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College of Arts & Sciences
Film and Media Studies Program

Duncan Buell and students

Program Overview

Film and Media Studies students learn to explain and reimagine a society saturated by audio-visual media--from cinema and radio to television, mobile microscreens, and video games. They are assisted in this effort by an internationally regarded faculty that pursues diverse investigations of past, present, and future media institutions, industries, audiences, and creative forms. 

Courses in the Film and Media Studies major cultivate essential media literacy skills, investigate media history from an international perspective, and engage the central methods and concepts of the discipline.

By working closely with Program faculty, majors might undertake advanced research on almost any aspect of media culture--from early Hollywood to contemporary Asian cinema and European television, from home movies and experimental films to selfies and social networks, from problems of industrial organization to questions of genre development and social habit.

The Program regards basic knowledge of media production as essential; the major requires coursework in this area, although it is not primarily a production degree. Students interested in media production frequently choose to minor in Media Arts, in the School of Visual Art and Design, or to combine studies and production together for a double major. This Prezi illustrates a sample workflow for a double-major in Film and Media Studies and Media Arts. 

See COURSES for a list of Film and Media Studies courses offered during the current academic year. For a complete list of courses at USC that can be applied towards a major or minor in Film and Media Studies, consult the Undergraduate Bulletin

Opportunities and resources

The recent excitement and growth of film and media at the University of South Carolina is tied in part to several unique resources here, which include the remarkable film and television archival collection, the Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC), our faculty and students’ involvement with the Orphan Film Symposium at NYU, and ongoing opportunities for students with Columbia, South Carolina’s art house cinema, The Nickelodeon Theater. FAMS majors are encoraged to pursue study abroad, Graduation with Leadership Distinction, and Magellan reseach opportunities

History and future directions

Established first as an undergraduate minor in 1996, the Film and Media Studies Program at USC has grown steadily since being unveiled as a major in 2001. Its alumni have gone on to pursue diverse careers in media as well as advanced studies in the discipline.

The University does not currently offer a graduate degree in film and media studies. Other departments may offer enrolled graduate students opportunities to include work in the discipline in their courses of study. Interested students should look for classes taught by Program faculty, most of whom hold appointments in either the Department of English or the School of Visual Art and Design. 500-level courses offered by the Program are open to graduate students as well as undergraduates. The Program plans to expand its graduate-level offerings.