Film students on location
Degrees Offered: BA BFA MFA Minor

The Film Studies major instructs students on the history and development of cinema as an art form and as cultural expression. Graduates develop an informed, analytical understanding of the medium’s aesthetics and impact on society and culture, while also acquiring career-relevant technical proficiency on various film, video and digital formats, post-production, screenwriting, and visual and media literacy. Film Studies offers knowledge of the major technical and artistic landmarks in the evolution of the cinema, a broad perspective including international cinemas, and exploration of the relationship of film to the other arts and other disciplines in the humanities such as photography, literature, art history, and philosophy. Students gain an awareness of the general outlines of world film history, of national cinemas of Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and of the Classical Hollywood cinema history and mode of production. The Program also offers multiple approaches to narrative, animation, documentary, mobile and new media formats, and experimental cinema practices.

Undergraduate Opportunities

The Film Studies Program offers two separate undergraduate majors that lead to the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in critical studies or production emphasis. A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in filmmaking is also available, via a competitive application, to a select cohort of students. The BFA requires more extensive work (developing both practice and aesthetics) and is targeted to highly talented students who aspire to professional careers in the film and TV industries, or to continue graduate studies towards an MFA in a different institution. All students enter the major under a BA plan, and may choose to complete the requirements for the BA in critical studies (history, theory, aesthetics, genres, principles of criticism) and/or a production emphasis (introductory and advanced courses on screenwriting, cinema production, editing, sound design, animation, digital media). A concurrent Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts (BA/MA) track is available to a few, select and highly motivated students from the critical studies track.

Graduates of the Film Studies Program have realized career opportunities in all aspects of the film and television industries, in film festivals and media organizations, in print and online publications, museums, schools and other educational outlets, local and national media companies, journalism, advertising, law, and arts organizations across the nation.

Graduate Studies

Besides the concurrent BA/MA in critical studies, Film Studies offers an MFA degree in filmmaking, integrated with the Department of Art and Art History.

Research Opportunities

The Film Studies Program is housed in the state-or-the-art Alliance for Technology, Learning & Society (ATLAS) building in the center of campus. Our Program has one of the largest collections of 16mm film prints anywhere in the country, exclusively for classroom use as well as a vast array of cameras, editing equipment, and optical printers. The Program also enjoys a dedicated teaching theatre with 35mm, 16mm, and HD projection, and a large private collection of rare, classical, historic and foreign films on Blu-ray and DVD formats for the exclusive classroom and research use of Film Studies.

Film Studies is also home to the International Film Series, the First Person Cinema Program, the Brakhage Center for Media Arts, and the annual Brakhage Symposium. All these activities and venues are free and open to Film Studies majors and minors as parts of an academic program that fosters a comprehensive immersion in cinema studies.