Film studies is a specific concentration on the analysis and critique of film. It does generally separate from production, which teaches the art of making films. Film history and theory are the primary topics of study in film studies. Film criticism also usually falls under this category in film schools. Most film programs at universities have a film studies department, and many programs that don't offer film production will still have film studies. Other vocational or certificate programs in film may not have many options for film studies. Film studies is a great choice if you want to study film, and not film production.

What to Expect In a Film Studies Program

Film studies is available as a minor at many film schools and as a major or graduate program at others. A typical film studies course is centered around a specific aspect of film. This might be a time period, a country, a genre, or a director. Films of Stanley Kubrick or French New Wave Films are examples of courses you might find. Television is also becoming more and more accepted as material for film studies courses. British Television or The Study of Lost are classes that you may find in more progressive film studies programs.

The format of a typical film studies courses is discussion based. A teacher will discuss the theories and concepts behind a film, and then the class will watch the movie, taking notes. Essays or reviews will then often be assigned, applying the theories to that movie and comparing and contrasting it with other films.

Top Film Studies Programs

There are many good film studies programs around the country. They vary in cost and degree type. Below is a list of several top programs in the United States to study film.

  • University of Southern California
  • University of California Los Angeles
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Boston University
  • New York University
  • American Film Institute
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Florida State University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Texas Austin