Undergraduate FAQs

Admissions

How do I apply for admission to the School of Cinema?

Any matriculated San Francisco State University student may declare the Cinema major or minor, and you may do so upon admission to the university. To change your major or minor, visit the Registrar site.

  • Students must have a GPA minimum of 2.0 to declare the Cinema major.
  • Students with more than 90 units must meet with a faculty advisor to discuss a plan for completing the major.

The Animation minor requires a portfolio review and formal acceptance to the program. For details, visit the Animation page.

For details on applying to San Francisco State University, visit Application Central.

Note that course work in the Cinema major begins once a student has completed a minimum of 30 units (sophomore standing). 

How do I transfer to SF State as a Cinema major?

If you are still planning your courses at a California community college, complete as many equivalents as possible for the required Cinema Core classes:

  • CINE 200: Intro to Cinema Studies
  • CINE 202: Intro to Filmmaking
  • CINE 204: Intro to Filmmaking Lab
  • CINE 211: Film History I
  • CINE 212: Film History II

You may find which courses at your community college articulate to SF State University at assist.org. Note that a grade of C or higher is required in these courses.

As a Cinema major at SF State University, you should complete any and all remaining Core classes during your first semester on campus. These classes serve as prerequisites for upper-division courses (300-level and higher).

What if I took very similar courses at a 4-year school or an institution outside the state of California?

You may be eligible to receive lower-division and/or upper-division course credit towards the major.

Consult a Cinema faculty advisor to see if it is possible to apply credit for your transfer courses to the Core (200-level) requirements. Please note that your courses must cover the same content.

If the minimum residence requirement of twelve (12) units in the major is satisfied, credit for upper-division courses in the major from a four-year college/university is allowable if syllabi are comparable. Consult a Cinema faculty advisor for more information.

What if I articulated all five Core courses from another school?

You should begin your upper-division Cinema course work, explained in more detail here.  You should also begin your upper-division General Education course work, explained in more detail here.

I took a course equivalent to CINE 202: Intro to Filmmaking, but my college didn't offer CINE 204: Intro to Filmmaking Lab. Do I need to take it?

No, you do not. Transfer students who articulate CINE 202 may waive the CINE 204 requirement. If completion of the CINE 204 requirement does not appear on your Degree Progress Report in your Student Center, consult with a faculty advisor.

When I apply, should I also declare an emphasis or concentration in my major?

At this time, the University does not request this information when students apply, nor does the School offer formalized emphases.  However, you will have the opportunity to explore areas of interest to you through your elective course work – including various areas of cinema studies, filmmaking, and animation.

Advising

How do I talk to an advisor? Who is my advisor?

Cinema advisors are full-time faculty who oversee your progress through the major curriculum and offer academic guidance. More Cinema advising information.

For GE-related questions, visit the Advising Resource Center for the College of Liberal and Creative Arts.

What is the Blue Sheet?

The Blue Sheet is a guide that helps you track your progress through the major. It also contains School of Cinema policies that you may find useful. Additionally, we recommend students plan their degree path with the Degree Planner, which can be found in the Student Center in the Gateway/MySFSU.

When should I see an advisor? How often?

Students are encouraged to consult with a Cinema faculty advisor on a regular basis. Consultation with a Cinema advisor is recommended in advance of registration periods so students may plan the subsequent semester.

For information about General Education and University requirements, students should consult with the Advising Resource Center for the College of Liberal and Creative Arts.

What if I am on academic probation?

There are options available to you.  Consult with the Advising Resource Center for the College of Liberal and Creative Arts.  You may also want to consult with a Cinema faculty advisor to discuss your options for successfully moving forward in the major.

Cinema Major

How do I change my major to Cinema?

Go to this link on the Registrar’s site and follow the instructions.

How do I find out what the Cinema major encompasses?

Review the Bachelor of Arts in Cinema Roadmap. You may also download the Blue Sheet, which outlines the major pathway.

