What Can You Do With A Film Studies Degree

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 10 minute read

Only a few things are universally popular. Movies, on the other hand, are one among them. Despite the fact that everyone’s choices in movies and how they should be seen varied greatly, almost everyone enjoys getting lost in a good movie.

Those who consider themselves to be real cinema fans like seeing films of all genres, reading the most insightful reviews, and reflecting on a film’s formal and aesthetic aspects while they watch it.

They engage in all of these activities simultaneously. You may be interested in pursuing a degree in film studies if you want to learn more about cinema rather than just watch it.

As with literature and art history, a degree in cinema studies examines the evolution of film as an art form, as well as the ideas that have shaped it.

Students who pursue a degree in film studies can study the history and genres of film across the world, as well as the film industry and its position in current society.

In addition, they gain experience in several aspects of filmmaking, such as scriptwriting, lighting, and directing. In the current workplace, a degree in filmmaking may not make you the next Hitchcock or Lucas, but it may be used in a variety of ways, from marketing to the media.

Learn more about cinema studies, including the types of degrees offered and the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing one.

What is a Movie?

Cinema’s significance cannot be emphasized. The art of moving pictures covers nearly a century of invention, creativity, industry, and culture, regardless of whether we’re talking about cinema, television, or YouTube. Having a general understanding of the area is crucial to finding your position in it.

In the late 1800s, as people experimented with methods for sequencing and presenting images, numerous early forms of cinema technology were born.

No one person can claim to have developed motion pictures. Hundreds of short films often under five minutes long were exhibited to paying audiences just before the turn of the century at Edison Studios, Thomas Edison’s fledgling film studio.

Over the next three decades, the film underwent a rapid transformation, going from novelty to a fully-fledged art form with a significant role in American culture and society.

Despite the Great Depression, the movies of the 1930s produced some of the most inventive and well-developed themes and genres in film history. 

For about 15 cents, an American may go to the movies and escape his concerns, as President Franklin Roosevelt noted, during the Depression when the spirit of the people is lower than in any previous period.

Movies have become increasingly sophisticated technologically and have expanded into an increasing number of subgenres, but one fundamental element has not changed, movies hold a special place in our hearts.

The film occupies both our money and our souls. The film business generates $41.7 billion in box office revenue and $136 billion in home entertainment revenue worldwide.

As a whole, the film business provides employment in a wide range of industries, including studios, screenwriters, actors, film production firms, cinematography, animation, film festivals, theaters, distributors, directors, film crews, animators, and more.

The function of film reviewers and media writers in bringing the public to the cinema business and its goods is also crucial to note.

What is the study of the film?

The field of cinema studies has been around for nearly as long as the film itself. In the 1920s, as feature films gained popularity, the first institutions offering professional training in the cinematic arts developed.

Programs that concentrated on filmmaking’s mechanics began to contain some theoretical underpinnings in the latter half of the twentieth century. 

Studies of cinema have emerged as an academic discipline in its own right, spurred on by the rising importance of film reporting and criticism in today’s culture.

When it comes to academia, the field of cinema studies is described as a study of film history, criticism, and theory. In many circles, it is regarded as a subfield of media studies, and it is distinct from the more recent but still connected discipline of television research. 

People in the field of cinema studies look at things like:

  • Narrative structure
  • Artistic values
  • Cultural content
  • Economic role
  • Political implications

This is what it means when people talk about film studies, which is all about thinking about film as a form and asking questions like why does the cinematography of this film have such an emotional impact, or what cultural prejudices does this film reflect? In addition to analyzing individual films, students learn to study cinema as a whole.

What is the difference between degrees in film production and degrees in film studies?

Degrees in cinema studies and degrees in film production have a lot in common, both in terms of content and in terms of potential future employment.

The study of cinema as an academic field is taught through a film studies degree. Film theory, film history, and film criticism are the focus of this sort of study, where students learn to academically examine cinema, its artistic characteristics, and its significance in society. 

