Frequently Asked Questions about Graduate Studies

Here are some frequently asked questions about studying at the graduate level at the Cinema Studies Institute.


Do you have any testimonials from former Cinema Studies Institute graduate students?
Dru Jeffries

"My experience in the inaugural cohort of the Cinema Studies M.A. program has been the most exciting time of my academic career so far. I learned more in 12 months at Innis than I did in the four years during my time as an undergraduate. The structure of the program is fast-paced and challenging, allowing students to engage and experiment with the variety of approaches taken in our discipline from the early days of cinema to the most contemporary. The long paper option is a great substitute to an M.A. thesis, while the alternative possibility of a summer internship with a local film-based company is the perfect way to practically apply what was learned in the classroom." - Dru Jeffries, Class of 2008

Phil Leers

"As an M.A. student in the Cinema Studies Institute, I felt like part of a tight-knit academic community; nowhere was this more palpable than in my interactions with the program's remarkable faculty. In addition to being passionate and knowledgeable in the classroom, the instructors were extremely supportive of and dedicated to the individual work of each student. Whether I was considering a research project, seeking feedback on a paper, or planning the next step in my career, I always felt encouraged to consult with my professors, who were without fail generous with their time and input. The faculty's level of involvement made me feel comfortable in the program and inspired me to  challenge myself as a student. To find a community of scholars so committed to their students is a rare and valuable opportunity, and I feel lucky to have experienced that." - Phil Leers , Class of 2009

Kelsey Blair

"The M.A program in Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto is an invaluable learning experience both in and out of the classroom. The rigour of the one-year program provides a challenging and engaging academic experience. I furthered my previous scholarship while being pushed to engage with new concepts by the exceptional faculty. The commitment of my professors motivated me to make the most of the teaching opportunities provided by the program. My colleagues and I agreed: teaching was an immensely rewarding experience that significantly benefitted our academic and professional development.  While my experiences in the classroom were central to my year, the structure of the program allowed for an immense amount of personal growth. Supported by staff, faculty, and the extraordinary resources provided by the University of Toronto, I explored my interests, came to better understand my strengths and weaknesses, and improved my time-management skills. As a result of the program, I’ve developed the tools I need to confidently pursue my goals after graduation." - Kelsey Blair , Class of 2010


Can I study production or screenwriting at the Cinema Studies Institute at the graduate level?

The Cinema Studies Institute is an academic cinematic media studies program, emphasizing theory, history and culture. We offer no production or screenwriting courses or facilities for training.

How soon will I hear back about my application?

The Admissions Committee will consider all application materials after the documentation deadline. As we receive a large number of applications each year, it may take a week or two for the committee to fully consider the documentation. The committee then meets to discuss the applications, and comes up with a shortlist and waiting list. Those we are unable to offer a place in the program will be notified typically in March. If you are notified that you are on a waiting list, it may take up to the end of April to hear a final result, as spaces may open up at any time due to declined offers. Please be patient during this time. Thank you.

How many reference letters from academic referees are needed?

Three letters from academic referees for both the MA and PhD level. We will accept up to one non-academic reference letter in cases where you are unable to obtain sufficient academic referees.

Does the Institute offer the option of part-time studies or distance learning?

No, we only offer a full-time, 12-month M.A. program that includes Teaching Assistantship duties. Residency is required from September to August. Classes are typically offered only in the daytime. We have no distance learning component. The PhD program is also full-time.

What is 1 Full Course Equivalent (FCE) at the University of Toronto?

Some universities have different ways of calculating the weight of a class. 1 FCE here at the University of Toronto is equivalent to 3 hours of class each week, for 24 weeks. Most universities offer a semester course (where a semester is about 12 weeks) where weekly attendance is 3 hours, and those are counted as 0.5 FCEs. Therefore, you would need 12 of those courses to reach the minimum of 6 FCEs.

I don't have the required 6 Full Course Equivalents in film studies. Can I still apply? What if I want to take courses at the University of Toronto to satisfy that requirement?

We assume a high degree of familiarity with film theory, film history, and film culture in students we accept to the MA program, hence the 6 FCEs in film studies. While you may still apply if you are a couple credits short, we highly recommend that you take the minimum number of courses to strengthen your application and to prepare you for graduate-level study of film.

If you would like to take additional undergraduate courses in film, please visit Admissions & Awards and investigate the non-degree student option. Their site will list deadlines and procedures for admission to the University of Toronto as a non-degree student.