Advising Guidelines


The deadline for graduation applications for fall semester is the last Friday in September. For spring semester, the deadline is the third Friday in February. Applications must be completed, signed by student and department adviser/chair, paid at the Bursar's Office and submitted to the Registrar’s Office by this date.

Students should bring their graduation application, already signed by a faculty adviser, to the Cinema office for the chair’s signature. Office staff will help on the spot, and students will be asked to fill out the graduating senior exit survey at that time. Students will pay the fee and submit their applications to the registrar themselves. (The office retains a scanned copy of the completed application.)


Students need 45 units in the major (core classes, plus 300 level and above) to graduate. Once the prerequisite core courses (CINE 200 and CINE 202/204 or CINE 301, plus CINE 211 and 212 or transferred equivalents) and the foundation course (CINE 340/341) have been successfully completed, students are free to select an emphasis that suits their particular interests.

Animation students may substitute CINE 365 (History of Animation) for CINE 211 or 212. Non-animation students may not.

Upper-division credit for cinema courses taken at other four-year universities is allowed, subject to approval of an adviser. Students and advisers should remain aware of the SFSU minimum residence requirement of 12 units in the major.

A total of 13 units from a community college (or other institution) can be applied to the core courses in the Cinema major. Up to six of those units may be in screenwriting and/or filmmaking/video production. A student with CINE 202 equivalency is not required to take CINE 204.

Variable topic courses, such as CINE 344, 401, 407 and 508, can only be repeated up to a maximum of 6 or 9 units (check the Bulletin). Units earned from these courses (including in the current semester) that exceed the limit should not be included on the graduation application.

A maximum of four of the one-unit CINE 324, 325 and 326 courses count toward the major. (Note to advisers: as of fall 2014, CINE 325 classes will no longer satisfy general education requirements. They still will count toward the major.)

Two of the three courses in the generation education Segment III cluster (six units) may double count toward the Cinema major if they are Cinema courses. (One of the Segment III courses must be outside the major, however.)

Up to 12 units of credit can be given for upper-division courses in related subjects outside of Cinema, subject to an advisor’s prior approval. Courses in Theatre, DAI, Art (including photography), BECA, Journalism, and Creative Writing usually qualify. Other courses may also be proposed.

A maximum of 18 units of online course work may count toward the major.

A total of 12 units of independent study/internship courses may count toward the major.

A maximum of nine credit/no credit (CR/NC) units may be counted toward the major.

Minimum grade point average: 2.0 in all college work, in SF State work and in major. Core courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.


The Cinema major includes curricular pathways called “emphases.” An emphasis is designed as an advising guideline to support Cinema students in establishing a focus for their studies. Students may also design an individualized emphasis in consultation with an adviser. Upper-division standing and completion of all core courses with a “C” or better is a prerequisite for enrolling in foundation and emphasis courses. As long as they are upper-division Cinema courses, they can be counted toward the major.

Note to advisers: All emphases are outlined on each student’s DARS. Students should not worry about all those red x’s. If an emphasis is completed, the red x becomes a green checkmark. It is unlikely that an adviser will ever see a green check mark next to an emphasis because at least some of those courses will be “in progress” when a student brings his/her graduation application for the adviser’s signature. In fact, completion of an emphasis is not a requirement for graduation as long as a student has satisfied the other department requirements.


Transfer credit for core courses is formalized in one of two ways:

  1. Courses taken at a transfer institution that are officially articulated, as listed on, will be noted on the students’ DARS.
  2. Advisers may review syllabi of courses from other institutions and determine that a course meets a major requirement. This should be noted on a Blue Sheet and signed by the adviser. Eventually, when the student submits a department-approved B.A. graduation application, the registrar will formally accept the transfer units as satisfying major requirements.

Note: Even though the student’s major has been updated, the DARS will still show that a prerequisite has not been completed. The adviser’s job is to reassure the student that this is normal and not a problem affecting graduation eligibility.


What needs to happen before graduation to allow transfer students to register for post-core Cinema classes, when they meet any of the core requirements as described in item 2 above:

  1. Once a student has met all core requirements, she/he obtains a change of major petition and brings it to the Cinema office, along with the Blue Sheet with adviser’s signature for the transferred course(s), for chair approval. Students who have taken one or more core Cinema classes should be prepared to verify their grade(s). When the Registrar’s Office processes the petition, the student will be cleared to register for classes in the major. (Note: Class level requirements still apply; students must be upper-division to enroll during priority registration.)
  2. In urgent situations (i.e., the day before a student’s 24-hour priority registration period), the office manager can change a student’s status manually to Cinema major, following the verification steps described in (a) above.

Additional information

Incompletes in courses on a graduation application will prevent graduation until the incomplete is resolved (even if the units are in excess of the 45 required for the major). The student will have to reapply to graduate and pay another application fee. Also, if a student does not complete a course that is included on a graduation application, he/she must file an additional petition removing the course from the application.

Duplicate Use of Credit Between Majors: Students who complete two majors may count the same courses for both majors where there is a clearly stated overlap in the Bulletin requirements. While these courses may be used to satisfy requirements for two majors, the units can be counted only once in fulfillment of the minimum units required for graduation.

Double Major: Students who complete two majors may apply for both degrees in a single commencement by submitting two separate applications simultaneously. No additional fee is required for the second application.