Students in B.A. programs Cinema and Screenwriting Arts enjoy rich opportunities for hands-on learning, professionalization and community involvement. Some highlights are listed below.


Unique Experiential Learning Courses

Experiential learning is an engaged learning process whereby students "learn by doing" and by reflecting on the experience.

CINE:2863: FILM FESTIVAL: In this spring course, up to 15 undergraduate students collaborate to organize and run an actual film festival. IC-Docs has become a prominent festival for documentary film in the US over the years and is run each spring almost entirely by students from this class under the guidance of the faculty instructor.

CINE:2627: FILM CLUB: This 1sh course picks up on a tradition of cine-clubs at Iowa. Students meet once a week for themed screenings and discussions led by a faculty member. Screenings are also open to members of the public.

CINE:3050: PRACTICUM: TEACHING ASSISTANT. This 1sh course allows undergraduates to learn key skills for teaching in cinema and media under the guidance of a faculty member in Cinematic Arts. Students often do some actual teaching in the classroom.

CINE:1560: STUDENT AMBASSADOR SEMINAR. Undergraduate ambassadors from the Cinema and Screenwriting BAs work closely with our Director of Undergraduate Studies and faculty advisors to represent our undergraduates not only to faculty in the department, but also to the wider university and outside world (e.g. in visiting days with prospective students and trips to local schools). In this way, ambassadors gain insight into the workings of the university and valuable professional experience as emissaries for their respective programs.



Our department regularly supervises internships organized by students to meet their individual needs. Students receive credit under the rubric CINE:1185. Internships are a valuable way to complement coursework in the major, not only through film production work (editing, etc.), but also related types of work. We’ve had students work on film projects, shadow movie theater managers, work for social media companies, and much more. If you are interested in pursuing an internship, please see the department’s detailed internship policy here.


Clubs and Student Organizations

Bijou Film Board: Film Societies have existed at UIowa at least since 1940, when the first University Film Society was founded under the auspices of the Iowa City Art Guild. Today, that role is filled by Bijou, the university’s premier student-run film society, which provides free screenings each semester and a great source of community for our undergraduate majors. Bijou also runs Open Screen, a bi-annual film festival open to students and non-students. Winning films, selected by a committee, are screened at Iowa City’s premiere arthouse cinema, FilmScene.

Student Video Productions: SVP provide students at the University of Iowa with the resources to produce creative projects and offers job opportunities. From pre-production to post-production, SVP members collaborate to form content ranging from short films, music videos, and promotional material. SVP is open to all creatives interested in filmmaking and screenwriting.

Vertical Cinema is run by MFA students and focuses on the exhibition of experimental and avant-garde works, often with guest artists.


Community Places

FilmScene: Iowa City’s premiere community cinema with two locations, FilmScene is also the home-away-from-home for many of our students and a frequent location for departmental events and screenings of various sorts. Many of our majors are also known to work there during their studies.

Public Space One: A key arts venue in Iowa City. Public Space One hosts artist events and offers workshops ranging in topics from digital filmmaking, and sound design to performance art and scoring.


Study Abroad

Cinematic Arts is itself a highly international department, with faculty coming from various parts of the world and specializations covering a range of global cinemas. Many of us were transformed by our own studies abroad, and we strongly encourage our students to take advantage of this opportunity where possible. We will also offer a new summer course in France, “Paris on Film,” in the coming years. You can find out more information from International Programs and start your search for a suitable international experience here.


University Resources

The University of Iowa provides general information concerning research, internships, studying abroad and experiential learning. For more information about these learning opportunities, please visit the following links:

Undergraduate Research
Study Abroad 
Experiential Learning
Engaged Learning