Go to content

Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

Film Studies (FILM)

College of Arts and Humanities
3215 Jimenez Hall, 301-405-4025
Director: E. Papazian (SLLC)
Professors: J. Auerbach (ENGL), P. Beicken (SLLC), J. Kuo (ARTH), V. Orlando (SLLC)
Associate Professors: H. Baer (SLLC), C. Eades (SLLC), O. Gaycken (ENGL), S. Giovacchini (HIST), E. Zakim (SLLC)
Assistant Professors: V. Anishchenkova (SLLC), L. Arsenjuk (SLLC), M. Resmini (SLLC)
Instructors: E. Robinson (CMLT)
Affiliate Professors: M. Collins (ENGL and CMLT), A. Eckstein (HIST), J. Hallett (CLAS), R. Igel (SLLC), A. Karimi-Hakkak (SLLC), R. Oster (SLLC), T. Parry-Giles (COMM), O. Wang (ENGL), J. Witzleben (MUSC)
Affiliate Associate Professors: M. Mason (SLLC), E. Merediz (SLLC), J. Naharro-Calderon (SLLC), Z. Nunes (ENGL and CMLT), J. Shannon (ARTH)
Affiliate Assistant Professors: M. Baillargeon (SLLC)
Professors Emeriti: R. Harrison (SLLC and CMLT), M. Lounsbury (AMST), P. Verdaguer (SLLC)

The Major

Film Studies is an interdisciplinary program in the Humanities that enables students to explore an influential global art form in its aesthetic, cultural, economic, historical, and technological dimensions.  The major takes a critical, textual approach to film, emphasizing scholarly viewing, interpreting, and writing about moving images. It provides students with a solid background in theoretical, critical, and aesthetic aspects of the study of film, including the history of the medium and the analysis of national cinemas, always keeping in view questions of how new media have changed both cinema itself and the study of cinema.  The Film Studies major brings together courses in cinema from varied nations, languages, and cultures and challenges students to understand the systems of transnational exchange that have characterized this medium from its inception.  Courses offered by this program may be found under the following acronyms: FILM, ENGL, SLLC.

Program Objectives

The Major in Film Studies teaches the fundamental skills required for a range of professional careers: critical thinking, historical awareness, research, information management, cogent development of ideas, and strong written and oral communication.  Students will work toward competence in film analysis, critical viewing and writing, and visual literacy at a time when our culture is becoming increasingly dependent upon visual communication.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to analyze and interpret film aesthetics and technical structures of editing, cinematography, and mise-en-scene.
  • Students will be able to identify and analyze diverse genres and movements in the history of film.
  • Students will be able to situate films produced in various parts of the world in relation to larger historical and cultural developments.
  • Students will understand the various uses of the moving image in its relation to the political, economic, and social history of the world over the past century.
  • Students will be able to conduct research in Film Studies and to write persuasively.

Requirements for the Major

The Film Studies major has four parts: a prerequisite course in Film Form (ENGL/FILM245), a two-course Film History and Theory Foundation (ENGL/FILM301 and 302), a six-course Film Criticism Core, and four Film Electives.  The first two parts of the program assure that students have the necessary analytical tools and historical background to interpret diverse global cinematic traditions.  The Film Criticism Core and Film Electives offer students the opportunity to explore genres, themes, and movements across different historical periods and to develop their skills in analysis, writing, and research.


  • The Film Studies major requires 39 credits (13 courses).
  • A grade of "C-" or better is required in each of the courses making up the 39 credits of the major.
  • Up to nine (9) credits may be taken at the 200-level.
  • At least 6 of the 39 credits must be at the 400-level.


Film Form (3 credits)

  • ENGL245/FILM245 Film Form and Culture (fulfils Gen Ed req. in Humanities)
    •      Or SLLC283/FILM283: Introduction to Cinema Studies
    •      Or equivalent by permission of department
  • Film Studies majors must take FILM/ENGL245 before they take other 300- or 400-level Film Studies courses. We recommend that it be taken no later than sophomore year.

Film History and Theory Foundation (6 credits)

  • Prerequisite for both courses: ENGL245/FILM245 or SLLC283/FILM283.
  • FILM301 Cinema History I: The Silent Era
  • FILM302 Cinema History II: The Sound Era
  • Students may take the two courses in any order.

Film Criticism Core Requirement (18 credits), distributed as follows:

  • At least one course in this category must be taken at the 400-level.
  • One course (3 credits) in Film Theories
  • Two courses (6 credits) in Genres/Auteurs/Movements
  • Two courses (6 credits) in National and International Cinemas
  • One course (3 credits) in Documentary, Animation, Experimental Cinema or other Visual Media

For a list of courses that will satisfy each sub-category, please see www.film.umd.edu/major/courses.html .

Film Electives (12 credits)

Up to two courses in this category may be taken at the 200-level. At least one must be taken at the 400-level. Please consult the full list of courses accepted for the major:  www.film.umd.edu/major/courses.html .

Option One: 12 credits, distributed as follows:

  • Two courses (6 credits) from the Film Criticism category, any rubric
  • Two courses (6 credits) from the Film Electives category

Option Two: 12 credits

Four courses (12 credits) in Film Electives, selected to create a coherent emphasis.  The four courses should be selected in consultation with the Film Studies Advisor to allow students to explore a specific area of interest or an area related to their future academic or professional plans.


Academic advising is available throughout the year.  Departmental academic advising is mandatory for all Film Studies majors each semester.  Students should check Testudo ( http://testudo.umd.edu/ ) for their registration date and schedule an advising appointment for at least one week in advance of their date.  Advising appointments can be made via email: film-advising@umd.edu .

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit: www.financialaid.umd.edu .

Return to top