has sustained a distinguished tradition of engaging cinema, media, and visual studies. This exciting, vital interdisciplinary program places you at the crossroads of creative and innovative fields of research.

You will experience a dialogue among the expanded field of moving image culture, visual arts, spatial studies, and media studies. You will be at the forefront of pressing research that represents the global future and can make a real difference, among scholars who are often artists and filmmakers, in a program that encourages a mix of artmaking and art-thinking.

The research pursued is at the center of the critical debates of our times. Examples of work published by alumni of the department include “Re-Vision: Moving Images Media, The Self, and Ethical Thought in the 20th Century” and “Land Cinema in the Neoliberal Age.”

Graduates of the program have secured faculty positions at prestigious institutions including Cornell University, UC Santa Cruz, Emerson College, Colgate University, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Others have gone on to start their own businesses and become artists, writers, and curators.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of Film and Visual Studies and requirements for the degree are detailed in GSAS Policies

Admissions Requirements

Please review GSAS admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of Film and Visual Studies.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application and must be between 15 to 20 pages, in 12-point font, double-spaced, with normal margins. The writing sample must be an example of critical writing (rather than creative writing) on a subject directly related to film, performance, and/or visual studies. You should not send longer papers with instructions to read an excerpt or excerpts.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should give the admissions committee a clear sense of your individual interests and strengths. You do not need to indicate precisely what your field of specialization will be, but it is helpful to know something about your aspirations, and how Film and Visual Studies at Harvard might help in attaining these goals.


Strong language background helps to strengthen the application, and students who lack it should be aware that they will need to fill this gap before they can take the general examinations.


While the overall GPA is important, it is more important to have an average of no lower than A- in courses related to film and visual studies or related fields. In addition, if you have not majored in film studies or a related field, it is important to have sufficient background to enter the graduate program.

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Film and Visual Studies

Film and Visual Studies Faculty