Film Studies M.A. Program

About the Program

Faculty Director

Ajay Gehlawat, Ph.D.
Theatre and Film

Program Coordinator

Beth Warner
Senior Academic Programs Coordinator, School of Extended and International Education

Quick Links

The Master of Arts in Film Studies (MA-FILM) degree program at Sonoma State University is a unique interdisciplinary degree designed to develop students' knowledge of film as an aesthetic medium and an agent of social change. The program is dedicated to providing students with the tools to understand film as a mode of communication and as a distinct art form. It will also show how film and digital media can be used as tools for advocacy.

The MA-FILM at Sonoma State University is one of the most affordable graduate film programs offered in California. Sonoma State University, part of the California State University system, is located north of San Francisco in Sonoma County, which has been a favorite location for filmmakers since the silent era. SSU offers a safe, friendly and vibrant learning environment in which students can pursue their educational and career goals.

Program Highlights:

  • 30 units taken over two years (four semesters)
  • Afternoon and evening classes to fit busy schedules
  • Collaborative learning in a small seminar setting with filmmakers and screenwriters
  • Students work with film and digital media scholars from across campus and the larger community
  • Coursework includes digital editing and post-production
  • Choice of culminating experience: academic Master’s thesis or creative film project

Program Objectives

The MA-FILM program prepares students for employment in the film and media industries and lays the groundwork for a career in higher education and the arts. Through completion of the MA-FILM degree, students will:

  • Integrate knowledge from multiple interrelated fields to develop interdisciplinary projects
  • Analyze film and media texts in a rapidly changing world
  • Understand the social, cultural, historical, and political perspectives of film
  • Interpret and express concise arguments in oral and written communications
  • Apply their knowledge of film theory and history towards larger collaborative enterprises
  • Develop the critical and analytical skills to evaluate emerging new media forms
  • Collaborate with filmmakers on larger projects including documentary features
  • Formulate new areas of media research and design independent media projects

Program Outcomes

  • Students prepared to be independent film and media scholars and practitioners
  • Educated students who are leaders in their professions
  • Engaged media professionals committed to enacting and documenting social change