The Film and Visual Studies concentration engages students in the history, criticism, and theory of film and other visual media spanning a broad range of disciplines and fields in visual and material studies, literature and culture, adaptation, and performance studies. Coursework covers the history of American cinema, film genre and authorship studies, contemporary global cinemas, literary and rhetorical studies, affect and embodiment theory, and minoritarian aesthetics, among other topics and approaches. As an interdisciplinary concentration, Film and Visual Studies also enables students to take applicable classes in the School of Language, Culture, and Society. Collaborations beyond the classroom include partnerships with the downtown, independent Darkside Cinema for screenings and events, including the annual Oregon State International Film Festival. The Film and Visual Studies track prepares students for professions and professional programs involving visuality and visual arts. The MA faculty in Film and Visual Studies publish widely with major trade and scholarly presses and in top professional journals.

Students in Film and Visual Studies Create Groundbreaking Research

MA students complete a thesis during their second year of study. Many of these projects result in excellent, thoughtful research that becomes integrated into classroom practice, results in published articles, or evolves into dissertation projects. These are just a few recent thesis projects:

  • Bill Fech, “The soul announces itself: Terrence Malick's Emersonian cinema”
  • Nicholas A. Brown, “Extending and Visualizing Authorship in Comics Studies”
  • Samara Surface, “Its Own Sense of Verisimilitude": The Lizzie Bennet Diaries As a Transhistorical Adaptation of the Semipublic”
  • Matthew Dodson, “The Objects Within: An Applied OOO Literary Criticism” (recipient of the All-University Best Thesis Award)
  • Alexandra Hayley Trowbridge, "In and Out of Touch: Fabricated Histories in Nella Larsen's Passing and James VanDerZee's Studio Portraiture"
  • Charles K. Barkley, "'Her Hypnotic Eyes': Reading the Optical in Aaron Douglas’s Aspects of Negro Life and Nella Larsen's Passing"

Film and Visual Studies Alumni Have Exciting Careers

  • Andrea Schuster (MA, 2021) was accepted to the PhD Program in Film at the University of Iowa

  • Kate Dawson (MA, 2020) was accepted to the PhD Program in Film at Temple University

  • Jess Silbaugh-Cowdin (MA, 2018) was accepted to the PhD Program in Literature at the University of California San Diego

  • Samara Surface (MA, 2016) is a Business Administrator at Invention Development Fund
  • Alexandra Hayley Trowbridge (MA, 2016) is a Freelance Copyeditor
  • Charles K. Barkley (MA, 2016) is an Enrollment Advisor at the University of Chicago
  • Nicholas A. Brown (MA, 2015) is a Graduate Instructor at Texas Christian University
  • Bill Fech (MA, 2014) is a Film and Moving Image Studies graduate student at Concordia University
  • Matthew Dodson (MA, 2014) is a Client Engagement Supervisor at Zillow Group

Our program application deadline is in early January. Watch for applications to open each year in mid-September.