Cinema Studies Certificate

The Penn Cinema Studies program reflects the unique profile of the university and its history. With a faculty drawn from numerous departments, the program emphasizes the international variety and historical complexity of cinema. It offers students the opportunity to investigate major filmmakers, to contrast different national cinemas, to explore the economic and political forces behind the movies, to measure the relationship of film to other arts and literatures, and to test their creative talents with digital video and screenwriting. Students in this program gain not only a solid foundation in the complex facts of the cinema but also the abilities and tools to think carefully and critically about that media.

Cinema Studies addresses the center of contemporary culture today. Through the course of the twentieth century, the art of film emerged as, arguably, the most prominent way people see and understand the world even as we recognize the illusory nature of this vision and address its complex impact on its audiences. As we enter the next century, the reach of that vision promises to extend through the many new technologies that will form the fabric of our future lives. More so than ever, serious academic work in film and media prepares students to engage and shape that future. The Cinema Studies Certificate offers students in the MLA program an opportunity to pursue their interest in the role of film in our culture as a central focus of their graduate studies.

The Cinema Studies certificate, as part of the MLA Program, is designed to meet the academic interests of:

  • students interested in graduate-level study of cinema
  • professionals whose career involves the use and understanding of the medium of film
  • educators who wish to add the study of film to their classroom teaching


  • One MLA Proseminar focusing on cinema
  • Four courses with content relating to cinema studies
  • A Capstone Project on a topic in cinema studies
  • Three MLA electives

Application Procedure

Students wishing to pursue a certificate in Cinema Studies through the Master of Liberal Arts Program should complete an MLA Application.

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