International M.A. in Film Studies call for Applications

International M.A. in Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam
Call for Applications for­ Fall 2014,
rolling admissions open on December 15, 2013 and close on 1 April 2014
One-year and two-year Film M.A. Programs available. For the two-year “Research Master’s Program: Film Studies Specialization,” see below

International M.A. in Film Studies (one-year program, 60 ECTs)

The M.A. in Film Studies is a one-year, English-language degree program in the Department of Media Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam.

Film studies: From Celluloid to Digital

The Master’s in Media Studies: Film offers in-depth knowledge in various research fields, ranging from film-philosophy, media archaeology, audio-visual aesthetics and cultural memory to issues of transnational and global audiovisual practices.

In the age of digital media, film studies as an academic discipline is challenged by a continuous transformation of its object of study. The profound changes of its material base, from celluloid to digital, as well as its screening practices, from public theatres to private homes, city screens and mobile devices, ask for renewed theoretical and historical frameworks of understanding. The Master Film Studies at the University of Amsterdam trains students to critically and creatively engage with such important shifts in film and cinema culture in the digital age.

Over the course of the program, students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to the ongoing theoretical and historical discussions in the field of Film Studies. The role of “embodied knowledge” in the comprehension and appreciation of moving images is studied from both cognitivist and culturalist angles. Students who complete this degree gain a thorough understanding of the various facets of cinema with respect to its historical developments, its aesthetic forms of expression across various of film practice (fictional, non-fictional, experimental), and its political, social or psychological role in our contemporary media landscape and globalized screen culture.

The Master Film Studies builds upon the thriving film culture in Amsterdam and its surroundings, such as the EYE Film Institute Netherlands, the International Documentary Festival (IDFA), and a lively independent and underground film scene. For recent events and activities, see our Film Studies Blog.

The program offers core course on film theory and practices and media archaeology as well as a range of seminars and electives on topics such as film ethics, cinematic cities, multimodal rhetorics, fashion and cinema, world cinema. More information about the program can be found here.

Career perspectives
Graduates in Film Studies will have gained recognized qualifications and the critical faculties, skills, and outlook that will enable them to pursue a career in research as well as in the public and private sectors, ranging from NGOs, government, education, and cultural institutions in media and visual arts, to film festivals and audio-visual archives.

Please note the Master’s program Film Studies is not a Master’s in film production. For Dutch students there is a more specifically professional training track within the Master Film. See for specific information on this track the website of the Master Film program: Beroepsgeoriënteerde Specialisatie.

Alumni of the Master film have found jobs in programming film and debates in cultural centers, in journalism, at museums and film festivals. Some have also started their own successful business or festival. As the exposure to audio-visual culture in a converged media landscape continues to grow, film scholars with an in-depth knowledge of the field who have an academic attitude and training are in demand in a variety of sectors. With digital and audio-visual technologies becoming the preferred platforms for business, information exchange, cultural expression, and political struggle, research skills focusing on these complex and dynamic environments are becoming central to working in these fields. In addition, advanced students can pursue academic careers in research and teaching.

Student Life

The quality-of-living in Amsterdam ranks among the highest of international capitals. UvA’s competitive tuition and the ubiquity of spoken English both on and off-campus make the program especially accommodating for ambitious foreign students. The city’s many venues, festivals, and other events provide remarkably rich cultural offerings and displays of technological innovation. The program has many ties to cultural institutions and companies active in the film sector, where internship opportunities and collaborations may be available in consultation with the student’s thesis supervisor. The quality of student life is equally to be found in the university’s lively and varied intellectual climate. Film Studies students come from North and South America, Africa, Asia, and across Europe; they draw from academic and professional backgrounds including journalism, art and design, film production and programming, and various backgrounds in the humanities.

Additional Information

Research Master’s in Media Studies, Film Studies Specialization (two-year program, 120 ECTs)

The Film Studies Research Master is a specialization within the Media Studies Research Master’s Degree Program, and focuses on the theoretical, artistic, professional and methodological study of film and cinema culture. Students also may combine coursework from other different routes in the Research Master, putting together a course package that allows for a comparative dimension between the different forms of media.

The Film Research Master Specialization aims to restrict enrolment to 15 students per year.


Year one
1st Semester: students follow main courses in film studies such as “Film Theories and Film Practices” and “Media Archaeology” with the regular Master students, which provides in-depth training in critically engaging with current debates and discussions on film practices and theories as well as historical developments of the film in a wider media context. Students also choose elective courses and/or a tutorial. RMA-students will also have peer meetings and will be involved in the national research school of media studies RMeS or in the national institute for cultural analysis NICA which offer graduate workshops and master classes within the context of media studies programs in several Dutch Universities.

