What is Film Studies?

Think of your favorite film or TV show. What did you like about it? The story? The characters? The action? The overall look? If audiovisual culture means more to you than just entertainment, this may be the right major for you.

Students in UWM’s Film Studies program learn about the history, theory and criticism of film and television. We discuss and write about these areas critically; make connections between these media, historical themes and cultural change; analyze the impact of film and television on individuals and society; and compare different media formats.

Film Studies at UWM

UWM’s Film Studies program offers a cross-department major and minor that blends courses in Film Studies with classes from English, Art History, Comparative Literature, French, Italian, and Japanese. The program promotes the study of cinema and television in their aesthetic, social, cultural, political and technological contexts and expands students’ understanding of cinema and television as essential components of our global culture.

Career Opportunities

Students who go into Film Studies often pursue careers that value strong communication and critical thinking skills. Popular jobs include teaching, writing, festival management and programming, advertising, art direction, graphic design, and production management.

A UWM Film Studies degree also provides excellent preparation for graduate study. In recent years, students have joined prestigious graduate programs in Film Studies, Cinema Studies, Media Studies, or Screen Studies at UCLA, Northwestern University, American University, Boston University and the University of Chicago. We have also placed students in graduate programs in Law, Business, and Education.


Students are encouraged to obtain practical experience while in college. Recent UWM film studies students have completed for-credit internships at Milwaukee Film (the organization that presents the annual Milwaukee Film Festival), The Ford Modeling Agency, Disney Corporation, and The Nielsen Company.

Major Requirements

Thirty-nine credits are required for the major, at least 15 in upper-level courses taken in residence at UWM. The following required courses are all taught by core faculty.

Course # Course Title
ArtHist/FilmStd 205 History of Film I: Development of an Art
English/FilmStd 290 Introduction to Film Studies
English/FilmStd 390 Classical Film Criticism and Theory
FilmStd 690 Seminar in Contemporary Film Theory

The remaining courses are electives chosen from a list of approved course on the Film Studies website. Recent course options include: Cult Films, Introduction to Television Studies, Cinema and Digital Culture, Japanese Cinema, Special Effects, Contemporary Women Directors, Horror Cinema, Film Noir, History of Animation, and Rock and Roll Cinema.

In addition to the array of courses offered in Fall and Spring semesters, Film Studies courses are available online during Summer and and UWinteriM sessions.

Undergraduate Minor in Film Studies

The minor in Film Studies (18 credits) is open to all students in any UWM undergraduate degree program and provides students with critical skills and multiple perspectives on historical and contemporary media forms. It promotes the study of fi lm and media in their aesthetic, social, cultural, political and technological contexts and expands students’ understanding of media as essential elements of our global cultural environment.

Film Studies in Milwaukee

Wisconsin has a growing reputation as a destination for cinema culture and a long history of valuing independent and art house fi lm. As members of the Film Studies program, students have numerous opportunities to be active participants in this community.

The city is home to the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, which screens more than 250 feature and short films from across the global cinema landscape. In addition, Milwaukee is one of eight cities with a chapter of The Cinema Club, the nation’s premier sneak preview fi lm society. Gilberto Blasini and Patrice Petro, two of the Film Studies program core faculty, serve as moderators.

On campus, UWM regularly screens notable domestic and international films and hosts a number of film festivals like the French Film Festival, the Latin American Film Series, the LGBT Film Festival, the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, and the UWM Student Film and Video Festival.

Digital Arts and Culture Certificate

The Certificate Program in Digital Arts and Culture prepares students to creatively produce digital art and media content, critically analyze work produced by others and theoretically understand cultural interactions between digital technologies and society. Nine Film Studies courses count toward the certificate and it is a popular addition to the Major in Film Studies.