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COM, CAS to collaborate on major

Boston University students will soon have the opportunity to receive a degree related to film, television and new media studies in either the College of Communication or the College of Arts and Sciences, an announcement that some students said they are skeptical about.

“BU’s COM school is really good, so I feel like the fact that you can get a [film-related] degree from either is kind of ripping off the actual film and television students,” said Lyndsay Fong, a COM junior. “I worked really hard to get into COM, so the fact that someone can have their degree from either COM or CAS is kind of a rip-off to me.”

The BU COM film and television department is collaborating with CAS to create a new major that has yet to be named, said Paul Schneider, BU film and television department chair. The existing COM program will remain focused on film production, and the new major will focus on film, television and new media studies.

“The idea is to offer [an option to] students who might be specifically studying [film, television and new media] studies and … don’t have an interest in production or screenwriting or cinematography or those kinds of things,” Schneider said. “We’ll try to make some of those courses available to studies majors as electives if they want it.”

The joint project will allow students to be a part of the same major but receive a degree from either COM or CAS depending on which school they are already in, Schneider said.

“The idea is to join forces a little bit,” Schneider said. “What’s going to be kind of unique about it is you can be a CAS student and take the studies major and get your degree from CAS, and you can be a COM student and be the studies major and get your degree from COM.”

Schneider said there is no official timeline established for the integration of the major.

The idea for the new program originally came from both CAS and COM faculty, but the official decision to create the new major came from the Office of the Provost, he said.

“The genesis of this, partly is that we have our full-time studies faculty that is part of the department here, but there is also a number of faculty folks over at CAS in different departments who also teach film cinema classes,” Schneider said. “They are all studies-oriented over there.”

Nate Suri, a COM sophomore, said while he is personally more interested in writing and directing, he believes the new version has the potential to be very popular with students looking to study film, television or new media.

“It can definitely be a successful program because there are plenty of kids that do want to go to film school, but just want to learn about film and studies and things like that,” he said. “I’ve taken a couple CAS classes that have film as a topic and they have been very helpful to me.”

Suri said receiving a film degree from either COM or CAS will tailor and specialize the education, which is beneficial for students, depending on individual choice of career path.

“A lot of students would rather be seen as a film studies student from a film school [like COM],” Suri said. “Then again, if they are looking to teach in the future, some students may want to have a CAS degree.”

Wes Palmer, a COM freshman, said he is also more interested in production, but understands that it might be too narrowly focused to attract all students looking to pursue film.

“I’m interested in doing film studies to better my film production skills and to better the content, but I’m much more interested in the production side of things and the actual creation of it, rather than just studying it,” Palmer said. “I am sure that they will incorporate other kinds of media — really tapping into what is going on with the Internet and that kind of distribution to broaden the appeal.”

Brian Latimer contributed to the reporting of this article.

CORRECTION: The article originally reported the new major would focus exclusively on film studies. However, the major can include film, television and new media studies and is in no way film exclusive. The article has been updated to reflect the correction.

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