The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Film Studies Major

Through BDIC 

As of Fall 2020, the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies, as a step in the process of establishing an autonomous Film Studies major within its own program, will administer and supervise a film studies major as a structured concentration within BDIC (Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration).  Students are encouraged to pursue the beta phase of this major, since a demonstration of student demand is necessary to the successful establishment of such an autonomous major. The Program in Film Studies will vet the academic and curricular rigor of the film studies concentration within BDIC. Film Studies advisors will supervise the BDIC major. The collaborative arrangement between the Program in Film Studies and BDIC furthers both programs’ central emphasis on the importance of interdisciplinarity, and this is reflected in the curricular structure and requirements detailed below.

Application Deadline for Spring 2021: November 15th 


Before starting the application process:
Students should contact Barry Spence to express their interest in declaring the major.

To apply for the major, students need to have completed or be currently registered for at least 15 credits of courses, and have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
The application process has two phases. 
1)    Students must fill out a short APPLICATION FORM
2)    Students take the 1-credit Proposal Writing Class (BDIC 396)  and develop their course plan for the Film Studies concentration. Completion of this course marks the completion of the application process. Please note students may take other courses towards the Film Studies/BDIC major at the same time (or even before taking the Proposal Course).


The major consists of 12 courses: 6 required core categories and  6 electives. In addition, students take the 1-credit proposal writing class. Primary majors must also take Junior Year Writing and the Integrative Experience course.

Print your checklist for major requirements
See a list of courses that fulfill each requirement 

___   Proposal course
BDIC 396P Proposal Writing. Students take this 1-credit course during their first semester of the major. Students may take other courses towards the Film Studies/BDIC major at the same time (or even before taking the Porposal Course). 

___ One Introductory course (I)

___ One History of Film course before 1950s (H1)

___ One History of Film course after 1950s (H2) 

___ One Director or Genre course (D&G)

___ One National cinema course (N)

___ One Film Theory course (T)

___ Junior year writing (Required for primary majors)
The Program in Film Studies will have its own junior year writing course in place by Fall 2021. For the 2020-2021 academic year, students whose primary major is BDIC Film Studies will take the junior year writing course within BDIC. 

___ Integrative Experience (Required for primary majors) 
This course can count as one of the 12 required courses for the major.

___ Six Electives (E)
Students choose 6 electives at the 300 level or higher. 
Through the choices for the six elective film courses, students can choose to develop a specialization within the discipline of film studies. Suggested specializations include:
Track A: History of Cinema, Film Theory, Film Criticism
Track B: World Cinema, Cinema Cultures, International Film
Track C: Filmmaking, Production
Track D: DIY (Design your  own track)

___ Internship and/or Independent Study courses:
Students can take 6 credits of internship and 3 of independent study  (or viceversa) as part of the 6 electives. In other words, up to 3 courses (of the 6 electives) can be fulfilled through internships and independent study.  Mount Ida Internships Program students may petition to have up to 9 internship credits counted as part of their 6 electives (temporary suspended due to the Covid outbreak).
Please see our internship opportunities here


  • Students must take courses from at least 3 different disciplines (departments/programs).
  • A maximum of 4 courses can be taken in any given department.
  • All classes must be 300 level or higher, although the introductory course does not need to be 300 level. Students are allowed one elective at the 200 level.
  • Students must earn a C or better in all courses taken toward the major.
  • Students who are double-majoring are allowed to double-dip with 3 courses.
  • Full time students must complete 4 semesters in the BDIC major.
  • Full time students must be enrolled in at least 2 courses (a total of at least 6 credits) related to their BDIC major each semester.
  • When joining the BDIC major, students can bring in up to 4 previously taken courses, from no more than three semesters previous to when they take the proposal class.
  • Junior Year Writing and the Integrative Experience course are required for primary majors. Waived for secondary majors.

If there is any doubt about the applicability of a particular course in another department, or from another school, check with a Film Studies BDIC supervisor. 
PLEASE NOTE: Certain rules are being waived for advanced certificate students joining the BDIC major in the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. Please contact Barry Spence, if you believe this might apply to you.