While learning the fundamentals of filmmaking, students will also be exposed to photography and screenwriting. Understanding the filmmaking process is an important part of a film studies curriculum, and these programs help students do just that.

When it comes to film studies, how is it different from filmmaking? The technical side of filmmaking is the focus of a cinema studies degree.

Students are required to take theory and critique lessons in addition to their technical training in order to better understand how to make judgments about their craft. 

Students enrolled in such a course take classes in such subjects as:

  • Audio production
  • Screenwriting
  • Film editing
  • Cinematography
  • Pre-production
  • Visual Effects
  • Advanced Lighting
  • Post-production

Studies degrees and film production degrees aren’t always mutually exclusive. The substance of these programs might differ from school to school.

Many colleges and universities offer degrees in cinema studies that include a significant amount of coursework related to film production. 

Some film production schools have a far greater emphasis on cinema theory and history than their counterparts. Also, some colleges provide a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film Studies, which emphasize technique and theory, respectively.

What Courses Should I Take to Obtain a Degree in Film Studies?

The theory and practice of filmmaking are both included in cinema studies programs. School-specific curriculums are developed to address the specific interests of their respective cinema studies departments, as has been noted above.

If you’re interested in cinema studies, you may be able to get an MFA or BFA degree in the field, which is a professional degree that emphasizes filmmaking and theory and critique.

There are many different types of classes you may take as part of a BFA or MFA in cinema studies program as in a film production degree. 

As a liberal arts degree, the majority of colleges and universities offer undergraduate cinema studies degrees, which are aimed to educate students who are well-rounded critical thinkers with a comprehensive understanding of the world.

A BA in cinema studies is a liberal arts degree, which means that students must take general education coursework including history, physics, sociology, arithmetic, and psychology as part of their degree requirements. Courses under the cinema studies concentration make up the other half of the schedule.

These are some of the most common cinema studies course titles:

  • Introduction to Film Studies
  • Trans-cultural Chinese Cinema
  • International Cinema
  • French Cinema
  • German Cinema
  • Spanish American Cinema
  • Film, Literature, and Politics of the Third World
  • Film Analysis
  • Film Theory
  • History of Cinema
  • History of Animation
  • Gender and the Cinema
  • Documentary Film

A senior film project, thesis, or capstone seminar may also be required by a school before a student can get a diploma in cinema studies.

What Film Studies Degrees Are Available?

If you are interested in cinema studies, you can pursue a bachelor’s, master’s, or even doctoral degree in the field. At the bachelor’s level, the vast majority of cinema studies degrees are awarded.

It takes an average of four years to complete a bachelor’s degree program, however, some schools offer expedited programs that may be completed in three years.

Getting a bachelor’s degree in cinema studies, as described above, qualifies students for entry-level positions in a wide range of professions that need the ability to use critical thinking.

This degree might serve as a springboard for further study in the field of cinema studies via a graduate program. An accelerated master’s degree program can be completed in as little as 18 months for individuals who desire to speed up their degree completion time.

There are no general education requirements for a master’s in cinema studies, which is a graduate degree that concentrates only on the field.

It is expected that you will have to write a senior thesis, which is a research-based assignment that is overseen by your thesis adviser.

With a Ph.D., one has demonstrated a high level of academic achievement in film studies. Film studies Ph.D. holders are considered to have both wide general knowledge and in-depth expertise in their chosen specialty.

After taking graduate-level courses in cinema studies and allied fields, you’ll work with a doctorate adviser to pick a very specialized topic of film studies that have yet to be investigated.

There are several years of study and writing ahead of you before your dissertation is presented to a committee of specialists for approval before it is eventually published. However, it is more common for the full procedure to take between two and seven years to complete.

What Jobs Am I Qualified for with a Film Studies Degree?

The film industry is notoriously cutthroat. In 2009, 12.5 percent of cinema studies graduates with full-time jobs worked in the art/design/culture sector, according to the Guardian. 2.1 percent of people in the film sector became directors, 1.2 percent became video/film recorders, and 1.4 percent became broadcasters.

