The Department of Film and Media Studies has proposed a five-year combined Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (MA) degree program which could launch as early as fall 2014.

The program will give students the ability to earn the MA more quickly than usual, at a lower cost and while working closely with faculty members and doctoral students, according to a statement sent to the Wheel written by members of the Film and Media Studies department summarizing the program.

The program still needs final approval from the Graduate School Executive Council, an elected governing body of nine faculty members, to determine whether it would be within federal guidelines and has a sufficient number of faculty members, according to Karla Oeler, director of graduate studies in the Department of Media and Film Studies.

“This program would give advanced students in-depth exposure to graduate study in film and media, furthering their research and critical skills,” the statement said.

Department members first discussed the program with Lisa Tedesco, dean of Laney Graduate School, last year. It is modeled after the 4+1 program in the English Department, according to Oeler.

Oeler said the department had initially proposed a program specifically for current undergraduate film students but determined that many students in the graduate program did not major in Film Studies during their undergraduate careers.

The program is designed so that students from all undergraduate departments can apply during their junior year if they have taken five courses in the Film and Media Studies Department. Students must take courses in film and media history as well as film and media theory, and students must have a B average or higher in each course, Oeler said.

Department faculty have conducted informal surveys in undergraduate classes and determined that around 50 students are interested in applying to the program, according to Oeler.

Students will gain in-depth exposure to film and media, and the program will serve as preparation for career tracks for which an MA is helpful, including film and festival curation, film archiving, production, Ph.D. programs and teaching, according to the summary.

Students in the program will begin enrolling in graduate courses in the fall of senior year, when they will take “Introduction to Graduate Film Studies” and a film graduate colloquium. In the spring semester, students will take two graduate seminars and the graduate colloquium, according to the summary.

The fifth year at Laney Graduate School will consist of two to three graduate courses per semester: the graduate colloquium and a Master’s thesis under the guidance of a faculty advisor. The final year of study will take place at Laney Graduate School, and students will pay 50 percent of the graduate school tuition, according to the summary.

“The program really starts in the senior year, so you could still be winding up your undergraduate coursework in the senior year, but you would be embarking also on a bit of graduate work,” Oeler said.

– By Alyssa Posklensky