In the vast international arena of film and television production, creative opportunities abound for students who combine artistry and creativity with a solid education in film theory, criticism, and production techniques. A degree in Cinema can be the foundation for a future career as a filmmaker, location manager, editor, camera assistant, writer, producer, casting agent, researcher, or educator.

Why Iowa?

The department's production studio features equipment and cameras for students, plus 50 digital editing stations equipped with Final Cut Pro editing software. Intermediate and advanced classes are offered, and class sizes are typically small.

Cinema students also participate in workshops with nationally recognized documentary and feature filmmakers who visit campus. Visitors usually are on campus to screen and present work, conduct workshops, and meet with students for three to six days. However, some visitors teach production courses for an entire semester.

Recent guest educators include feature filmmaker Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World, Crumb) and documentarian Sarah Price (American Movie, Yes Men). The Headroom Screening Series also brings a number of experimental film artists to campus each year, most recently Deborah Stratman, Vanessa Renwick, Mary Helena Clark, Julie Perini, John Gianvito, and Kevin B. Lee.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.

Because the film and television industries include a wide array of jobs, the Cinema degree is not a direct track to a specific career, but it does provide a solid foundation for entry into these fields.

Iowa graduates have found work on sets in Hollywood and New York as location managers, editors, camera assistants, writers, producer’s assistants, location managers, and casting agents. Our graduates also have found work in San Francisco, Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle and countless other cities, with jobs in distribution, programming, documentary research, education, and related fields.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 study abroad programs and multiple undergraduate research opportunities.

Campus Resources for Cinema students range from equipment check-out options to the Student Video Productions student group, local film festivals, and the Bijou Cinema.

In addition, the university's Institute for Cinema and Culture sponsors major film retrospectives, pro-seminars, and national conferences on a broad spectrum of film matters. It also provides a bank of film information and film materials.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


The Cinema BA is a well-rounded degree that encompasses critical reading, viewing, and writing about media, the history and theory of film, and the development of technical and aesthetic proficiencies in film and video production. Students choose electives from film studies, production, and screenwriting to create a program of study that fits their interests and career goals.

The curriculum features interdisciplinary study of film, the production of creative work in film, video, and interactive multimedia, and courses about historical, critical, and theoretical issues in filmmaking. Cinema production classes focus on fiction, documentary, or experimental film and video, digital animation, and an introductory course on the modes of film production.

The program includes courses in film analysis, critical reading and viewing, modes of filmmaking, a criticism and theory course, and an advanced film studies or production course.

View Cinema in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the major or minor, course requirements for the cinema degree, and graduating with honors.