Film Production, B.A.

Program Code: FILM_BA

Program Description

The Film Production major is designed to serve students whose primary interest is the art of film and video practice. It offers an integrated curriculum in which historical, critical, and theoretical studies parallel the teaching of production and aesthetics.

The major serves students who wish to pursue careers in film, television, or related industries, as well as students planning to continue work in film and video at the graduate level.

The major includes a broad liberal arts background with introductory courses in the areas of film and video history, theory, and practice. Students have the flexibility to pursue an area of emphasis at the advanced level (narrative, alternative or documentary production).

What is Film Production?

Film production helps students develop an understanding of all aspects of the film and video production process while exploring narrative, documentary and alternative forms. Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, students gain hands-on experience as writers, producers, directors, cinematographers and editors. The program emphasizes personal expression and collaboration along with the technical and creative skills needed to succeed in a career in media production. Faculty members in the film-video major are working professionals who emphasize critical thinking and the development of ideas while offering students in-depth study of writing and production. Students graduate with a skill set that prepares them for a dynamic work environment in a highly competitive industry.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You’re creative, curious, inquisitive and enjoy telling stories.
  • You’re able to visualize a story and interpret it using technology.
  • You’re an active learner who likes to apply knowledge in a practical setting.
  • You’re able to work in a team environment, no matter what your role.
  • You have an appreciation and understanding of popular culture and want to contribute its evolution.


Entrance to Major

  1. Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.00
  2. Minimum third semester classification
  3. Courses required with a grade of B or better: COMM 150N, COMM 242

Additional Criteria

A candidate who does not meet the minimum GPA or grade requirements may submit a portfolio during finals week of Spring semester as outlined at: Successful portfolio students will be admitted to the major for the following Fall provided the candidate satisfies the minimum academic requirement of at least a C (2.00) cumulative average for all courses taken at the University subject to the conditions of Section 51-50. Applicants who are not accepted into the major may re-apply the following year but must realize that this course of action could delay their graduation by at least one year.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 18
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 33

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Students must select at least 72 credits in courses outside the Bellisario College of Communications.

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of B or better
COMM 150NThe Art of the Cinema Keystone/General Education Course3
COMM 242Basic Video/Filmmaking3
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
COMM 333Film History for Filmmakers I: The Development of the Cinema to 19603
COMM 340Intermediate Cinematography and Editing Techniques3
COMM 342WIdea Development and Media Writing3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits of the following:6
Intermediate Documentary Production
Intermediate Narrative Production
Intermediate Alternative Production
Select 3 credits of the following:3
Advanced Documentary Production 1
Advanced Documentary Production Abroad 1
Advanced Narrative Production 1
Advanced Alternative Production 1
Advanced Group Production I 2
Select 9 credits of the following:9
Writing for the Screen I
COMM 433
Advanced Documentary Production 1
Advanced Documentary Production Abroad 1
Advanced Narrative Production 1
Advanced Alternative Production 1
Advanced Cinematography and Lighting Techniques
Producing Workshop
Advanced Post-Production Techniques
Directing Workshop
Writing for the Screen II
Advanced Group Production II

Neither COMM 437, COMM 437A, COMM 438, nor COMM 439 may be taken concurrently.


Admittance to COMM 448 is by permission of instructor.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Learning Outcomes

Professional Values and Competencies

Individual professions in journalism and mass communication may require certain specialized values and competencies. Irrespective of their particular specialization, all graduates should be aware of certain core values and competencies and be able to:

  1. understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press for the country in which the institution that invites ACEJMC is located, as well as receive instruction in and understand the range of systems of freedom of expression around the world, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and assemble and to petition for redress of grievances;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of gender, race ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications;
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society;
  5. understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
  6. demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  7. think critically, creatively and independently;
  8. conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;
  9. write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
  10. critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
  11. apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
  12. apply basic tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Brenda Johnson
Administrative Support Assistant  
204 Carnegie Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2022-23 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contains suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Admission to the film production major is selective and based on a formally-structured review process. Students can enter the major through one of two processes. Please review entrance to major requirements found at:

Film Production, B.A. at University Park Campus and Commonwealth Campuses

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
COMM 150N*#13General Education Course (GA)3
ENGL 15 or 30H (GWS)3General Education Course (GN)3
General Education Course (GN)3General Education Course (GH)3
General Education Course (GH) (Inter-Domain)3General Education Course (GS) (Inter-Domain)3
Foreign Language4Foreign Language4
PSU 91 
 17 16
Second Year
COMM 242*#1,23COMM 333*33
General Education Course (GA)3BA Knowledge Domain3
General Education Course (GQ)3BA Knowledge Domain (US Cultures)3
General Education Course (GS)3General Education Course (GN)3
Foreign Language4B.A. Other Cultures3
 16 15
Third Year
COMM 337, 338, or 339*3COMM 337, 338, or 339*3
COMM 340 or 342W*3COMM 340 or 342W*3
CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C (GWS)3COMM 346* or Elective3
General Education Course (GQ)3Non-COMM Elective3
BA Knowledge Domain (IL Cultures)3Non-COMM Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
COMM 438, 439, or 448*43COMM 346, 437, 437A, 438, 440, 444, 446, or 449*43
COMM 346, 440, 443, 444, or 445*3COMM 346, 437, 437A, 438, 440, 444, or 446*3
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D (GWS)3Elective3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course (GHW)1.5
 13.5 13.5
Total Credits 121

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education


Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement


Course requires a grade of B or better for entrance to major. Grades below a B will require a portfolio submission for entrance to major.


Students studying at any of the commonwealth campuses that do not offer COMM 242 will need to change their campus early to University Park for their 4th semester to fulfill this requirement. In its place, students at a commonwealth campus can take a General Education course in the third semester.


Students can take COMM 333 and COMM 242 concurrently during the 4th semester to stay on sequence for FILM/Video requirements.


Students who take COMM 448 (Advanced Group Production) in their seventh semester, as part of a year-long production sequence, will take COMM 449 in their eighth semester.

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Career Paths

A film production degree prepares students to enter careers in entertainment, business, communications, mass media or any number of related fields that value strong, talented communicators and visual storytellers. Students with a film-video degree have many options to put their skills to work. Those include: cable and television networks, independent production companies, motion picture companies and those that support the industry such as talent agencies, equipment houses and post-production facilities. Other options include advertising agencies, corporate communications, foundations, education and professional sports industries.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Most undergraduates initially enter the professional world, but the digital storytelling skillset associated with a film-video degree provides a basis for success for those interested in graduate studies.



The Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications is evaluated regularly by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, and the Bellisario College has consistently met the high standards of the organization that is dedicated to excellence in professional education in journalism and mass communications. For undergraduate students, accreditation most practically means that upper-level professional classes in each major will be conducted in rooms with 20 or fewer students.



University Park

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University Park, PA 16802