While the specific classes may vary depending on the school, a set of specific courses are taken by film studies students across the country. These core topics form the base of what the film industry really is all about and teaching students the fundamentals in each element that comprises filmmaking.
Students will start with a general introductory course on the study and theory of film. The title of this course will vary, but it serves as an introduction to the field. The first few courses will also be historical, focusing on both American Film History as well as International Film History. American film classes may be broken up into decades or centuries, as film has changed so rapidly throughout Classes on international film may be broken into Western and Eastern influences. It is likely a separate class will be dedicated to the early silent screen.
Students should then expect courses on the various steps in the cinematography process, starting with screenwriting, script analysis, film production, post production, and business and marketing in film. Students will also focus on theory, examining cultural influences on cinema.
In terms of elective courses, the options are endless and vary based upon college. Classes can examine how race, sex or gender play an influence in film, and other classes can examine specific genres: documentary, historical fiction, romance, horror, and more.
If a student finds interest in a specific aspect of filmmaking, he can learn more on specific subjects in the certificate program. Screenwriting, film production, and documentary filmmaking are all well-known certificate programs and include courses that delve deeper into those aspects of the medium. Certificate programs can be taken while the student is completing the film studies program or separately, and both of these programs can be completed completely online.
When investigating a school for film studies, be sure to review the course curriculum to see what subjects are available. Schools may differ on a view, but when it comes to the core curriculum, colleges tend to maintain the same list, varying on the electives or specialized courses. Contact the school separately if you are particularly interested in a specific topic.
San Francisco University Film Studies: http://www.cel.sfsu.edu/film-media/
Barnard Film Studies Program: http://film.barnard.edu/