Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with a degree in Media and Cinema Studies?
Media and Cinema Studies students from Illinois have gone on to careers in various areas.
Cinema Studies: some of our graduates go on to Ph.D. programs in Media Studies, Cinema Studies, and/or Cultural Studies with the intention of researching and teaching film at the college level.
Filmmaking: others go on to M.F.A. programs in Film Production, with the intention of becoming directors, writers, cinematographers, editors, or producers. A Media and Cinema Studies undergraduate degree provides a firm historical/theoretical background for a career in filmmaking.
Media-related professions: these may not be high-profile film careers, but they are essential to the industry. They include careers in/with talent agencies, distribution, exhibition, entertainment law, film festivals, state film commissions, media arts organizations, local television stations, advertising agencies, entertainment publications, computer graphics firms, image archives, and many others involved in conveying information or narratives through visual images.
Non media and film related professions: Media and Cinema Studies is a liberal arts undergraduate major which trains students in thinking and writing critically about texts and other cultural artifacts, and as such it provides a good general background for most professions which do not require a highly specialized, technical undergraduate major.
Does Illinois offer an advanced degree in Cinema Studies?
No. But a Graduate Minor in Cinema Studies is available through the Department of Media and Cinema Studies. The Minor is pursued while a student works toward an advanced degree in some other field of study. More information...
In addition, the Institute of Communications Research offers a Ph.D. in Communications and Media. Many students pursue research in film through this Ph.D. program.
Does the Department of Media and Cinema Studies teach filmmaking?
Currently, we offer one course in film and media production. In addition, many of our 100-level courses incorporate media production as an aspect of learning. Additionally, the Media and Cinema Studies major accepts courses in various aspects of film and media production from outside the department as supporting coursework, with an advisor's approval.
Can I major in filmmaking at Illinois?
There is no formal degree program in film production at Illinois at either the undergraduate or graduate level. Some students have in the past, however, put together their own individualized curricula in filmmaking through the Individual Plans of Study (IPS).
Which graduate school should I attend if I want to be a filmmaker?
That depends on what sort of films you would like to make. You can learn the basic techniques and skills in any filmmaking program. Certain programs give their students more of an advantage starting out in their careers, however, because they are located in cities where films are made. New York University, UCLA, and the University of Southern California all have excellent programs, and they also have well-established links with the film industry in their respective cities. They also have a lot of students applying for admission to their programs. Other considerations, apart from the obvious one of costs, might affect your decision. If you want to make Hollywood features, you should think about UCLA and USC as your first choices; if you want to make films in the Chicago area, Columbia College would make a lot of sense; if you are interested in making personal, experimental films, you might want to look into Northwestern's program; if you are interested in making documentaries, you might investigate the program at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. You can check out various graduate programs in film production through our Links page; and you also might want to read Film School Confidential: The Insider's Guide to Film Schools by Karin Kelly and Tom Edgar.
Are there any opportunities to study film in a foreign country?
Many of our students have spent a semester or a year studying abroad, both in English-speaking countries and in non-English-speaking countries. Courses taken abroad can readily be used to fulfill requirements of the Media and Cinema Studies major. For more information on studying in a foreign country and on the various programs available, consult the Study Abroad Office.
Where can I rent obscure or hard-to-find videos of foreign films, American independents, avant-garde films, Hollywood classics, classic TV, or current TV?
In Champaign-Urbana, try That's Rentertainment. If you cannot find what you want there or if you live outside the C-U area, try Facets Multimedia, the nation's largest distributor of art, classic, cult, documentary, foreign, and hard-to-find videos.