Film

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Berkeley offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate program leading to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film. The program offers rigorous engagement with the entire culture of moving-images, teaching students to think historically, theoretically, and analytically about a wide range of cinematic forms. At the same time, it encourages students to look at moving images from the vantage point of other disciplines. To this end, the Department of Film & Media cooperates with a number of other departments and programs on campus. Students earning their BA in Film may also choose to complement their study of the history and theory of moving images with the hands-on experience provided by production and screenwriting classes.

Declaring the Major

To declare a major in Film, students must have completed a minimum of 30 units, and have satisfactorily completed FILM 10 or FILM 20. For further information regarding prerequisites, please see the Major Requirements tab on this page.

Honors Program

To be eligible for admission to the honors program in Film, a student must have attained senior standing with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or higher on all University work and a 3.5 GPA or higher in courses in the major.  Students in the honors program are to take FILM H195 for a letter grade to complete a senior honors thesis. Although the production of a film may be part of the preparation of the thesis — and the film may be submitted as a documentation, or example — it is expected that the thesis will be a substantial piece of writing on film and media theory, criticism, or history.

Minor Program

There is no minor program in Film.

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

*Beginning Fall 2020, the Film program will be rolling out a new curriculum. The new curriculum expands the department's production-based course offerings, gives more consideration to emerging and alternative media, expands the scope of required courses into related media fields, and provides more flexibility in pathways through the major. 

The major structural changes include removing the foreign language requirement and replacing it with an elective requirement that creates a total of five elective requirements instead of the previous four.

While many courses under the new curriculum have been adapted from existing courses, the course numbering system has been completely revamped as well, making course numbering more rational and predictable (such as numbering all electives in the 170 series and all production courses in the 180 series).

All the following requirements and policies are based on this new curriculum. 

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the requirements below specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, with the exception of one upper-division elective, which can be taken on a P/NP grading basis. There are a few other exceptions; see Major Advisor for details.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs, with the exception of minors offered outside of the College of Letters & Science.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained across all upper- and lower-division courses used to fulfill the major requirements. In addition, each specific upper- and lower-division course used to fulfill major requirements needs to be passed with a C- or better.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Lower Division Requirements

FILM 10Film History & Form4
FILM 20Film and Media Theory4
ONE of THREE:
FILM 30Film Aesthetics4
FILM 35Digital Media Studies4
FILM 45Television Studies4

Upper Division Requirements 

THREE of FOUR:
FILM 125Documentary Forms4
FILM 135Experimental and Alternative Media Art4
FILM 145Global Media4
FILM 155Media Technologies4
ELECTIVES x5:
Select 20 units, from upper-division Film & Media course offerings, or from the list of approved extra-departmental electives available every semester. It is acceptable to take one 4-unit elective course as Pass/Not Passed
*Note that a maximum of two (2) extra-departmental courses can be counted towards elective credit; all other courses must be Film & Media department courses
CAPSTONE STATEMENT

Summer Certificate Requirements

The 3-course Summer Sessions certificate in Film & Media Industries and Professions is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in film and media. The curriculum exposes students to industry structures that govern a broad range of media professions, fields, and practices. Individual courses introduce students to the various processes entailed in developing, pitching and producing media content; provide understanding of the roles played by various artists and professionals in the production, distribution, and exhibition of content; provide critical understanding of the key business and legal concepts relevant to intellectual property in our changing media landscape; and provide opportunities to learn about film and media practices from award-winning artists.

This certificate is not an official program offered by Undergraduate Education and will not be noted on a student’s transcript, but upon completion of the third required course, the student will receive a certificate from the Department of Film & Media noting completion of the summer program. Students are welcome to enroll in individual courses offered as part of the certificate program even if they do not intend to pursue the full certificate. Non-UC Berkeley students are also welcome to enroll in our summer courses.

Required Courses

FILM 176Pitch to Production4
FILM 177Entertainment Law 14
FILM 178Film & Media Professions3

Forms

Declaration of Intent to Complete Form – Please submit this form by the end of Week 3 of your second certificate course.

Certificate Completion Form – Please submit this form by the end of Week 3 of your third certificate course. 

Student Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major

After completing the film major, a student will have a working knowledge of the film-making process from concept to exhibition and will be able to interpret films through a variety of aesthetic, cultural, historical, and theoretical frameworks. The critical thinking skills promoted in the film major involve seeing beyond one’s immediate reactions to a film by developing a repertoire of productive interpretive questions and approaches that lead to more complex understanding and appreciation of the filmic experience. Analytic reasoning is encouraged in both oral and written assignments that require students to perform systematic analysis of film sequences, to construct careful, step-by-step arguments in larger research projects, or to create a coherently constructed film or script. Communication skills are developed through participation in classroom discussions, in the effective writing of critical essays and research papers, and in the articulation of creative ideas through film-making and scriptwriting.

