MA in Cinema & Media Studies

The MA in Cinema & Media Studies offers a broad and comprehensive curriculum in the critical study of film and media arts to a small group of highly motivated students, ranging between 8-15 each year.

Our renowned faculty within cinema & media scholarship offer a diverse selection of courses and in-depth mentoring that provide students with a core formation in the critical and interpretive analysis of a broad range of cinema and contemporary media.

We welcome applicants with educational backgrounds in Film/Cinema Studies, Media Studies, Communications, Cultural Studies, Digital Media, Art History, English, Women’s Studies, History, Queer and Sexuality Studies, Education, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Area Studies, and other disciplines that nurture research in sound and moving image media.

Patricio Davila’s “Diagrams of Power: Visualizing, Mapping, and Performing Resistance” collects contemporary artworks and projects that use data, diagrams, maps and visualizations as ways of challenging dominant narratives and supporting the resilience of marginalized communities.


Domestic Master's students receive $16,000/year in funding + York's $1000 FGS Healthcare Bursary. With York University’s emphasis on access in higher education, our graduate students pay the lowest graduate tuition in Ontario.

In recent years, more than 70% of Cinema & Media Studies (CMS) MA students have received additional funding through awards like CGS-M ($17,500/year) and OGS ($15,000/year), in part due to the Program's emphasis on strong professional development, including grant writing.


Michael Zryd’s two books in the works are OCTOBER Files: Hollis Frampton, the first collection of critical writing on the work of the American experimental filmmaker (MIT Press), and a monograph, Hollis Frampton: Navigating the Infinite Cinema (Columbia University Press).


In addition to core cinema and media studies approaches through history, criticism, and theory, many of our faculty pursue interdisciplinary research methodologies, including research creation. Four faculty members are current or former Canada Research Chairs and all of our faculty participate actively in international and Canadian academic conferences and publications.

Temenuga Trifonova's The Figure of the Migrant in Contemporary European Cinema explores contemporary debates around the concepts of 'Europe' and 'European identity' through an examination of recent European films dealing with various aspects of globalization - the refugee crisis, labour migration, the resurgence of nationalism and ethnic violence, neoliberalism, post-colonialism.



Students work closely with our faculty while completing specialized coursework in critical theory, cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, documentary, national and transnational cinemas, philosophy and film, independent film, games and digital media, archiving, curatorial studies, film history, media industry studies, migrant cinema & globalization, disability studies, data visualization, and the political economy of media.

Mary Bunch moved her teaching into the virtual world of Second Life, where her lab, Peripheral Visions Collaboratory, established an alternative space to collaborate and learn during COVID.


Our two-year program and flexible curriculum allow students the freedom to fulfill their unique academic and professional aspirations with ample time to benefit from York University’s rich tradition of interdisciplinary research, social justice, knowledge mobilization and emerging technology.

Students may also pursue Field Placements at one of the many film and media institutions in Toronto. Recent internships have included TIFF, Vtape, Toronto Outdoor Picture Show, Images Festival, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, and many others.

Taien Ng-Chan's research explores locative media sound art, “object-oriented storytelling,” place-based narratives and futurist imaginings of everyday life through immersive cinema. She is Chair of the Commission for Art and Cartography at the International Cartographic Association, and one half of the artist-research collective Hamilton Perambulatory Unit (with Donna Akrey).

The MA normally culminates in a major research paper (MRP), which may include a research-creation project. Recent MRP topics include:

  • Feminist Performance and Resistance in 1970s American Cinema
  • Auteurs in Video Games
  • Authorship & Japanese Media Industries
  • Women in Experimental Animation
  • Online Video Essays and Marketing
  • Masculinity in Brokeback Mountain and Moonlighting
  • Film Festivals, Education, and Ideology
  • Taiwanese National Cinema
  • Satire & Conspiracy Theory in American Television
  • Gender and Landscape in the Cinema of Agnes Varda
  • Digital Interactive Ethnography
  • Horror and Verité Aesthetics
  • Gendered Cyborgs in Cinema & Television
  • Toronto on Film

MA students also directly participate in the many research-intensive initiatives and media labs housed in the School of Arts, Performance, Media and Design (AMPD) and across campus:

For students preparing for a future in the media industries, we also offer a joint MA/MBA degree with the Schulich School of Business.


After Your Degree

The MA is an extremely versatile degree that prepares students for futures in interdisciplinary academic research or the growing spectrum of jobs in the creative industries. Many of our graduates pursue PhDs after their MA training, and/or have gone on to successful careers as academics, festival programmers, archivists, curators, critics, and media producers.

For more information, please contact:
Graduate Program Director Michael Zryd—