Film and Media Studies, B.A.

Our program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and media studies. Students build media literacy skills, investigate media history from an international perspective, examine the economics and labor structures of globalized media industries, and engage the central methods and concepts of the discipline. Graduates have gone on to work in film and media production worldwide, both independent and industrial. The program also prepares students for future graduate programs or careers in the fields including archiving and library information science, business and education.* 

This program provides unique opportunities that include production collaboration with Media Arts, engagement with the remarkable film and television archival content of Moving Image Research Collections, and support from faculty to conduct independent research on almost any aspect of media culture. Students can also earn a B.A. with Leadership Distinction by demonstrating extensive, purposeful engagement beyond the classroom.  

Most of our classes require students to experience media (watch films, read comics, play games, etc.) as preparation for class lectures and discussion. Access to these media objects and texts are provided via the course Blackboard site.  

*While the program regards basic knowledge of production as essential and requires coursework in this area, the major is not primarily a production degree.  

Learning Outcomes

  1. Upon completion of the major students will be able to: write compelling arguments that are supported by evidence; identify key precedents for their own arguments about media; apply moving image analysis to explain how specific media examples communicate to audiences, and with what implications and effects; and evaluate specific media works and events in a global, historical context.  The foundational courses indicated below focus on the development of these skills. 
  2. Upon completion of FAMS 301 students will be able to identify key precedents for their own arguments about media. 
  3. Upon completion of FAMS 240 students will be able to apply moving image analysis to explain how specific media examples communicate to audiences and with what implications and effects. 
  4. Upon completion of FAMS 300 students will be able to evaluate specific media works and events in an historical context. 
  5. Upon completion of FAMS 308 students will be able to evaluate specific media works and events in a global context.           


Entrance Requirements

New freshmen who meet University admissions standards are eligible for admission to degree programs offered by the college. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another college on the Columbia campus must be in good standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher. A student who wishes to enter the College of Arts and Sciences from another USC campus must fulfill one of the following requirements:

  1. Be in good standing, meet the admission requirements for a baccalaureate degree on the Columbia campus, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher.
  2. Be in good standing and have completed 30 semester hours with a GPA of 2.00 or higher on a USC campus.

Some programs in the College of Arts and Sciences have special admission requirements established by the department or committee that supervises the specific degree program, for example, Cardiovascular Technology, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Economics, Environmental Science, the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. These requirements are listed in the sections of this bulletin that describe department and special degree programs.

Degree Requirements (120 Hours)

Program of Study

Requirements Credit Hours
1. Carolina Core 32-44
2. College Requirements 15-18
3. Program Requirements 31-46
4. Major Requirements 27

Founding Documents Requirement

All undergraduate students must take a 3-credit course or its equivalent with a passing grade in the subject areas of History, Political Science, or African American Studies that covers the founding documents including the United State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and one or more documents that are foundational to the African American Freedom struggle, and a minimum of five essays from the Federalist papers.  This course may count as a requirement in any part of the program of study including the Carolina Core, the major, minor or cognate, or as a general elective.  Courses that meet this requirement are listed here.

1. Carolina Core Requirements (32-44 hours)

CMW – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Written (6 hours)

must be passed with a grade of C or higher​

ARP – Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving (6-8 hours) 

SCI – Scientific Literacy (8 hours)

GFL – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language  (0-6 hours)

Demonstration of proficiency in one foreign language equivalent to the minimal passing grade on the exit examination in the 122 course is required. Students can demonstrate this proficiency by successfully completing Phase II of the Proficiency Test or by successfully completing the 122 course, including the exit exam administered as part of that course.

​It is strongly recommended that students continuing the study of a foreign language begin college-level study of that language in their first semester and continue in that language until their particular foreign language requirement is completed.

GHS – ​Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking (3 hours) 

GSS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences (3 hours) 

AIU – Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding (3 hours)

CMS – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component1 (0-3 hours)

INF – Information Literacy1 (0-3 hours)

VSR – Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility1 (0-3 hours)

  • any overlay or stand-alone CC-VSR course
  • 1
    • Carolina Core Stand Alone or Overlay Eligible Requirements — Overlay-approved courses offer students the option of meeting two Carolina Core components in a single course. A maximum of two overlays is allowed. The total Carolina Core credit hours must add up to a minimum of 31 hours. Some programs may have a higher number of minimum Carolina Core hours due to specified requirements.

