Graduate programs in Film Studies coming to UNCW


Genevieve Guenther

Jonny Berrios, Staff Writer

An M.F.A. in film making and an M.A. in film studies will soon be an option for current and prospective UNC Wilmington students in the fall of 2020. The M.A. will be the only such film program offered in the state.

Although classes begin in fall 2020, the fall 2019 semester will see the graduate school open applications for a new graduate program in the Film Studies Department. After application, students will be notified in the spring of a decision.

The M.F.A. in film making is a three-year program, while the M.A. in film studies is a two-year program. The M.A. is not a terminal degree and is occasionally achieved for itself or on the way to a Ph.D. The M.F.A. is a terminal degree, meaning that it is the highest degree awarded for that field of study.

For the M.A. in film studies, pursuing a Ph.D. is not the only pathway for graduate students.

“What’s going to make our program different is that we are doing a lot of writing and publishing and teaching opportunities. Because film has become such an important part of media literacy education we think that it will appeal to more people,” said Mariana Johnson, UNCW Film Studies chair and associate professor.

A masters degree opens the door to not only higher education, but also the possibility of better pay. The department hopes that these new programs will attract people who are interested in teaching and who want to gain more expertise in film and media literacy. People who are interested in writing and publishing will benefit from these programs.

“Online especially. There is so much need for media content, so the ability to write about moving images also with moving images is an important part of the M.A. curriculum,” Johnson said.

The first class that both M.F.A. and M.A. students will take is six hours and counts as two classes. This class involves film history and theory with production. This first class—consisting of both M.F.A. and M.A. students—will then separate to their respective focus.

“We believe that in order to be a successful filmmaker you need to study films, and we think in order to be a successful film scholar you need to make films,” Johnson said.  “That’s what makes our programs unique.”

The department is announcing this opportunity for all students, especially current film studies majors.

“I am grateful for the opportunities that these programs will open for me,” said Samuel Farance, a sophomore and film studies major.

“It’s great to not have to leave the state or Wilmington for that matter to continue my education,” Farance said.

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