Welcome to the Film and Media Studies Program at Amherst College. This webpage is for first-year students and non-majors who would like to explore our offerings and other resources on campus and in the area.
An ideal course for first-year students and sophomores with an interest in the major is Film and Writing, which will offer a range of approaches to writing about film as a formal medium, cultural object, and a personal or collective experience. We also recently launched Unlearning Media, a new module of introductory media studies courses seeking to delve beneath the surface of contemporary media phenomena, currently offered with a focus on True Crime. Film and Writing and Unlearning Media are also suitable for non-majors seeking familiarity with humanistic modes of writing. We sometimes make room in them for advanced STEM students who are looking to refresh their fundamentals of close reading and writing.
Another starting point would be any of our 200-level “foundations” courses in the critical study of film and media, ranging from topics such as “Knowing Cinema” to “Television Narratives” to “Coming to Terms: Media.”
For sophomores, juniors, or seniors who are interested in a class or two, our 200-level “foundations” courses in critical studies or production would offer you a broad anchoring in an understanding of media culture, film theory, television analysis, or video production. Another option would be to take a 300-level course focused on a particular national cinema, thematic, or inter-medial analysis. Though some of these courses may encourage some foundation in Film and Media Studies, many do not have a prerequisite, and even if they do, it never hurts to ask the professor for permission to join.
And for all students new to the major: get to know your professors! FAMS faculty are eager to meet you and can make useful suggestions to you about other courses or campus events and opportunities that might fit your interests. If your curiosity is sparked by a particular subject matter or if you’re just a lover of film/television/media, go seek out the professor to explore more!
Film and media resources on campus extend beyond the classroom. If you love movies, you might be interested in participating in our Film Society with other students. Try exploring the offerings of our local arthouse theater Amherst Cinema. Talk with the production faculty if you’d like to offer to work as a crew member for an advanced student making a film or video. And join us at one of our many events offered throughout the course of the year.