Major Requirements

A minimum of 12 CU of courses focusing primarily on Cinema and Media are required for the CIMS major.

To declare your major in Cinema & Media Studies, please contact Prof. Karen Redrobe, Undergraduate Chair, or Mr. Nicola M Gentili, Associate Director Undergraduate Studies.


  • CIMS 1001 - Intro to Cinema Studies
  • CIMS 1002 - Intro to Media Studies


A minimum of 2 courses for each of the following attributes. At least one out of the six courses must be a seminar at 3000-level or above:

  • History & Geography (choose 2 CU from:)
    CIMS 1004: World Film History
    CIMS 1080: German Cinema
    CIMS 2910: East Asian Cinema
    CIMS 2012: Transnational Cinema
    CIMS 3040: Japanese Cinema
    CIMS 3204: History of Children’s Television
    Or any CIMS course with attribute "History & Geography"
  • Format & Theory (choose 2 CU from:)
    CIMS 0150: Copyright and Culture
    CIMS 2953: Digital Infrastructures and Platforms
    CIMS 2954: Collecting Media
    CIMS 2950: Global Film Theory
    CIMS 3782: Local Media
    CIMS 3810: Film Exhibition and Moviegoing
    Or any CIMS course with an attribute "Format & Theory"
  • Production & Practice (choose 2 CU from:)
    CIMS 0610: Video I
    CIMS 0650: Cinema Production
    CIMS 1160: Screenwriting
    CIMS 1170: Writing for Television
    CIMS 2000: Virtual Reality Lab
    CIMS 2850: Art and Business of Film
    Or any CIMS course with an attribute "Production & Practice"

4 electives chosen among any of the courses listed under the above attributes OR Cinema & Media Studies "Related Courses" from other Penn schools/departments.

Please note: CIMS 1001 and CIMS 1002 are not listed under the courses with attributes because they are core requirements and cannot also fulfill distribution requirements.


CIMS graduating seniors have the option to complete a Senior Honors if they have a GPA of 3.5 or above in the major. The Senior Honors Thesis can either be:

  • A research paper on a chosen topic related to film, TV, or media (30-35 pages).
  • A screenplay with a companion paper of about 7 pages that explains the premise, and contextualizes the screenplay within the current film landscape (genre, form, etc.)
  • A creative project—a short film, documentary, video essay—with a 5-7 pages companion paper that contextualizes the project.

See here for more details

For Transfer Credit (courses courses taken before matriculation at Penn), Study Abroad Credit (courses taken at a Penn Abroad program), and Credit Away (courses taken outside of a Penn-approved program after matriculation at Penn) students must secure approval through the XCAT system. Transfer credit will not be accepted for CIMS 1001 and CIMS 1002. All majors must complete these 2 courses at Penn.

Students may request that one independent study be counted toward the major, but such independent study must first be approved by the CIMS Undergraduate Chair. Students wishing to undertake an independent study must submit a proposal to both the project advisor and the CIMS Undergraduate Chair outlining the nature of the study.



This 2023-24 is the last academic year that we offer our current 3 core requirements:
•    CIMS 1010
•    CIMS 1020
•    CIMS 1030
New CIMS major above will go into effect in 2024-25 and will have only 2 core requirements:
•    CIMS 1001: Intro to Cinema Studies (which replaces 1010 & 1020)
•    CIMS 1002: Intro to Media Studies (which replaces 1030)
Students graduating in 2023-24 must have completed CIMS 1010, CIMS 1020, and CIMS 1030 to get the CIMS major.
For students graduating in 2024-25 and future years:
•    CIMS 1001 will be overridden by CIMS 1010 or 1020 if they take it by this last 2023-24 academic year.
•    CIMS 1002 will be overridden by CIMS 1030 if they take it by this last 2023-24 academic year.