Major/Minor in Film Studies

Film Studies offers students the best of both worlds: our small department within a major research university provides our students with close mentoring and an individually tailored course of study. Our department's mission is media literacy, the ability to think critically about the ways in which images and sounds create ideas. We train undergraduate and graduate students to be discerning viewers and thinkers about the most influential cultural forms of the 20th and 21st centuries, by grounding them in a thorough knowledge of American and international film history, the practices of film and television criticism, film and media theory. We also provide interested students with training in screenwriting and filmmaking.

Our students learn about film narratives, genres and styles from around the world. Our course offerings explore film history (and national cinemas), film criticism (authorship, genres, ideologies) and film theory (the relationship of film to the world, human comprehension and aesthetics). Our students gain essential skills: media literacy (the ability to analyze and interpret such texts). Finally, our students are trained to research and write on films to communicate their ideas and interpretations effectively.

Film Studies enhances its course curriculum with special screenings and guest speakers on campus, in addition to off-campus internships and film festivals. The department is very much a part of the film community in Atlanta and beyond. There are plenty of places in Atlanta to see films of every imaginable genre.

Why Study Film?

While the faculty teach their courses with great passion and enthusiasm, Film Studies is not about "fun" and "going to the movies." In fact, Film Studies provides its majors with rigorous intellectual training comparable to that of other leading humanities fields. Many of our alumni to go on to careers in the entertainment industry (television networks, agencies, production companies). But an equal number of our former majors have used the critical thinking and communication skills we teach as a basis for successful careers in practicing medicine, the law, business, journalism and teaching.

Also, as a Film Studies major, you will be eligible to apply to our new, innovative Concentration in Film and Media Management, a small collaborative program with the Goizueta Business School that gives students the tools to negotiate a career in the media industries. Only ten students are accepted into the program each year.

The minor in Film Studies, which requires coursework in our core curriculum, complements a student's chosen major in any department in the College. Some of our most successful minors have been pre-Med or have had majors in science. Our minors tell us that they welcome the opportunity to focus on non-science topics as a means of enhancing their work within their major film. It also provides them with a distinctive profile as future candidates in non-humanities fields.

Check out the new major and minor in Media Studies.

Requirements for the Major

Students are required to take 10 courses in Film Studies, six of which comprise the department's core curriculum. The following courses are required:

  • Introduction to Film (FILM 270) Every semester
  • History of Film to 1954 (FILM 371) Fall only
  • History of Film Since 1954 (FILM 372) Spring only
  • Classical Film Theory (FILM 381) Fall only
  • Contemporary Film and Media Theory (FILM 382) Spring only
  • Documentary Film and Media History (FILM 393) or National Cinemas (FILM 395, 396)

In addition, students are required to complete 4 courses in elective film studies credits, 1 of which must be taken at the 400-level.

Requirements for the Minor

Students minoring in Film Studies must complete 6 courses, 4 of which comprise the core minor requirements, and 2 of which are electives. Each of the following courses is required for the Film Studies minor:

  • Introduction to Film (FILM 270) Every semester
  • History of Film to 1954 (FILM 371) Fall only
  • History of Film Since 1954 (FILM 372) Spring only
  • Either Classical Film Theory (FILM 381) Fall only or Contemporary Film and Media Theory (FILM 382) Spring only

The remaining 2 electives must be 300- or 400-level courses and/or FILM 107: Introduction to Digital Video.


The Honors Program is open to qualified majors on the following basis. Through the end of his or her junior year, the student must maintain a 3.5 overall GPA; in the Film and Media Studies major, the GPA must be 3.65. It is helpful if the student has completed at least half of the courses required for the major.

Interested students should have up to two formal conversations, one with a Film and Media Studies faculty member whom they would like to direct their thesis, and (if different) one with Professor Michele Schreiber, who is the department's Honors Program Coordinator.  These conversations, ideally, would occur by the end of the spring term prior to their senior year.  The student should submit to Dr. Reynolds and the thesis advisor a one-page proposal for the thesis with a two-page bibliography and filmography, doubled-spaced, and with a title.  This material is the application to the Film and Media Studies Honors Program.

Requirements and Schedule

Once admitted, Honors students are expected to participate in the program during their entire senior year. The student is expected to enroll in FILM 495R (Honors Thesis) in the fall and spring semesters of the senior year. In addition, the student must complete the major and take at least one graduate seminar offered in their senior year (choosing from FILM 501 [Seminar in Authorship], FILM 502 [Seminar in Genre/National Cinema], FILM 503 [Seminar in History/Criticism], FILM 504 [Seminar in Film Theory], and FILM 506 [Historiography of Film]).

The Honors thesis will be developed under the supervision of the thesis advisor. The student must also secure a second reader from among the Film and Media Studies faculty and, after an initial draft is complete, a third reader from another program or department.  Ideally, the student will complete a draft of the thesis by the end of the semester in December, so that the spring term can be devoted to revisions of the thesis.  The Honors student can anticipate receiving comments from the thesis director chapter by chapter before asking the two additional readers to read the draft.

The student must submit the revised thesis to the College Honors Office before the deadline.  Prior to this date, the student must also discuss the thesis in an oral examination with the entire committee to be scheduled earlier in the spring semester.  Failure to complete any of obligations on schedule will cancel the Honors option for the student.

Upon completion of all honors work, the student will receive a letter grade for FILM 495R  (Seniors Honors Thesis) as well as a designation of Highest Honors, High Honors, Honors, or No Honors. These distinctions will be based on a consideration of the quality of the student's honor project, performance as a Film and Media Studies major, and overall academic record.  Contact Prof. Reynolds ( and 404-727-8162) with any questions.

Additional deadlines and obligations will be determined individually.