Roll Call: Film, Media, New Media & Communications at Top 100 Liberal Arts Colleges

Fields such as film studies, media studies, new media studies and their production-focused counterparts are often associated with research universities. However, a growing number of liberal arts colleges now offer majors and/or minors in one or more of these areas, often through innovative interdisciplinary programs and/or departments.


NOTE:  Rankings are based on 2012 U.S. News & World Report National Liberal Arts College Rankings and reflect institutional rather than departmental rank — i.e., USN&WR ranked Amherst as the #2 liberal arts college, not the top #2 program in Film & Media Studies.


School Department / Program Major Minor Rank
Williams College 1
Amherst College Film and Media Studies M 2
Swarthmore College Film and Media Studies m 3
Pomona College* Intercollegiate Media Studies M m 4
Middlebury College* Film and Media Culture M m 5
Bowdoin College Film Studies m 6
Carleton College Cinema & Media Studies M 6
Wellesley College Cinema & Media Studies M m 6
Claremont McKenna Coll* Intercollegiate Media Studies M m 9
Haverford College Film Studies m 10
Davidson College Film & Media Studies m 11
Washington & Lee College 12
Wesleyan University Film Studies M 12
US Military Academy 14
US Naval Academy 14
Vassar College Film M 14
Hamilton College Cinema & New Media Studies m 17
Harvey Mudd College* Intercollegiate Media Studies M m 18
Grinnell College 19
Smith college Film Studies M m 19
Bates College 21
Colby College 21
Colgate University Film & Media Studies m 21
Oberlin College Cinema Studies M m 24
Bryn Mawr College Film Studies m 25
Macalester College Humanities & Media & Cultural Studies M m 25
Colorado College Film Studies m 27
University of Richmond Film Studies M m 27
Bucknell University Film & Media Studies M m 29
College of the Holy Cross 29
Mount Holyoke College Film Studies M m 29
Scripps College* Intercollegiate Media Studies M m 29
Barnard College Film Studies M 33
Kenyon College 33
Sewanee – U of the South Film Studies m 33
US Air Force Academy 33
Connecticut College Film Studies M m 37
Occidental College 37
Trinity College Film Studies M no 37
Lafayette College Film & Media Studies M m 40
Union College Digital Media
Film Studies

m
m
40
Centre College M m 42
Franklin & Marshall College Film & Media Studies M m 42
Furman University 42
Pitzer College* Intercollegiate Media Studies
M m 42
Whitman College Film & Media Studies M m 42
Dickinson College Film Studies m 47
Gettysburg College Film Studies m 47
Denison University Cinema M m 49
Skidmore College 49
Bard College Film & Electronic Arts M 51
Rhodes College Film Studies m 51
DePauw University Film Studies M m 53
St. Lawrence University Film & Representation Studies m 53
St. Olaf College Film Studies
Media Studies
m
m
53
Wabash College 53
Reed College 57
Wheaton College (IL) Communication M m 57
Willamette University Film Studies M m 57
Beloit College 60
Lawrence University Film Studies m 62
Spelman College Film & Visual Culture m 62
Wheaton College (MA) Film & New Media Studies M 62
Austin College Film Studies
Media Studies

M
m
m
64
Hobart & William Smith Coll Media & Society M m 64
Soka University of America 64
Wofford College 64
Agnes Scott College Film & Media Studies m 68
Earlham College Film Studies NO m 68
Kalamazoo College Media Studies NO m 68
Berea College 71
College of Wooster Communication
Film Studies
M

m
71
Illinois Western University 71
Knox College Film Studies m 71
Lewis & Clark College Rhetoric & Media Studies M m 71
Southwestern University Communication Studies M m 71
St. John’s University Television & Film M m 71
Thomas Acquinas College 71
Ursinus College Film Studies m 71
Virginia Military Institute 71
Gustavus Adolphus College Communication Studies M 81
Muhlenberg College Film Studies M 81
Transylvania University 81
University of Puget Sound Communication Studies M m 81
Millsaps College Communication Studies M m 85
Allegheny College Communication Arts M m 86
Augustana College 86
Hendrix College Film Studies m 86
Luther College Communication Studies M m 86
College of St. Benedict Communication M m 90
St. Mary’s Coll of Maryland Film & Media Studies M m 90
Westmont College Communication Studies M m 90
Cornell College 94
Hampden-Sydney College 94
Hope College Communication M m 94
New College of Florida 94
Drew University 99
Lake Forest College Cinema Studies
Communication

M
m
m
99
St. Michael’s College Media Studies & Digital Arts M m 99
Sweet Briar College Film Studies
Journalism, New Media & Comm
m
m
99
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2 thoughts on “Roll Call: Film, Media, New Media & Communications at Top 100 Liberal Arts Colleges”

  1. This is a great list, and full of interesting data. Thanks so much for putting it together. 🙂

    A few observations:

    • Almost a third of these schools don’t have a program of any kind in the categories you list
    • In all, there are 24 schools on the list with only a minor program (ie, no majors)
    • A quarter of them are Film Studies only, and of those, 13 are minor-only programs; an additional 13 are “Film and Media Studies,” all leading with Film (ie, there are no “Media and Film Studies” departments
    • Though Communication is listed 12 times (if you count Sweet Briar), none of them are in the top 50 half of the list (also, fyi, my school, Austin College, currently has Media Studies as a component of our Communication, Media, and Theatre program. Communication is a separate major and set of courses for us; I don’t know if its worth updating the table or not).
    • The terms “digital,” “electronic,” and “new media” are named a total of 7 times

    I find these facts telling in terms of where SLACs are at with regard to the presence of (academic) media and communication departments of all stripes on campus.

    Notably, though the majority do now have programs of some kind, the number with either no program or minor-only is still the majority (54, 29+24). Also, those schools that do have programs of some kind *heavily* favor Film: there are only 16 programs that do not have Film or Cinema in at least one program title (20 counting the Claremont Colleges shared “Intercollegiate Media Studies” five times), and as I indicated above, many of those that include Media in their titles privilege Film in the sequencing of the name (could be alphabetical I suppose, but given the conversations I’ve had with faculty over the years on this issue, I’m guessing that is coincidence).

    What I’d like to see next (and if I have the time I’ll do it and post another comment here) is how many faculty lines are (or appear to be) in the fields you are highlighting. I find that often faculty at SLACs determine a need for something like film studies, but instead of creating a new line to hire a specialist in that area, simply cobble together courses they already offer to create the new program. So the number of lines (for example, we at Austin College have one in Communication, two in Media Studies and none in Film Studies, even though we have all three programs) per school would be interesting, as would the average number for each cohort (schools with minors only, schools with film or cinema majors, schools with non-film majors).

    Now that you’ve given us this handy list, I’m much more likely to actually do it! 🙂

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