Major in Cinema and Media Studies

The Cinema and Media Studies major offers three tracks: Standard, Intensive–Written Thesis, and Intensive–Production Thesis. The Intensive Tracks are designed for students who wish to complete the major with a senior thesis, making them eligible to receive honors. Intensive Track students complete all coursework required under the Standard Track major; they will also elect to complete either a written project or a production project supplemented by an essay, and will complete one Thesis Workshop series over the course of their final year.

Students who plan to major in Cinema and Media Studies should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) as soon as possible to help construct their course plan going forward. We recommend this meeting take place no later than Spring Quarter of year 2.
 

Major Requirements: Standard Track

  • CMST 10100: Introduction to Film
  • CMST 28500: History of International Cinema I: Silent Era 
  • CMST 28600: History of International Cinema II: Sound to 1960 
  • CMST 28700: History of International Cinema III: 1960 to Present 
  • CMST 29201 or CMST 29202: Advanced Seminar
  • Seven Elective Courses (originating in or cross-listed with CMS)
     

Major Requirements: Intensive Track - Written Thesis

  • CMST 10100: Introduction to Film
  • CMST 28500: History of International Cinema I: Silent Era 
  • CMST 28600: History of International Cinema II: Sound to 1960 
  • CMST 28700: History of International Cinema III: 1960 to Present 
  • CMST 29201 or CMST 29202: Advanced Seminar
  • CMST 27299: Written Thesis Workshop 
  • CMST 29900: Senior Thesis (zero-unit course)
  • Seven Elective Courses (originating in or cross-listed with CMS)

Written Thesis

In Spring Quarter of year 3, students must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to submit their intention to complete an Intensive Track major and discuss the focus of their required thesis project. Students begin reading and research during the summer. By the end of fourth week of the Autumn Quarter of year 4, students will select a project advisor and prepare to present an outline of their project during one of the autumn quarter sessions of CMST 27299. 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 (most often in Spring Quarter).

The written thesis 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.
 

Major Requirements: Intensive Track - Production Thesis

  • CMST 10100: Introduction to Film
  • CMST 28500: History of International Cinema I: Silent Era 
  • CMST 28600: History of International Cinema II: Sound to 1960 
  • CMST 28700: History of International Cinema III: 1960 to Present 
  • CMST 29201 or CMST 29202: Advanced Seminar
  • CMST 28999: Production Thesis Workshop 
  • CMST 29900: Senior Thesis (zero-unit course)
  • Seven Elective Courses (three of these elective courses must focus on film or media production)

Prerequisite Production Courses

To be considered for this option, students must have taken at least three production classes by the end of Autumn Quarter of their fourth year. Of these courses, two must originate within the Cinema and Media Studies Department and be taught by CMS facultycross-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 enrolling in two CMS faculty-taught production courses before submitting a thesis proposal in year 3; 
  • One production course may be taken during Autumn Quarter of the student’s fourth year 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. 

Production Thesis

In Spring Quarter of year 3, students must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to submit their intention to complete an Intensive Track major and discuss the focus of their required Production Thesis. 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 Production Thesis.

Some guidelines for the form and substance of the Production Thesis proposal:

  • the proposal should be no more than three and a half pages, single-spaced;
  • the proposal should have three (3) sections, composed of: 
    • Section 1: a synopsis of the project and an explanation of the significance of the project
    • Section 2: a list of production courses taken; estimated length of the project; a description of the locations, actors, and/or social actors for the project and whether or not the student has access to these; and equipment required
    • Section 3: A short plan and timeline of the project to be completed

The DUS and other CMS faculty members will evaluate all proposals 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.

Production Thesis students are assigned a project supervisor in the Autumn Quarter of their 4th year who will work closely with them for the duration of their project. The final version is due by fourth week of the quarter in which the student plans to graduate (most often in Spring Quarter).

Declaring a Major

Students who would like to major in Cinema and Media Studies must complete a Major Course Agreement Form and meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The completed Course Agreement Form will be sent to the student's Academic Adviser once it has been signed by the DUS.