Creative Media and Film, Bachelor of Science
- Available Emphasis Areas:
- Documentary - Emphasis
- Independent Filmmaking - Emphasis
- Media Studies - Emphasis
At the heart of the BS in Creative Media and Filmmaking (CMF) is storytelling. Whether through scriptwriting or production, you will examine and apply the traditions of cinema to tell your own visual and audio stories with documentary projects, fiction narrative shorts, and client-based commercial and promotional work. Through the production classes, you'll also be provided the skills and foundation to enter a variety of media industries or to start your own production house business.
In the CMF major you'll develop a critical understanding of the social, cultural, and political functions of media production, developing a strong foundation to either pursue a career in media or to go on to graduate school to earn a master's or Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking, documentary, or cinema, media, or cultural studies.
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.
Requirements Accordion Open
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 liberal studies, diversity, 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.
Overview Accordion Closed
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
Please note that 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|
|University Honors Program||Optional|
|AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A||Recommended|
|Progression Plan Link||View Progression Plan|
An emphasis is required for this major.
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.
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.
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.
Details Accordion Closed
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):
Media Studies Emphasis (24 units):
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.
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 academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)
- 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 take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
CMF student work sizzle reelThe following sizzle reel highlights some of the great storytelling and production value created in the Creative Media & Film program. These films were either produced in UTV Studios, an independent film production studio where NAU students make short films in teams, or as a co-production with UTV and CMF capstone 470C.
Award winning student filmmakersOur students place in a variety of film festivals and win awards. Here are a several from 2019 and 2020:
- June Heist (Angela Houston)
- Independent Shorts Awards: Silver Best Acting Duo – 2019
- Independent Shorts Awards: Gold Best Student Short Film – 2019
- Independent Shorts Awards: Platinum Best Student Director (Female) – 2019
- The Believer (Huntr McMillan)
- Independent Shorts Awards: Silver Best Student Director (Male) 2020
- Independent Shorts Awards: Gold Best Crime Short 2020
- Skin Deep (Ember Crowley)
- Independent Shorts Awards, Los Angeles: AWARD WINNER for Best Student Director, Female and Best Thriller Short (IMDb qualifier)
- Calcutta International Cult Film Festival: Best Student film
- Winner, Rocky Mountain Student production Enmys Best director, The Believer (Huntr McMillan).
- AstroNuts (Emily Litvack)
- Rocky Mountain Emmys, Best Student Documentary
- El Dorado: The Search for the Golden Toad (Trevor Ritland, MA Communcation with an emphasis in Documentary Studies)
- Official selection of the Conservation Optimism Film Festival in Oxford, UK.
- First Place in the Monteverde Storytelling Competition from the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica.
- Watch the full film