Undergraduate Program

People have been making, watching and writing about movies for just over a century. In a culture that increasingly relies on visual information, an understanding of the moving image is essential to understanding society.

Units of Study

A description and timetable of units of study on offer through the program for the current year is available by selecting from the menu on the left.

How to structure your Film Studies major

The Film Studies major is a well-designed balance of compulsory structure and guided student choice. Across your major in Film Studies you enrol in three compulsory core units: one junior unit, one intermediate and one senior.

Film Studies major

A major in Film Studies requires at least 36 senior credit including ARHT2656 Film Genres and National Cinemas and ARHT3601 Cinematic Transformations and with a maximum of 12 credit points taken from elective units of study.

The learning "spine" of the major is the progression from ENGL1011 Introduction to Film Studies to ARHT2656 Film Genres and National Cinemas to ARHT3601 Cinematic Transformations. Progress through the major is structured to ensure that you acquire and build on key disciplinary knowledge and skills at junior, intermediate and senior levels via these three compulsory units of study. At junior level, you are introduced to the language of cinema, film history and the field of Film Studies. At intermediate level, you expand on this knowledge through a sustained study of national and transnational cinemas and film genres. At senior level, you reflect on the discipline of Film Studies from a contemporary perspective, tracing the evolution of the cinematic object from the celluloid to the digital object.

Beyond the three compulsory units, there is a wealth of choice in terms of how your progress through the major can be plotted. According to your interests, you can select your remaining units from a wide range of core and elective units that offer different perspectives on the history of cinema as a medium, on the nature of cinematic experience and on specific approaches to and debates within contemporary Film Studies.

The following are some examples of the themes that you can pursue as part of a Film Studies major although there is no requirement to focus on a theme;

Cinematic spectatorship:

- ARHT2655 Modern Cinema: Modes of Viewing
- ICLS2637 Watching Stars
- MUSC2663 Survey of Film Music
- ENGL2627 Screening Sexuality

National cinemas:

- ARHT2656 Film Genres and National Cinemas
- ASNS3616 Japanese Cinema and Society
- EUST2020 Screening Europe: After 1989
- FRNC2681 French Narrative Cinema
- SPAN2641 Filmmaking in the Latin American Context

Literature and Cinema:

- ENGL2638 Literature and Cinema
- ITLN3679 Filming Fiction: The Italian Experience
- ASLT2616 Australian Gothic
- ENGL3604 Cinematic Modernism

Although the minimum number of intermediate and senior credit points you must take for your major in Film Studies is 36, you can count up to 60 intermediate and senior credit points in Film Studies towards your degree.

Students who commenced their degree prior to the current year should refer to the description of the major in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Handbook from the year they commenced.


An extra year of research-based study can be undertaken in the Honours year. You will need an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points of Film Studies units in order to be eligible for study at Honours level.

In the Honours program you will enrol in two seminar-based units of study - FILM4101A Studying Film Festivals and FILM4101B What Is Film Studies? - and complete an 18-20,000-word thesis with the guidance and support of your academic supervisor.

Further information regarding the Honours program is available at the Department page and at the Faculty page.

Summer/Winter School

At times, undergraduate units of study in Film Studies are offered as part of the University of Sydney Summer School.