Courses and Requirements

The Film Department at Vassar College offers a BA which unites film studies and filmmaking. The program encompasses major aspects of the discipline—the history and theory of cinema, screenwriting, and production—within the framework of a liberal arts education.

Academic requirements and courses are available in the Vassar College Catalogue.

The study of film at Vassar is grounded in film history and theory. Whether the student is ultimately interested in film production or a theoretical/historical study of film, they must first acquire a solid foundation in film history and theory.

First-year students should take Film 175 - Introduction to Screen Arts: An introductory exploration of central features of film and television asthetics, including formal and stylistic elements: color, lighting, editing, sound, etc. This course provides exposure to a wide spectrum of types of films, including: silent, abstract, non-narrative, documentary, and genre films, and the artistic choices manifested by each. Subjects are treated topically rather than historically, and emphasis is placed on mastering key vocabulary. 

Film 209 - World Cinema, may be taken in the Sophomore year. Students planning to declare either a concentration or a correlate sequence in Film are required to take World Cinema; it serves as a required prerequisite for essentially all further courses offered by the Film Department.

Film History and Theory

Our film history courses cover American and international cinemas, genres (such as westerns and horror), auteurs (such as Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers) and cultural studies courses such as “Celebrity and Power: Stardom in Contemporary Culture,” “Cinemas and Urbanism” and numerous others. Many of our mid-level courses are offered on a rotating basis, and new topics are introduced in our senior seminars yearly.

Screenwriting and Production

Vassar film students work in several medias and genres. These include narrative filmmaking, documentary, and experimental video. Film majors use a wide range of production equipment as they seek to bring their creative visions to light.

Resources and Facilities

In 2003 the department moved to the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film with exceptional facilities for screening and production. The Vassar Library also houses extensive film history and theory resources, including a video/DVD collection of more than 13,000 titles, and the department hosts a steady stream of guest artists and lecturers. Read more about our department’s facilities.