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 all units of study on offer through the department 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 enroll in three compulsory core units: one junior unit, one intermediate and one senior.

Film Studies major

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 core 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. Further information regarding the units of study available in 2014 can be found in the Faculty handbook.

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.

A description of the major for students commencing their degree in or after 2014 can be found here.

Students who commenced their degree prior to 2014 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 a credit average in 48 intermediate or senior credit points of Film Studies in order to be eligible for study at Honours level.

* Please note: from 2015 the minimum requirement for entry into Honours will increase to an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points in the intended subject area/s.

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 School

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