Film Studies

The Film Studies Program educates students in the history and development of film as an art form and contemporary medium. The curriculum instills an informed analytic awareness of the ways in which film has been used and provides the resources for significant creative exploration of the medium. 

The undergraduate degrees in film studies emphasize knowledge and awareness of:

  • the major artistic contributions to the evolution of film, from the advent of the moving image to the present; 
  • the general outlines of world film from the silent period to the present, with emphasis on the historical contributions of major national cinemas; and 
  • film criticism and film theory. 

Students completing either the BA or the BFA degree in film studies are expected to acquire the ability and skills to: 

  • analyze and interpret films critically; 
  • communicate such interpretations competently in essay form; and 
  • make a short creative film or video work (BFA majors only).

NOTE: Admission to any class after the third meeting of the class is contingent on professor permission. The department may drop a student from a class if the student misses the first two classes of the semester.

Course code for this program is FILM. 

Bachelor's Degree Program(s)

Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies

No more than 6 hours of independent study may be credited toward the major. Students must complete the required film courses with a grade of C or better. The arts and sciences 18-hour minimum of upper-division hours must be met with CU film studies courses.

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below. The Film Studies Program requires a minimum of 38 hours in support of the BA requirements, including film courses and courses taken in other departments.

The Film Studies Program strongly urges the purchase of film and sound media-capable Apple computing systems for those pursuing production classes in the BA degree program (see www.colorado.edu/FilmStudies).

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

Literature and the Arts Requirement

In addition to the 6-hour literature and the arts core requirement, Film Studies majors must take an additional 6 hours (3 of them upper-division) of literature and the arts core courses to satisfy the degree requirements.

Required Critical Studies Courses

  • FILM 1502 Introduction to Film Studies (Note 1)—3
  • FILM 3051 and 3061 Film History 1 and 2 (Note 2)—8
  • FILM 3104 Film Theory and Criticism—3

Critical Studies Elective Requirements

BA students must complete 18 hours from the following courses. At least 12 must be upper division.

  • FILM 2002 Recent International Cinema—3
  • FILM 2003 Film Topics (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 2005 Form, Structure, and Narrative Analysis—3
  • FILM 2013 Film and the Quest for Truth—3
  • FILM 2312 Film Trilogies—3
  • FILM 2412 Melodrama and Culture—3
  • FILM 2513 Major Asian Filmmakers—3
  • FILM 2521 Classics of the Foreign Film: 1960s to the present—3
  • FILM 2613 Good/Evil through Film—3
  • FILM 3002 Major Film Movements (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 3003 Major Film Directors (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 3004 Films of Alfred Hitchcock—3
  • FILM 3005 Issues in Film Comedy—3
  • FILM 3012 Documentary Film—3
  • FILM 3013 Women and Film—3
  • FILM 3022 Jung, Film, and Literature—3
  • FILM 3023 Stage Drama into Film: O’Neill and Williams—3
  • FILM 3032 Stage Tragedy and Film—3
  • FILM 3033 Color and Cinema—3
  • FILM 3042 Horror Film—3
  • FILM 3043 Topics in Film Critical Studies (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 3081 American Film in the 1980s and 1990s—3
  • FILM 3091 Post-War American Film/Culture/Politics—3
  • FILM 3191 The Golden Age—3
  • FILM 3211 History of Russian Cinema—3
  • FILM 3301 Contemporary Issues in Russian Film—3
  • FILM 3422 Genre: Hollywood Musical—3
  • FILM 3503 German Film Through WWII—3
  • FILM 3504 Topics in German Film—3
  • FILM 3513 German Film After WWII—3
  • FILM 3514 German Film and Society after 1989—3
  • FILM 3603 Sound and Vision—3
  • FILM 3901 Independent Study (Note 4)—1-6
  • FILM 3940 Film Studies Internship—1-6
  • FILM 4001 Screening Race, Class, and Gender in the U.S. and the Global Borderland—3
  • FILM 4003 Film and Fiction—3
  • FILM 4004 Topics in Film Theory (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 4013 Film, Photography, and Modernism 3
  • FILM 4023 Topics in International Cinema (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 4024 Advanced Research Seminar (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 4043 Topics in Film Studies: Critical Studies (Note 3)—1-3
  • FILM 4105 Advanced Screenwriting—3
  • FILM 4135 Art and Psychoanalysis—3
  • FILM 4453 Elective Affinities: Avant-garde Film and the Arts—3
  • FILM 4604 Colloquium in Film Aesthetics—3
  • Any FILM class crosslisted with another department (i.e., foreign language) that has been approved by the film studies chair—3

