Degree Options

Film Studies majors earn a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on either film production or critical studies. Or, students can also choose a double option, focusing on both areas.

Each Film Studies student is assigned an advisor to help navigate their degree program. The Film Studies program also facilitates group advising during class hours each semester. Students can also visit Academic and Career Advising for additional advising resources.

Film Production

Film production students fuse the conceptual, creative, and technical elements of our department’s curriculum as they bring their creative investigations to life. The department emphasizes the cross-pollination of critical studies and production, and provides opportunities to explore narrative, documentary, and experimental filmmaking, as well as animation.

Students in introductory classes learn the essentials of high-definition filmmaking, working with a variety of Canon DSLR cameras. Students in our intermediate classes have access to both DSLR cameras and 16mm film cameras, such as Bolexes and Arriflex S and SR. Additionally, students use solid-state digital sound recorders, a variety of professional microphones, Arri lights and grip gear, dollies, and many other peripherals related to film and video production. Students in our upper-level classes gain access to the Black Magic Ursa Mini 4.6K camera. Capstone students also receive a shared office and editing suite, from which they can plan and finalize their productions. Students interested in animation have access to digital Wacom drawing tablets and stop-motion tools. Available post-production applications include Avid Media Composer, the complete Adobe Creative Cloud, and Pro-Tools.

While we recognize the need for technical proficiency, we emphasize the need for thoughtful content, a clarity of vision, and collaboration. As production students are making films, they are also studying the complexities of film research and theory, and they’re attending diverse screenings. Additionally, our curriculum encourages students to pursue internship possibilities at a variety of professional production venues — most notable among these being our close association with award-winning documentarian Ken Burns’ Florentine Films, whose production house is a 20-minute drive from campus.

Critical Studies

Students who choose the critical studies option immerse themselves in film literature, screenings, conversations, and cultural events that expand their understanding of how films are created, distributed, exhibited and watched. As films can be viewed, interpreted, and appreciated in so many different ways, students learn how to weave together the strands of film history, aesthetic style, and political context as they create their own analysis of films.

In their first and second years, students explore the terminology, interpretive questions, and conceptual frameworks that help them develop their independent voices as film critics. Through courses that explore film analysis, history, and diversity, critical studies students hone their skills in film research, analysis, reading, and writing. Upper division coursework includes continued exploration into the theoretical approaches that are unique to the study of film.

As juniors and seniors, students take seminar courses typically taught by critical studies faculty in their areas of research interest, from East Asian Cinema to Film Sound Criticism to Film and the 1960s. Reading and writing about film studies scholarship in these specialized areas leads to rich dialogues, presentations, and research investigations. These experiences culminate in a senior project in which students produce scholarly research of their own design.

Double option

Some students choose to “double option.” These students complete both the production and critical studies tracks in the film studies major. Students interested in pursuing a double option should meet regularly with a faculty advisor to navigate the additional degree requirements.