The Certificate Program in Film Studies offers undergraduates a comprehensive course of study in the history, criticism, theory, aesthetics, and production of the moving image in the unique context of an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary program. Film Studies faculty and courses come from departments and colleges across the University, including Afro-American Studies, Anthropology, Art and Art History, Asian Languages and Literatures, Communication, Comparative Literature, French & Italian, Germanic Languages and Literatures, Music, Political Science, Spanish & Portuguese, Theater, the Commonwealth College, and the School of Management.
The Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies is the home of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, an annual series that brings to the campus and Five College community important new international films and visiting filmmakers. Certificate students are encouraged to participate in the Festival’s one-credit colloquium, as well as the internship program. Students should also consider the annual Five College Student Film and Video Festival, which showcases the best work of undergraduates in the Five Colleges and offers valuable opportunities to Certificate students interested in production to screen their film and video projects and to participate in producing and organizing the Festival.
The Michael S. Roif Award In Film Studies is a competitive annual cash prize awarded to a single student or divided between two students enrolled in the University’s Undergraduate Film Studies Certificate Program whose film, video, or moving image media work demonstrates exceptional creativity and accomplishment. The award is based upon an endowment, made by his family, in honor of Michael S. Roif, a University alumnus and film enthusiast. Previous winners have gone on to achieve further successes in filmmaking.
Any student formally enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst may pursue a Certificate in Film Studies in conjunction with his or her departmental major. Upon graduation, students who have completed all certificate requirements will receive a Certificate in Film Studies that is noted on the transcript, in addition to their UMASS diploma. Students from the other Five Colleges and graduate students are not eligible to earn a Certificate but may enroll in courses.
University undergraduates make an initial enrollment appointment with an advisor in the Film Studies office and are expected to update their files in the office every semester thereafter.
Please Note: Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in the program in their freshman or sophomore year. A short advising appointment is recommended each semester to ensure a coherent plan of study. Bring an Unofficial Transcript printed from SPIRE to each advising appointment.
A student who wishes to obtain the Certificate in Film Studies must fulfill the following requirements: complete a minimum of 6 approved courses (3 credits or more per course) in film and/or video and television from at least three different departments/programs or exclusively FILM-ST courses. These 18 credits are drawn from five categories of courses, including an introductory course in film language; one course in theory or history of film; one in genre or national cinema; one upper‑level seminar (400 or higher); and one elective, preferably a production course. Certificate students must maintain a Grade Point Average of 2.5 or higher within the Certificate Program; no courses with a grade lower than C will count toward the Certificate; no pass/fail courses may be counted towards the minimum requirements. In order to be awarded the Certificate, students must fulfill all criteria and submit a transcript to the Film Studies office for verification of grades in their final semester before graduation.
Minimum course requirements to obtain the Certificate: 6 courses (of 3 credits or more).
The following list by category constitutes the core from which these courses will be selected. Please note that in any semester, additional courses are offered in all, or nearly all, categories, but only a few courses are offered every semester. Please see the Undergraduate Advisor if you have any questions.
This course should be taken before any other film courses.
Comm 140 Introduction to Film Studies
Comm 231 Film and Television Production Concepts
ComLit/FILM-ST 197FA Introduction to Film Analysis: Cinematic Time Travel
Anth 306 Visual Anthropology
Art 689 Introduction to Visual Culture: Theory and Practice
Comm 340 History of Film I
Comm 342 History of Film II
ComLit 381 Self-Reflective Avant‑Garde Film
ComLit 382 Cinema and Psyche
ComLit 383 Narrative Avant‑Garde Film
ComLit 691SC Seminar: Spiritual Cinema
FILM-ST 397W Film Writing & Criticism in the Age of New Media
German 390D Fascism and Film
Music 170 Music in Film
Comm 297L Asian Cinemas
Comm 345 Contemporary World Cinema
Comm 397Q The Film Star in International Context
Comm 397S Asian Pacific American Cinema
Comm 446 Film Documentary
Comm 493C Seminar: Countercultural Films
Comm 497N Asian Pop Cinema
Comm 497U Film & Society
ComLit 384 Vietnam in Literature and Film
ComLit 385 Russian Themes World Cinema
English 469 Victorian Monstrosity
French 350 French Film (also ComLit 391B)
French 353 African Film
German 304 From Berlin to Hollywood
German 597 Special Topic: The East German Cinema
Honors 292P American Portraits: Lives through Film
PolSci 293A Politics of European Film
Portug 408 Brazil in Film and Fiction
Spanish 397W Latin American Cinema
Spanish 497 Spanish Film
Students are urged to take Comm 240 and at least one course from category II (A or B) before taking an upper‑level seminar.