Curriculum Notes

1. This course is a prerequisite for FILM 2000 and 3051.

2. Must be taken in chronological order. FILM 1502 is a prerequisite.

3. Course may be taken for credit more than once, provided that the topics vary.

4. Total number of independent study credit hours cannot exceed 6.

Graduating in Four Years with a BA

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress toward a BA in film studies, students should meet the following requirements:

  • Declare a film studies major by the beginning of the second semester
  • Complete the lower- or upper-division literature and the arts requirement (3 credit hours) and FILM 1502 (3 credit hours) by the end of the fourth semester.
  • Complete the upper-division literature and the arts requirement (3 credit hours) and FILM 3051 and 3061 by the end of the sixth semester.
  • Complete 6 critical studies elective credit hours by the end of the seventh semester (at least 3 of these credits must be upper-division credits).
  • Complete an additional 12 credit hours of critical studies elective courses, including at least three upper-division courses (9 credit hours), and FILM 3104 (3 credits) by the eighth semester.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Studies

Admission to the BFA Program

Students are encouraged to consult with the Film Studies advisor in order to obtain advice and current information.

New Admission Requirements for Students Matriculating after Fall 2012

The BFA degree is competitive. In order to graduate with a BFA degree, students must first satisfy a number of prerequisites and then submit a formal application to the BFA program at the prescibed time (deadline will be posted each semester on the film studies website). In particular, applicants must have a cumulative GPA at CU-Boulder of 2.75 or higher and have passed FILM 1502, 2000  (or 2300), and 2500 each with a grade of C or higher, with a mean GPA in all three courses of at least 3.40. Applicants must submit a written application, a writing sample, and the FILM 2500 assignment (see FILM 2500 instructions for details). Applicants may also submit one additional “best” example of creative work (see specific admission guidelines for details). Admission into the BFA program and registration for FILM 3400, 4500, and other upper-division production courses are contingent upon approval of the application materials by the BFA committee. Students may only apply twice to the BFA program; complete details on the BFA application procedure are available on the film studies website. Students are required to attend a BFA orientation meeting prior to the semester in which they enroll in FILM 3400. The program recommends that BFA students purchase film and sound media-capable Apple computing systems (see www.colorado.edu/FilmStudies). BFA students are required to pass FILM 3400, 3515, and 3525 before they will be allowed to continue in the major.

No more than 6 hours of independent study may be credited toward the major. Students must complete the required film courses with a grade of C or better.

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences as well as the required courses listed below. The Film Studies Program requires a minimum of 46 hours in support of the BFA degree requirements.

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

Literature and the Arts Requirement 

In addition to the 6-hour literature and the arts core requirement, Film Studies majors must take an additional 6 hours (3 of them upper division) of literature and the arts core courses to satisfy the degree requirements. 

