Our admissions application period is now closed for the 2018-19 academic year.
We will begin our 2019-20 admission applications cycle in mid-November 2018 and the deadline will be on January 15, 2019.
- Please contact the appropriate Graduate Program Director below if you have any problems with or questions about the application system:
- Sharon Hayashi (firstname.lastname@example.org) for applications to the MA/PhD programs in Cinema and Media Studies.
- John Greyson (email@example.com) for applications to the MFA in Production and Screenwriting.
The application process contains 2 parts:
All applicants must complete the Graduate Admissions Application Package available at York University - Graduate Admissions.
After you have you paid your processing fee online, you will need to wait 3-5 BUSINESS days to receive your York student number in order to proceed to the 2nd part of the application, on MyFile.
*If you are a former York student, you will use THE SAME student number you were assigned from before to access your MyFile.
In about 3-5 business days later, you can proceed to the second part of the admissions process in your MyFile. To login, you will need your York student number and your date of birth.
In your MyFile, you will upload all the required documents (statement of interest, thesis/MRP Proposal, transcripts, portfolio page, writing samples, etc.).
You will list your references within the "Supplementary Information Form" section. Once you have submitted their names and emails, your references will receive an email from our school, and there will be a link in there that will direct them to an online reference form to complete for you.
You are required to take (or show proof that you have taken within the last 2 years) an English proficiency test ONLY if your last degree was NOT conducted in English. You must obtain a MINIMUM score of ONE of these tests:
- TOEFL: (Paper-based: 600; Computer-based: 250; iBT: 100)
- IELTS: Overall Band Score: 7.5
- YELT: (York English Language Test): Band 1
An honours degree or equivalent with a minimum 'B' average. We welcome applicants with educational backgrounds in Film/Cinema Studies, Media Studies, Communications, Cultural Studies, Art History, English, Women’s Studies, Queer and Sexuality Studies, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Area Studies, and other disciplines that nurture research in sound and moving image media.
Statement of Interest*
Outline how your education and (if applicable) extra-curricular interests have prepared you for graduate studies in the cinema and media studies. Why is York a good fit for your studies? Maximum 500 words.
Major Research Paper (MRP) Proposal*
The proposal is an important component of your application and will be considered very carefully by the Admissions Committee. The topic submitted does not necessarily constitute a commitment to working on this topic if admitted, but it must clearly demonstrate a conceptualization of a detailed research project. This outline for a critical, historical or theoretical project in cinema and/or media studies should not exceed 500 words. Include parameters like period, nation/region, themes, media, filmmakers etc.
*Please combine BOTH your Statement of Interest AND your MRP Proposal in ONE document to upload, but with 2 distinct headings, no more than 2 pages per section (thus, no more than 4 pages in total).
Three letters of reference are required to support your application. Letter from academic referees are preferred although letters may also be solicited from professionals who can speak to your writing, critical, and research abilities.
The references are located within the Supplementary Information Form.
Please attach a sample of your written academic work (preferably two essays, with a total word count of no more than 7500 words or 30 pages). In addition, you may also choose to submit examples of film or media writing or programming including reviews, program notes, or other publications. These will not normally be returned; photocopies are adequate.
The titles of courses on transcripts do not always accurately reflect the specific orientation or content of these courses. To assist us in assessing your background, please list on a separate sheet the courses you have taken in film and related disciplines (e.g. theatre, visual arts, cultural studies, communications) and the grades that you received. If you feel it would be helpful, you may attach course outlines or descriptions from annual departmental course guides.
Please submit a resumé or CV with your application. If you have not attended an educational institution recently, please attach a description of your relevant professional activities.
In addition, TWO official sealed copies of transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended must be submitted, ordinarily directly from the institution, in sealed envelopes.
