Screen Cultures PhD

Degree Requirements

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.


Total Units Required: 18 or 25

There are 9 classes that comprise the foundation of the Screen Cultures graduate program. In addition, students take a combination of electives and independent studies as described below. Students who start with an MA have six quarters of full-time work before taking their exams; students who start with a BA have 8 quarters of full-time enrollment prior to exams.

Students who start the program with a bachelors degree may take up to three (3) 300-level courses in the department. Students register for research during the summer as long as they are funded, and pursue research and directed reading under the supervision of their faculty advisor.

Required Core Courses (9 units):

  • Three 400- or 500- level Screen Cultures courses with a media historical/historiographic emphasis

  • Three 400- or 500- level Screen Cultures courses with a media theory/criticism emphasis

  • One elective course taken either inside or outside Screen Cultures

Electives and Independent Studies

In addition to the required courses, students take a mix of elective courses and independent studies. Options for electives taken outside of Screen Cultures could include a relevant graduate level course within RTVF or a relevant graduate level course in an affiliated program or department (Rhetoric & Public Culture; Media, Technology & Society; Interdisciplinary Program in Theatre & Drama; Performance Studies; Gender & Sexuality Studies; African American Studies; English; Comparative Literature; etc.) 

Students arriving at Northwestern with a MA must complete 9 additional elective courses. Students arriving at Northwestern with a BA must complete 16 additional elective courses.