Nearly a third of recent cinema studies grads have taken employment in retail or hospitality as day jobs to supplement their income from freelance creative projects.

To summarize, a degree in cinema studies does not obligate you to pursue a job in the film industry, although it surely.

Because of the importance of student film internships and the contacts students may make in the business, a degree in film production is a better match for this line of work.

It’s not just the technical abilities that are learned in cinema studies that may be used in a wide range of professions.

As a result of their liberal arts training, Film Studies graduates are considered to be well-rounded citizens. Formal study in the humanities, according to, The Hill, results in graduates who are better problem solvers and decision-makers.

While the growing demand for STEM graduates has been greatly discussed, Harvard’s Graduate School of Education study has found that the demand in the market for non-routine analytical skills taught in a scientific degree program has developed more slowly than the demand for social skills. 

The following are in-demand soft skills:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Organization
  • Coordination
  • Negotiation
  • Social perceptiveness

The pay gap between STEM and non-STEM graduates is not usually greater than $5,000 per year, even if STEM graduates do get paid more than non-STEM graduates.

According to research by Temple University economist Douglas A. Webber, graduates in the humanities earn roughly as much as the typical computer science and business graduates across their careers.

This is in addition to the above-mentioned communication and social skills, that cinema studies majors possess. They may be used in any situation where individuals need to interact and work out difficulties.

Employers want film studies graduates for positions in media, marketing, project management, and education. There aren’t a lot of jobs for cinema and television reviewers and writers out there, but graduates with a degree in film studies are more likely to get them.

A master’s or doctorate in cinema studies is required if you wish to remain in academia and pursue a career in film studies. To teach at the postsecondary level, a master’s degree is necessary, and the higher the school’s ranking, the better.

While a master’s degree in cinema studies is acceptable for college-level teaching, a Ph.D. is desired and the sole path to tenure. It’s a good idea to know that teaching posts don’t open up very often in academia.

For a professorship in cinema studies, you’ll likely have to wait for a position to become available typically after a colleague retires and potentially relocate.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a degree in film studies?

A cinema studies degree comes with both benefits and downsides, making it clear that not everyone is a good fit for it. Some of the issues that a degree in cinema studies might bring up are easily identified.

The most significant of them is that, except for teaching cinema studies, a degree in film studies does not lead to a definite employment route.

Your communication, research, analytical, and critical thinking abilities will be greatly enhanced by earning a degree in cinema studies, but it is your responsibility to convince potential employers how these abilities can benefit them in the workplace.

The same is true for employers, who may not be conversant with cinema studies as they are with, say, English or Sociology.

You’ll likely need to utilize your talents in communication and analysis to draw the connections between your film studies competence and the capacity to succeed in a sector like marketing or media.

As a cinema studies professor, teaching is a career choice that comes with its own set of problems. Specifically, there is a shortage of jobs.

When compared to departments like commerce, engineering, or psychology, cinema studies have a limited number of teaching positions available at each institution.

These are rare, and the competition to get one is severe. To enter into the field, you’ll have to get your hands on a doctorate, and even then, a job isn’t assured.

On the other hand, pursuing a degree in cinema studies has a variety of benefits. If you’re interested in cinema studies, you’ll learn about anything from art history to politics in the context of the medium.

A liberal arts degree can help you become a well-rounded thinker with an understanding of a wide range of subjects. Soft skills like research, analysis, teamwork, negotiation and project management will also be a part of your education. They are in high demand.

Studying cinema may be an excellent choice for a variety of personal and professional reasons. Those who are passionate about cinema desire to study the topic as much as possible in order to follow their interests. And in today’s job market, a degree isn’t always a guide.

In fact, according to the Washington Post, just 27% of Americans have occupations that are directly connected to their undergraduate majors. It’s possible that those who enjoy watching movies could wish to explore studying cinema.

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