Film and Media Studies, MAS

The Master of Advanced Study in Film and Media Studies at ASU offers working professionals and lifelong learners a dynamic education in US film, television, and digital media. Taught exclusively online by outstanding media scholars, critics, and filmmakers, the program explores the artistic, economic, and cultural dimensions of media production through small classes in aesthetics, history, theory, and screenwriting.

Providing a comprehensive analysis of US film, television, and digital media across a range of texts and platforms, the MAS in Film and Media Studies at ASU develops students into more critically informed writers, storytellers, consumers, and evaluators of popular culture. The program's unique strength is its location at the intersection of a traditional humanities education and an emergent technological one; ASU's reputation as a leader in both access and innovation supports this approach. MAS alumni work in a variety of artistic and professional settings including Hollywood, academia, film festivals, journalism, and more.

Note: Beginning Fall 2019, the program will be known as MAS in Film and Media Studies.

2 years to degree
online degree
7 faculty

Degree Overview

This 30-hour program requires 30 hours of coursework and a written exam for the culminating experience. The ideal candidate will have an interest in innovative approaches to the study of film, television, new media, and screenwriting, using historic methods, critical theory, and creative expression as modes of analysis. The GRE is not required for the application.

How to apply

To apply for the MAS degree, visit the online application.  Be sure to select ASU online (not Tempe campus).

The application deadlines are: March 15 for summer; May 15 for fall; November 1 for spring.

Note: The committee reviews applications shortly after the deadline. The application must be complete with all supporting documents before review. This is the applicant's responsibility. Please plan accordingly when submitting an application.

  • Applicants must apply online
  • A nonrefundable application fee is required. Official transcripts must be sent to the ASU Graduate College Admissions Office.

More information on how to apply.  

The following supporting documents must be uploaded into the online application (please do not send hard copies or email attachments):

  • Applicants must submit a two-page personal statement that describes their past academic work, reasons for pursuing the MAS and the skills that prepare them for this degree.
  • three-page essay that assesses their knowledge of media theory and critical analysis skills. Applicants should demonstrate the ability to write well and construct a persuasive critical argument. Appropriate secondary sources should be used in this essay. The subject of the essay will be included in the online Graduate Admissions Application.
  • While letters of recommendation are optional, applicants may include two or three letters in their application. Recommenders should be former professors or supervisors, addressing the applicant's academic performance, motivation and character.
  • An interview via Skype may be requested before final admission decisions are made.

*The GRE is not required for this program.

*International students must have an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report sent to the Graduate College. English Proficiency Score requirements.

Tuition and Fees: Students whose campus is online will be charged the graduate tuition online rate. All students pay a program fee of $250.00 per course. This fee supports the development, construction and maintenance of the online courses. Each session students will also pay a FA Trust fee and a tech fee. For a breakdown of the tuition and fees, please see ASU Online What it Costs. Take a look at our Fund Your Graduate Education webpage for funding details.

The MAS program has broadened my understanding of media industries. I’ve become more sensitive to how I introduce, identify, and explain people in my stories. I want my stories to empower, educate, and move people!

—Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez, Former NPR reporter and currently residential faculty in journalism at Mesa Community College


The program requires students to complete 30 credits. Due to the nature of the program, it is recommended that students limit their classes to two or three courses in each fall and spring semester. The program may be completed in two years.

A minimum of 30 credit hours is required.

Requirements and electives


Core Courses




Written Exam


Total hours required


Courses and electives

The culminating experience will be a written exam taken in the final semester of the program while registered for other courses. Questions about the degree requirements can be directed to the program director.

  • FMS 502 Hollywood Film Historiography

  • FMS 504 Film Analysis*

  • FMS 520 Cultural History of US Television: Theory and Method

*Please note, this course cannot be substituted with MLS 504.

Some of the above courses have permissions requirements. Please see the MAS registration procedures for information on how to obtain proper clearance.

  • FMS 503 Media Industries

  • FMS 507 Crime and Violence in American Film

  • FMS 508 Race and Gender in American Film

  • FMS 511 Fundamentals of Cinema & Television Narrative

  • FMS 512 Intermediate Cinema & Television Narrative

  • FMS 522 Los Angeles: Movies and Culture

  • FMS 523 Film Authorship

  • FMS 590 Reading and Conference (independent study)

  • FMS 598 Special Topics (repeatable for credit when topics vary)

Some of the above courses have permissions requirements. Please see the MAS registration procedures for information on how to obtain proper clearance.

  • Written Exam* - Students must be registered for at least one graduate level credit the semester they are taking the exam.

*The recommendation is to take the exam in the last semester of the program when registered for other courses.

Beginning Fall 2018, MAS students will complete a written exam instead of an Applied Project for the culminating experience. All students admitted Fall 2018 and beyond will only be able to complete the written exam. Students admitted before Fall 2018 can choose between the Applied Project and the written exam.

Students taking the written exam in Fall 2019 will follow these procedures:

Email the MAS Program Director Julia Himberg by TBA indicating to her that you will be taking the written exam fall semester.

The written exam is a pass/fail exam and will consist of three essay questions. Students will choose two of the three questions to write their essays on. The questions will include assigned material from two of the required courses (FMS 502, FMS 504 and FMS 520) and one elective from the iPOS. Students will be expected to write 5 page essays for each of their answers. These essays need to be submitted via Word attachments and need to be written in 12 pt. font, double spaced, using MLA format for citations.

Students will receive an email with their questions on TBA. They will have 7 days to complete their essay answers (due by TBA) and email a Word attachment of the exam back to Dr. Himberg. FMS faculty will return comments to the student along with the determination of Pass or Fail.

MAS students who do not pass the exam can retake it the following semester.

Once exams results are received by the Graduate Studies office, the iPOS will be updated.

The MAS in Film and Media Studies has 30 full-time students, and admission is highly selective. In the last few years we have accepted only one-third of applicants. With just seven faculty teaching graduate courses, we have to keep the program small in order to work closely with students, helping them to develop knowledge of media and the critical, creative and communication skills to be successful in their careers.

For questions about this program, please use the Get Program Details form at our page on ASU Online