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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Film Studies

Majors Overview April 10, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in film studies and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Film Studies

Coursework in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Film Studies programs is a combination of classes on cinematic theory and technology and training in the liberal arts. Each school may have different admission criteria, but common prerequisites may include basic creative talent, specific coursework, and the submission of a portfolio.

Students learn how to analyze the content of films, identify genres, and understand the social relevance of movies. Substantial coursework is also offered in movie-making, often involving discussions on analog and digital filmmaking techniques.

Classroom instruction is offered in most filmmaking programs and is augmented by hands-on filmmaking projects regardless of whether enrolled students intend to make movies eventually. Every professional in the field is likely to benefit by gaining a grasp of the process from experiences.

Education Requirements

Applicants need both strong analytical and creative skills. Since most film programs cover editing and digital photography, previous computer experience would give students an edge over others without computer skills. Incoming students would also benefit from completing high school courses in visual arts, literature, and creative writing. An advantage would also come from those with a portfolio of independent work or prior professional experience.


The emphasis of coursework at the undergraduate level is on every aspect of cinema, such as post-production, film theory, cinematography, and screenwriting. Enrolled students gain a broad overview, thereby giving them a complete understanding of the art and industry and the ability to determine their areas of interest.

Short films are often created by students as part of the curriculum through the employment of modern technology, such as computer software and hard equipment. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Film production
•Digital cinematography
•Film editing
•Cinematic history

Career Choices

Those who complete a B.A. in Film Studies can seek entry-level careers in film production and criticism. They can seek various theoretical, technical, or creative careers. Professional ambition and creative aptitude are essential qualities that must be possessed by those who seek most cinema careers, regardless of their level of education. They may choose from popular career options such as:

•Film theorist
•Production assistant
•Film critic
•Film director

Continuing Education Choices

Graduate programs in film studies are available through some schools at the doctoral and master’s degree levels. The emphasis of some of these programs is primarily on a particular technical aspect of filmmaking, such as editing, screenwriting, or cinematography. Other programs mainly cover the critical and theoretical facets of cinema, whereby graduates may prepare for careers in film theory and academia.

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