Undergraduate Major in Radio/Television/Film

The major in radio/television/film (RTVF) 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.



About Radio/Television/Film

Radio/Television/Film Major Goals & Curriculum

Program Goals

Graduates will be prepared to:
  • Demonstrate critical thinking, research and analysis 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


Students are required to complete 42 units, leading to the bachelor of philosophy in communication (BPhilCom) degree. The degree includes major requirements, distribution and writing requirements, and electives. 

RTVF major requirements

RTVF core courses

  • RTVF 190 Media Construction
  • RTVF 220 Analyzing Media Texts
  • 1 200-level course from: RTVF 260 Foundations of Screenwriting, RTVF 298 Studies in Media Topics, or COMM ST 275 Persuasive Images: Rhetoric of Popular Culture

9 advanced courses

  • 1 300-level course from:
    • RTVF 310 Television History
    • RTVF 312 History of Film
    • RTVF 313 Doc Film History & Criticism
    • RTVF 314 History of the Recording Industry
    • RTVF 315 Audio Drama
    • RTVF 316 Media and Cultural Theory
  • 8 300- or 400-level courses:
    • 6 courses must be in RTVF
    • 2 courses in any department of the School of Communication

The major requirements listed above are for students starting the program in the Fall 2021 quarter or later. View RTVF major requirements prior to Fall 2021.

Undergraduate Radio/Television/Film Courses

Explore Undergraduate Radio, Television, and Film Courses for descriptions, locations, and schedules. Classes are held on Northwestern's Evanston or downtown Chicago campuses, and meet once weekly in the evening or on Saturdays.

Major in Radio/Television/Film Admission & Transfer Policy

Application to Northwestern University School of Professional Studies bachelor's degree programs is completed online. Once admitted, many students create a shorter path to degree completion by applying transfer credit. View detailed application instructions and requirements and transfer credit policies on the Admission & Transfer Policy page. 

Radio/Television/Film Tuition & Financial Aid

The School of Professional Studies offers competitive tuition rates for undergraduate courses. The Tuition & Financial Aid page lists current per-course tuition rates in addition to financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Registration for Radio/Television/Film Majors

Registration for courses opens 8 to 10 weeks before each quarter and is accessed CAESAR,  Northwestern's online student records system. View course registration timelines and instructions on the Registration Information page.

Career Options for Radio/Television/Film Majors

The RTVF major provides a foundation for students to work in the dynamic, innovative field of media. They examine as well as make media; they also are able to analyze the critical trends that have shaped and continue to transform the industry. For details see the Radio, Television, and Film Career Options page. 

Find out more about the Major in Radio, Television, and Film

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