Comm 493B Social Imagery and Stereotyping in American Film
Comm 493C Seminar: Countercultural Films
Comm 493D Seminar: Film Persuasion and Propaganda
Comm 497D International Women Filmmakers
Comm 497Z American Cinema in the 1970's
Comm 445 Seminar: Screenwriting
Comm 446 Film Documentary
Comm 546 Film Theory and Criticism
Comm 593D Seminar: Advanced Screenwriting
ComLit 499D Narrative Avant Garde Film (Commonwealth Capstone course)
Portug 597A Brazilian Film
Spanish 497A Spanish Film
A production course is strongly encouraged but not required.
Art 230 Photography I
Art 231 Photography II
Art 271 Introduction to Computers in the Fine Arts
Art 297V Introduction to Video Production
Art 330 Photography III
Art 374 Introduction to Computer Animation
Art 375 Digital Media Time Based
Art 397Z Computer-Aided Graphic Design
Art 431 Photography IV
Art 497J Advanced Video Production
Comm 331 Program Process in TV
Comm 441 Principles and Techniques of Film Style Production
Comm 433 Advanced Television Production and Direction
Comm 445 Seminar: Screenwriting
Comm 497J Advanced Video Production
Daniel Pope holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts with research exploring photography, realism, and creative approaches to nonfiction narrative. He teaches courses in transnational cinema, French film, Italian film, film realism, and a new course in film writing and criticism in the age of new media. He has served as Assistant Curator of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival since 2011, filming interviews with such filmmakers and artists as Lech Majewski, Can Candan, Diana Gróo, and Kevin Everson. Pope is a Fulbright Scholar who has published work in Studies in East European Cinema as well as a chapter in Searching for Sebald (2007).
Barry A. Spence, Ph.D., has taught film at Smith College as well as at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is currently Undergraduate Program Director and Chief Undergraduate Advisor in the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies. He teaches courses on film theory, introduction to cinema studies, cinematic time travel, cyborg cinema, dystopian film, French film, comedy, New York City as a cinematic city, and the cinematic reception of Ancient Greek tragedy. A specialist in narratology, Ancient Greek oral epic and tragedy, and the modernists James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, his current research focuses on modernist cinema and the films of Chris Marker, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Agnès Varda. He has published in Skenè: Journal of Theatre and Drama Studies, as well as in Phoenix and Bryn Mawr Classical Review. He was recently invited to give a talk at the University of Verona, Italy, on the influence of Shakespeare’s King Lear and Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus on the theater of Samuel Beckett. He is a two-time recipient of a Five College Innovative Language Learning Mellon Foundation grant, joining Greek professors from Smith College and Mt. Holyoke College in the development of a website on Homeric Greek learning resources.
All students should visit the Film Studies office for advising and to update their files each semester.
Note: Please bring an Unofficial Transcript printed from SPIRE to each advising appointment.
The Five College Interchange Office assists UMass undergraduates with enrollment in courses at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges. Registration for a Five College course is easy, but it is different from registering for a UMass course.
Each semester there are TWO registration periods for Five College classes. You MUST adhere to the UMass Amherst Five College dates.
Note: All courses 4 credits unless otherwise noted. Course information may be subject to change.
615 Goodell Building
Phone: (413) 545-5352
Fall & Spring semesters <: Monday - Friday, 8:30 - 5:00
Winter & Summer: No regular hours, please email for appointment.
Students need to request approval from the Film Studies Chief Undergraduate Program Advisor to apply credit toward the Certificate for courses not on the above list, including courses taken at the other Five Colleges.
Transfer Credits and Substitutions: Of the 18-credit minimum for the Certificate, at least 4 courses (12 credits) must be taken at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; with approval from the Film Studies Office, a maximum of 6 credits (2 courses) may be transfer credits from other institutions, including the Five Colleges.
Certain courses in media production and film studies that are offered through Continuing Education during intersession and summer sessions and that are normally listed by the participating departments during the fall and spring semesters may count toward the Certificate. These include Comm 240 Modes of Film; Comm 342 Film History II; Comm 331 Program Processes in Television; Comm 441 Principles and Techniques of Filmmaking; English 339 Film and Literature. Students who complete the 18-credit minimum are encouraged to continue to avail themselves of the rich film study opportunities on campus and in the Five Colleges.