University of Iowa

Cinematic Arts

The UI department of Cinematic Arts states as one of its primary aims the development of international perspectives on film and literature. While film possess an exciting ability to both reflect and shape their creative communities, studying film and literature from within the culture that produced them offers students the chance to expand and deepen their understanding of the media. When you live in another country, foreign films or literature are no longer “foreign,” and you will probably find that this new perspective fosters many new insights and increases your own appreciation of the genre.


San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Many foreign universities have cinema and literature departments that offer students the opportunity to take interesting courses while simultaneously providing invaluable life experiences and inspiration. For example, take a class on Film Modernism and the Avant Garde at Lancaster University in England.

If American history is your interest, why not take a course or two abroad about American history from a completely different perspective, or study one of the hundreds of cultures and histories that come together to form the United States? Studying historical places, periods, and people overseas can supplement your studies and understanding like no other experience can.

You can also fulfill Cinematic Arts elective requirements, take General Education Classes, explore general electives in subjects of interest, participate in an internship, or immerse yourself in language study.

First-year students: Your initial year at the University of Iowa might be best spent taking the Cinematic Arts foundation courses, beginning a language, or working on General Education Program requirements. Also, the transition from high school to college is a big one. Study abroad might be best left for a little later, as early as the summer between your first and second years.

Sophomores: This is an excellent time to complete General Education Program requirements overseas, begin or continue your language requirement, or begin individualizing the shape of your major.

Juniors: What applies to sophomores also applies to juniors.

Seniors: Senior year can be another great time for a study abroad experience. Consider taking courses not offered by the University of Iowa that will enrich your understanding of cinema. Consider taking advantage of an internship for credit while abroad; it is a wonderful way to help ease the transition into post-academic life.

General Education

Many study abroad locations will offer coursework that will count towards the General Education Program requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In addition to the language requirement, it is relatively common for students to complete the following Gen Eds abroad: Humanities, Social Sciences, Historical Perspectives, Foreign Civilization & Culture, and Fine Arts. Study Abroad approves GEP courses, so please discuss potential classes with an advisor.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requires that all majors acquire either fourth-semester competency or the departmental equivalent in a foreign language. If you need to complete your foreign language requirement, you could consider studying abroad to immerse yourself in a language and complete this requirement in as little as one semester.

Taking elective courses abroad is exciting because you have the chance to explore a topic you might never study in the U.S.


Swansea, Wales

Cinematic Arts Major Courses and Electives

The Cinematic Arts department offers two different BAs:

The BA in Cinema

In addition to meeting General Education requirements for the B.A. degree, cinema majors complete a minimum of 33 semester hours with the following distribution:

Common courses:

48:001 Introduction to Film Analysis 3 s.h.
48:025 Introduction to Critical Reading and Viewing 3 s.h.
48:034 Modes of Filmmaking 4 s.h.
48:095 Undergraduate Seminar 3 s.h.

One of the following three courses in theory 3 s.h.

48:030 Introduction to Film Theory
48:100 Introduction to Critical Theory
48:120 Issues in Film Theory

One film studies or film production course at the 100 level 3 s.h.

14 additional hours of CCL courses, including at least 9 hours of advanced
film studies or film and video production courses (above 48:050).


Audrey Scranton playing the drums in Durban, South Africa

Most of the common courses (48:001, 48:025, 48:095) would likely be best taken at the UI, though it is possible exceptions will be made. However, 48:034 Modes of Film and Video Production (LINK) must be taken at the UI. Students may earn credit for courses they complete on film production,. It may be feasible for students to complete Honors projects abroad, but this is to be determined on a case-by-case basis, so please meet with your Academic Advisor to discuss this possibility.

A maximum of 9 credits from outside the department - including work done previously if one is a transfer student - may count towards the major total. So if a student completes 15 s.h abroad, they should only count on having 9 s.h. maximum go towards a major. The credits are not automatically accepted for the major, and often require a syllabus and work completed in the course abroad (usually a final paper) to be submitted for faculty review after the semester abroad has been completed.

Exchange programs allow UI students to pay regular tuition and fees to the University of Iowa and pay for their living expenses overseas directly to their host university. This represents an excellent value for students who pay resident tuition at the UI. Non-residents will discover that many study abroad programs are comparably priced with the cost of attending classes in Iowa City. It is also important to note here that staying abroad longer does not necessarily mean that it will be a significantly greater expense.

While we suggest you look at these highlighted programs first, feel free to browse the programs section of the Study Abroad website and consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room.

Semester & Year-Long Programs

india winterim

Iowa Regents Semester in Ireland

This semester or academic year program offers students the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of courses in a variety of disciplines at the University College Cork, one of the oldest universities in Ireland. Students are fully integrated academically and socially with their Irish peers. The University College Cork was founded in 1845, and over 12,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students take courses in more than 60 different departments.

United Kingdom

The UK Exchanges

The UK Exchange Program is a reciprocal exchange program between the University of Iowa and the University of Lancaster and University of Strathclyde. The program allows UI undergraduates to undertake a year of study in England or Scotland while fully integrated with local students in student housing and regular classes. Direct enrollment at the host institution is particularly suited to students prepared to take upper-level coursework in both their major and/or a secondary field of interest.

Iowa Regents Semester in Scotland

This semester or academic year program offers undergraduates the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of courses in a variety of disciplines at the University of Edinburgh, one of the finest universities in the United Kingdom in one of Europe's most exciting cultural centers. Students are fully integrated academically and socially with their Scottish peers.


Edinburgh, Scotland

The University of Edinburgh is a venerable institution -- founded in the 1850s -- and has forged a special position in academia. Its national and international reputation is excellent, and it has a large, diverse, and multinational student body. It is Scotland's leading research university and is ranked 5th overall out of 115 U.K. institutions.

Iowa Regents Semester in Wales

The Regents Semester in Wales offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a semester at a British university. Students are integrated academically and socially with their British peers at the University of Wales-Swansea. The program begins with a three-week course on British life and politics, after which students enroll in regular courses offered by the university.