Creative Media and Film, Bachelor of Science

Creative Media and Film

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

This degree presents opportunities for students to create production house and film projects, including screenplays, as well as engaging in the critical analysis of a variety of media.

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Documentary - Emphasis
  • Independent Filmmaking - Emphasis
  • Media Studies - Emphasis

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 54 units of major requirements including 24 units of emphases requirements.

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan
Emphasis Required

An emphasis is required for this major.

Purpose Statement

Creative Media & Film (CMF) teaches students to create and critique stories made with moving images and audio. Students will engage in a shared core that will teach them the fundamentals of production and criticism. This program blends analytical thinking, creative expression, and professional experience to develop students’ skills in all aspects of digital filmmaking and critique.
CMF’s foundation rests on the critical view that our students should be empowered to tell their own distinctive, idiosyncratic, and regional stories, rather than have those stories told for them. Our program focuses on narrative and storytelling theories, skills, and application. As moving image/audio storytellers, our students learn about and are trained within the domains of both cultural and aesthetic values.
The program begins with an exploration of the theoretical, social, historical, and industry standards within which all media are grounded.  Through this foundation, students develop strong aesthetic sensibilities, storytelling skills, and a deep appreciation of the impact of audience, culture, time and place upon stylistic choices made during the creative process. 
Intensive, hands-on experience drives student learning as they write, plan, produce, cast, budget, finance, shoot, edit, and promote their own work.  Specific attention is paid to developing critical skills to formulate original ideas, persuasively articulate these ideas, and then combine film tools with storytelling skills to transform their ideas into engaging media.  Developing students’ skills in visual storytelling, audio production, and effective editing is accomplished by creating a variety of professional-quality projects. 

The CMF major prepares students to work in the industry—whether at a production house, working their way up in the Hollywood system, start their own client-based business, or developing their own personal projects after they graduate. At the very least, students will develop creative and critical thinking skills, teamwork, communication, and problem solving—traits needed to be successful in nearly every career. Furthermore, this major provides a strong foundation for graduate school in filmmaking, digital storytelling, cinema studies, and media studies.
Documentary emphasis. This emphasis is for students interested in producing documentary projects and nonfiction stories with a variety of media, including audio, photography, and digital filmmaking.
Independent Filmmaking emphasis: This emphasis is for students who want to make fiction films from an independent filmmaking approach. Students will become versed in all aspects of production and postproduction.
Media Studies emphasis: This emphasis is for students who want to observe, think about, and write about media from a strong intellectual standpoint. Students not only learn about media criticism, but they also engage in some aspects of media production from a critical standpoint, including advocacy, cultural work, and professional applications.
Student Learning Outcomes

Core Student Learning Outcomes:

Students ­­will apply critical and professional standards to the creation and critique of creative media and film through:

  • Apply professional standards to the creation of stories through basic techniques of screenwriting and filmmaking;
  • Analyze, write, critique, and discuss the cultural, historical, and theoretical forces shaping regional, national, and international media, including works of creative media, client work, documentaries, and film; and
  • Develop and revise their work based on faculty and peer critiques and audience responses, culminating in final projects that may include fiction, documentary, or client-based films.

Learning area emphases
Graduating students will be able to:

Students ­­will apply critical and professional standards to the creation and critique of documentary by:
  • Refine their skills in shooting, sound recording, editing, and sound design in a variety of projects;
  • Research, plan, produce, budget, finance, shoot, edit, and promote documentary projects;
  • Apply skills of reporting—interviewing, gathering information, researching people and ideas for potential documentary stories;
  • Read, write, and discuss the traditions and history of a variety of documentary stories; and
  • Integrate other areas of knowledge, such as from anthropology, women and gender studies, history, and humanities, in order to help students research potential documentary story topics. 

Independent Filmmaking
Students ­­will apply critical and professional standards to the creation and critique of film by:
  • Refine their skills in shooting, sound recording, lighting, directing, editing, and sound design in a variety of projects;
  • Research, plan, produce, budget, finance, cast, and promote fiction film projects;
  • Create medium and long form fiction scripts; and
  • Examine a variety of foreign and independent film traditions that they can apply to their own film projects. 

Media Studies
Students ­­will apply critical and professional standards to analysis of film and media by:
  • Survey a variety of regional, national, and international media forms;
  • Acquire and apply media literacy skills while analyzing a variety of film and other media projects;
  • Examine the various forms of media creation, circulation, and consumption both locally and global;
  • Investigate media consumption through an increased understanding of regional, national, and global media practice;
  • Interpret their own production, circulation and consumption of media both as a reflection of their own culture and in conversation with media users in other cultures; and
  • Engage in meaningful and productive discussion, debate, and open intellectual exchange with others about regional, national, and global media practice.

Major Requirements
  • This major requires 54 units distributed as follows:

    • Creative Media and Film Common Courses: 30 units
    • Select one Emphasis: 24 units
      • Documentary Emphasis 
      • Media Studies Emphasis 
      • Independent Filmmaking Emphasis

    Take the following 54 units:

    Creative Media and Film Common Courses (30 units):

  • Emphasis Requirements (Select One):

  • A minor is not required for the Creative Media and Film degree.  However, we strongly encourage you to consult with your advisor or CMF faculty member about a minor that is appropriate for your career aspirations and educational needs.  Such minors could include anthropology, business, cinema studies, English, ethnic studies, political science, women’s and gender studies, sociology, or theatre.
    Note: CMF 408 Field Experience is highly recommended for all students but not required.

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • See the School of Communication page for information about the Communication Core, Advising and Student Responsibilities, and Graduation Requirements.
  • All majors must earn a Grade of "C" or better in their freshman composition required course, and their foundation mathematics course.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.