2nd Semester: students follow a Core Course on media & politics, which places both historically crucial and contemporary political manifestos in relation to media analyses, encouraging a consideration of concepts such as labor, spectacle, the machine, identity and affect. Students also have an elective, and may choose between theme seminars in film studies and other courses offered in the research master’s. (For more details on theme seminars, see the one-year Film Studies Master course catalogue page in the link below)

Year two
1st Semester: Students follow a Core Course on Comparative Media, which includes training for a PhD proposal. They may also follow an elective course, taken from the film research seminars (from the MA Film studies) or from the broader Media Studies offerings or tutorials.

2nd Semester: students follow an elective course from the film studies course manual or from the broader Media Studies offering and also write the thesis, which is expected to be original and make a relevant contribution to the field. The research master’s degree program concludes with a mini-conference where students present their thesis projects.

The Research Master Film offers an international track which is a great opportunity to be part of a larger International community of students and researchers. This track is offered in cooperation with universities in Paris, Lille, Liège, Milano, Barcelona, London, Kent, Udine, Frankfurt, Bochum and Montréal:

1. Semester: Amsterdam (as described above)
2. Semester: one of the cooperating universities
3. Semester: another one of the cooperating universities
4. Semester: Amsterdam (as described above and thus including your RMA thesis)

For further information on this particular international track, please contact Marie-Aude Baronian.

NB: for the semesters in Germany there are substantial scholarships for supporting and facilitating your stay in Frankfurt and/or Bochum. For other scholarship possibilities please contact the graduate office (listed below).

Career Perspectives

Film Studies research master graduates compete favorably for PhD positions nationally and internationally, and have skill sets enabling film and audio-visual research in scholarly and professional settings. Many of the RMA graduates have embarked on an academic career and found PhD positions in Europe and in other parts of the world such as Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, New Zealand and the USA. Indeed if research is definitely a central component and focus of academic work it is equally, and increasingly, important in the professional field of media, arts and audiovisual culture. Other alumni have found work in the art world, in film- and media festivals and in film production and distribution.

Additional Information

Faculty and staff

Our staff members are internationally recognized experts in their field, and are regularly invited to give keynote lectures, courses, and master classes both within and outside of Europe.


  • Patricia Pisters (chair): Film-philosophy, film theory & neuroscience, neuroaesthetics, Deleuze, transnational cinema (focus on Maghreb, but not exclusively), Dutch cinema, Hitchcock, Fellini and other auteurs, cinema in the digital age, political cinema.
  • Giovanna Fossati: Film archives, conservation practices (analogue and digital), museum practices, digital heritage.

Associate professors:

  • Marie-Aude Baronian: Fashion, design and costume, film-philosophy, memory and testimony, representation of genocides/traumatic history, French cinema, Armenian cinema, Egoyan, Wenders, Cassavetes, Bresson, Derrida, Nancy, Lévinas, Bazin.
  • Charles Forceville: Documentary film, multimodality in narration and argumentation, visual and multimodal metaphor, animation film, comics & cartoons, advertising, film and cognition.
  • Alexandra Schneider: Film and Media History, Media Archaeology, Indian Cinema, Home Movies, World Cinema, Nontheatrical film, Portable Medias, Film and Popular Visual Culture, Documentary, Cinema and Globalization.

Assistant professors:

  • Kaouthar Darmoni: Islam in the media, Dutch national identity in the media.
  • Abe Geil: Film theory (classical and contemporary), Silent cinema, U.S. cinema (classical and post-classical), film-philosophy, critical theory, political theory, Eisenstein, Hitchcock, Haneke.
  • Tarja Laine: Film theory, film aesthetics, emotions, spectatorship.
  • Catherine Lord: Intermediality, adaptation, horror, psychoanalysis, feminism, comics, cultural analysis, autobiography, theory and practice, auteurism, film theory.
  • Eef Masson: Non-theatrical film & the use of film in non-theatrical settings (schools, museums); non-fiction theory; narratology; archival issues.
  • Floris Paalman: Anthropology, media history, media industry, production, cinematic city, film architecture, marketing & advertising, science-fiction, documentary, sponsored film, avant-garde, Dutch cinema.
  • Gerwin van der Pol: Filmanalysis, European cinema, cognitivism, author theory, film spectators, genre and animation.
  • Wim Staat: Film ethics, film and philosophy, film theory, political & audiovisual representation, cultural identity.
  • Assimakis Tseronis: Rhetorical and multimodal analysis, persuasion – promotion – propaganda, film dialogue.
  • Maryn Wilkinson: Studies of representation (gender, race, class, disability), cinema and the body, feminist film theory, national / world cinema incl. Bollywood, classical and contemporary Hollywood (genre, ideology, film style), teen film and television, quality television, film and adaptation.

Professional Track (for Dutch students):

  • Erik Laeven: Adaptation, dramaturgy, scenario, intermediality, multimodality, narratology, music, television-esthetics.
  • Judith Tromp: Documentary, dramaturgy, research internships.

Comments are closed.