2020-2021 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Mar 29, 2023  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Film, BFA


Kara Herold, Program Coordinator
102 Shaffer Art Building, 315-443-1033, kherold@syr.edu


Boryana Dragoeva, Kara Herold, Alexis Mendez-Giner, Vasilios Papaioannu, Owen Shapiro, Miso Suchy, Leo Crandall, Kelly Gallagher, David Hicock, Nancy Keefe Rhodes, Donato Rossi, Sandy Siquier, Matthew Warne, Soudabeh Moradian


The main objective and educational mission of our film program is to provide a stimulating and rewarding context for independent filmmaking and scholarship. The film program places equal emphasis on academic film studies and creative production. Students pursue various modes of production, including experimental, narrative, documentary, and animation and are required to take film history, theory and criticism classes.

Our approach is that of the total filmmaker. The primary focus of the program is to foster creative, intellectual, and personal achievement. Students learn everything from scriptwriting to pre-production, production, and post- production. Learning how to develop interpersonal and leadership skills is an important part of the process. The program encourages independence, debate, and originality. Our approach to film is an aesthetic one rather than a commercial enterprise.

The first two years of the program are rigorously structured. Freshmen follow Transmedia core curriculum, including film history and an introductory film production course. Sophomore classes concentrate on the essential filmmaking skills. Juniors and seniors have more flexibility. Students choose from menu-structured courses according to their academic and professional interests, in essence constructing their own path with their faculty advisor.

Students must participate in a portfolio review, which is held at the end of each semester. The student and faculty members evaluate creative and academic work and assess student progress. The spring sophomore review will result in a recommendation to continue or to not continue in the program.

In addition to the core study and study abroad options, students have various opportunities for involvement with the Syracuse International Film Festival, the Dropped Frame Society (a student-run film organization), and are encouraged to seek internships. Each year, two of our film seniors participate in the “Sorkin Week,” a week-long professional sojourn in Los Angeles, California.

The program maintains full facilities for 16mm, super 16mm, and digital video formats, including HD.

Our students go on to become independent filmmakers and educators, and work in a wide variety of media-related fields.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Technical Skills: Demonstrate a subset of technical skills involving process or technique knowledge and proficiency in Film Production

2. Conceptual Skills: Demonstrate a broad set of skills in Film that allow a student to understanding abstract ideas and complicated processes while also think creatively

3. Critical Thinking: Analyze theoretical, critical and historical thoughts and concepts clearly and effectively through film

4. Filmmaking Proficiency: Produce quality films that demonstrate a cohesive and compelling production, appropriate to the medium while effectively managing the resources and logistics to produce a film

5. Collaboration Skills: Employ ability to function as a “team” member of a production

Program Requirements

Studies in Culture: 21 credits*

Courses classified as Studies in Culture are, in general, classes related to art history and cultural studies but also include Foreign Languages, Anthropology and World Literature. You can find a comprehensive list of approved studies in culture electives here.

*Studies in Culture should consist of 15 credits of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and 6 credits of any other approved elective.

Academic Electives: 24 credits

Academic electives are most courses offered outside of art, design, or transmedia (for example, courses offered in CRS, Arts and Sciences, Whitman, and other colleges outside of VPA). These academic courses usually have non-art-related content, such as math, natural sciences, astronomy, global history, political science, psychology, entrepreneurship, and languages among others. You can find a comprehensive list of approved academic electives here.

Studio Electives 18 credits

Studio electives are courses usually offered in VPA through art, design, or transmedia.  The content of the courses directly relates to the preparation of students for professional careers in art, design, and transmedia. The course content includes, but is not limited to, conceptualization, process, product, and critique of creative work in studio practice. These courses meet for a much longer time, for a minimum of four hours per week for the duration of the semester. Usual meeting patterns are: the class meets once per week for four+ hours, or the class meets twice per week, usually for two or more hours each. You can find a comprehensive list of courses that count as studio electives here.

Study Abroad

The structure of the program allows students to study abroad for one semester in any of the SUAbroad locations.  You must plan ahead with you advisor to make sure you can fulfill your major requirements.

The film program offers both semester-long and short-term study programs with FAMU in Prague (spring, junior year); in LA through the SULA semester (fall, senior year); and in Bologna, Italy (summer program).

Total Credits Required: 129

Degree Awarded: BFA in Film