The Bachelor of Fine Arts is a competitive degree program requiring an application and selection procedure. All students begin their Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts track declaring the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Cinema Studies as their major. Students wishing to declare a BFA in Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts as their major must first satisfy specific prerequisites. The mission of the BFA is to prepare artists who will be competitive and original as independent filmmakers, who may aspire to advanced graduate degrees beyond the BFA, or who are considering an artistic approach to their filmmaking portfolio.

In addition to acquiring the skills to make creative films and video works, students completing the BFA will also advance their ability to analyze and interpret films critically, and to communicate and express themselves about film competently in written form.


Admission Requirements

The Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts educates students in the history and development of film as an art form and contemporary medium. The curriculum instills an informed analytic awareness of the ways in which film has evolved artistically and stylistically, and provides the resources for significant creative exploration of the medium.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is competitive. In order to graduate with a BFA degree, students must first satisfy a number of prerequisites and then submit a formal application to the BFA program at the prescribed time (deadline will be posted each semester on the cinema studies website). Students are encouraged to apply to the BFA program at the end of their sophomore year.

Applicants must have a cumulative GPA at CU Boulder of 2.3 or higher, and a CINE GPA of 3.3 or higher. Applicants must submit a written application, a writing sample and a sample film. Applicants may also submit one additional "best" example of creative work (see specific admission guidelines for details). Admission into the BFA program is contingent upon approval of the application materials by the BFA committee. Students are required to attend a BFA orientation meeting prior to submitting their application. The program recommends that BFA students purchase film and sound media-capable Apple computing systems.

For more information, visit the department website. Students are encouraged to consult with the Cinema Studies advisor in order to obtain advice and current information.

Program Requirements

No more than 6 credit hours of independent study may be credited toward the major. Students must complete the required cinema courses with a grade of C or better.

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences as well as the required courses listed below. The Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts requires a minimum of 57 credit hours in support of the BFA degree requirements.

Required Courses and Credits

Required Critical Studies Courses17
Introduction to Cinema Studies 1
Film History 1
and Film History 2 2
Form, Structure, and Narrative Analysis
Introduction to the Screenplay
Colloquium in Film Aesthetics
Required Production Courses22
Moving Image Foundations I
Moving Image Foundations II
Cinema Production I
Lights, Camera, Action
Post Production Lecture
Cinema Production 2 (Part I)
Cinema Production 2 (Part II)
Production Course Electives9
Select 9 credit hours (6 hours must be upper-division)—see degree audit for specifics
Moving Image Computer Foundations
Beginning Filmmaking - Aesthetics
Animation Production
Film Production Topics 3
Filmmaking Abroad: Acting & Directing Internationally
Analog Alternatives
Producing the Independent Film
Experimental Digital Animation
Cinema Audio Design
Independent Study (Production) 4
Professional Seminar
Cinema Studies Internship
Advanced Digital Postproduction
Screenwriting Workshop: Short Form
Topics in Film Production 5
Directing/Acting for the Camera
Advanced Analog Alchemy
Advanced Screenwriting
Digital Post-Production
Screenwriting Workshop: Long Form
Critical Studies Elective Requirements9
Select 9 credit hours (6 credit hours must be upper-division) from the following:
Space Odysseys: Astrophys/Astronomy via Cinema/Arts
Recent International Cinema
Film Topics 3
CU Cinema Studies Seminar: Film Festival Cultures
Form, Structure, and Narrative Analysis
Film Trilogies
American Indians in Film
Nazis on Screen: Hollywood, War, Propaganda
Major Asian Filmmakers
Classics of the Foreign Cinema: 1960s to Present
Major Film Movements 3
Major Film Directors 3
Alfred Hitchcock: The American Films
Documentary Film
Women and Film
Environmental Cinema
Horror Film: History, Contexts, Aesthetics
Topics in Critical Film Studies 3
Contemporary American Cinema: 1980 to Present
Film Criticism and Theory
The Hollywood Musical
German Film Through World War II
German Film and Society 1945-1989
Independent Study (Critical Study) 4
Cinema Studies Internship
Screening Race, Class & Gender in the U.S. and the Global Borderland
Film and Literature
Topics in Film Theory 3
Topics in International Cinema 3
Advanced Research Seminar 3
Topics in Cinema Critical Studies
Advanced Screenwriting
History of Russian and Soviet Cinema
History of Avant-Garde Film
Colloquium in Film Aesthetics
Any CINE class crosslisted with another department (i.e., foreign language) that has been approved by the cinema studies chair
Total Credit Hours57

