The Bachelor of Arts in Cinema is focused on narrative movie production. Consequently, the program is designed to advance conceptual understanding of visual storytelling and to teach and practice the technical methodologies foundational to movie-making.

Cinema majors collaborate on student productions under the supervision of faculty with professional production experience. Each summer session, students and faculty work collectively on a series of films funded by the School of the Arts.

Course work explores the proper use of motion picture cameras, lights, sound recording equipment and editorial software. Students also learn the history and theory of film, and develop skills in screenwriting, producing, directing and the business of movie-making.

The B.A. in Cinema requires a minimum of 120 credits, including 48 in the major. At least 45 of the 120 credits must be taken as 300- and 400-level courses. Students are admitted directly into the cinema program and are not required to complete the Art Foundation Program.

Many full-time students enrolled in the cinema program graduate with their B.A. degree after the successful completion of the summer session following their third year.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Operate film equipment and screenwriting, editing, scheduling and budgeting software
  • Gain an international film perspective
  • Create all aspects of the art of storytelling
  • Produce narrative short films
  • Develop creative collaborations
  • Synthesize other disciplines with filmmaking
 

Special requirements

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the program.

Majors in the Cinema Program may choose to complete a second major or minor in any other department or program that supports their educational and artistic goals. Alternatively, students may create a customized plan of study for a second major by requesting admission to the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program.

Degree requirements for Cinema, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

General Education requirements

CourseTitleHours
University Core Education Curriculum
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I [View Image]
Focused Inquiry I3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II [View Image]
Focused Inquiry II3
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Additional General Education requirements
General Education courses9
Total Hours30-33

Collateral requirements

CourseTitleHours
ARTH 270
ARTH 271
History of the Motion Picture I
and History of the Motion Picture II
6
Total Hours6

Major requirements

CourseTitleHours
CINE 100Visual Storytelling2
CINE 101Visual Storytelling2
CINE 200Cinema Form and Concept I2
CINE 201Cinema Form and Concept II2
CINE 300Cinema Form and Concept III2
CINE 301Cinema Form and Concept IV2
CINE 390Digital Cinema Production Intensive I15
CINE 490Digital Cinema Production Intensive II15
Total Hours42

Open electives or second major or minor courses

CourseTitleHours
Select 42-60 credits in courses towards a minor, second major or electives42-60

The minimum total of credit hours required for this degree is 120.

Cinema electives

CourseTitleHours
CINE 401Advanced Cinema Production4
CINE 495Cinema as Art3
CINE 496Advanced Screenwriting Seminar3
CINE 497Expanded Cinema3
 

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
ARTH 270History of the Motion Picture I3
CINE 100Visual Storytelling2
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I [View Image]
Focused Inquiry I3
Humanities/fine arts course (University Core)3
Quantitative literacy course (University Core)3
 Term Hours: 14
Spring semester
ARTH 271History of the Motion Picture II3
CINE 101Visual Storytelling2
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II [View Image]
Focused Inquiry II3
Natural/physical sciences course (University Core)3
Social/behavioral sciences course (University Core)3
 Term Hours: 14
Sophomore year
Fall semester
CINE 200Cinema Form and Concept I2
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Courses toward a minor, second major or electives9
General education course3
 Term Hours: 17
Spring semester
CINE 201Cinema Form and Concept II2
Courses toward a minor, second major or electives9
General education course3
 Term Hours: 14
Summer semester
CINE 390Digital Cinema Production Intensive I15
 Term Hours: 15
Junior year
Fall semester
CINE 300Cinema Form and Concept III2
Courses toward a minor, second major or electives12
General education course3
 Term Hours: 17
Spring semester
CINE 301Cinema Form and Concept IV2
Courses toward a minor, second major or electives12
 Term Hours: 14
Summer semester
CINE 490Digital Cinema Production Intensive II (capstone)15
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 120

The minimum total of credit hours required for this degree is 120.

