Production Thesis Option

Special Collections Research Center, UChicago Photo Archive

Proposing a Production Thesis

By week 7 of Spring Quarter of the third year, students must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) to declare their intention to complete a Production Thesis Option. 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 alone will not be considered for the creative thesis option. 

The DUS and one other CMS faculty member will evaluate all proposals for the creative BA project option 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.

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, at least two (2) must originate with the Cinema and Media Studies Department and be taught by CMS faculty. The third course can originate in CMS, the Department of Visual Arts, or Theater and Performance Studies. 

  • These classes should be combined to fulfill the further electives triplet in the CMS concentration;
  • One of these courses may be taken during Autumn Quarter of the student’s fourth year in the College;
  • Courses must be taken in their sequence (CMST 23930 and 23931) and prerequisites must be met.

Further Requirements

Production Thesis Workshops (CMST 23907 or CMST 23908)
Students who are accepted into the creative BA thesis option are required to enroll in one of two creative thesis workshops during the Winter Quarter of the fourth year in the College. Depending on what type of project they are completing, students will be required to either enroll in Production Thesis - Narrative (CMST 23907) or Production Thesis - Non-Fiction (CMST 23908). This class does not count toward the CMS distribution requirements in the major, nor does it substitute for enrollment in Senior Colloquium. 

Written Thesis
An accompanying paper establishing the relationship of the production film or video component of the project to film, video, or media history, theory, or modes of production is required. This paper may incorporate an analysis of the production and post-production process. The paper will be submitted at the time of final submission of the creative work.