B.A. in Cinema Studies

As a student in the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies, you will focus on the history, theory, and criticism of motion pictures and related media, examining cinema as both an art form and as a form of mass culture.  Graduates of our program have gone on to successful careers in teaching, archival work, journalism, screenwriting, multimedia, network television, and filmmaking.

You’ll spend your four years taking a mixture of courses in the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies, Tisch, and other schools at NYU.

Cinema Studies

Courses in the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies are divided into four tiers.  Over your four years in the department, you’ll take a mixture of courses from each tier to complete the requirements for your major. 

Tier I

The core curriculum for Cinema Studies majors includes five courses taken in sequence: Intro to Cinema Studies, Film History, Film Theory, Television: History & Culture, and an Advanced Seminar.  Recent Advanced Seminar topics have included Adaptation, Costume Design, Horror, Sci-Fi & Difference, Orson Welles, and Surrealism and Cinema.

Tier II

Small lecture classes will give you the opportunity to delve into specific topics in the areas of film auteurs, genres, movements, national cinemas, television studies, and special topics.  Course topics change each semester, so there’s always something new to learn.  Recent topics have included American Film of the 1960s & 70s, Choreography and the Moving Image, Hitchcock, Korean Cinema, The Sitcom and Special Effects.

Tier III

Large lecture courses will give you a survey of American and international film history.  Each fall, courses focus on cinema up to 1960.  Each spring, courses focus on cinema from 1960 to the present.

Tier IV

Small theory/practice courses allow you to put your theoretical knowledge into practice in the areas of screenwriting, film criticism, and forms of filmmaking as well as other modes of moving image production such as new media.

General Education

Outside of Cinema Studies, you will complete a sequence of liberal arts courses in both Tisch and the College of Arts and Science’s College Core Curriculum.


Two expository writing courses, Art and the World and The World Through Art, are designed to foster an appreciation of how arts relate to each other and to society in a changing world, reflecting on a range of social and ethical issues as they pertain to your own creativity.

Foreign Language

Fluency in a foreign language is an important skill for becoming a member of the global community.  You can either take two semesters of a language or demonstrate proficiency at an intermediate level.

Foundations of Contemporary Culture

In the College Core Curriculum, you will be encouraged to engage both with your own perspectives and with the world at large by taking a sequence of courses that includes Texts and Ideas, Cultures and Contexts, and an approved social sciences course of your choosing.

Foundations of Scientific Inquiry

The College Core Curriculum also includes courses in Quantitative Reasoning and Natural Science to give you the knowledge you need to be an independent-minded citizen in a world increasingly shaped by science and technology.


To complement your Cinema Studies coursework, you will be required to declare a minor in a related area.  Popular minors include Producing, Creative Writing, Film Production, Business of Entertainment & Media Technology.


Your remaining coursework can be fulfilled in a variety of ways.  You can take more courses in Cinema Studies, beyond what is required.  You may choose to explore other general education coursework in the College of Arts and Sciences.  You may also take elective courses outside of either area in other departments at Tisch, or at the Stern School of Business, the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, or the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development.

You are able to combine your minor and elective coursework to complete a second major in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.  You’ll have the opportunity to declare your double major once you arrive at NYU.  Popular double majors include Journalism, Dramatic Literature, and Film & Television.

Current students should consult the B.A. Handbook for rules and regulations.