Graduating in Four Years with a BFA

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of "adequate progress" as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress toward a BFA in cinema studies & moving image arts, students should meet the following requirements:

  • Declare and start the cinema studies major the first semester freshman year.
  • Complete CINE 1502CINE 2000CINE 2005 or CINE 2105 and one lower- or upper-division critical studies course for 3 credit hours by the end of the third semester.
  • Complete 3 credit hours upper-division Critical Studies Elective, CINE Production Elective (3 credit hours) and CINE 2500 by the end of the fourth semester.
  • Note: In order to graduate in four years, a student must apply and be accepted into the BFA program at the end of the fourth semester. See the admission requirements section above for details of the application process.
  • Complete CINE 3051, CINE 3400, CINE 3515CINE 3525 and CINE 3061, and two production elective (6 credit hours) by the end of the sixth semester.
  • Complete CINE 4500, 3 credit hours upper-division critical studies elective by the end of the seventh semester.
  • Complete 3 additional credit hours of CINE 4500, CINE 4604, by the end of the eighth semester.

Recommended Four-Year Plan of Study

Through the required coursework for the major, students will complete all 12 credits of the the Arts & Humanities area of the Gen Ed Distribution Requirement.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
Fall SemesterCredit Hours
CINE 1502 Introduction to Cinema Studies 3
Gen. Ed. Skills course (example: QRMS) 3
Gen. Ed. Skills course (example: Lower-division Written Communication) 3
Elective 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
CINE 2005
Form, Structure, and Narrative Analysis
or Introduction to the Screenplay
CINE 2000 Moving Image Foundations I 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution/Diversity course (example: Social Sciences/US Perspective) 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Natural Sciences) 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Year Two
Fall Semester
CINE 2500 Moving Image Foundations II 3
CINE Critical Studies Elective (Lower or Upper-division) 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution/Diversity course (example: Social Sciences/Global Perspective) 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Natural Sciences with Lab) 4
Elective 3
 Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
CINE Critical Studies Elective (Upper-division) 3
CINE 2010
Moving Image Computer Foundations
or Beginning Filmmaking - Aesthetics
or Animation Production
or Lighting
or Analog Alternatives
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Natural Sciences) 4
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Social Sciences) 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours16
Year Three
Fall Semester
CINE 3051 Film History 1 4
CINE 3400 Cinema Production I 4
CINE 3515 Lights, Camera, Action 3
CINE 3525 Post Production Lecture 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Natural Sciences) 3
 Credit Hours17
Spring Semester
CINE 3061 Film History 2 4
CINE 3620
Experimental Digital Animation
or Cinema Audio Design
or Digital Post-Production
CINE 3010
Film Production Topics
or Cinema Studies Internship
or Screenwriting Workshop: Short Form
or Topics in Film Production
or Directing/Acting for the Camera
Gen. Ed. Skills course (example: Upper-division Written Communication) 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours14-16
Year Four
Fall Semester
CINE 4500 Cinema Production 2 3
CINE 4604 Colloquium in Film Aesthetics 3
CINE 4000 Advanced Digital Postproduction 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours12
Spring Semester
CINE 4500 Cinema Production 2 3
CINE Critical Studies Elective (Upper-division) 3
Gen. Ed. Distribution course (example: Social Sciences) 3
Elective 3
Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
 Total Credit Hours120-122