UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Programs / Undergraduate

Major Requirements

Film & Media Major

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

We do not offer a minor in Film & Media Studies.

Double Majors

Many Film & Media majors elect to complete a second major in addition to Film & Media. 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 & Media 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 & Media 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 177 (Entertainment Law), Film 179 (Sound), 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 & Media majors each term. Students should consult with the UMA regarding course selections.

Language Requirement

Film & Media majors have two options for completing their language requirement (this will only apply to students admitted before Fall 2017 ):

  1. Students may complete the third semester of college-level language course in a single language (e.g., French 3), or something more advance.
  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 & Media major’s language requirement by enrolling in Spanish 3 at UC Berkeley; or by taking a second language, such as Portuguese at a level 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 & Media 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 & Media 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.

   *** New Language Requirement beginning Fall 2017 ( All incoming freshman and newly admitted transfers will be held to the new language policy ) ***

Students may complete the second semester or higher of a college-level language course in one language, which has to be taken at the UC Berkeley Campus. This means French 2, German 2, etc. or more advance language class taught in the target language such as French 102, German 102, Spanish 25, etc. Students should take a course at the appropriate level.

And those students with no foreign language background will need to take the first and second semester sequence in one language. The class must be taken for a letter grade and with minimum of a B- grade or better.

There will be no waivers or credit given for courses completed in high school or at community college. Film majors have to take at least one language course at UC Berkeley, second-semester level or a higher more advance class as appropriate to their background, in order to pass the requirement.

The requirement cannot be completed at an outside institution (with the exception of UC-approved study abroad programs). This rule also applies for transfer students who took a four- semester sequence at community college, students must enroll in one further language course at Berkeley, preferably an upper division language. course.

Native/Heritage speakers are NOT exempt from the requirement to take a UC course, but they can take the heritage-speaker version of their native language. International students will be required to provide a copy of a high-school transcript from home to verify coursework in native language at the high-school level.


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 Jeffrey Skoller, 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 & Media 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).