What courses does the School of Cinema offer?

There are well over 100 courses available to undergraduates.  Go to the Cinema Course Bulletin for a complete list.

Which Cinema courses should I take in my first two years?

First-year freshmen should focus on GE requirements and complete at least 30 units before the third semester. Note that 100-level Cinema courses may count towards GE, but they do not apply to the major.

Declared Cinema majors with sophomore standing (30+ units) are eligible to take the 13-unit Cinema Core:

  • CINE 200: Intro to Cinema Studies (3 units)
  • CINE 202: Intro to Filmmaking (3 units)
  • CINE 204: Intro to Filmmaking Lab (1 unit)
  • CINE 211: Film History I (3 units)
  • CINE 212: Film History II (3 units)

These courses should be completed during the sophomore year and act as prerequisites for upper-division course work in the major.

Can I test out of the Core courses?

Not at this time. Students can earn equivalency for Core courses in two ways:

  • Pass course(s) with a C or better at another institution that has an articulation agreement on assist.org
  • Present syllabi for similar course(s) taken at another institution to a Cinema faculty advisor for review

What Cinema courses can I take if I haven’t finished the Core courses?

100-level Cinema courses are offered for lower-division GE course work, but please note that 100-level Cinema courses do not apply to the major.

Students with upper-division standing (juniors and seniors) are eligible to take upper-division GE courses in Cinema. Go to this link for more information. Upper-division GE Cinema courses also count towards the major.

What courses should I take once I have completed Core courses?

Once you have successfully completed the Core courses and have upper-division standing (60+ units), you are eligible to enroll in upper-division Cinema courses. Note the breakdown in upper-division course offerings:

  • 300-level: intermediate film studies/theory/history
  • 400-level: intermediate film production/screenwriting/animation
  • 500-level: advanced film studies/theory/history
  • 600-level: advanced film production/screenwriting/animation

The requirements for upper-division courses breakdown as follows:

  • Foundation (4 units): CINE 340 + CINE 341 – must be taken simultaneously
  • GWAR (3 units) – choose any CINE GWAR (Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement) course
  • Film Studies Requirement (9 units) – choose any combination of 300 and/or 500-level courses in addition to the above requirements
  • Electives (16 units) – choose any combination of upper-division Cinema courses in addition to the above requirement

Capstone Requirement: Students must complete at least three (3) units at the 500 or 600-level.  These units may contribute to the Film Studies and/or Electives requirements above.

Do I have to declare an emphasis?

The School of Cinema currently does not offer emphases. Students interested in a particular area of film studies or film production should consult with a faculty advisor about planning their elective units.

Do I have to take my GWAR course in Cinema?

Cinema majors are strongly encouraged to fulfill the University’s Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) requirement by taking a Cinema GWAR course. The intended purpose of GWAR is for students to develop skills at writing in their chosen field. However, students who have completed a GWAR course in a different discipline (with a grade of C or higher) are not required to take a Cinema GWAR course.

The School of Cinema offers the following GWAR courses:

  • CINE 302GW: Arab Cinema
  • CINE 303GW: Writing About Cinema
  • CINE 318GW: Art and Film
  • CINE 343GW: Perspectives on Documentary Film
  • CINE 350GW: The Art of Short Film

Can I transfer cinema units from other schools or departments?

Up to thirteen (13) units from community college work may be applied to courses in the Cinema major.  These are typically Core courses, but up to 6 of those units may be in screenwriting and/or filmmaking/video production electives.  Note that transfer units may not count towards Foundation or GWAR classes.

If the minimum residence requirement of 12 units in the major is satisfied, credit for upper-division courses in the major from another four-year university is allowable if syllabi are comparable. Consult with your faculty advisor for more information.

With advisor pre-approval, up to 12 upper division units from other departments at SF State University may count toward the major. These are typically courses in the creative arts, humanities, and/or with a focus on film or media. Consult with your faculty advisor for more information.

