Teacher teaching students

From our smartphones to the movie theater, human experiences across the globe today are shaped by the media we view and create. Visual media are entwined with culture, art, politics, and entertainment. Understanding these relationships is at the core of Cinema & Media Studies. 



Undergraduate majors


Our department offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Cinema & Media Studies (CMS) and is the home to the Comparative Literature major for undergraduates. Our students actively engage with contemporary media as critical observers, analysts, researchers, and industry experts. They communicate their findings clearly and persuasively. They interpret and utilize the tools of visual communication to affect and influence the world.

Through courses on media criticism, film history and culture, and contemporary cinema and technology, students who major in CMS investigate how visual media shape our experiences in and perceptions of the world. They apply their analytical skills to hands-on practice including internships and courses in screenwriting. Because visual media literacy is an increasingly critical skill in diverse fields, many students pair this major with a degree in STEM, the social sciences, or a pre-professional field. Graduates bring a valued perspective and insights to organizations in a wide range of fields spanning media, technology, arts and culture, education, entertainment, and more.

The undergraduate major in Comparative Literature trains students in the critical analysis of texts. It explores how the rhetorical and aesthetic features of those texts respond to and shape social values, attitudes and beliefs. The major explores the relationships among different cultures and between literature and other fields of knowledge, such as art history, philosophy, religion and political thought. This broad latitude maximizes students’ opportunities to design their own courses of study. Graduates pursue careers in a variety of fields such as marketing, publishing, law, technology, public relations and the arts.

Student with award
Alum Ryan Swen gets his hands on an Oscar. Unfortunately he doesn’t have one of his own—yet.


Autumn 2023

  • 217 Cinema and Media Studies majors
  • 5 Comparative Literature majors
  • 24 Graduate students

Degrees Awarded

Spring 2023

  • 74 Bachelor of Arts degrees
  • 3 Master of Arts degrees
  • 4 PhD degrees

Major Graduate Awards

  • 2 Los Angeles Review of Books Publishing Workshop Awards
  • 1 Mellon Fellowship for Public Projects in the Humanities
  • 1 Linda Hall Library (in Science, Engineering, Technology) Fellow
  • 1 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Graduate Student Essay Award
  • 1 Greenhouse Green Transition Fellow, University of Stavanger, Norway
  • 1 Energy Cultures Award, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities, University of Pennsylvania
  • 5 Simpson Center Society of Scholars Graduate Fellowships
  • 4 Simpson Center Society of Scholar Summer Fellowships
  • 6 Digital Humanities Summer Fellowships, Simpson Center for the Humanities
  • 2 Barclay Simpson Scholars in Public
  • 1 College of Arts & Sciences Graduate Medal
  • 1 UW Graduate School Distinguished Thesis Award
  • 1 Graduate School Presidential Dissertation Award
  • 1 Antoinette Wills Endowed Scholarship in the Humanities
  • 4 Chester Fritz Awards for International Research Fellowship
  • 1 Stroum Center Graduate Fellowship in Jewish Studies
  • 1 Nancy C.M. Hartsock Prize for Best Graduate Paper in Feminist Theory


Student Reviewing Film

Autumn 2023

  • 7 Professors
  • 3 Associate Professors
  • 3 Assistant Professors
  • 21 Adjunct/Affiliate Faculty

Faculty Awards & Honors

  • 1 Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Film Scholar
  • 1 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship
  • 1 Annette Kuhn Essay Prize in Cinema & Media Studies
  • 2 Guggenheim Fellowships
  • 1 Lockwood Professorship in the Humanities
  • 1 Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship
  • 2 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships
  • 1 National Jewish Book Award
  • 1 Osborne Professorship in Cinema & Media Studies
  • 14 Simpson Center Grants and Fellowships
  • 2 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Book Awards
  • 10 UW Royalty Research Fund Awards


Research in our department reflects the diversity of our faculty’s and students’ areas of expertise and interest. Recent faculty projects and publications have covered such topics as global art cinema, feminist approaches to silent film history, and history of production design in Hollywood. Recent dissertations have included studies of the history of animation in Eastern Europe, queer perspectives in contemporary East Asian cinemas, and transnational heritage films. Our faculty include the editors-in-chief of two international journals: Feminist Media Histories and Journal of Chinese Cinemas.

Recent books published by our faculty (in alphabetical order by author, since 2019) include: Gordana Crnkovic, Literature and Film from East Europe's Forgotten "Second World" (Bloomsbury, 2021); Naomi Sokoloff, ed., Since 1948: Israeli Literature in the Making (SUNY, 2020); and James Tweedie, Moving Pictures, Still Lives: Film, New Media, and the Late Twentieth Century (Oxford, 2018). 

Areas of Scholarship

  • Cinema and Media Studies
  • Feminist Film History and Theory
  • History of Technology
  • Race and Media
  • Television Studies
  • Visual Culture
  • World Literature
Students Bowling
CMS faculty, staff, and students bond while bowling.


Our faculty and graduate students have worked with the Simpson Center for the Humanities on public scholarship initiatives by teaching publicly engaged graduate seminars and by connecting with teachers in high schools and community colleges across Seattle. We have co-sponsored local festivals of Asian American, Jewish, Latin American, South Asian, and Queer cinemas. We have also collaborated in various ways with the UW Film Club, First Year Programs, the LUX Film Production Club, the Northwest Film Forum, the Red Badge Project, and the Seattle International Film Festival. Expanding our outreach efforts to include more diverse communities is a top priority.


Department of Cinema & Media Studies
Box 354338
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-4338
Phone: (206) 543-7542
Email: cinema@uw.edu
Website: cinema.washington.edu


last update: December 2023