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M.A. in Film Studies

A completed B.A. in Film Studies (or comparable study programs) is a prerequisite for admission to the M.A. in Film Studies. Standard time to degree is four semesters. The M.A. program concludes with a master’s thesis. The seminars are generally in German, so advanced language skills are required. The program is free of charge; there are no tuition fees.

The M.A. in Film Studies at Freie Universität Berlin offers an outstanding research environment. The Film Studies Department is involved in several international and interdisciplinary research projects, which offer master’s students a variety of opportunities for participation.

For detailed information on the M.A. in Film Studies, see the Film Studies Degree Program and Examination Regulations.


About the Program

The M.A. in Film Studies has a strong research focus. Given its close thematic connection with other courses in art and media studies as well as with its object of study, the program provides students with a solid methodology to identify and think about audiovisual media’s aesthetics, forms, and modes of operation. The program focuses on the exploration, critical reflection, and independent development of questions and research issues in the history, analysis, and theory of film and other audiovisual forms of expression. Besides preparing students for a Ph.D. program, the M.A. program aims to qualify students for highly qualified theoretical and academic jobs that are in demand in numerous cultural sectors.

Academic and Career Goals

Graduates have in-depth academic knowledge and advanced professional skills. These include in particular factual and methodological expert knowledge on the history, analysis, aesthetics, and theory of audiovisual culture, the ability to address scholarly questions and assignments in an independent and interdisciplinary manner, and the capacity for the methodology-based reflection, contextualization, and analysis of research issues.

The M.A. in Film Studies qualifies students to become Film Studies researchers and teachers and to pursue a Ph.D. degree. Moreover, the program prepares students for employment in the following areas: (film) museums (archives, program planning, publications), movie theaters (program planning and curatorial activities), festivals (program planning, organization, and curatorial activities), specialized publishers (editorial work), film, television and broadcasting, funding agencies, foundations, associations, and politics (consultancy, analyses, expert statements).

Curriculum – Modules – Application & Admission

The M.A. in Film Studies comprises six modules, each consisting of two thematically related courses. In the first two semesters, students deepen their critically reflected insights into current research on contemporary film historiography, film analysis, and theory building in media aesthetics. An additional focus is on reflecting on and applying different methodological approaches in film studies. The third semester is dedicated to project work in research practice and the familiarization with current research issues designed to result in a prospectus of the master’s thesis. The thesis will be written in the fourth semester and accompanied by a colloquium.

The master’s thesis is to show that the students are capable of independently working on and presenting a research problem using academic methods. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be awarded a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree.

The curriculum of the program is governed by the Degree Program and Examination Regulations. The regulations contain detailed descriptions of the contents and qualification goals of each individual module, as well as a sample curriculum. In addition, they define the examination requirements of each module and the master’s exam. They list the credit points for each module as well as the workload in hours for the entire course of study.

While studying for an M.A. in Film Studies, students complete six modules, each consisting of two courses (see M.A. in Film Studies – Module Overview).

In one module each on Film Analysis and History and on Film Aesthetics and Art/Media Theory, the students learn to engage with problems and issues in current film and media studies research, and to formulate their own research questions and theoretical concepts.

The specialization module on Methodology focuses on the application and critical reflection of film studies methodologies. In the specialization module on Theory, students deepen the critical reflection and contextualization of film theoretical concepts, particularly through an interdisciplinary dialogue with art, cultural studies, and media studies.

In the Project module, students try out practical forms of work in media studies research or other potential fields of employment – such as archives and museums, programming film series and festivals, or film criticism.

The Current Research Issues module is devoted to developing a comprehensive research prospectus in a field of the students’ own choosing, which is to form the basis for the master’s thesis. The students present their work in a seminar and independently moderate the discussion. 

General Information on Modules and Credit Points (CPs)

The application and admission procedure is centrally organized by Freie Universität Berlin.

Fore more information on application deadlines etc., visit: Application and Admission.

Please also see the information on Transferring between Higher Education Institutions in Higher Semesters.

To be admitted to the M.A. program, applicants need to submit proof of the following:

  • B.A. in Film Studies or equivalent university degree corresponding to the curriculum of the B.A. in Film Studies at Freie Universität Berlin.
  • For graduates of foreign universities: advanced German language proficiency. For more information on the required documentation, see here.

The M.A. in Film Studies is a limited admission program.

When submitting your application, please note the following:

  • Please understand that the equivalency check only takes place as part of the application process and cannot be done in advance. For your own orientation, please refer to the curriculum of the B.A. in Film Studies.
  • Given the academic and theoretical orientation of the M.A. program, practical job experience is no criterion when it comes to selecting students for the program.
  • You are not required to submit letters of motivation or exposés.
  • If you have not yet completed your studies at the time of application, it is sufficient to submit a preliminary final grade, which must be confirmed by the examinations office of your university. Applicants should have completed at least two thirds of their studies.

For more information on the application and selection procedure, see the Admission Regulations for the M.A. in Film Studies.