2. College Requirements (15-18 hours)

Foreign Language (0-3 hours) 

  • only if needed to meet 122-level proficiency

History (3 hours) 

Social Science and Fine Arts or Humanities (12 hours) 

3. Program Requirements (31-46 hours)

Cognate or Minor (12-18 hours)


The cognate is intended to support the course work in the major. The cognate must consist of twelve  (12) hours of courses at the advanced level, outside of but related to the major. The cognate may be taken in one or more departments or programs, depending on the interests of the student and the judgment of the advisor.

Courses offered by departments and programs that are acceptable for cognate credit are outlined in the section titled Courses Acceptable for Cognate Credit in Degree Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

For cognate course offerings in other colleges, consult the appropriate sections of this bulletin. Some major programs have specific cognate requirements.

It should be emphasized that the cognate is not a second set of elective courses to be chosen at random by the student. The cognate must be approved by the major advisor as being related to the major field of study. Students are urged to consult their major advisors for specific requirements in their major.

Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the cognate.

For Bachelor of Arts degrees, all cognate courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher.


In place of the cognate a student in the College of Arts and Sciences may choose a minor consisting of at least 18 credit hours of prescribed courses. (Some minors in the sciences require a minimum of 16 hours.) The subject area of the minor may be related to the major. Students pursuing interdisciplinary minors who wish to use courses in their major department for minor credit must petition the College Committee on Scholastic Standards and Petitions for permission to do so.

The minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. It differs from the cognate inasmuch as the courses must be concentrated in one area and must follow a structured sequence. Interdisciplinary minors can be designed with the approval of the assistant dean for academic affairs and advising.

Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher. At least half of the courses in the minor must be completed in residence at the University.

A list of minor programs of study can be found at Programs A-Z.

Electives (13-34 hours)

No courses of a remedial, developmental, skill-acquiring, or vocational nature may apply as credit toward degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences allows the use of the Pass-Fail option on elective courses. Further clarification on inapplicable courses can be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences.

4. Major Requirements (27 hours)

Must be passed with a grade of C or higher.

Major Course (3 hours)

Course Title Credits
FAMS 308Global Media Industries3
Total Credit Hours3

Major Electives (24 hours) 

In choosing their electives, majors are expected to individualize their programs of study while becoming broadly knowledgeable about the diverse and increasingly interconnected global media landscape. Students are encouraged to pursue internships, study abroad opportunities, and graduation with leadership distinction.

Production Requirement (3 hours) 

Majors are expected to cultivate an understanding of the media they study by learning about the production process. 

Course Title Credits
Select one of the following:3
Foundations of Media Arts Production
Digital Media Arts Fundamentals
The Moving Image
New Media Art
Total Credit Hours3

300-level Electives (15 hours)

Electives at this level provide a breadth of knowledge while allowing students to focus on topics of interest to them. Select any five from the following list:

Course Title Credits
Select any five of the following:15
Special Topics In Popular Media
Classical Hollywood Cinema
Music and the Hollywood Film
Superheroes across Media
The Blockbuster
Special Topics in Non-Film Media
American Television
Contemporary British Television Industry
Introduction to Comics Studies
Special Topics in Global Media
Middle East on Screen
Hong Kong Action Cinema
Screening China
Japanese Culture and Society through Film
Special Topics in Alternative Media
History of Experimental Film
Documentary Studies
Total Credit Hours15

Additional Electives (6 hours)

To complete the major, students should select two courses from the following that will develop skills and deepen knowledge acquired through their previous selection of courses. At least one of these must be a FAMS Carolina Core Integrative (CC-INT) course.

Course Title Credits
Select at least two of the following:6
Any FAMS course numbered FAMS 310-FAMS 398
Independent Study
Genre Studies Film & Media
Internship in Film and Media Studies
Special Topics in Film and Media Histories 1
Special Topics in Film and Media Studies 1
Special Topics in U.S. Film and Media 1
Critical Interactives 1
Special Topics in Global Film and Media 1
Another course approved by the program director
Total Credit Hours6

These courses are Carolina Core Integrative Courses.

Major Map

A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.

Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.

Film and Media Studies, B.A.