Carnegie Mellon University
May 05, 2019

CMU Launches Undergraduate Program in Film and Visual Media

By Angela Januzzi

Abby Simmons
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-6094

Carnegie Mellon University will offer a bachelor's degree of arts in film and visual media beginning in fall 2019. The program, based in the Department of English, will focus on the critical study of screenwriting and on films as cultural and political texts.

"Over the past decades, in the field of English Studies and in the humanities at large, there has been increasingly more interest in the importance of media and text beyond print — with the moving picture occupying a central place," said Andreea Ritivoi, head of the Department of English.

With courses taught by CMU faculty across several disciplines, including the the History and Modern Languages departments, the program offers a comprehensive education in film and visual media in addition to developing creative, professional and technical competencies.

"We are hoping to build the film program using all the resources we have, both at CMU, and in the Pittsburgh community at large," said David Shumway, faculty adviser to the program and professor of literary and cultural studies.

Sharon Dilworth, also faculty adviser to the program and associate professor of English and creative writing, highlighted the interdisciplinary breadth of the major.

"Students will have a chance to produce work in a variety of ways within the major — whether they are interested in writing, producing, or history and criticism. We aim to include all these interests," Dilworth said.

The program integrates cultural analysis, writing, production and digital media to create a versatile learning experience that prepares students for multifaceted careers.

In addition to the coursework, undergraduate majors will have a variety of educational opportunities outside the classroom. These offerings include interactions with scholars, filmmakers and artists; involvement and internship opportunities with CMU's rich film culture and events such as the CMU International Film Festival; the opportunity to study for a semester at the British Film Institute in London; and connections to the Pittsburgh film and media community.

Students pursuing the bachelor's degree of arts in film and visual media will be prepared to enter careers in filmmaking, editing, communications, journalism, publishing and marketing. They will learn to develop and adapt marketable scripts, understand production technology, work on complex production projects, review and evaluate film for specialized and general audiences, and organize film festivals and other events.

The new major can be taken as a primary major or as an additional major. A minor in film and media studies also is offered.