Film Studies

The Film Studies minor includes an interdisciplinary study of film across departments. This approach is particularly apt, given film’s status as a diverse and multivalent cultural and aesthetic form. The program includes multiple disciplines and is transnational in scope, giving the study of film a breadth and richness that is impossible to provide within just a single department. This approach also helps students to develop a critical literacy of many types of moving image media, as film today can no longer be singularly defined as the Hollywood feature film.

The intellectual and academic study of film is almost as old the medium itself. Early filmmakers engaged in scholarly writings about the practice and philosophy of cinema. Pioneering practitioners engaged in the public justification and legitimacy of the emerging art. Film clubs and societies developed around the world to publish film-centered discussions of the new art. As the discussions progressed and spread to university courses and programs, distinctive models of film theory and criticism emerged as well as an idiosyncratic language of film. The new study of film established paradigms able to illuminate the human condition in unique and compelling ways. The value of film studies is now widely recognized and the intellectual discussion of film is firmly embedded in curriculum of most universities.

Students are required to complete two Film Studies courses and 12 additional units from at least two different departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.


18 units total, including at least 9 upper-division units. The minor requires two Film Studies courses (FILM 101, FILM 301). The other four courses must be taken from at least two of the following departments: Art, Architecture + Art History; Communication Studies; English; History; and Languages, Cultures and Literatures.

Students are required to take the following:
FILM 101Introduction to Cinema3
FILM 301Introduction to Film Theory3
Select at least 12 units from the following list. Courses must be taken from at least two different departments. At least six units must be upper-division.12
Art, Architecture + Art History
The Avant-Garde and Mass Culture: Art and Politics
The City in Art and Film
Race, Ethnicity, Art and Film
Seminar *
Introduction to Video Art
Video Art: Site and Screen
Video Art: The Cinematic
Intermediate/Advanced Video Art
*Not all ARTH 494 courses are film courses. Students should select a film-related course. Previous offerings include Global Art Cinema. Consult with the FILM director.
Communication Studies
Film and Cultural Politics
American Independent Cinema
Documentary Film
Principles of Video Production
Writing for Media
Film Studies
Topics in Creative Writing *
*Not all ENGL 385 courses are film courses. Consult with the FILM director.
Topics in History, Literature, and Film
Topics in Latin America History *
Topics in U.S. History *
*Not all HIST 362 and HIST 375 courses are film courses. Consult with the FILM director.
Languages, Cultures and Literatures
Special Topics in Language, Literature and Culture *
Chinese Cinema:Postsocialism and Modernity
Topics in Language, Literature, or Culture *
Studies in Italian Film
Studies in 20th and 21st Century Peninsular Literature and Culture *
Studies in Hispanic Film
*Not all LANG 194, FREN 394 and SPAN 427 courses are film courses. Students should select a film-related course. Consult with the FILM director.

Relevant 194/294/394/494 and topics courses or Honors courses in Art History, Chinese, Communication Studies, English, Ethnic Studies, French, Italian, Spanish or Visual Arts, to be approved by the program director, may also satisfy requirements for the Film Studies minor.



Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This course is an introduction to film form and the historical, industrial, and cultural contexts that make form significant for analysis. This class aims to equip students to look purposefully, critically and contextually at the moving image, mindful of the ways that meaning is produced and received.


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: FILM 101 or ARTH 144

A survey of the major concepts of film theory, this course emphasizes the ways that film engages the viewer through form, social meaning and the particularities of the brain and bodily senses. Screenings, lectures and texts examine the aesthetic, social, philosophical and psychological aspects of the cinematic medium, and include examples reflecting a transnational approach.

Program Director


Affiliated Faculty

Ryan Abrecht, PhD, History

Hugh Burkhart, MA, MLS, Copley Library

Dennis N. Clausen, PhD, English

Victoria Fu, MFA, Art, Architecture + Art History

Brian Hu, PhD, Art, Architecture + Art History, Communication Studies

Loredana Di Martino, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Joseph McGowan, PhD, English

David Miller, PhD, History

Sylvie Ngilla, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Roger Pace, PhD, Communication Studies

Eric Pierson, PhD, Communication Studies

Martin Repinecz, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Fred Miller Robinson, PhD, English

Kenneth P. Serbin, PhD, History

Kathryn Statler, PhD, History

Yi Sun, PhD, History

Mei Yang, PhD, Languages, Cultures and Literatures

Sally Yard, PhD, Art, Architecture + Art History