Academic Program

Course Major | Course Minor | Honors Major | Honors Minor

Thesis/Culminating Exercise | Off-Campus Study

Moving-image media have been one of the most distinctive innovations and experiences of the past century. In today's media-dependent culture, developing a critical understanding and a historical knowledge of media forms is vital. Film and media studies provides an understanding of the history, theory, language, and social and cultural aspects of film, television and new media; introduces research and analytical methods; teaches digital video production skills and approaches; and encourages cross-cultural comparison of media forms, histories, audiences, and institutions.

The Academic Program

The Department of Film and Media Studies offers a range of courses in critical studies and digital video production, cross-lists film and media courses with other departments, and recognizes for credit approved offerings from other departments and programs. Students may major or minor in film and media studies, or pursue an honors minor. Honors majors are approved in special cases.



Majors must take a minimum of 10 credits. Requirements: FMST 001 (Intro); FMST 090 (Capstone); 1 production course (FMST 002: Digital Film Fundamentals; FMST 015: Screenwriting; a class numbered 30-39; or an approved course taken at another institution or in theater or studio art); either FMST 020: Critical Theories of Film and Media or FMST 025: Television and New Media (or both) or both, and at least 1 course that offers historical depth in a national or transnational cinema. Remaining courses and seminars should be selected to achieve breadth and depth in the discipline and balance between critical studies and production courses. Courses in a major may include two credits drawn from film and media offerings at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or the University of Pennsylvania, courses in the discipline taken abroad or at other U.S. institutions, or approved courses from other Swarthmore departments. Additional credits may be approved in exceptional cases.

Acceptance Criteria

To be accepted as a major, students must have completed FMST 001 with a grade of B and have completed or be currently enrolled in at least one additional approved course. 

Course Minor

Students may add a minor in Film and Media Studies to any major.


All minors must take a minimum of 5 credits, which may be selected from the courses and seminars listed or approved courses taken abroad, at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or University of Pennsylvania. The 5 credits should include FMST 001: Introduction to Film and Media Studies and FMST 090: Capstone, normally taken in the senior year. No more than two credits taken outside FMST can be counted toward the minor.

Acceptance Criteria

To be admitted to the minor, students must have satisfactorily completed one film and media studies course.

Honors Major

Students wishing to design an honors major in film and media studies must consult with the department chair.

Honors Minor


Students in the Honors Program may minor in film and media studies by meeting the requirements for the minor and by preparing for and taking one external exam. The exam preparation usually consists either of an FMST seminar or FMST 090 plus a 1-credit honors attachment; however, the two-credit honors preparation may incorporate a 1- or 2-credit thesis or project or other course or seminar work with the approval of the film and media studies chair. Senior honors study (SHS) consists of a revised essay or short film submitted for a course or seminar in the preparation. No SHS is required for a thesis or creative project.

Acceptance Criteria

Students wishing to complete an honors minor must receive a grade of B+ or better in all film and media studies courses.

Thesis / Culminating Exercise

FMST 090: Capstone is considered the culminating exercise for majors and minors and it facilitates the completion of individual written or production projects. There is no required thesis. Occasionally senior majors may be permitted to write a one-credit thesis or to make a thesis video in addition to their work in the capstone; applications must be submitted and approved in the semester before the project is to be undertaken.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Credit

Consult with the department chair to determine eligibility of AP or IB work.

Transfer Credit

Students may apply two approved transfer credits to their FMST major.

Off-Campus Study

Students in any major may apply to receive film and media studies credit for courses in critical studies or production taken abroad or on other campuses. Please consult with your adviser as you plan your study abroad for recommended programs. Two approved credits may be applied to the FMST major or minor.