Contact: Sarah Nicholas
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State students now can earn a minor in film studies through a new and flexible university curriculum.
A collaborative, interdisciplinary effort of two academic colleges and the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, the undergraduate minor is available through the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Architecture, Art and Design.
Housed in the English department, the defined program of study requires students to enroll in Introduction to Film and fulfill an additional 15 credit hours from electives such as Film Theory, Art and Film, Race and the Media, and Literature and Film. Production courses include Acting for the Camera, Directing, Video Art, and Screenwriting.
Students can work with faculty advisers to create specific, tailored departmental electives and/or special-topics courses focusing on film studies.
“We began conversations about the minor as we were finalizing film selections for the Gender Studies annual Feminist Film Festival in 2014,” said Andrea Spain, associate professor of English and adviser and chair of the interdisciplinary film studies committee.
“Impressed with the film expertise of Mississippi State’s faculty, we started the discussions on how to formalize film studies and design its core courses,” she said.
Spain explained that, “Students will learn to see how images make meaning, how the very subtle and deliberate choices of filmmakers and artists affect us, and how powerful working and thinking in images can be.”
She said the film studies courses will help students discover how film techniques transform stories told on various platforms, from video games, websites and social media to novels or films.
“The structure is intentionally adaptable, allowing students to choose from categories of classes that best relate to their interests and major field of study,” said Melanie Loehwing, associate professor in the Department of Communication, another department involved in the collaboration. She will chair the interdisciplinary film studies committee this fall while Spain is on sabbatical.
“Earning a minor signals to graduate admissions committees and employers that students have gone above and beyond the minimum degree requirements in a systematic and disciplined way,” Loehwing said.
In addition to the departments of English and Communication, other collaborating departments include Art and Sociology. Course credits in film also are offered as seminars or special topics by faculty in the departments of Philosophy and Religion, Political Science, Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, as well as the Gender Studies and African American Studies programs.
In addition to this, MSU students interested in filmmaking have the option to join a new student organization, “The Scene,” which teaches students about the filmmaking process.
Recently organized under the guidance of faculty adviser and communication instructor Melanie Harris, The Scene is led by student president and MSU junior Caroline Matheny.
“I’m hoping The Scene can become a place where students of all different levels of knowledge and experience on filmmaking can grow as creators and movie lovers,” Matheny said. The organization will create a short film each semester written, directed and edited by members of the club.
For additional information on the minor in film studies or The Scene, contact Loehwing at 662-325-5805 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,300 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 25 academic majors offered in 14 departments. Complete details about the College of Arts and Sciences may be found at www.cas.msstate.edu. More on the College of Architecture, Art and Design is available at www.caad.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.