Cinema Studies Option

Introduction | Prerequisites | Required Courses | Other Credit Options | Contact Information

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Important Documents


The Cinema Studies Program offers a degree track within the Comparative Literature major that allows a specialization in the study of film. Cinema Studies allows students to develop their understanding of how films function as a distinctive mode of transmitting and critiquing cultural values and practices. The Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media Department also hosts an array of Cinema Faculty from a number of backgrounds.

The program is structured around two series of core courses devoted to film theory and film history. Students are required to complete at least fifteen credits from among these six courses. The core is complemented by upper-division film elective courses taken from Comparative Literature or any UW department in consultation with the Comparative Literature undergraduate advisers.


  • Minimum 2.0 overall GPA
  • Completion of either the English Composition requirement or a W-course
  • Completion of CMS 270, 271 or 272 or the equivalent

Required courses – 50  credits from course groups listed below

15 credits from Cinema Studies core courses:

(Choose at least one course in film theory and one course in film history)

  • CMS 301 Filma and MEdia Studies: Analysis (5 credits)
  • C LIT 302 Theory of Film: Critical Concepts (5 credits)
  • CMS 303 Genre Studies (5 credits)
  • CMS 310 History of Film: 1895-1929 (5 credits)
  • CMS 311 History of Film: 1930-1959 (5 credits)
  • CMS 312 History of Film: 1960-present (5 credits)
  • CMS 313 History of Film: 1989 to Present (5 credits)

10 credits from Comparative Literature core courses:

  • C LIT 400 (5 credits)
  • One Literature course from C LIT 320, 321, 322, 323 (5 credits)

5 credits in a Critical Concepts course

  • CMS 302 Media Arts amd Cultures (5 credits)
  • CMS 303 Genre Studies (5 credits)
  • CMS 304 Television Studies (5 credits)
  • CMS 320 Nation and Cinema (5 credits)
  • CMS 321 Oppositional Cinema/Media (5 credits)

Approved Electives

Remaining 20 credits to be earned in approved 300-400-level cinema elective courses offered by Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media or other UW departments.

No course presented toward fulfillment of the 50-credit major requirements may be taken on a credit/no credit or satisfactory/non-satisfactory basis. There is no formal application procedure for declaring the Comparative Literature major; however, a minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in order to be admitted to the program.

A minor in the Cinema Studies option is not available.

Other Cinema Credit Options:

  • CMS 490, independent studies: students can develop special projects related to cinema such as research on a special topic in cinema studies for maximum of five credits towards the elective requirements.
  • CMS 491, internship: If a student pursues an internship at the same site for two quarters in a row, they can get the first quarter counted as general electives (graded CR/NC).  The second quarter can count towards the CMS major electives, with the approval of the supervising faculty member. 
  • C LIT 493, honors seminar
  • C LIT 495, honors thesis: students can prepare a cinema-related honors thesis for an additional 5 credits beyond the major requirements.

Contact Information

For information on the program, contact the Undergraduate Advising Center for Comparative Literature, Cinema Studies, Creative Writing, and English:

A-2-B Padelford
Box 354330   University of Washington  
Seattle WA 98195-4330
phone:(206)-543-2634 fax: (206) 616-9318

If you enter Padelford Hall from Stevens Way, enter the A-wing of Padelford  (the southern end, closest to Hall Health and the HUB), and you'll find us  by proceeding two floors down below Floor 1 to the Plaza Level (PL). Turn right,  and you'll see the entrance to our offices.

If you enter Padelford Hall from the N-18, N-20, or N-21 parking garage areas behind the building, proceed up the stairs or escalators* to    either the Lower Level (LL) or Floor 1, turn to the left (you'll be entering the B Wing), and continue walking south until you enter the A Wing (you'll notice    that office numbers begin with A- at this point). Continue down the hall    to the final set of stairs/elevators in the A Wing. Take those stairs or elevator down to the Plaza Level (PL)  and turn to your right into the entrances to our offices. (It's not possible to walk from the B wing to the A wing on the Plaza Level.)

CMS majors, check out our Facebook group for majors!  Please note this is a social page for majors to connect with other majors.

Are you interested in film production?  There is a UW student film production club!  Check out  LUX film production club's page for more info or the LUX: Video Collaborative YouTube channel to see their recent projects.