Program Overview:

Undergraduate Radio/Television/Film Major

The major in radio/television/film is the study of media, educating students in its history, theory and production. The interdisciplinary program offers a range of perspectives on media forms from cinema to broadcast television, alternative media to emerging technologies. The major is dedicated to integrating theory and practice and to creating intersections with other disciplines, primarily through courses in critical studies, which are supplemented by coursework in production and writing. RTVF students become fluent in media analysis through the study of the history and social, economic and political dimensions of cinema, broadcast media, and new media. Courses are taught by cultural theorists and practicing media creators who lead majors in developing and honing their technical and critical abilities and social sensibility.

In developing critical thinking and persuasive writing skills and fluency in media and culture, RTVF majors are prepared for careers in media content creation and production, communications, business and management, education, arts and entertainment, and for further study in culture, media and the performing arts.

Program Goals

Graduates will be prepared to:

  • Demonstrate critical analysis and research of media forms
  • Demonstrate practical media skills and effective use of equipment and technologies
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the historical development of media forms— film, video, television, Internet, and digital text—and the parallel development of critical approaches to studying these media
  • Write persuasively and communicate effectively


  • Bachelor of Philosophy in Communication - 45 units

    The bachelor of philosophy in communication (BPhilCom) is conferred by the School of Communication. The BPhilCom is an interdisciplinary professional degree and is awarded to students who major in Communication Studies, Communication Systems, or Radio/Television/Film. To earn the BPhilCom degree, students must complete a total of 45 units, including a writing requirement, distribution requirements, a major and electives. Minors are optional.

Distribution Requirements

  • English - 2 units

    • ENGLISH 111 or ENGLISH 205
    • ENGLISH 113

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  • Humanities – 3 units

    3 courses from the following areas: art history, classics, comparative literary studies, English literature, foreign languages (up to two units), history, music history, philosophy, religion, and some courses in African American studies, foreign languages with literature, gender studies, performance studies, radio/television/film, Slavic languages and literature and theatre.

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  • Social Sciences – 3 units

    3 courses from the following areas: anthropology, economics, history, linguistics, political science, sociology, and some courses in African American studies, gender studies, psychology and statistics.

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  • Science – 3 units

    3 courses from the following areas: astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, engineering, geography, information systems, mathematics, physics and some courses in anthropology, psychology, radio/television/film and statistics.

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  • Psychology – 3 units

    3 courses in psychology.

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RTVF Major Requirements

  • RTVF  190  Media Construction

    This course is designed to teach students all of the basic skills they need to create their own video productions. Students learn to operate cameras and to edit video and complete the course by working with a group to produce their own 3-5 minute short film.

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  • RTVF  220  Analyzing Media Texts

    This course provides foundational training in the analysis of film and media texts. The course focuses on technical aspects of cinema, its production, and its rudimentary interpretation: composition, lighting, cinematography, editing, sound and narrative. Secondary topics introduce a broader range of issues and films: genre, type and context. Close analysis of films is a major component of the course.

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  • RTVF  230  Understanding Media Contexts

    This course provides an introduction to the critical analysis of film, television and other popular media by surveying influential theories of culture and power. Mass media have been important to society since before the Industrial Revolution. The media have been sites of contestation, controversy and critique, and they are essential to questions of ideology and cultural power. We will look at elite efforts to demonize and police popular culture; populist arguments on the artistry and political utility of popular forms; and significant artistic, cultural, and economic movements that frame or employ the production and reception of popular media.

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  • RTVF  260  Foundations of Screenwriting

    This course is an introduction to the writing and revising of screenplays. We will discover how core concepts of character, structure, plot, theme and tone interact within existing and emerging media and explore utilizing these concepts to express personal vision. The course will focus primarily on building the beginning writer’s toolkit. The course begins with an examination of cinematic story structure, idea generation, visual storytelling, characterization, conflict, obstacles, and stakes, followed by study of the tools and principles of screenwriting. The course features in-class workshops and viewings of select scenes from classic and contemporary films, followed by discussion. In addition to brief writing assignments, students will craft a logline, an outline, and the first act of a feature-length film.

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  • 1 technology-based RTVF course   
  • 6 300-level School of Communication courses, at least 5 in RTVF   

    School of Communication subjects are communication studies, performance studies, RTVF, and theatre.

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  • 3 additional 100- or 200-level communication studies courses