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Film Studies

What is Film Studies?

For more than a century, motion pictures have flourished as the most pervasive medium for entertainment and expression, blending art with new technology in fascinating ways. Film Studies explores the kind of art form that film is today, as well as the ways the medium has both reflected and shaped global culture since its inception.

Our program focuses on film, but situates it within a broader culture of images and sounds that comprise both contemporary media and diverse historical practices. We offer courses on a wide range of topics, from popular film genres and directors, to avant-garde and global art cinema, offering students the critical tools as well as the historical and theoretical frameworks to make sense of visual culture in the twenty-first century.

Film courses are academically stimulating and suitable for students who wish to study cinema in relation to history and theory, technology and aesthetics, and experiences of modernity and globalization. A degree in Film Studies will allow you to pursue related graduate study, to write about film and media, and to work in various aspects of the industry, from production to film festivals.

Unique Place to Study

As a Film Studies student, you can participate in
 a range of exciting film-related activities both on and off-campus. These include special film series and lectures from visiting filmmakers, producers, and scholars, as well as opportunities to participate in local film events, like the Calgary International Film Festival and the Calgary Underground Film Festival, and media cooperatives like CSIF, EMMEDIA and the Quickdraw Animation Society. You may also take advantage of on-campus media production opportunities and work on your own filmmaking and critical writing projects. These opportunities enrich the Film Studies curriculum, contributing to an energetic and enthusiastic film culture at the University of Calgary.

To get involved, check out the links below:

Core Faculty and Research Expertise

Film Studies faculty have research expertise in diverse areas, from amateur movies to the Hollywood industry; Canadian cinema and the contemporary global art cinema; film history, film theory, and film philosophy. These areas of specialization are reflected both in the program’s course offerings and in the opportunities students have to participate in faculty research. 

The Honours Program

Students in the Film Studies program have the opportunity to write an Honours thesis on a research topic of their own design, supervised by a Film program faculty member. This intensive, year-long project is undertaken in the final year of the degree and involves coursework and independent research. Previous topics have addressed issues related to film history and theory, as well as examinations of diverse international filmmakers.

For more information, contact the Program Coordinator, Lee Carruthers (

Put Your Degree To Work

University of Calgary Film Studies majors develop historical, conceptual, and analytical expertise that will benefit them as scholars, researchers, critics, filmmakers, and other kinds of participants in contemporary film culture. Calgary is a regional hub for the Canadian film industry and a centre of independent film production. It is also home to over a dozen film festivals and several media cooperatives. The Film Studies program draws on this setting to provide opportunities for experiential learning and cooperative education. Situated within Calgary’s burgeoning arts culture and vibrant film festival scene, Film Studies majors and graduates have many opportunities to contribute and participate, helping to shape the motion picture art and culture of tomorrow.

Graduates of Film Studies work in a variety of different roles, from critics and producers, to independent filmmakers, media archivists and arts administrators. The Canadian film and media industry is a vital and expanding cultural player. It will need graduates with university-level backgrounds who are able to think critically and write effectively about the aesthetic, cultural and technological dimensions of motion pictures.

Graduates of Film Studies have been employed in the following areas:

  • university research and teaching
  • film, television and new media production
  • media review and criticism
  • programming for cinemas and film festivals
  • film and media archives and libraries
  • cultural management
  • print and online media
  • regional, provincial, and federal bureaus and agencies
  • film development offices
  • commissions specializing in film and media

Degree Requirements

All Degree Requirements can be found in the University Calendar

Apply Now

Students wishing to apply to an undergraduate program at the Department of Communication, Media and Film must apply to the Faculty of Arts, which is done through the general admissions office. 

> Follow this step-by-step guide to applying to the Faculty of Arts


Dr. Lee Carruthers
Program Co-ordinator

Arts Student Centre
1st Floor, Social Sciences Building room SS 102
(403) 220-3580