A. Academic

What does the Film Studies MA program consist of?

Carleton University’s Film Studies program is a globally focused and interdisciplinary program that teaches critical, theoretical and historical approaches to cinema and emerging media. Students learn to think analytically and express themselves clearly, while developing specialized knowledge about history, aesthetics, and film as a social and cultural practice. Our internationally recognized faculty are engaged in innovative research with numerous books, articles, grants and awards to their credit. Our program offers a collegial, supportive and student-friendly atmosphere conducive to success, with a faculty committed to student mentorship.

Areas of faculty expertise include world cinema (e.g. the cinemas of Asia, Africa, Scandinavia, Western Europe, Canada and the United States), film theory and philosophy, film history, documentary film and media, video games and new media, queer and transgender media, and sound studies.

When was your program established and what is its history?

Established in 1977, Carleton’s Film Studies is one of the oldest programs in Canada. Members of our faculty helped found the discipline’s professional society, the Film Studies Association of Canada, and have held various offices over the years. Three past presidents of FSAC are members of our faculty, and the association’s journal, The Canadian Journal of Film Studies, was recently housed at Carleton. Present and past members of faculty also serve or have served on the editorial boards of Camera Obscura, JCSM: The Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Cinémas, Animation Journal, Studies in French Cinema, Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, The Soundtrack, Film History, Performance Matters and Positif.

I do not have a background in Film Studies. Can I apply to the Carleton Film Studies MA?

Our program welcomes applications from students with an undergraduate degree in Film Studies and cognate disciplines such as Communication, Journalism, Art History, Music, Literature, Indigenous and Canadian Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, History, etc. Students without any Film Studies background may be asked to complete the one-year Post-Baccalaureate Diploma, which will prepare them for the Film Studies MA program.

I am interested in film production, i.e. directing, cinematography, editing, screenwriting, etc. Should I apply to your program?

It is important to differentiate film studies from film production. Our program is not a film production program. We do not train our students to become film directors, cinematographers, editors, or screenwriters. Instead we offer courses in the theoretical, historical, and aesthetic study of film. That said, some of our former MA students have pursued further studies in film production with great success in MFA programs and in the industry.

I am an international student. Do I qualify for a TAship in your program?

International students with a GPA of 11.0 and higher may be considered for a TAship under certain circumstances. Given that English is the language of instruction at Carleton, a good command of the English language is needed to qualify for a TA position.

What is the difference between the MA and the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma? Can I apply to both?

Our Post-Baccalaureate Diploma (PostBac) is for students interested in pursuing an MA but who do not have a background in Film Studies. Taking the one-year PostBac helps such students better prepare for the rigors of the Film Studies MA. The Film Studies Admissions Committee may recommend that MA applicants without sufficient background in Film Studies do the PostBac instead and then re-apply for the MA the next year. Students applying only for the PostBac can do so through the MA application portal, where they simply indicate that they wish to pursue the PostBac.

Do I need a supervisor before I apply to your program?

No, students do not need to have a supervisor before applying. Decisions about supervisors are made at the end of the first semester, once students have submitted their thesis or major research paper proposals. Students may express their preference for a given faculty member based on their expertise in the subjects they which to explore. However, the final decision rests with the faculty.

What should my application include in order to stand out?

A key component of any application is the statement of intent, which ought to clearly articulate the research project that the student wishes to pursue during their MA studies. Also important is the writing sample, which should be one of the student’s best undergraduate essays on a Film and Media Studies topic.

Can I get an internship while pursuing my MA Film Studies?

Yes. Our graduate students may earn 0.5 credit in our Film 5801 Film Studies Graduate Internship course. The Graduate Internship provides Film Studies MA practical film- and media-related experience, providing opportunities to work with Ottawa-area arts institutions, companies, and associations. It gives students the opportunity to put the skills and knowledge they’ve learned at the university into practice, critically reflect on the important work performed by local film and media institutions, and gain additional skills. Our partnering institutions include film festivals (Canadian Film Institute, Ottawa International Animation Festival, InsideOut Ottawa LGBT Film Festival, One World Film Festival, Digi60 Filmmakers’ Festival), archives and museums (Library and Archives Canada, Ingenium: Canada’s Museums of Science & Innovation, Carleton’s Audio-Visual Resource Centre) and film production and exhibition facilities (SAW Video Media Art Centre, Independent Film Cooperative of Ottawa).

