The BA in Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder emphasizes the critical study of film as an art form. The Critical Studies BA is designed to give students a solid knowledge of the history and aesthetics of international film, as well as exposure to the various methodological approaches of cinema studies as an academic discipline. Critical studies courses take a multi-faceted approach comprised of film screenings, readings, and lectures, while students are expected to practice their film analysis skills in writing assignments and class discussion. Like many programs in the Arts and Humanities, the BA Program in Cinema Studies aims more broadly to teach two fundamental skills: critical thinking and writing ability. These skills are developed in our program specifically through the examination of films, but they are also broadly useful well beyond the realm of film studies. The BA program enrolls approximately 425 majors.

The relationship between critical studies and film production is complementary. Most of our BA students take some film production courses, and all of our BFA students must take critical studies courses. Our program adheres to the philosophy that it’s crucial to understand the history and aesthetics of your medium, whether one is a filmmaker, an editor, a screenwriter, or a writer of film criticism. We encourage our students to be well-read and knowledgeable about film history, aesthetics, and theory, which allows them to make informed decisions regarding their artistic and intellectual choices.

Critical studies courses span a wide range of topics in history, theory, and criticism. BA students begin their course of study with Introduction to Film Studies (CINE 1502), which explores the basic formal and narrative structure of film and lays the groundwork for all critical studies classes to follow. Students are next required to take a year-long film history series, Film History I and II (CINE 3051/CINE 3061), a rigorous, screening-intensive overview of silent cinema, the transition to sound, classical cinema, and national cinemas that involves approximately 60 film screenings over the span of two semesters. Students are also required to take one course in Film Criticism and Theory (CINE 3104), which surveys the range and function of film criticism and theory by focusing on a series of rotating topics.

Beyond these basic courses, BA students are required to take 18 hours of critical studies electives, at least 12 of which must be upper division courses. Several other courses are also required in Literature and the Arts, and other elective courses are encouraged. Critical studies courses are regularly offered on film genres (melodrama, film noir, horror, comedy, the musical), documentary, and avant-garde cinema, as well as courses in film criticism and theory (narrative, psychoanalysis, gender studies), various auteurs (Hitchcock, Kubrick, Antonioni), and historical periods (Post-War American Film/Culture/Politics, American Film in the 1980s and 90s). International film is an important component of the program, and we offer a range of courses in international cinemas (British, Italian, German, Russian, Major Asian Filmmakers). A wide range of other courses are also offered, such as Film Trilogies, Transcendental Film, Color and Cinema, Sound and Vision. See Course Descriptions for further course listings.

A BA in Cinema Studies prepares students for a wide range of career possibilities following graduation. Many CU Boulder Cinema Studies BA graduates have gone on to careers in the film industry as writers, producers, and developers, in production and post-production, or in film archives. Others have gone on to attend graduate school in Cinema Studies or other Arts and Humanities programs at numerous prestigious universities. The BA degree in Cinema Studies gives students a solid background in critical thinking and writing, skills that serve students well in any career they choose.

Areas of Emphasis

Critical Studies Emphasis

In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required cinema studies core, the critical studies emphasis requires a minimum of 41 credit hours in support of the BA requirements.

Production Emphasis

In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required cinema studies core, the production emphasis requires a minimum of 45 credit hours in support of the BA requirements, including cinema studies courses and courses taken in other departments.

The Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts strongly urges students pursuing production classes in the BA degree program to purchase film and sound media-capable Apple computing systems.

BA Requirements and Plans of Study