Cinematic Arts

This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

Undergraduate majors: cinema (BA); screenwriting arts (BA)

Undergraduate minor: cinema

Graduate degrees: MA in film studies; MFA in film and video production; PhD in film studies



The Department of Cinematic Arts provides students with opportunities to explore and gain insight into cinema as a subject of international and interdisciplinary study as well as creative practice. The curriculum emphasizes film and related media in their historical and cultural contexts as well as film and video production in a variety of modes.

The screenwriting arts major instructs students in the practical skills and knowledge needed to become successful members of the screenwriting industry, in addition to the history and theories related to screenwriting.

The department's faculty offers expertise in film and video production; film history and theory, with emphasis on international film cultures; and the history, theory, and production of documentary media. Students conduct projects using state-of-the-art equipment and software that is updated regularly.

The department offers two majors awarded with a BA degree, an undergraduate minor, and three graduate degree programs (MA, MFA, and PhD). It also offers courses for all interested students under the Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts area of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core.


The Department of Cinematic Arts maintains up-to-date film and video equipment and facilities that allow students to acquire professional skills in a range of technical and creative areas, including cinematography, editing, sound design, screenwriting, and animation. The program also draws upon the extensive media holdings, and scholarly and archival resources relevant to the study of cinema held by the University of Iowa Libraries. The department regularly sponsors events, including film screenings, festivals, symposia, and presentations by notable visiting scholars and artists, that extend the study of film beyond the classroom and regular curriculum. Collaborations with FilmScene, Iowa City’s independent cinema, and the Bijou, the University of Iowa's long-running student film society, also enhance local opportunities for students to view films outside of the classroom and mainstream venues.