Major and Minor

Students wishing to concentrate in Cinema and Media Studies should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) early in their career in the College to help construct their course plan going forward; this meeting should take place by the end of Spring Quarter of year 2 if the student is the a looking to make CMS their major program of study. For students wishing to minor, they should meet with the DUS during year 3. 

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Participation in the major or minor must be formally declared to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the subsequent approved paperwork will be sent to the student's College advisor by the Department Assistant for official registration.

Majoring in Cinema and Media Studies: Standard Track

The major in Cinema and Media Studies consists of twelve courses—five required courses and seven electives.

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 Era to 1960 (CMST 28600)
  • History of International Cinema III: 1960 to Present (CMST 28700)
  • Advanced Seminar (CMST 29200): taking in Spring Quarter of year 3 (Autumn Quarter of year 4 in AY2019-2020 only), students must participate in the Advanced Seminar, a course which helps to conceptualize the BA research paper and address more advanced questions of methodology and theory.

Elective Courses: Of the seven (7) remaining courses, four (4) must either originate in or be cross-listed with Cinema and Media Studies. 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). 

Although the other three (3) electives may be taken outside Cinema and Media Studies, students must demonstrate their relevance to the study of cinema. For example, a group of courses could focus on traditional disciplines (history, anthropology/ethnography, philosophy); subfields within area studies (e.g., East Asian, African American, Jewish studies); art forms and media (e.g., art history, theater, opera); or cross-disciplinary topics or sets of problems (e.g., the urban environment, violence and pornography, censorship, concepts of the public sphere). 

 

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

The Intensive Track Major in Cinema and Media Studies consists of twelve courses—five required courses and seven electives - and the completion of a BA Thesis Paper. 

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 Era to 1960 (CMST 28600)
  • History of International Cinema III: 1960 to Present (CMST 28700)
  • Advanced Seminar (CMST 29200): taken in Spring Quarter of year 3 (or Autumn Quarter of year 4 in AY2019-2020 only), students must participate in the Advanced Seminar, a course which helps to conceptualize the BA research paper and address more advanced questions of methodology and theory.
    • There are additional stipulations for those pursuing a Creative BA; see BA Research Paper for details. Note: Students are also required to register for CMST 29900 B.A. Essay: CMST during their final year in the College, preferably during the quarter they intend to graduate. This is a zero-unit course, but enrollment ensures that a thesis grade will appear on the student's transcript.   

Elective Courses: Of the seven (7) remaining courses, four (4) must either originate in or be cross-listed with Cinema and Media Studies. 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). 

Although the other three (3) electives may be taken outside Cinema and Media Studies, students must demonstrate their relevance to the study of cinema. For example, a group of courses could focus on traditional disciplines (history, anthropology/ethnography, philosophy); subfields within area studies (e.g., East Asian, African American, Jewish studies); art forms and media (e.g., art history, theater, opera); or cross-disciplinary topics or sets of problems (e.g., the urban environment, violence and pornography, censorship, concepts of the public sphere). 

Written Thesis: Before seventh week of Spring Quarter during year 3, students meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss the focus of their required BA project. Students begin reading and research during the summer. By the end of fourth week of the Autumn Quarter of year 4, students select a project adviser and prepare to present an outline of their project to the Senior Colloquium. Writing and revising take place during Winter Quarter. The final version is due by fourth week of the quarter in which the student plans to graduate (enrollment in CMST 29900 required).

The BA research paper typically consists of a substantial essay that engages a research topic in the history, theory, and criticism of film and/or other media. A creative project in film or video production supplemented by an essay is sometimes an option, contingent on the approval of the faculty.

Minoring in Cinema and Media Studies

The minor in Cinema and Media Studies requires the completion of six courses, the first of which should be (if possible) Introduction to Film (CMST 10100); students should aim to take this course early in their undergraduate career or at the beginning of their minor course of study. It must be taken no later than Spring Quarter of year 3. 

Students who elect the minor program in Cinema and Media Studies must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to declare their intention to complete the minor and to select courses. The approved Minor Program Agreement Form will be sent to the student's College adviser by the Cinema and Media Studies Department Assistant once it has been signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Approval forms can be obtained from the Director of Undergraduate Studies or from the Cinema and Media Studies Office (Classics 304)

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.
  • Two of the following: 
    • History of International Cinema I: Silent Era (CMST 28500)
    • History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960 (CMST 28600)
    • History of International Cinema III: 1960 to Present (CMST 28700)
  • Plus three (3) additional elective courses from CMST offerings. 

Courses in the minor may not be double-counted with the student's major(s) or with other minors and may not be counted toward general education requirements. All classes toward the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Declaring a Major or Minor

Students wishing to enter the program should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Spring Quarter of year 1 or year 2 in the College. Participation in the program must be declared to the Director of Undergraduate Studies before declaration can be made official, and students need approval of course agreement forms.