Film studies at Mount Holyoke introduce students to the academic study of film from a variety of critical and disciplinary perspectives. Courses combine cultural, historical, formal, and theoretical analyses of films from a range of world cinematic traditions. Film Studies is also a member of the Five College Film Studies Department and additional possibilities for the study of film/video production are also available to students at MHC and the other Five College institutions. Please see the Film Studies section of the course catalog for a more detailed list of the major and minor requirements. We also provide guidance for students selecting specific courses and all the courses are designed to contribute in various ways to the College’s learning goals, and the Film Department Learning Goals.

Film Studies Major

The requirements below are mandatory for the class of 2020 and after; The old requirements or the ones below may be chosen by the class of 2017, 2018, 2019.

The major should include courses in film history, theory, genre or authorship, production, national or transnational cinema, and documentary or experimental film.  

  1. Introduction to Film Studies (normally taken on the home campus)
  2. Film History (survey course covering approximately 50 years of global film history)
  3. Film Theory (a survey course addressing the history and thematics of moving image theory)
  4. One film, video, digital production and/or screenwriting course (no more than three production courses may be used toward the major)
  5. Three courses in a focus designed by the student in consultation with the advisor (see below)
  6. Three additional electives

The Five College Film Studies Major comprises ten courses (40 credits) 

It is recommended that normally no fewer than two, and normally no more than five, courses will be taken on another campus.

No more than three courses in the major can be production courses, as delineated above.

Four courses must be taken at the advanced level.

We strongly recommend that Introduction to Film Studies, Film History, and Film Theory be taken in sequence.

Only one component course may count for the major.  (A core course is one in which the moving image is the primary object of study; a component course is one in which the moving image is significant but not the focus of the course). Component and core courses are noted in the course list prepared each semester by the Five College Film Studies Major Steering Committee and published on the Five College Film Studies website.

The Focus

The three-course focus allows the Five College Film Studies major to concentrate in a particular area, as designed by the major in consultation with the advisor. Normally the focus should be chosen by the second semester of junior year.  At least one course in the focus must be at the advanced level. Focus areas include, but are not limited to:

  • Theories of Film and/or Other Media
  • Production
  • National/Transnational Cinemas
  • Intersectionality (emphasizing some meaningful conceptual combination of gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, class, ability, age, and more)
  • Moving image audiences and cultures
  • Comparative genres
  • Avant-garde/experimental
  • Documentary/non-fiction
  • Media Histories

Film Studies Minor

Four courses (16 credits) are the minimum required for the minor. These should include an introductory course (201, 202, or 203) and three courses beyond the introductory level.