To declare a major in Film, students must have completed a minimum of 30 units, have satisfactorily completed Film 25A or 25B.
We do not offer a minor in Film Studies.
Many Film majors elect to complete a second major in addition to Film. Students must be able to complete both majors within a maximum of 140 units, and can have no more than two courses which are counted towards both major’s requirements. Students considering a double major should consult with the Undergraduate Major Advisor.
Lower Division Requirements
8 lower-division units are required for the major.
- Film 25A (History of Film I), 4 units, usually offered each Fall Semester and Summer Session: Film from its beginnings, covering the silent period and the conversion to sound.
- Film 25B (History of Film II), 4 units, usually offered each Spring Semester and Summer Session: Film from its “classical” period through the New Wave and the emergence of the new ethnic and national cinema.
Upper Division Requirements
A minimum of 32 upper-division units are required.
- Film 100 (Film Theory), 4 units, offered Fall Term: The history of film theory from the beginnings to the present.
- Film 128 (Documentary Film), 4 units, offered Spring Term: An analysis of the development of the documentary film, including examples by Flaherty, Riefenstahl, and Wiseman.
- Film 129 (Avant-Garde Film), 4 units, offered Fall Term: A survey of experimental film including examples by Vigo, Duchamp, Leger, Bunuel, Clair, Brakhage, Kubelka, Snow and Rainer.
plus one of the following:
Film 108 (Genre), 4 units: Focus on a particular genre, e.g., western, horror film, film noir, animation, melodrama. May be repeated for credit.
- Film 151 (Auteur), 4 units: Focus on the work of a single director, e.g., Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Fellini. May be repeated for credit.
- Film 160 (National Cinema), 4 units: Focus on the cinema of a particular nation or region. May be repeated for credit.
(16 units are required to complete the total of 32 upper-division units in the major.)
Students may choose to take additional courses from the upper division Film Studies offerings, including extra courses in Film 108 (Genre), Film 151 (Auteur), or Film 160 (National Cinema), or other electives such as Film 140 (Special Topics), Film 180A and 180B (Screenwriting), Film C185 (Digital Video), Film 186 (Special Topics in Moving Image Production), Film C187 (Advanced Digital Video), all of which will count toward the upper-division unit requirement. In addition, a list of approved film elective courses and course descriptions drawn from course offerings by affiliated faculty across the campus is available each semester. The Undergraduate Major Advisor (UMA) will distribute and post the approved list to film majors each term. Students should consult with the UMA regarding course selections.
For the Film major, students have two options for completing their language requirement:
- Students may complete the third semester of college-level language course in a single language (e.g., French 3), or;
- Students may choose to complete the second semester of a college-level language course in two different languages (e.g., German 2 and Swahili 2). For example, if you have taken three years or more of Spanish in high school, you may satisfy the Film major’s language requirement by enrolling in Spanish 3 at UC Berkeley; or by taking a second language, such as Portuguese, for two semesters (e.g., Portuguese 1 and 2).
Please note: we are interested in the level of the language that the student completes, not the actual number of semesters. Completing the equivalent of a 3rd semester or higher of any foreign language at UC Berkeley (French 3, German 3, Spanish 3, Japanese 10A, etc.) will meet the language requirement for the Film major. Students cannot complete the language requirement based upon high school language study alone, since even advanced high school language courses are considered equivalent to only the second semester of a UC Berkeley language course.
Language courses which are strictly conversational are not acceptable. Students may enroll in the courses being used to satisfy the Film language requirement on a Passed/Not Passed basis. Students should be aware that if they are also using the course to satisfy the Foreign Language requirement, it must be taken on a letter-graded basis. Any natural language is acceptable. Students who are native speakers of a language other than English may demonstrate their language competency by satisfactorily passing a language proficiency exam administered by a language department at UC Berkeley, or by taking an advanced course in the language (such as an upper division course which is taught in the language). Students are expected to demonstrate both verbal and written proficiency.
Students may choose to participate in structured internship opportunities through the Pacific Film Archive (Film 197A and Film 197C). Students who have identified an external internship for which they wish to receive credit should consult with Jeffrey Skoller, the Undergraduate Faculty Advisor, regarding enrollment in Film 197B. Only 4-units of internship units may be counted towards the 32 upper-division unit requirement for the Film major. Film 197A: Film Study at the Pacific Film Archive (2 units), Film 197B: Film Study for Majors (3 units), Film 197C: Film Curating at the Pacific Film Archive (2 units).
Graduate School and Job Opportunities
The strong emphasis in the Film program on writing skills, analytic skills, historical knowledge, and the acquisition of foreign languages prepares our students not only in the area of film, but also in business, law, and the arts and humanities in general.
Recent graduates of the Film Program at Berkeley have gone on to graduate school in Film (several have continued at Berkeley, while some have gone on to production schools); one student was recently admitted to Yale Law School; and others have gone on to graduate programs in Business, English, Comparative Literature, and Art History. Students interested in graduate school are encouraged to use the Step by Step Guide published by the College of Letters and Science.
Specific film-related careers for which we prepare students in the major include: film archivist, film historian, film editor, film critic, production assistant, and independent filmmaker.
Film school is… beginning to attract those who believe that cinema isn’t so much a profession as the professional language of the future…. For some next-generation students, however, the shot at a Hollywood job is no longer the goal. They’d rather make cinematic technique—newly democratized by digital equipment that reduces the cost of a picture to a few thousand dollars and renders the very word “film” an anachronism—the bedrock of careers as far afield as law and the military.
From “Is a Cinema Studies Degree the New MBA?” The New York Times, 3/6/05.