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Educational Programs

Cinema Studies


Program description

A certificate from MCTC’s Cinema Studies program provides you with a foundation in the aesthetics, history and critical theory of moving pictures, which can be a springboard for many different careers and options for further study. The program focuses on the study of narrative, documentary and experimental cinema and explores film from around the world and across time periods.

Program start and location

You may begin this program in the fall or spring semesters. Courses are taught on MCTC’s main campus.

Degree options and requirements

Please select the award below to view the degree options and requirements in the college catalog.

What you will learn

  • You will learn the features of and differences between narrative, documentary, and experimental cinema
  • You will learn how cinema varies around the world and across time periods.
  • You will develop skills to analyze film art and images.
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  • You will study film history and its social contexts.
  • You will gain insights into the major theoretical and critical approaches to the study of film, including concepts of genre, auteur, psychoanalysis and technology.
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Points of pride

  • MCTC’s Cinema programs are amongst the very few two-year degree programs offered in cinema production in the U.S. The MCTC Cinema Division is the only comprehensive cinema production institution of its kind in the upper Midwest.
  • MCTC’s cinema programs are some of the most affordable programs in the U.S. and cover almost all production costs for students. Since the Cinema Studies program is open to all MCTC students, not just those admitted to the Cinema Division, students do not pay the higher rates charged for most Cinema Division courses.
  • Thanks to a low student-to-teacher ratio, you will receive personal attention from qualified, passionate faculty members who are working professionals and hold MFA or Ph.D. degrees.
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  • A diverse student base adds to the creative experience. Students come from all over the world, have varied professional backgrounds and range in age from 18 to 65.
  • Local and nationally recognized industry experts from Hollywood and New York serve as guest speakers and work with students every semester.
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Where you could work

  • Universities and colleges
  • Museums and Art Centers
  • K-12 and high schools
  • Self employment

Potential job titles

  • Movie reviewer
  • Blog writer
  • Community education teacher
  • Freelancer

Occupational outlook

In 2005, the New York Times declared a degree in Cinema Studies “the new MBA,” as moving pictures are the professional language of the future. Indeed, foundation in cinema studies gives you critical thinking and analytical skills that prepare you for further study in any number of disciplines, including a continued education at a four-year institution.

Beyond-the-classroom opportunities

Strong relationships with the local film industry position MCTC students as sought-after candidates for internships and on-location work. These community collaborations also produce myriad programs, events and guest speakers, most of which are hosted on the MCTC campus. The Cinema Division partners with: Minnesota Film and TV Board, IFP Minnesota, Screenwriter’s Workshop of Minnesota, the Jerome Foundation and the Walker Art Center.


This program is part of the School of Design and the Arts.

Additional resources

2014 Cinema Excellence Awards

2014 Cinema Excellence Awards

The winners of the 2014 Cinema Excellence Awards.

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Dan Huiting

Dan Huiting

Feeling dissatisfied in his pursuit of becoming a professional musician, Dan Huiting enrolled in the cinematography program at MCTC after discovering a passion for film while producing a music video with friends. Now he is living his dream.

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MCTC's Cinema Program will help teach you to make movies with passionate instructors and some of the best facilities and equipment available. MCTC offers degrees and certificates in all areas of cinema.

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Cinematography and Screenwriting Alumni Make Short Film Together

Panhandler Screenshot

Kevin Horn and John Karsko have worked on ten projects together since graduating from MCTC. Their latest project is a short film titled "Panhandler." Based on true events in Horn's life, the film centers around a man he met while on vacation and how he inspired him.

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