Intensive-Track: Production Thesis

Proposing a Production Thesis

By week 7 of Spring Quarter of the third year, students must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies ( to declare their intention to complete a Production Thesis the following academic year. At this time, students will submit a written proposal that describes the project and suggests a timeline for the work to be accomplished. The writing of screenplays / storyboards alone will not be considered for the intensive-track production thesis.

Some guidelines for the form and substance of the proposal:

  • the proposal should be no more than three (3) pages double-spaced;
  • students should list the production courses they have taken that make them qualified to complete a production thesis;
  • the proposal should include a synopsis of the film planned - access to locations, actors, or social actors, the anticipated equipment required, length of the final piece, a short plan of work, and a rationale explaining why the film should be made.

The DUS and other CMS faculty members will evaluate all proposals for production thesis projects, and decisions will be made by the last week of spring quarter. Decisions are based primarily on the feasibility of the project, the quality of the proposal, and the student’s performance in required production classes. The number of projects approved may be limited by the advising capacity of the CMS faculty.


Majoring in Cinema and Media Studies: Intensive Track, Production Thesis

The Intensive Track Major in Cinema and Media Studies consists of thirteen courses—six required courses and seven electives—and the completion of a BA Production Thesis plus and accompanying paper (10-12 pages). 

Required Courses: 

  • Introduction to Film (CMST 10100): this course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of film analysis. It should be completed before other Cinema and Media Studies courses; it must be completed before other required courses.
  • History of International Cinema I - Silent Era (CMST 28500)
  • History of International Cinema II - Sound to 1960 (CMST 28600)
  • History of International Cinema III - 1960 to Present (CMST 28700)
  • Advanced Seminar (CMST 29201 - Autumn, CMST 29203 - Winter, or CMST 29202 - Spring): open only to upper-year students who have declared a major in Cinema and Media Studies, the Advanced Seminar functions as a capstone course. It will allow students the opportunity to explore in more depth key disciplinary and methodological questions related to the study of cinema and media. Particular topics will be determined by the individual faculty instructor and will vary from the Autumn to Spring quarters and from instructor to instructor. Majors are required to enroll in one section, but are welcome to use the second as an elective for their major requirements if the subject matter is of interest.
    • for AY2021 and AY2022, CMST 29203 - Winter will be offered in place of CMST 29201 - Autumn
  • Students must enroll in the year-long workshop series Intensive Track - Production Thesis Workshop (CMST 28999)in autumn and the Senior Thesis (CMST 29900) in their final quarter. 

Elective Courses: The seven (7) remaining courses should originate in or be cross-listed with CMS. Students are encouraged to consider broad survey courses as well as those with more focused topics (e.g., courses devoted to a single genre, director, or national cinema). Three (3) of these electives courses must focus on film / media production.



Prerequisite Production Courses

To be considered for this option, students must have taken at least three (3) production classes by the end of Autumn Quarter of their fourth year in the College. Of these courses, two (2) must originate with the Cinema and Media Studies Department and be taught by CMS faculty - cross-listed courses taught outside of CMS do not fulfill this requirement. The third course can originate in either CMS, DoVA, or TAPS, but must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies ( 

Some additional notes: 

  • Students should prioritize fulfilling two CMS faculty-taught production courses before submitting a proposal in year 3; 
  • One production course may be taken during Autumn Quarter of the student’s fourth year in the College if necessary; 
  • Two-quarter courses must be taken in sequence (ex. CMST 23930 + CMST 23931 or CMST 28921 + CMST 28922) and prerequisites must be met prior to enrollment.