CINE 100. Visual Storytelling. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 2 studio hours. 2 credits. Screenplay and mise en scene course examines the relationship of the performer and narrative to the cinematic frame without the use of an edit to disrupt the time/space relations in the shot. The student will write seven short scripts to explore the classical mise en scene concept and then produce, shoot or direct a final scene as part of a production team.

CINE 101. Visual Storytelling. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 2 studio hours. 2 credits. Screenplay and mise en scene course examines the relationship of the performer and narrative to the cinematic frame with the use of linkage editing. The student will write a new script based on a classic scene and, working with performers, will block, shoot and edit their scene. The editing will consist of no more than four cuts.

CINE 200. Cinema Form and Concept I. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 studio hours. 2 credits. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Concepts, issues and processes involved in feature and short-form narrative filmmaking.

CINE 201. Cinema Form and Concept II. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 studio hours. 2 credits. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Concepts, issues and processes involved in feature and short-form narrative screenwriting and filmmaking.

CINE 217. Mechanics of Screenwriting. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Enrollment is restricted to students who have permission of the instructor. Introductory course focused on building an in-depth and logistical understanding of how a screenplay informs and prescribes the movie-making process. The course will cover common story structures, standard script formatting and abbreviations, script analysis for production, and creating shot-by-shot shooting lists.

CINE 300. Cinema Form and Concept III. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 1 studio hours. 2 credits. Prerequisite: UNIV 200 or HONR 200. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Concepts, issues and processes involved in feature and short-form narrative filmmaking including screenplay treatments and storyboards.

CINE 301. Cinema Form and Concept IV. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 1 studio hours. 2 credits. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Concepts, issues and processes involved in feature and short-form narrative filmmaking including the roles of dialogue and light.

CINE 390. Digital Cinema Production Intensive I. 15 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 28 studio hours (additional evening and weekend hours for location filming and postproduction). 15 credits. Prerequisites: CINE 100 and CINE 101, or permission of instructor. Enrollment is restricted to B.A. in Cinema majors or by permission of instructor. Production and postproduction of narrative short films using digital technology for camera, editing and sound, with an emphasis on the relationships among production crew roles and departments.

CINE 392. Independent Study in Film. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: junior standing as a major in cinema and approval of department chair and instructor. Individual instruction and supervision of a special project.

CINE 401. Advanced Cinema Production. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 4 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: CINE 390 or permission of instructor. Open to junior and senior B.A. in Cinema majors. Lecture and workshop in the production, theory, business and historical context of film.

CINE 490. Digital Cinema Production Intensive II. 15 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 28 studio hours (additional evening and weekend hours for location filming and postproduction). 15 credits. Prerequisites: CINE 200, CINE 201 and CINE 390, or permission of instructor. Enrollment is restricted to B.A. in Cinema majors or by permission of instructor. Advanced production and postproduction of narrative short films using digital technology for camera, editing and sound, with the development of budgets, production schedules and rehearsals with performers.

CINE 491. Special Topics in Cinema. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for six credits. An in-depth examination of selected topics. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

CINE 493. Film Internship. 3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 3 credits. May be repeated up to a maximum of 6 credits. Open only to B.A. in Cinema majors or with permission of instructor. Supervised work experience related to the film industry.

CINE 495. Cinema as Art. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: ARTH 270 and 271 or permission of instructor. An analysis of cinema as art, image, narrative and philosophy.

CINE 496. Advanced Screenwriting Seminar. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CINE 390. Open to junior and senior B.A. in Cinema majors. A study of the screenwriting process and writers on the subject including Aristotle, Joseph Campbell, David Mamet and Lajos Egri.

CINE 497. Expanded Cinema. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Enrollment is restricted to juniors and seniors in the B.A. in Cinema program or by permission of the instructor. A lecture and workshop exploring film techniques that push the boundaries of conventional narratives through structure, content and ideas. Students examine filmmakers as film theorists and multimedia artists as filmmakers. Films studied range from feature narratives to short experimental films of all styles and genres.