Film and Media Studies Major

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.

Film and Media Studies Major


The following are required courses for the Film and Media Studies Major:

  • Film 220 Introduction to Film Studies – Offered every fall  3 credits
  • Film 225 Making Movies 3 credits OR Film 352 Introduction to Screenwriting 3 credits – both are offered every fall and spring
  • Film 330 History of American Cinema – Offered every spring  3 credits
  • Film 340 History of World Cinema – Offered every fall  3 credits
  • Film 350 History of Electronic Media – Offered every spring  3 credits
  • Film 420 Film Theory – Offered every spring 3 credits

In addition to these required courses, students must take twelve credits in advanced electives (300 or higher). All students must take one three-credit elective that focuses on a national cinema other than the United States. Additionally, all students who sign up for the major in fall 2012 or after must take one three-credit critical studies elective at the 400-level or above (Students are allowed to count a 400-level national cinema course toward both of these elective requirements should such courses be offered; however, this does not reduce the required number of credit hours required in electives).  Electives in critical studies may be drawn from courses on individual directors, genre study, limited historical periods, study of individual crafts, such as acting, and so on. Students with an interest in production may count two production and/or screenwriting courses towards the major within these twelve elective hours.

Film and Media Studies Major with Production Concentration

This new concentration in FMS became available to students as of Fall 2019. It provides those interested in production more opportunities to enhance their skills in and knowledge of aspects of moving image- creative production, as well as additional academic guidance and support. A student concentrator in film and media production will take L53 225 Making Movies I and L53 352 Introduction to Screenwriting as core production classes as well as the same fifteen hours of core critical studies coursework required of regular FMS majors, thus making for twenty-one credit hours in the required core. The student would also complete fifteen credit hours of electives consisting of:

  • A. One 3 credit critical studies course in a national or regional (non-U.S.) cinema at the 300 or 400 level (required of all majors)
  • B. One 3 credit critical studies course at the 400 level (screenwriting or production does not count towards this requirement)
  • C. Nine hours total credit or three, 3 credit electives in digital or film production or screenwriting. Three hours credit may be at the 200 level or above. Six hours credit must be at the 300 level or above.

Courses taken overseas are also eligible to be used to satisfy C category up to a total of six credit hours with permission of the FMS overseas advisor. Courses offered by another academic department or school at Washington University may be accepted in C category for up to six credit hours with the prior permission of the student's FMS advisor. In keeping with the current FMS major, a minimum of C- must be earned for any course to count


Still have questions about the major? Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.