Media is a crucial and pervasive dimension of contemporary culture. The development of formal understanding, historical knowledge, and critical literacy in media technologies and practices is central to a liberal arts education in the twenty-first century. The Department of Film and Media Studies explores the history, theory, language, and social and cultural aspects of media forms including cinema, television, online video, digital games, and media arts, exploring their history, theory, language, and social and cultural aspects; introducing research and analytical methods; teaching digital production skills and approaches; and encouraging cross-cultural comparison of media aesthetics, audiences, and institutions. Our hybrid curriculum blends critical studies with production, often within the same course.
The Academic Program
The Film and Media Studies Department offers a range of courses in critical studies and production, cross-lists film and media courses with other departments, and awards credit for majors and minors taking approved offerings from other departments and programs. Students may major or minor in film and media studies, including in the Honors Program. FMST 001 is the prerequisite for advanced work in the major or minor and is recommended preparation for any course in the department except first-year seminars. In addition to class meetings, most courses require weekly evening screenings. Production courses are limited to 10 students and may not be taken pass/fail.
Majors must take a minimum of 10 credits, among which the following are required:
FMST 001 Introduction to Film and Media Studies
FMST 020 Critical Theories of Film and Media
FMST 090 Senior Capstone
1 production course (FMST 002: Digital Production Fundamentals; FMST 011: Advanced Digital Production; FMST 015: Screenwriting; a hybrid critical studies/production class numbered 30-39; or an approved course taken at another institution or in another department).
1 course that offers historical depth in a national or transnational cinema tradition (FMST 21 or FMST 22, any class numbered 50-60)
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 no more than three approved 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 offerings from other Swarthmore departments and programs.
To be accepted as a major, students must have completed FMST 001 and have completed or be currently enrolled in at least one additional FMST course. Haverford and Bryn Mawr students may apply for the Swarthmore major only after consulting with advisers at Swarthmore as well as their home institution.
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 from approved courses taken abroad, at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or University of Pennsylvania. The 5 credits must 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.
To be admitted to the minor, students must have satisfactorily completed one film and media studies course. Haverford students may apply for the minor only after consulting with advisers at Swarthmore as well as their home institution, and must supply a rationale explaining why their intended plan of study can only be completed in FMST.
Students in the Honors Program may major in film and media studies by meeting the requirements for the major and by preparing for and taking three external exams. The exam preparations should include FMST seminars numbered 100 and higher, if offered, and FMST 090 plus a 1-credit honors attachment. Other 2-credit honors preparations may incorporate a 1- or 2-credit thesis or creative 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 and/or short film submitted for a course or seminar in the preparation. No SHS is required for a thesis or creative project.
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 a 2-credit FMST seminar or FMST 090 plus a 1-credit honors attachment; however, the 2-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
Students wishing to complete the honors minor must have received a grade of B+ or better in all film and media studies courses.
FMST 090: Capstone is considered the culminating exercise for majors and minors. Occasionally senior majors may be permitted to write a 1- or 2-credit thesis or to make a thesis film 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.
Students in any major may apply to receive film and media studies credit for courses in critical media 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.
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.