Four Semesters (Fall, Spring and Fall, Spring)

Core Requirements 16 credits (cr)

Fall Semester

4 credits

This course will set aside evaluative considerations of TV in favor of theoretical and critical approaches that challenge widespread assumptions about the medium and expand our understanding of its role in our lives. Such approaches include, but are not limited to, critical political economy, cultural studies, semiotics, genre theory, and narrative theory. Students will emerge from the course with a thorough understanding of how to perform television-focused research and analysis. As students discover the critical and theoretical foundations of the study of television, they will learn how to apply those foundations to crucial developments in television (in their midterm exam) and to expound upon them (in the form of a scholarly final paper). Undergrad Pre-req FT 303

4 credits

Subjects vary with instructor. Directors include: D.W.Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, King Vidor, Frank Borzage, Victor Fleming, Howard Hawks, Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, John Huston, Elia Kazan, George Cukor, Orson Welles, Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, and Woody Allen.

  • Two Electives (8 cr)

Spring Semester

4 credits

An introduction to classical and contemporary film and media theory. Topics include montage theory, realism, structuralism, post-structuralism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and cultural studies. The course includes screenings of films that have contributed to critical debate and those that challenge theoretical presuppositions.

4 credits

An eclectic and unsystematic survey of a small number of the supreme masterworks of international film created by some of the greatest artists of the past eighty years. The focus in on cinematic style. What does style do? Why are certain cinematic presentations highly stylized? What is the difference from realistic, representational work? We will consider the special ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling that highly stylized works of art create and devote all of our attention to the function of artistic style and form to create new experiences and ways of thinking and feeling.

  • Two Electives (8 cr)

Fall Semester

  • Four Electives (16 cr)

Spring Semester

  • Four Electives (16 cr) *Students are advised to enroll in 8 thesis credits.*

Curriculum Offerings of non-required courses

These courses are not offered every semester.

4 credits

This course examines the art of film and television criticism and gives students extensive practice in writing about film and TV in a way that balances informed, insightful analysis and lively writing. Students write several film and TV reviews, each covering a different type of film or TV show, as well as a longer think piece. Students will review films currently playing in local theaters and TV shows currently available on broadcast, cable or other internet platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the like. Key critics discussed include James Agee, Andrew Sarris, Pauline Kael, Roger Ebert, Emily Nussbaum, Matt Zoller Seitz, Anthony Lane, Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott.

4 credits

A survey of cinema from the past three decades originating outside of the studio system. Though the screening list changes from semester to semester, filmmakers to be dealt with include Elaine May, Barbara Loder, John Cassavetes, Robert Kramer, Mark Rappaport, and Charles Burnett, among others.

4 credits

Explores a wide variety of topics concerning censorship, feminist theory, feminism, psychoanalytical theories, pornography, voyeurism, repression, homosexuality, rape, body image, and national identities as exemplified through a large selection of films considered "Profane"/scandalous/ "X-rated", touching upon uncanny regions in which one is "never at home". Further discussion will include an examination of the cultural and historical factors that serve as background for the themes explored and presented in the selected films.

4 credits

This course traces the major discourses that have developed around the Dogme'95 movement. The major focus of this class is to study the work, vision, influences and contribution of Lars Von Trier to the New Scandinavian Cinema and its assorted practitioners. We will attempt to perceive and critique Von Trier's vision as a site for understanding cultural dynamics of European and American Societies. The course is organized chronologically to structure and present the development of both Trier's work and evolvement of the Dogme 95' movement. Some of the readings are assigned around those concerns.

4 credits

Surveys the history of the documentary and the changes brought about by the advent of television. Examines the outlook for the documentary idea in national and international markets. Periodic highlighting of special areas such as the portrayal of war, historical events, drama-documentary, and propaganda. Students develop critical and professional skills. Lectures, screenings, discussions.

4 credits

Studies the great 1960s movement in filmmaking that has stayed forever fresh and challenging and has influenced all filmmaking since. The class will view and discuss films of Resnais, Malle, Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, Varda, and others. We will consider the directors' innovative production practices and film styles, their attitude to their times and to life in general, and what their films finally achieve as works of art. We will talk about this movement's influence and what has developed out of it. Readings will include writings by the filmmakers, many of whom were prolific as film critics and theorists.

