College of Arts and Sciences
Film Studies

Program Summary

  • Film Studies is an independent B.A. degree program within the English Department, with a 55 credit major and 30 credit minor. The disciplinary foundation of the major rests on six critical studies course requirements, including:

    Art of Film (5 credits) Focusing on critical thinking about film, the Art of Film introduces the basic principles and techniques of film art, so that students can understand how film works as an artistic medium.

    History of Film (5 credits) This course examines the evolution and development of film from its beginnings to the early 1960s.

    Visual Storytelling (5 credits) This innovative requirement focuses on the challenging craft of telling, or making, a story primarily in images rather than through language. The requirement can be met by a course in screenwriting, film script analysis, literature-to-film adaptations, or digital film production.

    Film Genres (5 credits) Because the idea of genres has always been central to the definition and reception of film, the major requires students to undertake an intensive study of at least one traditional film genre. Each of these genre courses (westerns, noir, horror, documentary, musicals) introduces students to genre theory and teaches them how to analyze a genre through a study of its conventions.

    International Film (5 credits) This requirement underscores the reality that the history and development of film as an art form cannot be adequately understood except from an international perspective. In addition, the requirement in international film speaks to the program’s strong commitment to globalizing undergraduate education.

    Special Topics (5 credits) Majors must take at least one 400-level siminar. These seminars offer an in-depth study of the oeuvres of great film directors, or tackle complex theoretical and ethical issues respecting the film medium and its role in popular culture.

    Electives (25 credits)