Note: All written material must be typed.
for screenwriters, see bottom of page
While all elements of your application are important, our admissions committee of MFA production faculty will adjudicate following this order of importance: Portfolio (most important); Statement/Proposal; Curriculum Vitae; Letters of Reference; Academic Transcripts/Academic Background. While a minimum of an undergraduate B GPA is encouraged, professional equivalency (e.g. production track record, festival screenings, etc.) is also taken into account.
A page listing password-protected Vimeo or Youtube links to 3-6 of your previous works. Each link should be accompanied by a brief paragraph description, indicating: title, length, genre/form, your role (typically writer/director), the origin of the work (Was it made in school? Arts council $? A commission? Did you have editorial/creative control?). Also, include a one-line description of content, and a brief reason for inclusion (for instance, how it relates to your thesis proposal, or your development as an artist, etc. e.g. “Though the acting is weak, the visual style is a good example of how I’ll approach my thesis.”)
Guidelines: Portfolio must be a page of links—no DVDs, drives, etc. Works should be complete works (not excerpts). You can indicate specific scenes/sections that you’d like the committee to screen (e.g. “please go to the ten min. scene starting at 24 min. 30 sec.”) Total amount of work that you want the committee to review should be about 30 min. (e.g. yes, you can submit four features, but then suggest the sections you wish us to view). Works can be fiction, doc, experimental, and/or documentation of transmedia works, with you typically performing the key authorial/creative role (if not, explain why you are including). Commerical works (promos, ads, music videos, commissioned docs, etc.) may show your craft, but don’t tell us much about you as an artist/storyteller—so if you include them, tell us why. Fine to include rough-cuts, works-in-progress (indicate this clearly). Fine to include footage which may become part of your thesis proposal. OK to include works that you have shot, acted in, edited, etc. for others—but do tell us why it was relevant to include them in your application. Fine to include work which is outside the specialization of your thesis proposal—again, tell us why (e.g. you have five years extensive background as a fiction writer/director, but you want to come into the MFA to make an experimental doc, etc.)
Statement of Interest & Thesis Proposal
Combine these into one document (maximum 4 pages) and post under 'Statement of Interest'.
Statement of Interest (750 words): Briefly outline your reasons for wishing to study in the grad film production program at York at this time. Summarize your artistic and creative background to date, and outline your priorities and vision as a filmmaker/film artist. Describe/contextualize your previous training/university/college education, in terms of specialization, degree, marks, and extracurricular activities.
Tell us about the role you hope this MFA could play in your future work and your career. Is the MFA a chance to continue your exploration of a practice (e.g. experimental) that you’ve already mastered… or is this a new direction, a fresh start?
Thesis proposal (750 words): Should include title, proposed length, genre, medium, one sentence summary description. Then: Content (1-2 paragraphs). Form (1-2 paragraphs). Influences (films, filmmakers, artists, 1 paragraph). Relation to your previous work (1-2 paragraphs). Logistics (timeline, resources, equipment, 1-2 paragraphs).
Your thesis film can be any work of cinema in the expanded sense (fiction, documentary, alternative) and be realized in any platform (a film, an installation, an i-doc, a VR work, a series of related shorts). Realistically, it should be a shorter work (e.g. 15 min.) that is feasible to complete within your five terms of study, along with your other courses and obligations—and that can be supported by your/our available equipment and resources. However, your genre/form/idiom/medium/vision may mean your thesis proposal doesn’t fit within this 15 min. straight-jacket—so green light, pitch us something outside this box. (Also, we understand that you may change your proposal as your move through the program—many do!—and you have till the end of your third term to lock it down.)
(Reminder: Combine Statement of Interest and Thesis Proposal into one document (maximum 4 pages) and post under 'Statement of Interest.')
8 pages maximum. For production students, this is optional—a place where you can choose to post additional materials relevant to your application, and your work as an artist: perhaps an essay you've written, or a script, or a visual treatment with photos, or reviews of your work, or background research into your topic. Note: do not post your thesis proposal or Statement of Interest here.
This should be your arts CV, summarizing your achievements as a filmmaker/artist, and should include: education; works (year, length, genre, description); grants & awards; screenings/exhibitions/festivals; related professional experiences; related relevant employment.