4 credits

"Style" is a term that crops up routinely in discussions of film, but does it really mean anything? Through the careful study of a broad variety of films, we will compile a catalog of stylistic components which critic and filmmaker alike can use to think more clearly about this slippery concept. How does one create a style? How does style influence narrative? What tools does a director use to create a distinctive style? Using feature films and film clips, this course will answer these and other questions about film style.

4 credits

Holocaust on Film examines the aesthetics of filmic texts which place the experience of the Holocaust at the center of their investigation.

Select Upcoming Film & TV Studies Courses

Global New Wave Cinemas – Decker

Explores the interconnected production and reception of selected European, African, and Asian New Wave cinemas of the mid-1940s through the early 1970s. These films experimented with form and style to challenge classical Hollywood norms.

Feminist TV Studies – Jaramillo

A discussion-driven seminar designed to accomplish two things: to introduce students to the development of feminist television scholarship and to employ that scholarship to analyze how television has located and defined women and femininity.

Uncensored TV – Jaramillo

The lack of government regulation of cable TV and streaming content has led to scripted series that push boundaries long held in place by broadcast networks. Examines history and current state of non-broadcast series via industry, genres, auteurs, and more.

Religion and TV – Howell

A critical engagement with religious representation on television, focusing especially on American fictional television since the 1980s as it is shaped by television’s history, ideology, industry, culture, and reception.

American Independent Film 2 – Carney

A survey of cinema from the past three decades originating outside of the studio system. Filmmakers to be examined include Elaine May, Barbara Loder, John Comsavetes, Robert Kramer, Mark Rappaport, and Charles Burnett, among others.

International Masterworks – Carney

An eclectic and unsystematic survey of a small number of the supreme masterworks of international film created by some of the greatest artists of the past eighty years. The focus in on cinematic style. What does style do? Why are certain cinematic presentations highly stylized? What is the difference from realistic, representational work? We will consider the special ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling that highly stylized works of art create and devote all of our attention to the function of artistic style and form to create new experiences and ways of thinking and feeling.

Gangster Films – Hall

Gangster Films explores the genre’s roots, such as its depiction of a violent alternative to the American Dream amid the Great Depression. It also examines the genre’s evolution, due to censorship forces, social changes and our desire for vicarious violence.


Bollywood and Nollywood – Decker

Course details TBD.

TV Theory and Criticism – Jaramillo

This course will set aside evaluative considerations of TV in favor of theoretical and critical approaches that challenge widespread assumptions about the medium and expand our understanding of its role in our lives. Such approaches include, but are not limited to, critical political economy, cultural studies, semiotics, genre theory, and narrative theory. Students will emerge from the course with a thorough understanding of how to perform television-focused research and analysis. As students discover the critical and theoretical foundations of the study of television, they will learn how to apply those foundations to crucial developments in television (in their midterm exam) and to expound upon them (in the form of a scholarly final paper).

Broadcasting Horror – Jaramillo

Examines the censorship of horror; horror’s relation to sound; the aesthetics of TV horror; horror and genre mixing; the serialization of horror; broadcast vs. cable horror; and the violence of horror.

TV Genre and Fandom – Howell

TV programs have huge fan bases, whether cult audiences, fanboys and fangirls, or X-Philes and Trekkies. In this course, scholarship on reception theory and fan studies is used to explore multiple television genres and their connections to enduring varieties of fandom.

American Masterworks – Grundmann

Subjects vary with instructor. Directors include: D.W.Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, King Vidor, Frank Borzage, Victor Fleming, Howard Hawks, Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, John Huston, Elia Kazan, George Cukor, Orson Welles, Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, and Woody Allen.

Queer Cinema – Grundmann

Course details TBD.

American Independent Film 3 – Carney

A survey of cinema from the past three decades originating outside of the studio system. Filmmakers to be examined include Elaine May, Barbara Loder, John Comsavetes, Robert Kramer, Mark Rappaport, and Charles Burnett, among others.

Film & TV Criticism – Hall

Course details TBD.


TV Industry Studies – Jaramillo

Whether you want to work in the television industry or focus your research on it, your connection to it will be incomplete without a critical interrogation of its history and processes. TV Industry Studies is a scholarly reading and discussion-driven seminar that conceptualizes the U.S. television industry as a complex site of negotiation between producers and audiences, labor and management, creativity and commerce, and government and corporations.