Required Critical Studies Courses

  • FILM 1502 Introduction to Film Studies (Note 1)—3
  • FILM 3051 and 3061: Film History 1 and 2 (Note 2)—8

Required Production Courses

  • FILM 2000 or 2300 Beginning/Intermediate Filmmaking (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 2500 Introduction to Cinematography—3
  • FILM 3400 Cinema Production 1—3
  • FILM 3515 Camera Workshop—2
  • FILM 3525 Editing Workshop—2
  • FILM 4500 Cinema Production 2 (Note 4)—3

Production Course Electives

BFA students must take 9 hours of any combination of the following courses:

  • FILM 2010 Moving Image Computer Foundations—3
  • FILM 2105 Introduction to the Screenplay—3
  • FILM 2610 Animation Production—3
  • FILM 2900 Lighting Workshop—3
  • FILM 3010 Film Production Topics (Note 6)—3
  • FILM 3030 Cinema Alternative Process—3
  • FILM 3501 Film Production Management or FILM 3563 Producing the Feature Film (Both are usually offered through Continuing Education; only one may count toward the film studies degree.)—3
  • FILM 3563 Producing the Film—3
  • FILM 3600 Digital Post-production Process—3
  • FILM 3620 Experimental Digital Animation—3
  • FILM 3700 Digital Audio Design—3
  • FILM 3900 Production Independent Study (Note 5)—1-6
  • FILM 3920 Professional Seminar—3
  • FILM 3940 Internship—1-6
  • FILM 4000 Advanced Digital Post-production—3
  • FILM 4005 Screenwriting: Short Form—3
  • FILM 4010 Topics in Film Studies: Production (Note 4)—1-3
  • FILM 4021 Directing/Acting for the Camera—3
  • FILM 4030 Visiting Filmmakers Seminar (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 4075 Scriptwriting Workshop—3
  • FILM 4105 Advanced Screenwriting—3
  • FILM 4240 Beginning Video Production—3
  • FILM 4340 Intermediate Video Production—3
  • FILM 4440 Advanced Video Production—3
  • FILM 4500 Cinema Production 2 (taken a second time)—3
  • FILM 4505 Screenwriting: Long Form—3
  • FILM 4600 Creative Digital Cinematography (Note 4)—3

Curriculum Notes

1. This course is a prerequisite for FILM 2000 and 3051

2. Must be taken in chronological order.

3. Either FILM 2000 or 2300 may be taken for degree credit. Only one of the two courses may be counted toward the BFA degree. FILM 2300 is offered summer session only.

4. Course may be taken for credit more than once.

5. Total number of independent study credit hours cannot exceed 6, and they cannot be used to duplicate regular course offerings.

6. Course may be taken for credit more than once, provided the topics vary. 

 

Critical Studies Elective Requirements

BFA students must complete 6 hours.

  • FILM 2002 Recent International Cinema—3
  • FILM 2003 Film Topics (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 2005 Form, Structure, and Narrative Analysis—3
  • FILM 2013 Film and the Quest for Truth—3
  • FILM 2312 Film Trilogies—3
  • FILM 2412 Melodrama and Culture—3
  • FILM 2513 Major Asian Filmmakers—3
  • FILM 2521 Classics of the Foreign Film: 1960s to the present—3
  • FILM 2613 Good/Evil through Film—3
  • FILM 3002 Major Film Movements (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 3003 Major Film Directors (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 3004 Films of Alfred Hitchcock—3
  • FILM 3005 Issues in Film Comedy—3
  • FILM 3012 Documentary Film—3
  • FILM 3013 Women and Film—3
  • FILM 3022 Jung, Film, and Literature—3
  • FILM 3023 Stage Drama into Film: O’Neill and Williams—3
  • FILM 3032 Stage Tragedy and Film—3
  • FILM 3033 Color and Cinema—3
  • FILM 3042 Horror Film—3
  • FILM 3043 Topics in Film Critical Studies (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 3081 American Film in the 1980s and 1990s—3
  • FILM 3091 Post-War American Film/Culture/Politics—3
  • FILM 3104 Film Theory and Criticism—3
  • FILM 3191 The Golden Age—3
  • FILM 3211 History of Russian Cinema—3
  • FILM 3301 Contemporary Issues in Russian Film—3
  • FILM 3422 Genre: Hollywood Musical—3
  • FILM 3503 German Film Through WWII—3
  • FILM 3504 Topics in German Film—3
  • FILM 3513 German Film After WWII—3
  • FILM 3514 German Film and Society after 1989—3
  • FILM 3603 Sound and Vision—3
  • FILM 3901 Independent Study (Note 4)—1-6
  • FILM 3940 Film Studies Internship—1-6
  • FILM 4001 Screening Race, Class, and Gender in the U.S. and the Global Borderland—3
  • FILM 4003 Film and Fiction—3
  • FILM 4004 Topics in Film Theory (Notes 3)—3
  • FILM 4013 Film, Photography, and Modernism—3
  • FILM 4023 Topics in International Cinema 3 (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 4024 Advanced Research Seminar (Note 3) 3
  • FILM 4043 Topics in Film Studies: Critical Studies (Note 3)—3
  • FILM 4105 Advanced Screenwriting—1-3
  • FILM 4135 Art and Psychoanalysis—3
  • FILM 4453 Elective Affinities: Avant-garde Film and the Arts—3
  • FILM 4604 Colloquium in Film Aesthetics—3
  • Any FILM class crosslisted with another department (i.e., foreign language) that has been approved by the film studies chair—3

