Robert Tregenza
Program Head

arts.vcu.edu/programs/undergraduate-programs/cinema-film-ba

The Bachelor of Arts in Cinema is designed for students who desire a program with an emphasis in film combined with a strong liberal arts component with a second undergraduate major or double minor in fields of study other than the arts. The program focuses on the art and craft of narrative filmmaking with an emphasis on the practices of U.S. independent filmmakers. The style and content of U.S. independent film are often closely aligned with European cinema and the program offers opportunities for international study options. Internships with professional film organizations in the U.S. and abroad are available on a competitive basis.

Full-time students enrolled in this program may graduate with the B.A. after three years of study by completing required course work in the summer semester following the third year.

Filmmaking courses in the program, which comprise approximately one-third of the curriculum, focus on the understanding and creative use of digital film equipment. Students interested in both digital and traditional celluloid film and documentary, as well as narrative techniques, should review the school’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program in photography and film, which offers nearly two-thirds of the curriculum in film courses. Students interested in animation or experimental video should review the B.F.A. in Kinetic Imaging program.

The B.A. in Cinema requires a minimum of 120 credits, including 48 in the major. At least 45 of the 120 credits must be taken as 300- to 500-level courses.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Operate film equipment and screenwriting, editing, scheduling and budgeting software
  • Gain an international film perspective
  • Create all aspects of the art of storytelling
  • Produce narrative short films
  • Develop creative collaborations
  • Synthesize other disciplines with filmmaking
 

Special requirements

Majors in the Cinema Program are required to complete a second major or double minor within the College of Humanities and Sciences. Students must also maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in the program. Students’ grades will be reviewed at midterm and at the end of each semester for the first three semesters. After completion of three semesters, portfolios and course evaluations, as well as GPAs, are reviewed to determine if the student may continue in the program.

Degree requirements for Cinema, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

General Education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV   200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Additional General Education requirements
General Education courses9
Total Hours30-33

Collateral requirements

ARTH   270
ARTH   271
History of the Motion Picture I
and History of the Motion Picture II
6
Second major or two minors in the College of Humanities and Sciences30-48
Total Hours36-54

Major requirements

CINE   100Visual Storytelling2
CINE   101Visual Storytelling2
CINE   200Cinema Form and Concept I2
CINE   201Cinema Form and Concept II2
CINE   300Cinema Form and Concept III2
CINE   301Cinema Form and Concept IV2
CINE   390Digital Cinema Production Intensive I15
CINE   490Digital Cinema Production Intensive II15
Total Hours42

Open electives or second major or minor courses

Select 12 credits in open electives or second major or minor courses12

Total minimum requirement 120 credits

Electives

CINE   401Advanced Cinema Production4
CINE   495Cinema as Art3
CINE   496Advanced Screenwriting Seminar3
CINE   497Expanded Cinema3
 

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
ARTH   270 History of the Motion Picture I 3
CINE   100 Visual Storytelling 2
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
Humanities/fine arts course (University Core) 3
Quantitative literacy course (University Core) 3
 Term Hours: 14
Spring semester
ARTH   271 History of the Motion Picture II 3
CINE   101 Visual Storytelling 2
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Natural/physical sciences course (University Core) 3
Social/behavioral sciences course (University Core) 3
 Term Hours: 14
Sophomore year
Fall semester
CINE   200 Cinema Form and Concept I 2
UNIV   200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
General Education course 3
Second major or minor courses 6
Second major or minor course or elective 3
 Term Hours: 17
Spring semester
CINE   201 Cinema Form and Concept II 2
General Education course 3
Second major or minor courses 6
Second major or minor course or elective 3
 Term Hours: 14
Summer semester
CINE   390 Digital Cinema Production Intensive I 15
 Term Hours: 15
Junior year
Fall semester
CINE   300 Cinema Form and Concept III 2
General Education course 3
Second major or minor courses 12
 Term Hours: 17
Spring semester
CINE   301 Cinema Form and Concept IV 2
Second major or minor courses 6
Second major or minor courses or electives 6
 Term Hours: 14
Summer semester
CINE   490 Digital Cinema Production Intensive II (capstone) 15
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 120
 

CINE   100. Visual Storytelling. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 2 studio hours. 2 credits. Screenplay and mise en scene course examines the relationship of the performer and narrative to the cinematic frame without the use of an edit to disrupt the time/space relations in the shot. The student will write seven short scripts to explore the classical mise en scene concept and then produce, shoot or direct a final scene as part of a production team.

CINE   101. Visual Storytelling. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 2 studio hours. 2 credits. Screenplay and mise en scene course examines the relationship of the performer and narrative to the cinematic frame with the use of linkage editing. The student will write a new script based on a classic scene and, working with performers, will block, shoot and edit their scene. The editing will consist of no more than four cuts.

CINE   200. Cinema Form and Concept I. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 studio hours. 2 credits. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Concepts, issues and processes involved in feature and short-form narrative filmmaking.

CINE   201. Cinema Form and Concept II. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 studio hours. 2 credits. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Concepts, issues and processes involved in feature and short-form narrative screenwriting and filmmaking.

CINE   300. Cinema Form and Concept III. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 1 studio hours. 2 credits. Prerequisite: UNIV   200 or HONR   200. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Concepts, issues and processes involved in feature and short-form narrative filmmaking including screenplay treatments and storyboards.

CINE   301. Cinema Form and Concept IV. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 1 studio hours. 2 credits. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Concepts, issues and processes involved in feature and short-form narrative filmmaking including the roles of dialogue and light.

CINE   390. Digital Cinema Production Intensive I. 15 Hours.

Semester course; 30 lecture and 10 studio hours. Additional evening and weekend hours for location filming and postproduction. 15 credits. Prerequisites: CINE   200 and 201 or permission of instructor. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Production and postproduction of narrative short films using digital technology for camera, editing and sound, with an emphasis on the relationships among production crew roles and departments.

CINE   392. Independent Study in Film. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: junior standing as a major in cinema and approval of department chair and instructor. Individual instruction and supervision of a special project.

CINE   401. Advanced Cinema Production. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 4 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: CINE   390 or permission of instructor. Open to junior and senior B.A. in Cinema majors. Lecture and workshop in the production, theory, business and historical context of film.

CINE   490. Digital Cinema Production Intensive II. 15 Hours.

Semester course; 30 lecture hours and 10 studio hours. Additonal evening and weekend hours for location filming and postproduction. 15 credits. Prerequisites: CINE   300, 301 and 390 or permission of instructor. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Advanced production and postproduction of narrative short films using digital technology for camera, editing and sound, with the development of budgets, production schedules and rehearsals with performers.

CINE   491. Special Topics in Cinema. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for 6 credits. Prerequisites: ARTH   270 and 271 or permission of instructor. An in-depth examination of selected topics. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

CINE   493. Film Internship. 3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 3 credits. May be repeated up to a maximum of 6 credits. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Supervised work experience related to the film industry.

CINE   495. Cinema as Art. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: ARTH   270 and 271 or permission of instructor. An analysis of cinema as art, image, narrative and philosophy.

CINE   496. Advanced Screenwriting Seminar. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CINE   390. Open to junior and senior B.A. in Cinema majors. A study of the screenwriting process and writers on the subject including Aristotle, Joseph Campbell, David Mamet and Lajos Egri.

CINE   497. Expanded Cinema. 3 Hours.

Semester online course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Open to junior and senior B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. A lecture and workshop exploring film techniques that push the boundaries of conventional narratives through structure, content and ideas. Students examine filmmakers as film theorists and multimedia artists as filmmakers. Films studied range from feature narratives to short experimental films of all styles and genres.