Universities with Film Studies Programs: How to Choose
Film studies programs focus on the history, theory and critical aspects of media. Students analyze specific genres and filmmakers through varying historical and cultural lenses. Universities across the U.S. offer bachelor's, master's and doctorate degree programs in film studies.
How to Select a Film Studies School
The field of film studies is interdisciplinary, involving the history of film, its cultural impact and analysis of storytelling. Graduates are prepared for careers in museums, the film industry or film criticism. Students interested in the genres and forms of filmmaking can enroll in film studies undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered through several universities.
Film studies programs are focused on analysis, rather than practice, and therefore do not always include film production into the curricula. Students hoping to enter the film industry should look for programs that offer production courses such as cinematography, directing and script development. Networking and internships can be crucial assets when breaking into the field; students may prefer a school that has frequent contact with their alumni through presentations, conferences and special events because many universities have produced famous and successful filmmakers.
Whether interested in production or research, proper facilities can be a determining factor when deciding between film studies programs. Many universities have a film archive where students can view and screen a vast array of films, perfect for those conducting research or seeking experience in the museum and archival fields. Those passionate about film production should seek programs that have an adequate amount of filming equipment; some universities have a limited amount of resources, which restricts the number of students who are able to film.
Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies
Students can specialize their study through elective courses in a specific genre, filmmaker, culture or production courses. Topics can include American independent films, contemporary Polish cinema or Alfred Hitchcock. In some programs, seniors produce a final project, which may be a research paper, a screenplay or a film.
Master of Arts in Film Studies
Master's degrees in film studies are focused in the cultural impact of film, its history and preservation. Though not always required, universities may prefer applicants who have a background in film studies or in the field. Graduate students can expect to take courses in film preservation, copyrights and film history courses from a variety of eras.
Doctorate Degree in Film Studies
Doctoral candidates must pass qualifying examinations and complete a research dissertation to graduate. Depending on the program, candidates may have the opportunity to participate in film production, though it is not emphasized in any program. Programs typically have a foreign language requirement and can include courses in international cinema and movements in art history.
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