Minor in Cinema & Media Studies (CIMS)

From its invention in the late 19th century, film has grown into one of the most complex art forms, popular entertainments, and powerful social forces in contemporary life. Everywhere we turn, we are surrounded by hybrid versions of the cinema: viral videos and YouTube uploads; home movies and reality television; advertisements and video games; surveillance footage and video conferences; and, of course, the masterpieces of global cinema and the expensive entertainments of the film and television industries. The most vital dimensions of our culture, our thought, and our expression have been shaped decisively by the language of the moving image, with its unique aesthetic codes and traditions, and with its many cultural and technological histories.

The undergraduate program in Cinema & Media Studies (CIMS) offers students a comprehensive education in the history, culture, aesthetics, and theory of moving-image media. Our course offerings are global in range and interdisciplinary in orientation. The CIMS program draws on affiliated faculty from departments across the college, from English and world languages and literatures to sociology and art history. We offer courses on a variety of film movements and genres, individual filmmakers, and a range of media, as well as courses devoted to national cinemas in Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Students graduating with a minor in Cinema & Media Studies will acquire a rich humanities-based background in a field with growing cultural and economic relevance, as well as enduring artistic significance and political urgency. Our graduates develop critical skills needed to navigate today’s media landscape with technical knowledge, historical perspective, creativity, and imagination. Recent graduates have used their degrees to pursue a range of careers, including: film programming, publishing, arts journalism and film criticism, filmmaking, art making, creative writing, education, business, marketing, advertising, and brand consulting.

On completion of the minor, students are able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with a substantial body of films and other media productions from the silent era forward and the multilayered history of how that material has been created and received.
  • Demonstrate visual and verbal literacy by analyzing and writing with clarity and terminological precision about various kinds of moving images.
  • Conduct research on a topic in cinema and media studies, formulating apt questions, identifying sources, and using them appropriately to support an argument or interpretation.
  • Discuss the applicability of scholarship from cinema and media studies to the other visual arts, literature, technology, culture, commerce, and politics.
  • Identify the major movements and turning points in cinema and media history, and situate them within a broader socioeconomic and cultural context, including national, regional, and global contexts beyond the US.


Six (4-credit) courses are required, all completed with a grade of C or higher. Of these six courses, a minimum of three must be taken at Boston University. Specifically required are the following:

  • One course in Film History: CAS CI 101 History of Global Cinema 1: Origins through the 1950s
  • One course in Film Aesthetics: CAS CI 200/CAS EN 176 Introduction to Film & Media Aesthetics
  • Four CIMS electives, chosen in consultation with the advisor, from courses approved for the CIMS major

At least one of these electives for the minor must be taken at the advanced undergraduate (400 or 500) level.