The combined doctoral degree in Film and Media Studies/English

Program of Courses

Students are required to take at least fifteen courses over a two-year period.

A.  Requirements in Film and Media Studies: Six courses

  1. FILM 601 (Films and Their Study)
  2. Four additional seminars in Film Studies.

B.  Requirements in English: Nine courses

  1. The English Department’s teaching practicum (ENGL 990)
  2. Eight other seminars in literary studies.
    1. One seminar in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century
    2. One seminar in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century
    3. One seminar in either Medieval or Early Modern
  3. Cross-listed seminars may be counted toward both the six in FMS and the nine in English, though this does not reduce the need for fifteen courses overall.  The DGS of English may allow the substitution of a course outside both departments for an English seminar.

C.  In some cases, students may receive a very limited number of course credits for prior graduate-level coursework with the approval of the DGSs of both units.


Two foreign languages appropriate to the student’s field; French is strongly advised for the purposes of this Program, but students may petition to work in any language. Satisfied by: 

  1. Passing a translation exam administered by a Yale language department or the English Department;
  2. Passing an advanced literature course at Yale (graduate or advanced undergraduate, with DGS approval)
  3. Passing both English 500 and English 501.

Qualifying Exam

The qualifying exam, normally taken toward the beginning of the student’s third year at Yale, measures the student’s knowledge of five subfields, based on reading lists designed in consultation with appropriate faculty members.  It will include two subfield exams in English, two in Film and Media Studies, and one interdisciplinary or theoretical topic on material that the student hopes to continue exploring in the dissertation.  These lists must be approved by the DGSs who verify their variety, length, and coordination.

Dissertation Prospectus

Each student submits a prospectus of 15-20 pages, designed in consultation with a dissertation committee of three advisors, including at least one faculty member from each unit. The prospectus is discussed, and revisions may be suggested, at a prospectus conference, normally by the end of the student’s third year. The advisors and the two DGSs attend this conference. Other faculty may be invited to the conference. The finalized prospectus is ratified by the full FMS executive committee.

Defense Of Method

In the semester prior to depositing the dissertation, the student shall sit for a 60-90 minute “Defense of Method” before advisors, DGSs, and any other faculty appointed to assess the dissertation. The student shall circulate at least 80% of the dissertation two weeks in advance of this meeting. Questions and advice from the faculty aim to help the candidate bring the dissertation to its best form in the following couple months. Should the defense be deemed inadequate, or should the work that remains demand more than two semesters, this defense must be repeated.