Curriculum Notes

1. This course is a prerequisite for FILM 2000 and 3051.

2. Must be taken in chronological order. FILM 1502 is a prerequisite.

3. Course may be taken for credit more than once, provided that the topics vary.

4. Total number of independent study credit hours cannot exceed 6.

Graduating in Four Years with a BFA

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress toward a BFA in film studies, students should meet the following requirements:

  • Declare and start the film studies major the first semester freshman year.
  • Complete FILM 1502 (3 credit hours), FILM 2000 (3 credit hours), and one lower- or upper-division critical studies course for 3 credits by the end of the third semester.
  • Complete the Literature and the Arts lower- or upper-division requirement (3 credit hours), and FILM 2500 (3 credit hours) by the end of the fourth semester.
  • Note: In order to graduate in four years, a student must be accepted into the BFA program on the first application. See “Admission to the BFA Program“ for details of the application process.
  • Complete 3 credit hours of upper-division Literature and the Arts requirement (3 credit hours) and FILM 3051 and FILM 3061 (8 credit hours) by the end of the fifth semester.
  • Complete FILM 3400 (3 credit hours), 3515 (2 credit hours), 3525 (2 credit hours), and an additional 3 credit hours of upper-division critical studies elective requirements by the end of the sixth semester.
  • Complete two courses (6 credit hours) of production electives by the end of the seventh semester.
  • Complete 3 credit hours of FILM 4500 and 3 more credit hours of production electives by the end of the eighth semester.

Concurrent Bachelor's/Master's Program

Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts (BA/MA) 

Overview. The film studies/art and art history bachelor of arts/master of arts critical studies degree gives highly-motivated BA students the opportunity to earn an MA degree using an accelerated undergraduate program in combination with a fifth year of study.

Program Description. The BA/MA degree in film studies (FS) is a critical studies track under the auspices of the Art and Art History (AAH) MA program. This collaboration between AAH and FS is an extension of our common interests in visual art and grows from our current shared MFA in filmmaking. The film studies tenured and tenured track faculty also have graduate faculty standing within art and art history.

The FS/AAH BA/MA track prepares students for professional careers in teaching and criticism, from the perspective of innovative critical approaches and in preparation for a PhD track at another university. The aim of the BA/MA film program is to aid in the advancement of the scholarly understanding of film art, with emphasis on theoretical and research approaches and their role in academia. The BA/MA will, therefore, prepare its graduates to assume the responsibilities of the academic study of cinema as one of the fine arts and to pursue careers in teaching, research, curating, and the overall advancement of the study of cinema as art.

