General information

Film Studies Program
Major Closed to New Students

Program Information

This interdisciplinary major takes one of the most influential art forms of the twentieth century and today—film—as its object of study. The field of Film Studies addresses the history, theory, and culture of this art form and asks questions about film texts themselves: modes of production, (including everything from filmmakers’ aesthetic choices to the role of the global economy); historical, national, and cultural contexts; and spectators and audiences. Questions of gender, race, sexuality and nationality, in all of these areas, have been central to Film Studies almost since its inception and continue to shape much of the work in the field. While the program emphasizes film history, criticism and theory, students also have opportunities to explore film/video production.

The Major Program

Please Note: Film Studies is only an option for students already declared.

Students majoring in Film Studies take upper-division courses in film history and film theory, as well as in at least three of the five general areas of study.

Students also develop a thematic emphasis, in consultation with an adviser, that draws on courses from at least two different departments/programs and that allows them to pursue their particular interests within the field of Film Studies. Students have the option of completing a senior thesis (either a written paper or an original film/video) within the emphasis.

B.A. Major Requirements

Preparatory Subject Matter (20-40 units)

Film Studies 1 (4 units)

Foreign Language (0-20 units):

A four-course sequence (or equivalent) in a single language.

One Course in Visual and Popular Culture (4 units):

African American and African Studies 15, 50; American Studies 1A, 21, 30; Art History 5; Art Studio 30; Chicana/o Studies 50, 60; Design 1; French 50; Humanities 60; Italian 50; Japanese 25; Native American Studies 32; Textiles and Clothing 7; Women and Gender Studies 20, 25

One Course in Gender/Race/Ethnicity/Class (4 units):

African American and African Studies 10, 15, 50; Asian American Studies 1, 2; Chicana/o Studies 10, 50, 60, 65; Native American Studies 1, 10, 32, 33; Women and Gender Studies 20, 25, 50, 70, 80

Two Courses in the Humanities (8 units):

Art History 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D; Asian American Studies 2; Chinese 10, 11; Classics 10; Comparative Literature 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; Dramatic Arts 1, 20; English 43, 44; German 48; History 4C, 10C, 17B, 72B; Humanities 5, 6; Japanese 10; Music 10, 28; Native American Studies 33; Russian 41, 42. For students who choose a focus on practice and performance, one of these two courses may be from Design 15, 16, Drama 10, 21A, 21B, 24

Depth Subject Matter (36-40 units)

Film History (4 units):

English 161A,161 B, or Film Studies 124.

Film Theory (4 units):

English 162, Film Studies 127, Philosophy 127 or Women and Gender Studies 162.

Breadth (12 units):

One course each from three of the following topic areas: Cinematic Traditions and Movements, Visual and Popular Culture, Gender/Sexuality/Class, Race/Ethnicity/Class, Production and Performance. A current list of approved classes is available from the program office and from the faculty adviser.

Thematic Emphasis (16-20 units):

Students may complete 16-20 units in one of the two breadth areas not used to satisfy the breadth requirement, or they may develop their own thematic area in consultation with a faculty adviser.

Students who complete 20 units and have an overall GPA of 3.5 may choose the senior thesis option (194H-196H) for 8 of those 20 units.

Total Units for Major: 56-80

Note: No single course can be counted more than once

Minor Program Requirements

Film Studies 1 (4 units)

Film Studies Minor Checklist

Upper Division courses selected from the following list, with no more than two courses from any one category (20 units)
Problems and Themes in Cinema:

Anthropology 136; Classics 102; Dramatic Art 115; English 160, 161A, 161B, 162; Film Studies 124, 125

Cinema, Nation and Nationality:

German 119, 142; Film Studies 121, 176A, 176B; Italian 150; Japanese 106; Film Studies/Russian 129; Spanish 148, 173

Film and Social Identities:

African American and African Studies 170, 171; Film Studies 120; Jewish Studies 120; Women and Gender Studies 160, 164

Film/Video Production:

Art Studio 116, 117, 150

Popular and Visual Culture:

American Studies 130, 132, 133, 139; Art Studio 150; Communications 140; Political Science 165; Textiles and Clothing 107; Women and Gender Studies 139

Total Units for Minor: 24


No more than two courses from a single department or program may be offered in satisfaction of the minor requirements.


With a minor adviser’s prior approval, up to four units of internship (e.g., American Studies 192, Communications 192, or Women and Gender Studies 192) in television/film production may be offered towards satisfying the requirements of the minor. Such courses will be considered part of the “Film/Video Production” category.

Career Options

The B.A. degree in Film Studies prepares students for a variety of careers in media industries, for example: local and national film and television production companies, local television newsrooms, community television stations, computer graphic companies, advertising and marketing companies, public relations departments, and film distribution companies. Students wishing to pursue graduate work will be prepared to go on in film studies, as well as a variety of other fields that draw on interdisciplinary study, for example: American studies, English, literatures and languages, drama, communication, computer science, cultural studies, women and gender studies, and ethnic studies programs. Many film students also choose to go on to law school; the analytical skills, writing abilities, and familiarity with theoretical thought developed through the film major prepare them well for the study and practice of law.

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