Major: Film Studies

What colleges offer a Major in Film Studies?

Think of your favorite movie. Was it the story you liked? Or the characters? The action? How about the look of it? Digging deep into your gut feelings about movies is just the beginning of film studies.

If movies mean more to you than just an evening out with your friends, this could be the major for you. You’ll learn how to discuss and write about films critically. You’ll also learn about the connections movies have to history and national identities. You’ll even learn what all those people listed in the credits actually do. P.S. A gaffer is a lighting technician.

As a film studies major, you’ll study film history, theory, and criticism, as well as the basics of film production. You’ll also examine related arts such as television and video.

“It's not as though thinking about a film makes it more academic and less enjoyable. I still scream at all the right places.” Genie, junior, film studies, Yale University

Are You Ready To...?

  • Intern on a set where you’ll pick up valuable tips while doing everything from getting coffee to coiling cable
  • Work with others
  • Spend your own money on film, props, and more
  • Debate with classmates over the meaning of movies as different as Hollywood classics and Warhol experiments
  • Form your own ideas about film
  • Read and write challenging, abstract works about film

It Helps To Be...

A big fan of the movies who’s not afraid to look beyond Hollywood. You should also be observant, creative, and able to see the emotions and ideas beneath the stories movies tell.

College Checklist

  • Does the program focus more on thinking about movies or making them?
  • Will you have to apply for entry into the program? How many people are accepted?
  • Is film studies a separate major or is it made up of courses from other departments?
  • How many films are available in the library? Will you have access to those you need for research?
  • Does the department help students get internships?
  • Is the equipment up-to-date? Is there enough to go around? Is it available nights and weekends?

Did You Know?

Many states have offices of film and television production. They’re great places to start your hunt for internship and volunteer opportunities.

Course Spotlight

In film history, you’ll spend a lot of time watching movies and then listening to lectures about them. You may also have a small discussion group run by a grad student. You’ll look at each film in terms of the social and cultural issues of its day as well as your own time. To write a class paper, you may need to watch a class film over and over to analyze it shot by shot. It’s a lot of work, but you’ll never look at movies the same way again.