FAQ: MA/PhD in Film Studies

Q: What is the placement record for Iowa Film Studies graduates?
A: For several decades, Iowa has been a leader in the Film Studies world. After completing a Film Studies PhD at the University of Iowa, our graduates have systematically garnered the top teaching positions in their home countries (Canada, Iceland, Finland, Japan, Korea, the Philippines) or in the U.S. (Dartmouth, Middlebury, Harvard, Brown, Yale, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Indiana, Chicago, Northwestern, De Paul, Texas, Colorado, etc.). Though competition for Film Studies jobs has increased in recent years, Iowa has maintained a strong placement record. See also: PhD Placement.

Q: I have completed my undergraduate degree. Should I apply for the MA, or may I apply directly for the PhD?
A: We don't usually accept PhD applications from students who have only a BA. All students who don't already have a Film Studies (or closely related) MA are considered for the MA program. Students who come to Iowa to do a Film Studies MA may then apply for the PhD program during their second year in the MA program.

Q: I'm interested in combining work in Film Studies with work in Production. Can I do that at Iowa?
A: Definitely. We encourage Film Studies students to benefit from our excellent faculty, students, and facilities in Film & Video Production. It should perhaps be noted, however, that we do not offer a joint Film Studies/Production degree. Application must be made to one program or the other, and each student's plan of study must clearly reflect the requirements and expectations of the student's chosen degree.

Q: Are GRE scores a required aspect of the Iowa Film Studies application?
A: Yes. We must receive formal notification of your GRE general test scores.

Q: Is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) required for foreign applicants?
A: Yes, unless the applicant has received a degree from a U.S. university. Students from Puerto Rico are not required to submit a TOEFL score.

Q: Which parts of my application will you look at most carefully?
A: We are interested in all aspects of your experience, so we pay attention to all parts of the application: GPA, GRE, statement of purpose, writing sample, life experience, letters of recommendation. We are looking for evidence of learning ability, creative thinking, a self-starting attitude, and an aptitude for independent work. Sometimes we find this evidence in one place, sometimes in another, so we attend to all aspects of your application.

Q: Do applicants with GRE scores above a certain cut-off point receive automatic admission? Are applicants with GRE scores below a certain cut-off point automatically turned down?
A: No. There are no automatic cut-off points for GRE scores, though strong GRE scores often enter into a decision to admit, and weak scores would need to be strongly compensated by other qualities in order to produce a positive admission decision.

Q: When will I hear about your admission decision?
A: Since we receive over one hundred applications every year, the admissions process is lengthy, beginning in January and stretching throughout the month of February. Our goal is to provide a response by the end of February, though sometimes the process isn't finished until early March.

Q: Will your admissions letter tell me everything I need to know about financial support?
A: No. Admitted applicants should expect to receive a second letter, detailing financial support, approximately one month after the first.

Q: Do you encourage admitted students to visit the campus?
A: Definitely. There's no better way to get an idea of what the program is like than to actually spend a weekday or two on campus while school is in session. This will give you an opportunity to visit classes, check out the facilities, meet with faculty and students, and appreciate the extraordinary resources of Iowa City.

Q: If I have further questions, to whom and how should they be addressed?
A: The best approach is to send an e-mail with your questions to Corey Creekmur, Head of Film Studies.