How do the "weekend" classes work?

CINE 325, 326, and 650 classes are one-unit, credit/no-credit (CR/NC) courses. These classes take place on specific dates, normally over a two-day period. Please check the individual class notes on the class schedule to determine which dates the course is offered.

CINE 325 and 326 are open to students with upper-division standing. CINE 650 is restricted to senior Cinema majors.

A maximum of four (4) units in any combination of CINE 325/326/650 may count towards the Cinema major, but each course must cover a unique and different topic.

How many credit/no credit units can I count toward the Cinema major?

A maximum of nine (9) CR/NC units in Cinema or cinema-related courses may count towards the major. (Note: Spring 2020 is an exception; CR/NC units completed this semester do not apply to the 9-unit limit).

How many independent study units can I count toward the Cinema major?

Up to twelve (12) units of independent study and internship courses may apply to the major. Students should consult with faculty who oversee these classes. See the class schedule for more information. Courses which apply to this 12-unit limit include:

  • CINE 376 (1 unit): School of Cinema Internship (up to 9 units)
  • CINE 690 (3 units): Independent Production Practice (up to 6 units)
  • CINE 692 (3 units): Internship (up to 6 units)
  • CINE 695 (3 units): Independent Critical Studies (up to 9 units)
  • CINE 699 (1-3 units): Independent Study (up to 6 units)

How can I find an internship?

Go to this link for more information. You will need to proactively seek an internship by responding to openings with companies or organizations. However, the CSU Entertainment Alliance assists students in the development of a career path in media, which includes connecting them with internship opportunities. Go to this link for more information.

Can I earn credit for work as a Teaching Assistant?

This is possible, yes. Consult directly with course instructors to see if they are in need of a teaching assistant (TA). You may earn credit (1-3 units) for this work by enrolling in CINE 685.

Can I take courses in other departments and count them towards the Cinema major?

Yes, up to twelve (12) upper-division, cinema-related units may count as electives to the major with the approval of a Cinema advisor. Typically, these are courses in the creative arts, humanities, or courses with a focus on film or media. Consult with your faculty advisor for more information.

Cinema Minor

How do I obtain a minor in Cinema?

The Cinema minor program is intended to give students the opportunity to pursue their interests in the study of cinema. A minimum of twenty (20) units is required, which must include CINE 200, CINE 211, and CINE 212 in addition to eleven (11) upper-division elective units.

Up to three (3) elective units from other departments (non-CINE courses) may be applied to the minor with faculty advisor-approval.

Note that Cinema majors are given priority in production courses (CINE 202, CINE 204, and all 400-level and 600-level courses). Minors wishing to enroll in production courses should contact the course instructor directly (note that prerequisites still apply).

University Policies

How do I file for an incomplete?

Discuss the matter with your professor. If you both agree that this is the appropriate action, your professor will issue a grade of Incomplete (I). Students have one year to complete the remaining work required to earn a grade for this course. Upon completion/approval of the work, students should submit the Petition for Grade Change/Makeup of Incomplete to the professor.

Note that a grade of Incomplete (I) automatically becomes an Incomplete Charged (IC) grade after one year. This grade factors into the Grade Point Average (GPA) as a zero (0).

How do I petition to change a grade?

Questions about grades should be directed to the course instructor.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, you may submit the Petition for Grade Change/Makeup of Incomplete.

How do I withdraw from a class?

The policies and procedures for withdrawing are explained at the withdrawal section on the Registrar’s site.

Can I add a class after the final deadline to add?

The final deadline to add a class typically ends three weeks into the semester.  To find the deadline for the current semester, go to the deadlines section on the Registrar’s site.

After the deadline, you must obtain permission from the course instructor. If the instructor agrees you may add the class late, submit the Petition for Waiver of College Regulations along with a copy of your unofficial transcripts.  Note that processing a late add normally takes 1-2 weeks.