Film Studies

About the major

Studying film draws on both our intellect and our imagination. As an accessible and even ubiquitous transnational cultural form, film opens us to other worlds, other lives, other ways of seeing.

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. The major in Film Studies is a vibrant interdisciplinary program that develops this critical visual literacy. It equips you with a range of skills for understanding and analysing cinema as a vital and yet everyday part of modern life. Through close familiarity with a range of case studies, you will come to understand the social, cultural, aesthetic and political dimensions of cinema in different contexts and at different times.

In Film Studies you will learn scholarly terms that will enable you to describe what you see on screen in relation to, for instance, camera movements and editing techniques or traditions of screen performance. You will develop rich understandings of concepts such as national cinema, genre and spectatorship through a diverse range of case studies. And you will study the historical development of film as a cultural and technological form and analyse its transformations across the 20th century to the present day.

Requirements for completion

A major in Film Studies requires 48 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i)12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core unit
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective unit
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level core unit
(v) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units
(vi) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project unit

A minor in Film Studies requires 36 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective unit
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level core units
(v) 6 credit points of 3000-level selective units

First Year

At 1000-level students complete two units of study, ENGL1011 Introduction to Film Studies, where they are introduced to the language of cinema, film history and the field of critical and theoretical scholarship in Film Studies, and ARHT1003 Hollywood: Art, Industry, Entertainment, which will explore the central cultural role Hollywood and its products have played in the history and aesthetics of filmmaking. In this first year of their major students will acquire a knowledge of key terms, concepts, and critical approaches to the discipline, and will learn to apply the skills of formal film analysis and interpretation, providing them with a firm intellectual grounding for advanced study in a range of subject areas in their senior years.

Second Year

In their second year, students will expand on the knowledge gained at junior level, beginning with the core unit ARHT2652 From Silent to Sound Cinema. This course offers a sustained study of the emergence of cinema across the twentieth century as art form, entertainment commodity, social institution and cultural experience via case studies focused on aspects such as industry development, genre, stardom, reception, national cinemas and film movements. Students will then have the opportunity to branch out into other areas of inquiry through a wide range of 2000-level selective units that offer different perspectives on the history of cinema as a medium, on the nature of cinematic experience, on the variety of cinematic cultures, and on specific approaches to and debates within contemporary Film Studies.

Third Year

In the final year of their major students will have the opportunity to reflect on the discipline of Film Studies from a contemporary perspective in the core unit ARHT3601 Cinematic Transformations, which traces the evolution of the cinematic object from the celluloid to the digital object. They will also be introduced to understandings of cinema arrived at from interdisciplinary perspectives through projects framed within the 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project Unit, giving them a wider grasp of cinema as a cultural phenomenon. Two other 3000-level courses are also completed to round out the major, and these will be drawn from a pool of units offering more sophisticated studies of topics such as film genres, national cinemas, documentary, and digital arts.

Honours

If you commenced your degree prior to 2018: Admission to honours requires a major in Film Studies with an average of 70% or above.

If you commenced your degree in 2018: Admission to honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in Film Studies with an average of 70% or above. You will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Advanced Studies, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major, prior to commencing honours.

The honours year comprises two semester-long units of study and a thesis of 18,000–20,000 words in length.

Advanced Coursework

Advanced Studies in Film Studies engages students in advanced critical research as well as the opportunity to develop industry-focused projects that reflect the breadth and vitality of the discipline. Students will have the opportunity to develop a tailored research or internship project that will allow them to forge an identity within their chosen professional and community spheres. In the Advanced Studies degree in Film Studies, students may develop projects across a range of diverse spheres including film criticism, film festivals, distribution, marketing, promotion, production, audiovisual archives, and online documentary.

The requirements for advanced coursework in Film Studies are described in the degree resolutions for the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies.

24-36 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2019.

Contact / Further information

Film Studies program website: sydney.edu.au/arts/film
School of Literature, Arts and Media website: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/slam/

Film Studies Coordinator: Dr Bruce Isaacs
Email:
Phone: +61 2 9351 4208

Honours Coordinator: Dr Richard Smith
Email:
Phone: +61 2 9351 4208

Example pathway

Film Studies Major

 

Year 1

Sem 1

ENGL1011 Introduction to Film Studies

1000 level unit

1000 level unit

1000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

Sem 2

ARHT1003 Hollywood: Art, Industry, Entertainment

1000 level unit

1000 level unit

1000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

 

Year 2

Sem 1

ARHT2652 From Silent to Sound Cinema

Elective units/OLE

Elective units/OLE

2000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

Sem 2

2000 level Selective unit from the Film Studies major table

Elective units/OLE

Elective units/OLE

2000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

 

Year 3

Sem 1

3000 level Selective unit from the Film Studies major table

3000 level Selective unit from the Film Studies major table

3000 level unit in another major from Table A or S

2000/3000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

Sem 2

ARHT3601 Cinematic Transformations

3000-level Interdisciplinary Project unit

3000 level unit in another major from Table A or S

3000 level unit in another major from Table A or S

Learning outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an extensive, complex and sophisticated knowledge of film as a cultural, historical, technological and aesthetic phenomenon that spans local and global contexts.
  2. Apply high level skills in identifying and interpreting film texts from a range of historical and cultural backgrounds.
  3. Apply high level skills relevant to the analytical study of film and become proficient in medium-specific modes of analysis.
  4. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of key concepts, theories and critical approaches to the study of film.
  5. Examine and solve complex problems related to the study of film through research and critical analysis.
  6. Demonstrate the skills, integrity and confidence to construct and defend coherent, evidence-based arguments by drawing on a critical understanding of the medium and employing the language of formal film analysis and interpretation.