Film and Media Studies examines a vitally important aspect of visual culture in the 20th and 21st centuries, namely the development of film, television, radio, and other electronic media as aesthetic and cultural forms. As our national and international cultures become increasingly dominated by visual culture, we acknowledge the need to study those forms that provide our chief sources of entertainment and information. This need speaks to our desire to become critical viewers, knowledgeable in the history of the most popular art forms of our century and possessing the analytical skills to understand and interpret visual forms of expression.
The undergraduate major in film and media studies requires the rigorous study of history and aesthetics in an attempt to understand the creative force of an individual artwork, its relation to other artistic production, and its place in culture. Furthermore, because film and media creations are most often produced within an industrial context, the student of film and media must also study industrial and business practices. Complementing the critical studies curriculum, courses in production and screenwriting will provide an intimate understanding of the kinds of choices that film and media artists confront, further refining students’ abilities to view critically. Courses in production do not aim to provide students with professional instruction in film and media. It is not the purpose of this program to train students for professional work.
Unlike many larger Film and Media programs, students at Washington University re-ceive close personal attention from our dedicated faculty of distinguished scholars, screenwriters, and video artists. Although we have a few large lecture courses, students usually get the opportunity to discuss individual texts or ideas in smaller sections. Most of our upper-level courses have limited enrollments of 15 to 25 students per class. As a Film and Media Studies major, your academic advisor will learn your specific interests and goals, and will help to make your studies at Washington University a rich and rewarding experience.
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