BlogUniversityWhat It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Film Studies at USYD

What It’s Like Studying a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Film Studies at USYD

Film Studies USYD - Fact Sheet

Ever wondered what it’s like majoring in Film Studies within a Bachelor of Arts at USYD?

You’re about to get the low down on everything there is to know about the core units, assessments, degree culture and more.

Let’s go!

What is a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Film Studies at USYD?
Core Units for this Degree
How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Film Studies at USYD
What’s the Teaching Format?
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?

What is a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Film Studies at USYD?

A Bachelor of Arts is a degree that involves the study of the humanities and social sciences — this includes Film Studies, in which you can major in a Bachelor of Arts at USYD. Film Studies not only draws on both your intellect and imagination, but it will provide you with a deeper understanding of the moving image and how visual information and content is an essential way to understand society.

You’ll learn sophisticated terms that’ll allow you to analyse what you see on screen, such as camera movements, editing techniques and screen performance. 

By majoring in Film Studies, you’ll gain valuable knowledge from the history of film, film genres, and film as a cultural and technological form in the 21st century. Evidently, a huge part of the major is watching films — what more could you want in a uni degree?


Students on a distinction average (average weighted mark of 75 or more) can apply for a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Film Studies. Honours can be the start of your career as a professional researcher — as an extra year of study, it’s a great way to further enhance your personal and professional skills as a researcher.

You’ll undertake a 10,000 word thesis, on the topic of your choice. For example, if you’ve majored in Film Studies, you can write and develop an argument about any film of your interest. 

Advanced Studies

A Bachelor of Arts (Advanced Studies) is a new four-year degree where you can also major in Film Studies.

This degree will provide you with the opportunity to strengthen your skills and knowledge within a real-world environment, as you’ll undertake an industry and community project unit. Advanced Studies is much easier than honours, and looks better on your resume rather than a standard Bachelor of Arts. 

Career Paths

Majoring in Film Studies within a Bachelor of Arts can provide you with the following career paths:

  • Film director
  • Television/film/video producer
  • Scriptwriter or screenwriter
  • Broadcasting or post-production
  • Arts management
  • Film or cultural critic
  • Film librarian/archivist
  • Editorial assistant
  • Journalist
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Digital media specialist

Learn more about careers you can end up in with a Bachelor of Arts here!

Core Units for this Degree

In first year of a Film Studies major, there are only two core units. These are:

  • Introduction to Film StudiesIn this subject, you’ll learn the elements of filmmaking and viewing, examining the different aspects of film form and how it’s developed over the past two centuries. 
  • Hollywood: Art, Industry and Entertainment In this subject, you’ll learn how Hollywood has evolved as America’s ‘dream factory’ — a mass entertainment, cinematic art form. 

In second year, you only have one core unit:

  • From Silent to Sound Cinema In this subject, you’ll learn all about silent films in the early stages of cinema and how they have manifested as special art forms. 

In third year, you’ll also only have one core unit:

  • Cinematic Transformations In this subject, you’ll gain an understanding of what cinema is like in the 21st century. From new media platforms such as YouTube to virtual reality technologies, this unit will examine the radical transformations of film over the past century. 

For more info on core units and electives within a Film Studies major, click here!


A Bachelor of Arts does not require you to complete an internship as part of the degree.

However, if you are wanting to gain real-world experience in whatever you’re majoring in, such as film studies, you can aim to complete a Master’s degree after you graduate. Master’s degrees include industry projects that include internships with government and non-government organisations, galleries, museums, and leading media organisations in Australia and internationally. 

Another way to gain experience is by applying for internships yourself, which can be sought after on the University of Sydney’s CareerHub website. This is the uni’s very own job, internship and work experience seeking website, available for current students and graduates. 

How to Get into a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Film Studies at USYD

The ATAR cut off to get into a Bachelor of Arts is 80. You can find other admission pathways into a Bachelor of Arts here!

Considering studying film in Queensland? Check out what it’s like studying at the Griffith Film School here!

Prerequisites and Assumed Knowledge

There are no prerequisites for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Film Studies at USYD.

However, if you undertake electives or a minor in a language unit, there are pathways available for you if you don’t have any prior language experience. Yet, it’s recommended that if you’re studying a language that you do have some prior knowledge so you don’t fall behind.

Visit the Arts handbook for more info!


