UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Programs / Undergraduate

Major Requirements

Film Major

To declare a major in Film, students must have completed a minimum of 30 units, have satisfactorily completed Film 25A or 25B.

We do not offer a minor in Film Studies.

Double Majors

Many Film majors elect to complete a second major in addition to Film. Students must be able to complete both majors within a maximum of 140 units, and can have no more than two courses which are counted towards both major’s requirements. Students considering a double major should consult with the Undergraduate Major Advisor.

Lower Division Requirements

12 lower-division units are required for the major.

  • Film 20 (Film & Media Cultures), 4 units, offered each Fall Semester and Summer Session; this is a new course effective FALL 15 and is a prerequisite to upper division requirements. Film 20 is not required for students who completed Film 100 (Theory) prior to FALL 15: This course is an introduction to the study of a range of media, including photography, film, television, video, and print and digital media.
  • Film 25A (History of Film I), 4 units, offered each Fall Semester and Summer Session: Film from its beginnings, covering the silent period and the conversion to sound up until the World War II era.
  • Film 25B (History of Film II), 4 units, usually offered each Spring Semester and Summer Session: Film from the World War II era through the New Wave and the emergence of the new ethnic and national cinema.

Upper Division Requirements

A minimum of 28 upper-division units are required.

Required courses

(12 units)

  • Film 128 (Documentary Film), 4 units, offered Spring Term: An analysis of the development of the documentary film, including examples by Flaherty, Riefenstahl, and Wiseman.
  • Film 129 (Avant-Garde Film), 4 units, offered Fall Term: A survey of experimental film including examples by Vigo, Duchamp, Leger, Bunuel, Clair, Brakhage, Kubelka, Snow and Rainer.

plus one of the following:

  • Film 108 (Genre), 4 units: Focus on a particular genre, e.g., western, horror film, film noir, animation, melodrama. May be repeated for credit.
  • Film 151 (Auteur), 4 units: Focus on the work of a single director, e.g., Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Fellini. May be repeated for credit.
  • Film 160 (National Cinema), 4 units: Focus on the cinema of a particular nation or region. May be repeated for credit.

Film Electives

(16 units are required to complete the total of 28 upper-division units in the major.)

Students may choose to take additional courses from the upper division Film Studies offerings, including extra courses in Film 108 (Genre), Film 151 (Auteur), or Film 160 (National Cinema), or other electives such as Film 140 (Special Topics), Film 180/181 (Screenwriting), Film 185/186 (Narrative Production), Film 187 (Special Topics in Media Production), all of which will count toward the upper-division unit requirement. In addition, a list of approved film elective courses and course descriptions drawn from course offerings by affiliated faculty across the campus is available each semester. The Undergraduate Major Advisor (UMA) will distribute and post the approved list to film majors each term. Students should consult with the UMA regarding course selections.

Language Requirement

For the Film major, students have two options for completing their language requirement:

  1. Students may complete the third semester of college-level language course in a single language (e.g., French 3), or;
  2. Students may choose to complete the second semester of a college-level language course in two different languages (e.g., German 2 and Swahili 2). For example, if you have taken three years or more of Spanish in high school, you may satisfy the Film major’s language requirement by enrolling in Spanish 3 at UC Berkeley; or by taking a second language, such as Portuguese, for two semesters (e.g., Portuguese 1 and 2).

Please note: we are interested in the level of the language that the student completes, not the actual number of semesters. Completing the equivalent of a 3rd semester or higher of any foreign language at UC Berkeley (French 3, German 3, Spanish 3, Japanese 10A, etc.) will meet the language requirement for the Film major. Students cannot complete the language requirement based upon high school language study alone, since even advanced high school language courses are considered equivalent to only the second semester of a UC Berkeley language course.

Language courses which are strictly conversational are not acceptable. Students may enroll in the courses being used to satisfy the Film language requirement on a Passed/Not Passed basis. Students should be aware that if they are also using the course to satisfy the Foreign Language requirement, it must be taken on a letter-graded basis. Any natural language is acceptable. Students who are native speakers of a language other than English may demonstrate their language competency by satisfactorily passing a language proficiency exam administered by a language department at UC Berkeley, or by taking an advanced course in the language (such as an upper division course which is taught in the language). Students are expected to demonstrate both verbal and written proficiency.


Students may choose to participate in structured internship opportunities through the Pacific Film Archive (Film 197A and Film 197C). Students who have identified an external internship for which they wish to receive credit should consult with Damon Young, the Undergraduate Faculty Advisor, regarding enrollment in Film 197B. Only 4-units of internship units may be counted towards the 32 upper-division unit requirement for the Film major. Film 197A: Film Study at the Pacific Film Archive (2 units), Film 197B: Film Study for Majors (3 units), Film 197C: Film Curating at the Pacific Film Archive (2 units).