fbpx Masters Degree Program | George Eastman Museum

The museum grounds will be closed nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday, July 14 through Sunday, July 21. We apologize for any inconvenience. The museum remains open during normal daytime hours and for scheduled film screenings. 

Masters Degree Program

In 2005, the University of Rochester joined with The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation to inaugurate a Masters of Arts degree program. A paramount goal of the Selznick School founder L. Jeffrey Selznick was to combine practical, hands-on training in motion picture preservation with a formal graduate degree program. Thus Selznick provided the inspiration to create the first museum-based university collaboration of its kind, a program that encompassed both curatorial studies and training in motion picture conservation. The MA program builds upon the Selznick School's one-year certificate program in film preservation and restoration by offering a two-year curriculum that incorporates academic coursework at the University of Rochester. Students in the Selznick Graduate Program work with Film and Media Studies faculty through the Department of English at the University of Rochester.

Students are able to choose from courses on film and media production, theory, history, and criticism for their additional year of study, leading to a Master of Arts degree in English with a Certificate of Advanced Achievement in Film Studies and Preservation. The University of Rochester is one of the nation's leading private universities, known for its innovative interdisciplinary study opportunities. Students interact closely with faculty and have access to resources such as the Film and Media Studies Program and the Multimedia Center Collections (Rush Rhees Library, River Campus), the Memorial Art Gallery, and the Eastman School of Music.

Tuition & Financial Aid +

The current University of Rochester graduate tuition rate is approximately $45,000 (USD) per year. Students admitted into the program will be considered for a scholarship of up to half the graduate tuition.

Financial Aid
Applicants admitted into the program will be considered for a scholarship of up to half the graduate tuition. Further information about financial aid can be found here.

Apply +

Please read the following notes carefully before submitting your application.

  • The minimum educational requirement for admission is an undergraduate degree.
  • Due to the structure of the course, part-term registrations are not permitted. Class enrollment is limited to ensure maximum exposure to the preservation activities and optimize the efficiency of the learning process.
  • Classes are conducted in English. The ability to speak, read, write, and comprehend English is mandatory. TOEFL scores are required for applicants who are not native English language speakers.
  • Applications for admission are accepted in accordance with our non-discrimination policy.
  • Activities in a film archive include lifting heavy materials (film cans), working in below-average temperatures (collection storage vaults), and limited exposure to chemical agents (e.g., the by-products and fumes resulting from decomposing nitrate and acetate film). While the school ensures that all precautions are taken to prevent harmful consequences from such activities, the museum is not responsible for any injury resulting from careless handling of film or film-related material.
  • Applications will not be processed until all materials have been received.
  • Applicants to the Selznick Graduate Program in Film & Media Preservation must submit a completed application no later than January 15 of the year in which September admission is sought. Late, or incomplete, applications will not be accepted.
  • The applicant will receive written notification of the Selznick School Admissions Committee's decision by April 15.

IMPORTANT: Upon receipt of the signed enrollment agreement a place will be held for the student. The school will not guarantee a place without receipt of the signed agreement.

Admissions Procedure

IMPORTANT: All applicants must complete the online application for the graduate Masters Program at the Department of English at the University of Rochester's website.

The application includes the following material:

  1. A cover letter of application and intent that specifies goals and ambitions in the preservation field, written and signed by the applicant
  2. A curriculum vitae or résumé
  3. A completed application form
  4. Three letters of recommendation two personal and one professional
    • Personal references: Letters from two individuals whom the applicant has known as a friend, employer, or teacher for two or more years.
    • Professional reference: One letter from someone who has observed the applicant's interest in film archiving and skills related to preservation work.
  5. Applicants must provide a ten to twenty page writing sample (such as an essay from undergraduate or previous graduate coursework)  demonstrating their ability to write a substantial analysis of film, literature, or critical theory.
  6. An official transcript showing the date of conferral of degrees

Course Structure +

The Selznick Graduate Program in Film and Media Preservation consists of a two-year course of integrated study. In their first year, students will work primarily at the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman Museum and attend classes at the University of Rochester. In their second year, students will work primarily on the River Campus of the University of Rochester, completing the course work and the required essay for the master of arts degree in English.