There are numerous scholarships applicable for Bachelor of Arts students who are majoring in Film Studies. Some of which include:

  • Bowman Cameron Scholarship — This scholarship is eligible for domestic first year students undertaking a Bachelor of Arts degree (worth $5000). 
  • The 78ers Legacy Fund Scholarship — This scholarship is eligible for all undergraduate students undertaking a Bachelor of Arts degree and who identify as LGBTIQ+ (worth $6265). 
  • The Clissold Scholarship — This scholarship is eligible for all domestic undergraduate students who study within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (which includes a Bachelor of Arts — worth $7000 for the course duration). 

What’s the Teaching Format?

A Film Studies major within a Bachelor of Arts is taught in two semesters per year, and through lectures, tutorials and movie-watching classes. 

Class Structure

Film Studies USYD - Class Structure


Within lectures, there can be around 100 to 200 students. In first year, there will be more Arts students studying film studies subjects as they’d be completing them as electives.

In second and third year, there will evidently be less people in lectures as it will just be those undertaking Film Studies as a major. Nevertheless, the workload in lectures is quite interactive, as you’ll watch small clips of films and either listen to the lecturer’s analysis or get in small groups and analyse them yourselves. 


Likewise, tutorials are also interactive and strongly encourage discussions, rather than a tutor standing in front of class asking students to work individually (which is what you’ll see in maths subjects, for example). Tutes will have around 20 people, where you’ll also watch clips from films and analyse them as a class.

Movie-watching Classes

Probably the best thing about undertaking a major in Film Studies is the movie-watching classes. In many film studies subjects, they allocate 2 hours in your timetable to watch whatever movie you’re studying that week.

These aren’t compulsory, but definitely worth going to so you can participate in class — and arts is all about participation! 

How much time do you spend at university?

The number of contact hours in a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Film Studies is 3 hours per subject. This will equate to up to 12 hours per week (as you usually do four subjects per semester) — sometimes more if you attend the movie-watching classes. 

Film Studies USYD - Student Quote


Another great thing about studying Film Studies in an Arts degree is that there are no exams! However, this means there will be many research essays, which mostly include film analysis.

You will also have critical reflections of a film you’ve watched, oral presentations (which can be group and/or individual), and academic article reviews. Either way, you will definitely improve on your writing skills — so if you don’t like writing or watching films, perhaps undertaking a major in Film Studies isn’t for you. 

Skills That You Refine and Learn

Film Studies USYD - Skills

A Bachelor of Arts will allow you to refine and learn many skills that you’ll need for life. These include critical thinking, communication, writing skills and analysis.

By majoring in Film Studies, you’ll also enhance your capacity to examine films, including developing your technical and creativity. By having a broad understanding of the arts and humanities, you’ll also build your empathy — which is vital to attain in the ever-evolving competitive workforce. 

What’s the Faculty and Culture like?


The Arts and Social Sciences Faculty at USYD is very large, due to the wide variety of subjects and majors that students can undertake. However, Film Studies is commonly a small cohort, therefore you will most likely have the same tutor twice over your three-year degree.

This also means you’ll often see the same people twice in tutorials, which is pretty rare for USYD. Either way, you’ll be able to form positive relationships with your tutors and peers which is always a plus at university. 


The culture of studying Film Studies within a Bachelor of Arts is pretty vibrant, as most students are usually very passionate about the arts and undeniably creative.

You can bond about your favourite movies with others, which is unlike any other major within a Bachelor of Arts. Arts students are known to be quite eclectic, but also very fun and friendly!


FilmSoc is the Sydney University Film Society and is one of the oldest societies on campus. If you love movies and free food, FilmSoc is definitely for you.

They screen films of all genres every week on campus, host a short film contest and allow you to meet professional filmmakers. You also have the opportunity to receive discount movie tickets! 

Support Programs

There are numerous support and mentor programs available for all undergraduate students at USYD. Whether you need an academic mentor, academic support, or just an opportunity to meet people and build friendships, USYD has a dedicated team of advisors who can help you every step of the way. 

Interested in the pros and cons of Film Studies at USYD? Check out our article here!

Isabelle Plasto is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and in her third year of a Media and Communications degree at the University of Sydney, majoring in Digital Cultures. You can find her work published in Dementia Australia’s August 2020 eNewsletter, an organisation very close to her heart. Apart from writing, Issy loves to travel, cook and boogie to 70s disco music.

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