FAMS Senior Capstone Symposium

The FAMS “comps” requirement is met by participation in a symposium-style event to be held in the fourth or fifth week of the spring semester, and all seniors (including thesis students) are required to present.

Students will deliver a fifteen-minute presentation of their work based on a class project (an essay, film or video, curation, etc.) or their thesis at the program’s event. The presentations should demonstrate the development of an idea in tandem with work produced for the major and developed through a particular research project and/or creative practice.

Each presentation will be part of a panel of 2-4 students. FAMS faculty will moderate the panels.

Participation and attendance at this event are mandatory for seniors majoring in Film and Media Studies. All current majors will also be expected to attend, and pre-majors will be encouraged to attend. Advisors will discuss attendance and participation with their advisees, and they will work with their senior advisees to help them choose the project to present. The symposium will be announced in advance through our FAMS newsletter and in the Daily Mammoth in the weeks leading up to the event. 

Students will prepare for their presentations in the following ways:

  • When possible, 400-level courses will include an oral presentation component.
  • The Chair or other appointed faculty member(s) will hold a meeting with all seniors in the Fall of their senior year to review the requirements of the event and to begin a workshop schedule to help them prepare. This workshop will both lay out the basic expectations for the presentations and begin a conversation about the distinct challenges individual students might have when it comes to delivering oral presentations.
  • In a subsequent meeting in the Fall, a public speaking guide on campus will meet with students to present presentation approaches.
  • If possible, students will attend at least one campus symposium in the Fall (such as a CHI salon or an event organized by FAMS faculty) to further familiarize themselves with presentation approaches. 

The rationale for this requirement is multifold:

  • It is an opportunity for students to share their work with one another, therefore demonstrating the myriad directions that work in the major takes and building an intellectual community across the FAMS program.
  • A symposium also enables students to take their work outside of a classroom setting. By moving outside of the classroom, students have the opportunity to imagine a more “public” audience for their work, no matter what form that audience might take. In so doing, they become more prepared for participation in larger-scale events whether they take place at Amherst, as part of the Five College community (such as the 5C Film Studies Conference), or in arts practice or professional contexts beyond graduation.
  • Students experience the benefits and the challenges of speaking to an audience, including members who may not understand the original context of their work and who have a diversity of perspectives.
  •  Finally, in learning how to synthesize and frame critical or creative work, students are better prepared to apply for grants, graduate programs and/or job interviews.

Prior Symposium Programs

March 3, 2023

March 4, 2022