The program offers studies leading to the MA in the areas of film criticism and theory. Advanced students are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary approaches as well as to enhance their program of study with cognate courses in other departments such as history, comparative literature, anthropology, English, women’s studies, ethnic studies, Spanish and Portuguese, French and Italian, Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures, and others. Film studies offers a broad selection of seminar topics on their current faculty research interests and in response to student demand. The Visiting Film Artist program brings additional distinguished, innovative film and video artists and critics to campus and students are encouraged to register for their seminars.

Admission to the Program

  • Admission to the program occurs during the second semester of the junior year. Applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 and have completed all MAPS deficiencies.
  • Only currently enrolled CU-Boulder students may be considered for admission to the program. Transfer students must complete at least 24 credit hours as degree-seeking students before applying to the program. The BA/MA degree is limited to film BA (critical studies) students. By definition BFA (production) students do not have the BA/MA option.
  • Students who are admitted to the concurrent degree program may not pursue a double degree or double major of any other kind.
  • Applicants to the BA/MA program must complete the application process no later than the first Friday of October during their junior year. Prior to applying, they should have completed FILM 1502, 3051, and 3061 (for recommended sequence, see www.colorado.edu/FilmStudies/degrees/bama/reqs.htm.

The application form can be downloaded from www.colorado.edu/GraduateSchool/GSForms/ConcurrentForms/Concurrentapplication.pdf. Note: Applicants should specify on the form that they are applying for the spring term, BA/MA degree, major codes AS-FLM2 and GR-ART2.

For more information visit www.colorado.edu/FilmStudies/degrees/bama/index.shtml.

Graduate Degree Program(s)

Master of Fine Arts in Film

The Graduate MFA degree in film studies is a filmmaking track integrated into the Art and Art History MFA program in much the same way as the tracks in painting and drawing, ceramics, sculpture, media arts, the IAP, and printmaking. The filmmaking track prepares students for professional artistic careers in filmmaking from the perspective of innovative image making. The aim of the MFA film program is to aid in the advancement of the practice and understanding of art, with emphasis on the moving image and its role in this advancement. The MFA will, therefore, prepare graduates to assume creative leadership roles in filmmaking.

The interdisciplinary nature of the MFA program allows graduate students to work in various areas, in addition to their area of specialization. The MFA guidelines include a second area of the student’s choice as a requirement. The thesis project is two-fold, involving 1.) the student’s creative work (e.g., a film), displayed at the MFA exhibition, and 2.) a written thesis that eventually goes to the library.

See the Art and Art History section for descriptions of the MFA ARTF courses.

Prerequisites. The following are required for admission to the graduate program:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an approved college or school of art with a minimum grade point average of 2.75.
  • Minimum of 34 credit hours of acceptable work in art; 12 credits in fine arts history is preferred.
  • Submission of films and other examples representing creative work or electronic media. Students should submit a portfolio of creative work to include video and/or audio tapes, film, etc., as appropriate (especially for documentation of performance and/or installations) for screening by the electronic media committee for presentation to the full graduate faculty.

Degree Requirements.  Effective fall 2008, the MFA program is a two-and-a-half year program. The degree requires a minimum of 54 credit hours of course work, of which 36 must be taken in residence on the Boulder campus, with the following requirements: 

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

  • Home studio (major area)—min. 12
  • Electives (studio and non-studio; up to 6 credits may be taken in an allied field, at the 3000 level and above)—21 
  • Art history and theory—9
  • Visiting artist seminar—3
  • Graduate art seminar—3
  • Thesis—6 
  • For the Film Track MFA students: ARTF 5030 Visiting Filmmakers Seminar is allowed as a substitute for ARTS 5118 Visiting Artist Seminar; ARTF Critical Studies courses are allowed as alternates to fulfill 3 hours of the art history requirement.

See the art and art history department section of this catalog and www.colorado.edu/FineArts/mfa/mfa_degree.html for more information on requirements.