Carnegie Mellon University

Bachelor of Arts in Film and Visual Media

The Bachelor of Arts in Film and Visual Media (BAFVM) major trains students through a combination of coursework in:

  • visual media,
  • film history and analysis,
  • screenwriting,
  • and production of film and other visual media.

The BAFVM offers a comprehensive education in film and visual media, from theoretical framing and historical-cultural contextualization to training skills in both creating and analyzing film, and developing a complex blend of creative, professional, and technical competencies.

CMU's Department of English is an ideal home for the Film and Visual Media major due to the department’s combination of creative writers, film and media studies scholars, film makers, digital humanities and visual communication researchers.

Additional Major

Students seeking the BAFVM not as the primary major but as an additional major must complete a different set of requirements, to be listed here in coming weeks. Contact: Laura Donaldson, Undergraduate Academic Coordinator.

Film and Media Studies Minor

Dietrich College also offers an interdepartmental Film and Media Studies minor, which is administered by the English Department and draws on the expertise and teaching of faculty in other departments as well, especially History and Modern Languages. Contact: Jeff Hinkelman, Faculty Advisor.

Curriculum for the BAFVM Major

The B.A. in Film and Visual Media major has 12 required courses (108 units). Students have a wide variety of electives to choose from and can focus these electives on particular periods, genres, or national cultures. Students also have the option of completing an internship (with Steeltown Entertainment, WQED, the Dennis Theatre, and other local organizations) or pursuing an honors thesis.

All students declaring the BAFVM degree must satisfy the Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Science (H&SS) requirements as well as the major requirements listed below.

Required Introductory Courses - 18 units

76-239 Introduction to Film & Visual Media Studies (9 units)

76-259 Introduction to Film History (9 units)

Two Production Core Courses - 18 units

76-292 Introduction to Film Production* (9 units)

One additional elective production course (at least 9 units)

Options include but are not limited to:

76-374 Mediated Narrative

76-463 The Visual Story: Filmmaking for Screenwriters

76-481 Introduction to Multimedia Design

60-415 Animation Studio

60-416 Documentary Storytelling

54-401 Through the Lens: Storytelling with the Camera

54-487 Dramaturgy: Production

54-595 Martin Scorsese and His Films (emphasis on camera techniques, special effects, sound and lightning)

Two Screenwriting Core Courses - 18 units

76-269 Survey of Forms: Screenwriting (9 units)

76-469 Screenwriting Workshop (9 units)

Two Digital Media Core Courses - 18 units

Options include but are not limited to:

76-314 Data Stories

76-388 Topics in Digital Humanities: Coding for Humanists

76-382 Media: Past, Present, and Future

76-419 Media in a Digital Age

76-429 Topics in Digital Humanities: Politics and Early Modern Drama

76-429 Topics in Digital Humanities: Early Modern Theatre and Conversion

76-472 Multimedia Storytelling in a Digital Age

15-104 Introduction to Computing for Creative Practice

60-141 Black and White Photography I

60-142 Digital Photography I

60-239 Reading Pictures, Writing Photography

60-241 Black and White Photography II

60-242 Digital Photography II

60-245 Portrait Photography

60-353 Media Performance: History, Theory, and Contemporary Practice

60-376 Large Format Photography: The Antiquarian Avant-garde

62-150 IDeATe Portal: Introduction to Media Synthesis and Analysis

Two Literature & Cultures Studies Core Courses - 18 units

Options include but are not limited to:

76-221 Books You Should Have Read By Now

76-241 Introduction to Gender Studies

76-245 Shakespeare: Tragedies and Histories

76-247 Shakespeare: Comedies and Romances

76-317 Contemporary American Fiction

76-333 Race and Controversy in the Arts

76-335 21st-Century American Fiction

76-341 Gender and Sexuality in Performance

76-342 Love: A Cultural History

76-352 Listening Spaces

76-422 Gender and Sexuality Studies

76-453 Literature of the Empire

76-455 Performance Theory

Two Topics in Film & Visual Media Studies Courses - 18 units

Options include but are not limited to:

76-226 Film and Literature: Mystery, Sexuality, and Culture in American Film

76-297 Radicals, Heretics, and Hackers: Russian Outlaws in History, Literature, and Film

76-298 Mechanization on Film

76-312 Crime and Justice in American Film

76-338 Rise of the Blockbuster Film

76-339 Topics in Film (can be taken more than once as different faculty teach different content when offered)

76-353 Transnational Feminisms: Fiction and Film

76-367 Fact into Film: Translating History into Cinema

76-377 Shakespeare and Film

76-438 The Wire: Crime, Realism, and Long-Form TV

76-439 Advanced Seminar in Film and Visual Media Studies

76-448 Shakespeare on Film

76-449 20th Century American Literary and Cultural Studies: College Fiction and Film

76-454 Literary and Cultural Studies: Hollywood Film Genre

79-214 Paris in Revolt: History, Literature, and Film

79-225 West African History in Film

79-270 Century of Russian Film

79-306 Fact into Film: Translating History into Cinema

79-308 Crime and Justice in American Film

79-309 The Chinese Revolution through Film (1949-2000)

79-319 India through Film

79-326 German History through Film

79-339 Juvenile Delinquency & Film: From Soul of Youth (1920) to West Side Story (1961)

79-340 Juvenile Delinquency & Film: From "Juvenile Court" (1973) to "The Wire" (2002-08)

79-341 The Cold War in Documents and Film

79-391 Stardom, Gender, and American Film

79-427 Radicals, Heretics, and Hackers: Russian Outlaws in History, Literature, and Film

79-434 Literature, Politics, Film in Russia and East Europe

79-438 The Film Festival: The New Chinese Cinema

82-215 Arab Culture through Film and Literature

82-278 Japanese Film and Literature: the Art of Storytelling     

82-284 Multicultural Pittsburgh: A Creative Media Exploration of Community, Language and Identity  

82-296 A Century of Russian Films

82-355 Topics in Hispanic Studies (The Hispanic World through Film)

82-411 Filmothea: Interdisciplinary Film Workshop

82-428 History of German Film

82-455/56 Topics in Hispanic Studies (subject to variation by semester: only some sections have a significant film component)

82-533 Visions of China: Modern Chinese Society and Culture through Documentary Films and New Media


For additional questions, contact Laura Donaldson, Undergraduate Academic Coordinator.