First Year

Requirements: Two Semesters (24 credits)

  1. Museum Practice
    An intensive course designed to familiarize the student with the curatorial standards and practices for conserving moving image materials and related collections in a museum environment. Specific focus will be placed on museum and collection management issues in the areas of administration, acquisitions, research, cataloging, processing, as well as exhibition and preservation of film and moving image media formats.
  2. Curatorial Theory and Practice
    A survey course designed to acquaint the student with the history of the international motion picture archive movement. Major areas of investigation include: the origins of the theory and practice of motion picture archiving and preservation at the regional and national levels, collection acquisitions and management procedures, developing an institutional mission, in addition to the design and management of research, conservation, exhibition, and storage facilities.
  3. Film Conservation and Restoration
    A hands-on course designed to bring the student in direct contact with motion picture film formats and thereby develop an understanding of movies as legitimate museum artifacts. Instruction will be given in recognizing film formats, analyzing specific types of physical damage and deterioration, and developing strategies for their repair and conservation. Emphasis will be placed on learning the techniques and procedures for the preservation, restoration, and conservation of motion picture materials.
  4. Moving Image Archive Management
    The conservation of motion picture collections requires a complex set of professional knowledge and management skills. This course will introduce the student to the challenges involved in conserving and managing moving image collections, including issues related to acquisition, public access, intellectual property rights, proven strategies of conservation, as well as staff development and fund raising.
  5. Laboratory Work
    An introduction to the techniques, standards, and practices of motion picture laboratory conservation procedures. The course instruction will concentrate on the steps involved in preserving moving image formats, including: inspecting, repairing, and evaluating image characteristics, as well as an introduction to digital preservation technologies. Field trips to major film restoration facilities will be included.
  6. Personal Project Under the direction of the curators and staff of the George Eastman Museum Moving Image Department, the student will select, plan, and undertake a significant project designed to challenge his/her abilities to function at the professional level in a motion picture museum or archive. Some relevant projects include: public programming and exhibitions, collection management, processing and conservation of motion picture related materials, in addition to acquisitions and cataloging.

Second Year

Requirements: Two Semesters (24 credits)

Summer Semester (6 credits)

  1. Film History (two required courses, chosen from following):
    • ENG 433: History of Silent Cinema, 1895-1927
    • ENG 434A: History of Sound Cinema, 1927-1959
    • ENG 434B: History of Sound Cinema, 1959-present
  2. Film Analysis, Film Historiography (one course drawn from one of the following):
    • CLT 414: New Japanese Directors; Women in Japanese Film; Japanese New Wave; Japanese Animation: Anime; History of Japanese Cinema; Nagisa Oshima: Rebel Films; Mobsters, Monsters, and Swords; Akira Kurosawa
    • FMS 435: German Directors; German Women Directors
    • FMS 437: Visions of Horror
    • FMS 438: New German Cinema
    • FMS 439: Avant-Garde Film
    • ENG 450: Film Analysis
    • ENG 451: Popular Film Genres: Film Noir; The Road Movie; The Science Fiction Film; The Gangster Film; The Detective Film; Blaxploitation and its Contexts; The Baseball Film; Vampire and Horror Movies
    • ENG 452: Studies in Film: Romantic Screwball Comedy; Race and Gender in Popular Films
    • ENG 453: Studies in a Director: Scorcese; Eastwood; Polanski; Hitchcock
    • ENG 454: Film History: Documenting Health; American Independent Cinema; Feminism and Film History; Films of the 1930's; Films of the 1960s; Films of the 1970s
    • ENG4 56: Studies in National Cinemas: Italian Cinema; British Cinema
    • French 481 / CLT 411: History of French Film
    • French 480 / CLT 480: French New Wave Cinema
    • French 483 / CLT 411: Contemporary French Film
    • ENG 471: History of African American Film
  3. Bibliography/Filmography, Preservation, Museum Studies (one course from among the following):
    • ENG 454: Museum Studies
    • FMS 220: Film as Object
  4. Moving Image, Digital and Media Studies, Studio and Institutional Studies, Film Theory (one appropriate elective course drawn from approved offerings each year)
    • ENG 449: Text and Medium: Media A B C
    • ENG 457: Media Studies: Technology, Health, and Gender; Science Fiction, Science Documentary; Reproductive Technologies; Voice, Literature, and the Technology of Sound
    • ENG 557: Literary Studies for the Digital Revolution: Medium
    • ENG 455: Film Criticism and Theory: Modern European Film Theory; Contemporary Film Theory; Feminist Film Theory; Classical Film Theory
    • FMS 462, 463, 464: Video and Sound II, III, IV
    • FMS 270: Kinofot: Soviet Cinema and Photography
    • ENG 370: Hollywood and Jewish Values in America
    • Spanish 489 / CLT 416: Women in Hispanic Film; Latin American Film
    • FMS 456: Political Film: Poland and Eastern Europe
    • ENG470: Special Subjects: Words on Film: Novel Adaptations
    • French 484 / CLT 411: Filming / Writing Post-colonial Women
    • FMS 457 / ENG429: Studies in Film: Cyborg Philosophy
    • CLT 414: The City in Film
  5. Electives
    Under the supervision of the faculty of the MA program, students can select up to two courses from course listings offered by the University of Rochester.
  6. Summer Semester: Master's Essay/Project
    The master's degree requires a final project, which may take a variety of forms. This will be conducted under the supervision of faculty from the George Eastman Museum and the University of Rochester. All aspects of the Project must be completed by early August in order for students to receive a December degree.

