Analyzing Film as Art and Science with Film Studies Degree

Film studies is a field that pertains to the exploration of film and video as an art form. Online degrees in film studies teach students how to analyze various aspects of film, including storytelling, lighting, editing and directing. Film studies programs often specialize in a particular area of study, allowing students to tailor their education to their career goals.

Film Studies Degree Information

A film or cinema studies degree isnít just for budding directors and film critics. Film studies majors learn crucial analytical skills. They learn about social structures and how cultural influences shape individuals and the environment. A film studies major can go on to become almost anything, from a business professional to a politician to a lawyer.

Study Options

Students interested in film studies can elect to major in the discipline, earning a Bachelor of Arts in around four years. The discipline may have different names depending on the school. Students may earn a B.A. in cinema studies, in cinema and television arts, or in film and television, for example.

Advanced Degrees

Master's degrees and doctoral degrees are also available in film studies. Students who pursue higher education in film studies will usually work towards a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema Studies or a Ph.D. in cinema studies.

Master Of Fine Arts In Cinema Studies

The Master of Fine Arts in Cinema Studies will usually be completed in two years, with part of the last year being dedicated to a masters thesis. Students will do extensive writing on and research in the area of film. They will gain a solid foundation of film history, analysis and theory. Students who obtain the MFA in cinema studies will be prepared for doctoral programs in cinema studies as well as teaching at the community college level of below.

Doctorate In Cinema

Doctoral candidates in Cinema Studies will further intensify their study of the medium of film, delving more deeply into the history and significance of film eras and techniques and developing original research into film. Completion of the doctoral degree will qualify students to teach film studies at the college level and prepare them for any job that requires professional film critique.

Choosing A Degree

Students who have always looked at movies with a more critical eye than their peers are well-suited to a degree in film studies. Film studies majors have sharply analytical minds as well as an interest in culture and a love for the medium of film in particular. Film studies majors must be prepared to watch actively, looking for aspects of the medium besides simply the story that is unfolding before the audience.

Career Opportunities

The most natural career paths for film studies majors are in areas such as film making and film criticism. Directors, producers, screenwriters, film reviewers and television critics all may have a background in film studies. However, film studies majors also become journalists, professors and businessmen.

Earning Potential

The earning potential for those with film studies degrees is difficult to calculate since film studies degrees can lead to so many different careers with such wide salary ranges. A major film director can command millions, while the median hourly wage for a film director is around $35. Similarly, a television film critic can make a six-figure salary while many critics for local papers may make in the $40,000-$60,000 range.

Getting Your Degree Online

A film studies degree lends itself particularly well to an online distance learning format since an important part of the curriculum is watching movies, which you can do in the quiet and comfort of your own home. The viewing will be accompanied by information from your online instructors about what to look for and how to watch critically, and other online lectures and coursework will be required. A student can get an online bachelor's degree in film studies in four years or less. Master's degrees in cinema studies can also be earned online in around two years of study. These programs are effective for those just out of high school and for continuing education students as well.

Getting Your Degree Offline

Many large universities and colleges offer a film studies or cinema studies degree. The curriculum for these degrees may include guest lecturers or appearances from those who have made an important contribution to film. Students will often be able to avail themselves of the schoolís film library, which may contain many older films that the students would otherwise not have the opportunity to see. Several graduate programs in the country pride themselves on the top level of education they offer for those choosing to pursue master's degrees or doctoral degrees in film studies at their school. These schools are commonly found in Los Angeles and New York, but exist elsewhere as well. When pursuing a graduate degree in film studies at a traditional college or university, be sure to check who the instructors are and learn their credentials before choosing the best school for your film studies education.

Film Studies Degree FAQs

What Can I Do With a Film Studies Degrees?

The majority of students enrolled in an online film studies degree program go on to pursue an exciting career in the film industry. Future screenwriters, movie directors, costume designers, film reviewers and cinematographers will all benefit from a film studies program. However, it is common for film studies graduates to work outside of the entertainment industry as businesspersons, professors or journalists.

What Topics Are Covered in a Film Studies Program?

An online bachelor's degree in film studies introduces students to all aspects of the film-making industry. Classes in computer technology, film history, screenwriting and editing are typically offered. Since film positions require the collaboration of dozens or hundreds of individuals, business skills like project management, marketing and negotiation are also part of the program.

What Are the Benefits of Online Film Studies Degrees?

The nature of film studies programs in general lends itself well to online study. Students are traditionally required to watch numerous movies, which can be done at distance whenever it is convenient.

Furthermore, an online format allows working professionals to pursue their passions for film without obstructing work and family requirements. Most film studies online degrees feature schoolwork that can be completed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What Is the Estimated Salary for Film Studies Graduates?

Due to the large variation of career paths, students graduating with a film studies degree earn varying salaries. Leading directors, scriptwriters, actors and industry professionals often earn millions of dollars each year.

However, the majority of film studies graduates earn considerably less. The average film director earns approximately $35 per hour. The average film critic earns between $40,000 and $60,000 annually.

Types of Online Film Studies Degrees

The most popular online film studies degree is the four-year bachelor's program. Different schools may have different names for the specific degree, such as B.A. in Cinema Studies, B.A. in Radio, TV and Film or B.F.A. in Film-making.

Traditional graduate level programs include an online Master of Fine Arts in Cinema Studies and Ph.D. in Cinema Studies. Graduate programs typically offer more specialized areas of study and require substantial classes in film history and analysis.

Film Studies Student Guide

Film studies is the study of the cinematic arts. Students watch movies critically and strive to understand how they influence society and guide popular culture. Students learn the history of moving pictures and see how this art has developed throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st.

Film Studies Books

Each film studies curriculum is distinct from school to school and your professors will inform you which books you will need. Some good film studies books to s tart out with include The Study Guide for American Cinema by E. Sikov, Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts by Susan Hayward and "The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema" by Jean Mitry and Christopher King.

Film Studies Articles And Databases

There are a number of collected works that are a great source of articles for film studies. These may be found at your school's library and can include: The Academy Awards Handbook, The Film Anthologies Index by Stephen E. Bowles, The New York Times Encyclopedia of Filmî and The Ultimate Movie Thesauru by Christopher Case.

Online Literary Journals

Film is a popular medium and there are many journals on the topic. These can be found at nearly any bookstore or library and can include American Cinematographer, Box Office Magazine, Cinefantastique, Entertainment Weekly, Film Quarterly, Independent Film Quarterly, Premiere and Film Journal International.

Other Film Studies Research Tools

Film studies students should visit the American Film Institute at AFI.com. AFI.com features a digital content lab, links to other useful film information, a link to a feature film catalog, information about various film related events and more.

Related Sections

Find the school that is right for you