Cinema Studies


Certificate in Arts
Bachelor of Arts
Graduate Diploma in Arts 
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts

Bachelor of Commerce (minor only)

The Undercroft


The cultural impact and influence of cinema has been enormous. Film pervades many aspects of our daily lives and a critical awareness of its tools and techniques is essential for understanding contemporary culture and society.

From its inception, cinema has been a truly global phenomenon. It was the most popular art form of the twentieth century and continues to play an important role in the development of digital media.

Cinema Studies classes encourage students to view films critically and to reflect upon their own role as spectators and consumers of cinematic images.

Why study Cinema Studies at UC?

Our courses reflect the global scope of film history by covering a wide range of films and directors from the era of silent film and the advent of sound (1896–1930s), the heyday of Hollywood and international art cinema (1939–1980s), the globalisation of film and contemporary world cinema (1990s to the present). There is certainly something for everyone and plenty of surprises along the way!

All students with a love of movies will find Cinema Studies an interesting academic subject. There are no entry requirements at 100 and 200-level, although previous classes in media studies at secondary school may be helpful. Courses in Cinema Studies complement study in other related Arts subjects.


See all Cinema Studies courses

100-level courses

Students have a choice of three 100-level courses in Cinema Studies. Cinema Studies as a major requires 30 points at 100-level.

200-level and beyond

Specialised classes in film history, criticism and theory are offered at 200 and 300-level. Topics studied in greater depth include:

  • Genre (science fiction, the musical, film noir, horror)
  • Documentary
  • Film movements and styles (the nouvelle vague and the New Waves of the 1960s)
  • Film theory
  • Screenwriting and adaptation
  • National cinemas

Lecturers from Chinese, Cultural Studies, English, Māori and Indigenous Studies, and European and European Union Studies also contribute to the programme.

Career opportunities

A Cinema Studies graduate is ideally suited for work in the creative and cultural sector, especially in the constantly evolving areas of film and multimedia. The film industry is not only limited to production but also encompasses screenwriting, exhibition, promotion, preservation, programming and education.

A critical knowledge of film culture is valued in festival programmers and organisers, curators, archivists, film historians, cultural planners, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The visual and critical literacy skills acquired by a Cinema Studies graduate are also useful in the related areas of television, interactive media (web design and video), advertising and journalism.

Film is now offered as an integral part of secondary school education and specialised teachers are in demand.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Cinema Studies

More information

School of Humanities and Creative Arts

Phone +64 3 369 3377

5th Floor, Karl Popper Building - see campus maps

Postal address
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Fern Macvey

Fern Macvey

'I want to contribute in some way to the industries that I support...'

Kairi Matsunaga

Kairi Matsunaga

'There are a variety of courses at UC, I believe that motivated me in many ways...'