How to Apply

The deadline to apply is December 15 for international and January 15th for domestic applicants.

If you wish to initiate an application after those dates, do email

Please contact the appropriate Graduate Program Director below if you have any questions about your application:

  • Mike Zryd ( for applications to the PhD and MA programs in Cinema and Media Studies.
  • Manfred Becker ( for applications to the MFA program in Film.

Application Process

The application process contains 2 parts:

Part 1:

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.

Part 2:

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.

Language Requirements

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


MA in Cinema and Media Studies

Academic Requirements

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.

Writing Sample

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.

Educational Background

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.

Professional Background

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.

MFA in Film

Applications to MFA in Film

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.


For production: Up to 4 films and/or new media works, where the applicant is preferably the chief creator/director/filmmaker/author. Password-protected Vimeo or YouTube links only, clearly listed in the application. DVDs or other formats will not be accepted. Complete works are preferable to excerpts. Documentation of video/new media installations is also accepted. Applicants should clearly list for each production: the title; the link and password; their creative role(s); original shooting format; year of production; 2-3 sentence synopsis (summarize both content and formal concerns); production context and funding (including if it was produced as part of a school program).

For screenwriters: Written work, e.g. a feature screenplay, or a pilot or bible for a one-hour TV series, or short stories/creative writing/playwriting/new media fiction writing that reflects their writing abilities and creativity.

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 project can be any work of cinema in the expanded sense (fiction, documentary, alternative, transmedia) and be realized in any platform (a film, an installation, an i-doc, a VR work, a series of related shorts, a feature screenplay...). 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.)

For screenwriters, the thesis proposal should consist of two story concepts for feature films or TV series that the applicant might work on as a thesis project. One concept may be described in up to 1000 words, the other in 250–500 words, providing a sense of the subject matter, dramatic premise, genre, and anything else deemed important, including why the applicant wants to tell this story.

(Reminder: Combine Statement of Interest and Thesis Proposal into one document (maximum 4 pages) and post under 'Statement of Interest.')

Written Work

No page limit. For applicants focussed on Fiction/Documentary/Alt/Transmedia, this section is optional—a place where you can choose to post additional materials in pdf format 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.

For applicants focussed on Screenwriting, please submit a screenwriting sample as part of their portfolio, as well as other writings that reflect their writing abilities and creativity. Sample options include:
1) a completed feature screenplay (90+ pages), plus a one-page story synopsis of the whole story, OR
2) a completed one-hour original TV Pilot (50-60 pages), plus bible, OR two half-hour episodes of an original TV series plus bible OR
4) a full-length play OR short stories/novel/play(s)/new media fiction-based writing that reflects their writing abilities and creativity.

Curriculum Vitae

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).

Academic Requirements

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 16 domestic and potentially -- but not guaranteed -- one international funded 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.

PhD in Cinema and Media Studies

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:

  • 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.