Film Studies B.A. and Minor

students filming a class project

RIC’s B.A. in film studies prepares students for a wide range of careers related to both filmmaking and the analysis of visual media. 

Film Studies at RIC

Our theory-to-practice curriculum combines instruction in filmmaking practices and styles with the study of the history, cultural reception, and cultural impacts of cinema, as well as an examination of the film industry and its place in modern society. You will study different modes of filmmaking, such as narrative, documentary, experimental, and serial storytelling across different media platforms. You will also learn skills related to screenwriting, directing, editing, and lighting & cinematography, and put them into practice in your own creative work. Film studies majors gain not only knowledge in their field, but also valuable soft skills such as research, analysis, collaboration, and project management.

Upon completion of this program, our graduates are prepared for entry-level work in a wide range of careers in creative positions within the film industry, in independent film production, in social media content creation, or in web series creation. Alternatively, they are prepared for entry-level work  in entertainment journalism, in film and media reviewing, and in related fields such as festival programming, arts management, marketing, and media education.

Program Details

About the RIC Film Studies Program

Video created by Alexander Geil (class of 2026) for the FILM 218: Fundamentals of Film Production course

Program/Learning Goals

Upon completion of this program, our graduates are able to:

  • Understand and analyze how films are made with respect to aspects such as production design, cinematography, editing, and sound.
  • Understand and follow the workflow for both short film and feature film production, as well as be able to put into practice in their own creative work the fundamentals of screenwriting, directing, production design, cinematography, editing, and sound.
  • Understand and analyze films with respect to their historical contexts – across film history and in terms of cultural and transnational contexts.
  • Understand and analyze films with respect to theoretical issues such as representation, meaning, and audience reception, and be able to situate their own creative work in relationship to both film history and film theory.
  • Understand different modes of filmmaking, such as narrative, documentary, experimental and serial storytelling across different platforms, as well as be able to put into practice the different processes involved in their creation from development to release.

Course Information

Our 48-credit requirement for the major makes it possible for full-time students to complete their degrees and graduate in 4 years. It also allows for students to declare a second major or a minor (if interested) without adding extra time towards graduation or cost to tuition. Faculty advisors in the Film Studies Program assist students in choosing a second major or minor that will compliment their film degrees and provide an additional set of career credentials.

Students who don't wish to declare a minor or a second major are strongly encouraged to take additional film classes beyond those required for the major in order to maximize their skills and their potential career pathways within the  production field or one of the career fields related to critical studies of cinema.

Use the links below to find more specific information about degree requirements:

Course Requirements  

Course Descriptions 

Academic Rhode Map

Minor in Film Studies

Declaring a minor allows you to explore other areas of interest and make interdisciplinary connections. Minor areas at RIC complement and reinforce all major areas of study. By declaring a minor, you can set yourself apart as a candidate for job, internship and volunteer opportunities.

Minor in Film Studies

Writing in the Discipline

W​hy or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/profession?

The ability to write clearly and persuasively is an essential skill in the film studies discipline and indeed in the professional world of film. Students from our program have gone on to become filmmakers, corporate professionals, critics, teachers and academics. Writing is central to these professions: writing scripts, proposing and pitching film projects, applying for funding to make films, reporting on films, reviewing films, producing scholarship on films, and promoting films. In our discipline, as well as in professional work related to film, communicating clearly and persuasively through writing is central.

Which courses are designated as satisfying the Writing in the Discipline (WID) requirement by your department? Why these courses?

The Film Studies Program has two informal concentrations: 1) critical studies and 2) production. Both share the program’s two required writing in the discipline courses: FILM 219: Foundations in Film Analysis and FILM 454: Contemporary Film and Theory. These two courses engage in much of the range of writing and critical thinking that are not only found within the film studies discipline but also are expected of our graduates in their future professions, whether those professions are in the film industry, in film criticism/reviewing,  in film scholarship, in film festival programming, or in archival work.

What forms or genres of writing will students learn and practice in your department’s WID courses? Why these genres?

Students will engage in a variety of different types of academic writing from response papers to critical research papers and will have the opportunity to practice writing skills crucial to their success in a range of different film-related professions.

What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?

Students in film studies WID courses have multiple opportunities to practice various critical writing skills, from summary and synthesis to critical analysis and argumentation.

The Foundations in Film Analysis course (FILM 219), depends on scaffolded writing assignments, beginning with short, low-stakes writing, often reflective, of no more than a paragraph that introduce students to writing as a way of making sense of what they read. Students build these responses into summaries and then into short critical essays that do not require outside research. Students then turn those short essays into extended critical research essays through a program of research. Writing workshops and small-group tutorials take place throughout the process, stressing peer review and revision. Instructor feedback and modeling through shared exemplary writing are also a part of the process. Revision is encouraged, even after “final” essays are submitted.

The Contemporary Film and Theory course (FILM 454) is structured around a series of varied writing assignments across the semester, through which students learn to apply critical and theoretical perspectives to film analysis. To sum up, our WID courses engage students in a full-range of best practices that encourage students to see writing as a vital part of learning.

When they’ve satisfied your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?

Students should be able to demonstrate critical reading and thinking skills such as summarization, synthesis and critical judgment; demonstrate writing skills such as persuasion, argumentation and supporting claims; demonstrate the ability to design and initiate a research program; demonstrate the application of critical and theoretical perspectives to their own writing; and demonstrate a familiarity in revising and editing their own work as part of the process of writing.​​​​