More specifically, the successful graduate from the film major must be able to:

  1. produce formal and aesthetic analyses of different media forms drawing on both medium-specific and comparative approaches;
  2. think beyond the surface impressions of popular film and media texts by developing a repertoire of critical questions and approaches that facilitate deeper understanding, including concepts of concepts of race, ethnicity, nation, empire, colonialism, class, gender, and sexual orientation;
  3. engage in the critical study of film and media in an expanded framework, focusing on experimental (social and political), documentary, and global perspectives as part of a comparative approach to a range of media forms including film, television, new media, sound, photography, and more;
  4. learn basic principles of film analysis through the early emergence of film form;
  5. develop the skills of shot- and sequence-analyses, both orally in class and in written form;
  6. talk and write about how individual films or media texts fit within a historical context and the mode of production from which they emerge;
  7. identify and understand the place of film and media as visual and fine art, as well as its influence on major art movements and discourses in modern and contemporary art;

  8. demonstrate the ability to understand and apply key concepts from film and media theory when analyzing or producing a media text, making a film, or writing a screenplay;
  9. for those students with special interests in film and media production, develop the technical production skills necessary to express original and critically-informed creative ideas in an accomplished form of visual expression;
  10. write essays and papers that are clear, well-researched and organized, and that mount an original argument;
  11. organize ideas in oral presentations and general classroom discussions.

Advising

Undergraduate Major Advisor:

Grayson Johnston

7406 Dwinelle Hall 
gjohnston@berkeley.edu
510-642-3522
 
Please email Grayson at gjohnston@berkeley.edu to schedule an appointment. 

He is generally available in 7406 Dwinelle Tuesday-Thursday, 9AM-12PM and 1PM-4PM

Courses

Film & Media

Faculty and Instructors

Faculty

Weihong Bao, Associate Professor. Film theory and history, media archaeology, critical theory, visual and performance culture, Chinese language cinema, transnational genre cinema, comparative media history and theory.
Research Profile

Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor. Photography, film, contemporary art, critical theory and aesthetics of Spanish America and Brazil .
Research Profile

Mary Ann Doane, Professor. Feminist theory, semiotics, cinema, media, cultural theory, archaeology of media technology, poststructuralism.
Research Profile

Jacob Gaboury, Assistant Professor. Digital media, visual culture, media archaeology, queer theory, 20th century histories of technology and computation, computer graphics, and the intersection of contemporary art and technology .

Anton Kaes, Professor. Film studies, modern literature, literary and cultural theory, cinema, interdisciplinary and comparative aspects of Weimar culture, contemporary literature and film, literary theory, theory of cultural studies, film history, film theory, history of cinema.
Research Profile

Anne Nesbet, Professor. Culture, film studies, Slavic languages, early Soviet culture, Sergei Eisenstein, silent film, Soviet film, GDR history, children's literature and Stalinism, the Soviet Union, American minority movements.
Research Profile

Nicolás Pereda, Assistant Professor.

Mark Sandberg, Professor. Silent film, late nineteenth-century visual culture, theater history, comedy, Scandinavian design, serial television, film historiography, Scandinavian film history, Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian literature, Nordic literary history.
Research Profile

Miryam Sas, Professor. Comparative literature, 20th century avant-gardes, Japanese literature, film, theater and dance, contemporary art, critical theory, gender theory.
Research Profile

Jeffrey A. Skoller, Associate Professor. Film history, theory and practice of documentary, avant-garde film, film as art, activist media, Third Cinema , film/video production.
Research Profile

Kristen Whissel, Professor. Cinema and technological change, computer-generated images and contemporary cinema, digital visual effects, the history and theory of special effects, cinema in transition, American film history, silent American cinema, modernity and early cinema .
Research Profile

Damon R. Young, Associate Professor. Digital media, global art cinema (with a focus on French and francophone), gender and sexuality studies, critical theory.

Lecturers

Emily Carpenter, Lecturer.

J. Mira Kopell, Lecturer.

Contact Information

Department of Film and Media

7408 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1415

Fax: 510-642-8881

rfa@berkeley.edu

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Jeffrey Knapp

322 Wheeler Hall

Phone: 510-642-3467

jknapp@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Major Advisor

Grayson Johnston

7406 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-3522

gjohnston@berkeley.edu

Back to Top