What kinds of career opportunities may I obtain with a Film Studies MA?

Our graduates have pursued further studies (Ph.D. and MFA) in Canada and the United States, as well as successful careers as educators, filmmakers, film critics, organizers and directors of film festival and art councils, archivists, cinema owners, cultural administrators, researchers, and consultants.

B. Administrative

My English language scores are not very strong. Can I apply to your program?

The language of instruction at Carleton is English. For admission into Carleton’s graduate programs, you will need to demonstrate that your knowledge and use of English are strong enough for graduate studies at an English-language university.

If your first language is not English, you can prove your language proficiency by:

  • presenting one of the official Language Proficiency (ESL) test scores as defined in the table below;
  • showing that you have completed ESLA 1900 or ESLA 1905 at Carleton University with a final grade of B- or higher; or
  • presenting official certification (transcripts) that you have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree within the past three years in a university in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom orany country in which the primary language was English, the language of instruction in the relevant educational institution was English, and the language of instruction in their most recently completed undergraduate or graduate degree was English.

Minimum Language Proficiency (ESL) test score requirement:

Language Proficiency Test Score
Canadian Academic English Language Test (CAEL, CAEL-CE) 70 (minimum 60 in each band)
Internet-based TOEFL 86 (20 in reading and listening; 22 in speaking and writing)
IELTS (Academic) 6.5 IELTS (minimum 6.0 in each band)
Pearson Test of English (PTE) (Academic) 60 overall (minimum 60 in each Communicative Skill)

It is your responsibility to review and meet the minimum requirements of the program to which you are applying. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs reserves the right to require further documentation or additional testing if they feel it necessary to demonstrate the required level of English language proficiency.

I noticed that there was a language requirement in the application form mandating that students demonstrate reading knowledge of French or another language approved by the Film Studies Graduate Supervisor.  Are students expected to complete this requirement before application or before graduation?

This requirement must be completed before graduation. A basic requirement for engaging with the world and the fundamental multilingualism of film and media is the ability to communicate in more than one language. For this reason, the Film Studies M.A. program requires students to pass a second-language requirement through coursework, a translation exam, or demonstration of prior competence before graduation.

I have already taken and passed my IELTS test. But it expires next year before the I start my classes. Will it be still considered valid if I apply early into the program and get accepted?

A student’s IELTS score must be valid until the end of May of the year of application in order for us to consider the score.  If the score expires before the month of May of the year of application, then the student must take a new test. Students may be conditionally admitted until new test scores are received by the end of August of the year of admission.

C. Funding

Does your program offer financial support to domestic (Canadian and permanent residents) students?

Carleton offers generous funding packages to its domestic graduate students. When you submit your application for admission to Carleton, you are automatically considered for funding and if you are eligible, you will be notified in your Offer of Admission and Funding. Admission funding may take the form of one or more of the following:

  1. Teaching Assistantships (TAships)
  2. Domestic Entrance Scholarships
  3. Merit Scholarships
  4. Donor-Funded Awards
  5. Research Assistantships (RA)

We also recommend that students apply for external SSHRC and OGS graduate funding. Note that these deadlines are in the fall.

Does your program offer financial support to international students?

Upon submission of an application to our MA program, administrators will automatically consider you for a possible admissions funding offer. A separate application is generally not required. Please note, however, that for international applicants, graduate funding is awarded only in exceptional cases.  Eligible students will be notified on their Offer of Admission and Funding. We also recommend that students apply for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Note that this deadline is in the fall.

Does Carleton provide an insurance plan for international students? What is UHIP?

The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) is a mandatory health plan for all international and/or non-residents studying or working at Carleton University.

UHIP applies to:

  • international students (including exchange);
  • registered students with domestic status/paying domestic fees who are not yet eligible for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP);
  • international employees working in Ontario who cannot get OHIP;
  • family members (spouse and/or children) of international students and employees who are not eligible for OHIP;
  • Canadian employees or other individuals who are satisfying the OHIP waiting period, and
  • short-term visitors (international visiting researchers, visiting students, new employees, Post Docs)

The UHIP plan provides coverage comparable to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) for Ontario residents.  It provides insurance to pay the cost of doctor/hospital medical services that students or employees and their dependents might need.

For more detailed information about UHIP coverage, eligibility, premiums, etc. please see below: