Film Studies Minor


Portland State University offers an interdisciplinary Minor in Film Studies through the Departments of English, Communications, and Theater Arts. The Minor requires 28 credit hours in appropriate coursework, including internships and advisor-approved courses at the Northwest Film Center. Students may select from a number of courses listed in various departments throughout the University. These include courses offered by the Departments of Foreign Languages, Art, History, Black Studies, Women's Studies, Sociology, and more.

Students who complete the Minor will gain a rich understanding of the medium of film. The will acquire a basic understanding of the technology of the medium, be familiar with its history, know how to write academically and journalistically about film, and gain a theoretical grasp of the power of visual culture in contemporary life.

The Minor is available to all undergraduates enrolled at Portland State University. Students in the Departments of Theater Arts, Communication, or English should consult their department adviser for a complete list of course requirements. Students in other departments or programs should consult with the program coordinator for further information. The current program coordinator is Dr. Michael Clark, Department of English, 503-725-4956.

Important Note: The Northwest Film Center operates on a semester system unlike Portland State University, which operates on a quarter system. Their semesters run from early September to early December and late January to mid-May. Students who wish to take film courses at the Northwest Film Center must be aware of this scheduling difference.

Requirements for the Minor in Film Studies

To earn the Minor in Film Studies, students will be required to complete 28 advisor-approved film studies credits to include the following:

  • English 304 Critical Theory of Cinema (4 credits)
  • Theater Arts 331U Understanding Movies (4 credits)
  • Electives: may include additional theory or history classes, as well as classes in film production at the Northwest Film Center (20 credits)

Other Requirements

All courses in the Minor must be taken for a letter grade rather than Pass/No pass. Up to 12 credits taken for fulfillment of the Minor in Film Studies may be applied to the student's major. Courses taken for the Minor in Film Studies may also be applied to University Studies requirements.

Recommended Elective Courses

Below is a list of elective courses that would apply to the Minor from offerings in English, Writing, Communications, Theater Arts, and the Northwest Film Center:

  • English 300 Critical Approaches to Literature (4 credits)
  • English 305 Topics in Film (Recent courses organized under this course number include the following. All courses are 4 credit hours, unless specified.)
    • American Film
    • Classical Hollywood Cinema
    • History of Cinema I
    • History of Cinema II
    • Film Noir
    • Films of Hitchcock
    • Films of Elia Kazan
    • ‘Hollywoodizing’ Asian American Literature
    • Celluloid Shakespeare
    • The Films of Sundance
    • Films of Utopia and Dystopia
    • Film and Social Justice
    • Film and the Novel
    • Genre: The Road Movie
  • English 491  Advanced topics in Critical Theory & Film (4 credits)
  • Writing 410  Writing About Film: Race and Gender (4 credits)
  • Writing 416  Screenwriting (4 credits)
  • Theater Arts 135  Classic Movies (4 Credits)
  • Theater Arts 348  Acting for the Camera (4 Credits)
  • Theater Arts 370U  (All courses are 4 credit hours, unless specified.)
    • American Cinema and Culture I, II, III
    • History of Cinema I, II, III
    • Film Genres
    • Gangster Films & Musicals
    • Hitchcock
    • 1950's Media and Culture
    • Shakespeare on Film
    • The 70's Film and Television Renaissance
    • Film Goes to War
  • Theater Arts 399U  Classic Movies (4 Credits)
  • Theater Arts 399  Directing Actors for the Camera (4 Credits)
  • Theater Arts 484/584  Anatomy of a Movie I (4 Credits)
  • Theater Arts 484/584  Anatomy of a Movie II (4 Credits)
  • Communications 399  Film Studies I/II/III (4 Credits)
  • Communications 399  Media Law and Politics (4 Credits)

Film Studies courses taught through Black Studies, Foreign Languages and Literature, Art, History, Sociology, and other academic sectors at PSU also count toward the degree, upon approval of a student's advisor and the sponsoring department, and if necessary, the program administrator. Below is a partial list of such courses:

  • Foreign Languages 399U  International Cinema  (All courses are 4 credit hours, unless specified.)
    • Italian Cinema
    • French Cinema
    • Danish Cinema
    • German Cinema
    • Russian Cinema
    • Spanish Cinema

Conferral of the Minor in Film Studies

Undergraduate students are solely responsible for requesting conferral of the Minor in Films Studies when they apply for graduation in their major. Students who successfully fulfill the requirements for the Minor will have a notation marking that fact recorded on their transcript. Graduate students are responsible for asking the program advisor in one of the three sponsoring departments for a letter that indicates that they have successfully completed sufficient courses required for the Minor.

For more information about the Minor in Film Studies, contact Michael Clark, Department of English, at 503-725-4956 or Pam Minty, Northwest Film Center, at 503-276-4259.

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