Department of Film Production and Media Studies

With two distinct majors offered in the department, students may choose to focus on film production, with creative and production-related career paths, or media studies, with more research-based opportunities. Classes are small allowing students who choose either major to thrive as part of a collaborative community on campus.

Theory and Practice

Penn State College of Communications faculty member Richie Sherman assists students with a shot during a film production class

The Department of Film Production and Media Studies offers two distinct curricula for students focused in the separate majors offered by the department: 1) film production and 2) media studies. In both majors, course offerings encourage theoretical and applied approaches to cultural studies, research methods and, as appropriate, production in film, video and other digital media.

Classes in the department are generally small and hands-on. Faculty and students alike appreciate and thrive in the collaborative community on campus. 

Courses, Suggested Academic Plans

Film Production Major

Students in the film production major develop an understanding of all aspects of the film and video production process while exploring narrative, documentary and alternative forms.

Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, students gain hands-on experience as writers, producers, directors, cinematographers and editors. The program emphasizes personal expression and collaboration along with the technical and creative skills needed to succeed in a career in media production.

Faculty members in the film production major are working professionals who emphasize critical thinking and the development of ideas while offering students in-depth study of writing and production. Students graduate with a skill set that prepares them for a dynamic work environment in a highly competitive industry.

Film production is a controlled major. Please consult the Entrance to Major Requirements for information about entering the major.

Media Studies Major

Students study the role and impact of the media on society in this theory-based, research-driven major. Students explore the relationship between media and the public, analyze media messages and technologies, and examine their effects on individuals and cultures.

Potential Internships & Employers

Graduates of the film production major leave the program prepared to work as writers, producers, directors, cinematographers, sound designers and editors, and apply their education to mainstream entertainment, multi-media, public television, education, and corporate and commercial communications.

  • AMC Logo
  • Belisarius Productions Logo
  • Discovery Network Logo
  • HBO Logo
  • Lifetime Logo
  • Lionsgate Logo
  • MTV Logo
  • NFL Films Logo
  • Open Road Logo
  • Showtime Logo
  • Walt Disney Logo
  • Whiplash Digital Logo
  • WPSU Logo
  • Yes Network Logo

Development of analytic, creative and writing abilities allows graduates of the media studies major to pursue careers in media, government agencies and public interest groups, as well as private industries needing communications specialists. Graduates may also pursue advanced degrees.

Featured Alumni

Eric Blume, Freelance Director

Eric Blume

Freelance Director

1990 Film-Video

Andrew Kevin Walker, Screenwriter, Se7en, 8mm, Sleepy Hollow

Andrew Kevin Walker

Screenwriter, Se7en, 8mm, Sleepy Hollow

1986 Film-Video

Laila Brock, Vice President of Sponsorship Sales and Operations, JMI Sports

Laila Brock

Vice President of Sponsorship Sales and Operations, JMI Sports

2000 Media Studies

Addie Manis, VFX Producer, Skydance

Addie Manis

VFX Producer, Skydance

2004 Film-Video

Adam Yenser, Emmy Award winning writer, The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Adam Yenser

Emmy Award winning writer, The Ellen DeGeneres Show

2005 Film-Video

Greg Harriott, Award-Winning Cinematographer/Filmmaker

Greg Harriott

Award-Winning Cinematographer/Filmmaker

2009 Film-Video

Dave Williams, Marketing Producer, ABC Television

Dave Williams

Marketing Producer, ABC Television

1997 Film-Video

Nina Jack, Producer, Better Call Saul

Nina Jack

Producer, Better Call Saul

1994 Film-Video

Michael Fimognari, Cinematographer, Director of Photography

Michael Fimognari

Cinematographer, Director of Photography

1996 Film-Video

Kirk Petruccelli, Production Designer

Kirk Petruccelli

Production Designer

1986 Film-Video

Eric Leven, Visual Effects Supervisor, Tippett Studio

Eric Leven

Visual Effects Supervisor, Tippett Studio

1994 Film-Video