Facilities & Resources +

Art and Music Library
The Art and Music Library houses the Multimedia Center Collection, which includes DVDs, videocassettes, and laserdiscs on subjects including: language learning and culture, history, music, art, and commercial films in their original language. The library includes several viewing stations, and has capabilities for viewing Videos in PAL, SECAM, M-PAL and N-PAL. There are also codefree DVD players for viewing region 2-5 DVDs.

The library also contains approximately 65,000 books on visual arts, art theory, architecture, and photography. The collections also include: more than 1,500 CDs, 800 browsable LPs, audio cassettes, and 2000+ musical scores. The library houses eight public work stations and four audio listening stations with CD players, cassette decks and turntables. A slide scanner and a flatbed scanner are available for use with Adobe Photoshop software. Color (and B&W;) printing is available from three public workstations. There is a group study area located in the Visual Resources Collection. The Art and Music library has partnerships with the art and art history department, the George Eastman Museum, the Memorial Art Gallery, the Multimedia Center, the music department, and Sibley Music Library.

Rush Rhees Library
Rush Rhees Library contains close to 42 miles of shelving. There are hundreds of lockers and carrels available to students, plus 55 private studies available to researchers and there are about 100 microcomputers (PC and Macintosh) for student use. The Rush Rhees stacks contain the vast majority of film-related texts and research material on the University of Rochester campus.

Goergen Athletic Center
The Goergen Athletic Center features a 11,000-square-foot Fitness/Weight Facility, locker rooms, a Multi-Activity Center, an atrium, a Central Issue room for equipment, and all departmental offices. The Fieldhouse includes a 200 meter indoor running track and synthetic activity infield. The Speegle-Wilbraham Aquatic Center includes a 25-yard by 25-meter pool and a separate diving well with 1- and 3-meter diving boards and a 300 seat spectator balcony. The ground floor houses four indoor tennis courts, five international squash courts, two racquetball/handball courts, a small aerobics studio and three combination basketball/volleyball courts.

Digital Humanities Center
The Digital Humanities Center specializes in digital project management and consultancy, providing a suite of tools to aid cutting-edge scholarship in all areas of the humanities, providing support in the following areas:

  • Digitization of analog materials and scanning best practices.
  • Digital asset management and digital repository solutions.
  • Web, application, and database development.
  • 3D Modeling, CAD, 3-D printing, and gaming applications.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Digital video encoding solutions.
  • Data mining, analysis, and visualization for humanities research.

The Digital Humanities Center currently houses the Film and Media Studies Collection of super 8, 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm films, and features a small film inspection area with a Steenbeck, rewinds, and editing equipment.