For Majors

Senior Theses

Film Studies Policy on Senior Theses:

Film Studies majors are not required to complete senior thesis projects to fulfill their major program of study. All majors are instead required to take a senior seminar on an advanced topic of study. However, large percentages of majors do opt for a senior thesis, which can take the form of a written history thesis, a screenplay, a 16mm film, a digital video, or a virtual filmmaking project. Senior theses provide majors with the opportunity to advance what they have learned in their previous coursework through an extended individual project. Film Studies maintains a rigorous approach to evaluating theses, but also provides close, one-on-one advising. Prizes exist for all forms of senior thesis work. A senior thesis is a privilege that we try to extend to all majors.

The Film Studies Department does not allow students to undertake a single film-related thesis that will be evaluated by faculty in both Film Studies and another department or that will be shared between departments in any way. Normally, students who double major should choose to embark on a thesis in Film Studies or on a separate, unrelated thesis in their other major. Since Film Studies does not require a senior thesis, and encourages double majors, we will in no way prevent a student from completing an entirely separate thesis in their other major. We contact majors in spring of their junior year for a detailed discussion regarding any aspect of their plans for a senior project.

Those students wishing to make a senior thesis film, video, or virtual project must complete their introductory production course (Sight and Sound or Introduction to Digital) during their junior year.

Guidelines for 16mm, Digital Video, and Virtual Theses:

  1. All projects must be 12 minutes in length. Write a 12-minute screenplay.
  2. Crew members must all be students enrolled at Wesleyan. You may not use students from other schools, alumni, or professionals to work on your film.
  3. Shooting must be done within a 50-mile radius of campus.
  4. All projects must be completed by the date of the Senior Thesis Deadline. If you do not meet the Senior Thesis Deadline, you may not show your project at year’s end, and it will be up to your individual instructor to decide whether or not you will receive credit.


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