MA 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Under the supervision of the faculty of the MA program, students will select two courses (one in the Fall and one in the Spring semester) from course listings offered by the University of Rochester.

Second Year

Requirements—Two Semesters (30 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 1960's; Films of the 1970's
    • 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. 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 September degree.
  6. 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.