TV Comedy – Jaramillo

Course details TBD.

Comic Book TV – Howell

Course details TBD.

Contemporary American Film – Grundmann

Course details TBD.

Avant-Garde Cinema – Grundmann

Survey of American and international avant-garde film and experimental media from the 1920s to the present. Explores film, video, and digital video as mediums of unadulterated artistic expression resulting in daring, experimental forms and controversial contents.

International Masterworks – Carney

An eclectic and unsystematic survey of a small number of the supreme masterworks of international film created by some of the greatest artists of the past eighty years. The focus in on cinematic style. What does style do? Why are certain cinematic presentations highly stylized? What is the difference from realistic, representational work? We will consider the special ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling that highly stylized works of art create and devote all of our attention to the function of artistic style and form to create new experiences and ways of thinking and feeling.

Mumblecore – Carney

Course Details TBD


NBC: Anatomy of a Network – Jaramillo

NBC has the distinction of being the first national network on the air, and at various points in its history it has stood for corporate stodginess, quality programming, enviable target audiences, and abject failure. In this course students will analyze the different stages of TV’s development by using NBC as a case study, approaching the network’s history from various vantage points, including those of the larger industry, network executives, and early audiences. Driven by primary sources (NBC’s back-office documents, industry trade articles, and NBC’s radio and television programs) and scholarly literature, this course will explore the ways “America’s network” has navigated the transition from radio to TV, monopolistic trends, inter-network competition, programming decisions, conglomeration, and competition with cable and the Internet.

TV Theory and Criticism – Jaramillo

This course will set aside evaluative considerations of TV in favor of theoretical and critical approaches that challenge widespread assumptions about the medium and expand our understanding of its role in our lives. Such approaches include, but are not limited to, critical political economy, cultural studies, semiotics, genre theory, and narrative theory. Students will emerge from the course with a thorough understanding of how to perform television-focused research and analysis. As students discover the critical and theoretical foundations of the study of television, they will learn how to apply those foundations to crucial developments in television (in their midterm exam) and to expound upon them (in the form of a scholarly final paper).

Cordless TV – Howell

Focuses on differing ways of watching television beyond the television set. Explores ideas of on-demand television and its effects on how television is made and marketed, what audiences are targeted, and how outlets like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are changing the television industry.

The Films of Andy Warhol – Grundmann

Course details TBD.

American Masterworks – Grundmann

Subjects vary with instructor. Directors include: D.W.Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, King Vidor, Frank Borzage, Victor Fleming, Howard Hawks, Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, John Huston, Elia Kazan, George Cukor, Orson Welles, Robert Altman, John Cassavetes, and Woody Allen.

American Independent Film 1 – Carney

A survey of cinema from the past three decades originating outside of the studio system. Filmmakers to be examined include Elaine May, Barbara Loder, John Comsavetes, Robert Kramer, Mark Rappaport, and Charles Burnett, among others.

Film & TV Criticism – Hall

Course details TBD.

American Independent Film
Three Masters: Ozu, Dreyer, Bresson
Film Criticism
The Documentary
The French New Wave
The Profane
New Scandinavian Cinema
Holocaust on Film
Film Styles
Third World Cinema
Introduction to Screenwriting for Non-Screenwriters
Introduction to Video Art
Silent Cinema
History of the Avant-garde (4 survey courses; sequence not required)
The City in Film
The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick
The World of David Lynch
Italian-American: Coppola and Scorsese
Noir and Neo-Noir
The Films of Alfred Hitchcock
British Cinema
African American Representation
LGBT Representation
American Film in the Sixties
American Film in the Seventies
Gender and Horror
Asian Cinema
Antonioni and Bergman
Bresson and Tarkovsky
Four Non-fiction Filmmakers
Creative Non-fiction Film
Women and Film
Pasolini, Sembene, Akerman, Kiarostami
The Cinema of Michael Haneke
Polish Cinema: Wadja, Polanski and Keislow
It Came From Canada: The Films of David Cronenberg
Low-Brow Comedy
Renoir and Buñuel
Classical Hollywood Romantic Comedies and Melodramas
The Hollywood Blacklist
Uncensored TV: Original Programming on Cable Television

Some courses have prerequisites which are not listed above. All Film & Television requirements, prerequisites and course descriptions are listed on the Boston University Academics website.