Letters of Reference
Three letters of reference are required to support your application. At least one should be from an academic referee, speaking to your scholarly as well as artistic abilities. Letters may also be solicited from professionals (fellow filmmakers, programmers, producers, collaborators) who can speak to your filmmaking abilities, artistic vision and potential.
Provide your referees with your statement of intent, thesis proposal, CV and page of portfolio links, and encourage them to respond to/engage with each of these (where relevant). You will submit their e-dress on your online application; York will send them a link; and they will upload their letter, which will be sent directly to our adjudication committee (you won’t see it).
An honours degree or equivalent with a minimum 'B' average in film/video or a related discipline. Professional experience/achievements can be also considered. Use your Statement of Interest (see above) to address any discrepancies.
Supplementary Admissions Data Form
Professional/creative/amateur work and non-degree and/or non-diploma courses/workshops are also considered, and should be noted on the Supplementary Admissions Data form included in the application package. All sections of this supplementary form must be completed.
Notes regarding our Adjudication
We are a small program, typically accepting 15 domestic and 1 Visa student per year, so the competition for each slot is fierce. Beyond the excellence of the portfolios, thesis proposals, CVs, letters of reference and transcripts for each applicant, we base our selection on the availability of suitable faculty members to serve as thesis supervisors, and the fit between their artistic/scholarly interests and the thesis proposals submitted.
Application Guidelines for Screenwriters
Typically, we accept 1-2 screenwriters every year into our MFA cohort of 16. Your application will follow the same format as that of filmmakers above, with the following exceptions:
- Portfolio must include: (1) a cover page, listing each writing sample (include title, year, genre, log-line, and a sentence about how it relates to your past work and/or thesis proposal. (2) One previously written feature dramatic screenplay, correctly formatted (pdf attachment). (3) The portfolio can also include any three of the following: short dramatic screenplay; short story; critical/scholarly essay; other relevant examples of recent work which reflect your writing abilities and creativity; a completed film whose script you authored, along with a copy of the script and relevant production details. (Note: all written material must be submitted as PDF attachments. Film(s) and film excerpts should be sent either as a YouTube or Vimeo URL link listed on your cover page (please provide passwords if required). DO NOT submit any DVDs or Blu-rays.
- Thesis proposal (750 words): Submit a proposal of an original feature film screenplay, which includes a discussion of the film's dramatic premise, as well as an indication of how the proposed project reflects your interests as a writer and what larger ideas, concerns or questions might be explored through telling this story. Proposal should include: title, proposed length, genre, medium, one sentence summary description. Then: content (1-2 paragraphs); form (1-2 paragraphs); influences (films, filmmakers, artists, 1 paragraph); relation to your previous work (1-2 paragraphs); logistics (timeline, resources, equipment, 1-2 paragraphs). (Note: if accepted to the program, students are allowed to develop a different thesis project from that initially proposed.) Please combine your Statement of Interest and your Thesis Proposal into one document (max. 4 pages) and upload under 'Statement of Interest'.
FAQs: For domestic and international applicants, see our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Applicants should hold a masters degree in film or a related field. No applicants with an average of lower than B+ shall be admitted to the program. In addition to the general requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies admissions office, the Graduate Program in Film requires the following documents:
- Supplementary Application Form
- Statement of research interest/research proposal (approximately 500–1000 words)
- Resume or curriculum vitae
- Writing sample (two essays totalling NO MORE than than 40 pages or its equivalent)
- Official transcripts (graduate and undergraduate)
- Three letters of recommendation, preferably from academic referees
Applicants are asked to list potential supervisors and/or supervisory committee members in their application. Final assignment of supervisors and committee is not generally made until the SECOND year of the program. You are not expected to contact potential supervisors before applying.
In some cases, the admissions committee will consider applications for part–time students to enter the PhD program. Note that part–time students are not eligible for most financial aid from York University.