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Screen Studies

Available as a major or minor

Screen Studies is designed to allow you to pursue your interests in this diverse, rapidly growing field and translate it to other fields as varied as the arts, education and marketing.

Our program will equip you with a knowledge of the history of cinema and other visual media. In addition, you'll develop critical job skills in creating content through writing, acting, directing, editing and producing in a collaborative setting.

Curriculum & Courses

SCRN 210: Digital Media Production 
SCRN 256: Foundations in Film 
SCRN 319: Screenwriting 

Owen Collander standing in front of Grandin Theatre

Learn By Doing

Students stand behind a video camera and look at the screen on it.

One of the College's most popular screen studies courses, Foundations in Film, takes you through a critical study of selected films drawn from a variety of periods and national cinemas. The course focuses on the elements of film and how directors use these elements to achieve their effects and make their meanings. Through this course, you'll see how key works fit within the history of cinema, learning how the elements of film art have developed over time. 

Careers & Outcomes

Student looking in notebook with several people standing behind her

Kayleigh Murphy '17 loves movies. It stems from a time when her father was stationed in Afghanistan with the military, and Murphy and her mother bonded by watching movies.

An internship at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke led Murphy, a creative writing major with a screen studies concentration, to her big break — a job with AMC television series "Turn: Washington's Spies." Murphy met a producer who told her about the opening as assistant to the extras casting director for the series. She took it. Murphy said Roanoke College gave her a belief in herself as a female breaking into the film industry. She plans to follow her passion for film. "I love the energy of it," she said.

  • Omari Chancellor ’17, who began dabbling in filmmaking as a student at Roanoke College, recently starred in the Apple TV+ film “The Greatest Beer Run Ever.”  Read more.

Sean Burch '92 isn’t afraid of a challenge. In 2003, he became the first Virginian to summit Mount Everest. He has eight world records, setting one most recently in 2016 when he finished his 31st ascent of previously unclimbed Himalayan mountains.

“I'm just kind of like, ‘All right, well, if someone else out there can do it, why can't I?’ I think that should be the case with any person and with any goal they have,” Burch said.

That attitude has led Burch to a new endeavor — producing a trilogy of documentaries inspired by his experiences on Mount Everest. The first film, “The Icefall Doctor,” is out and being shown at various film festivals around the world. Read more.

documentary still



Emmy winner Joe Boucher has taken his expertise from the Hollywood Hills to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The producer of hit shows "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill" is now helping teach a new generation of creatives at Roanoke College. Learn more about Joe and his background in a piece from Virginia media outlet Cardinal News.

Joe Boucher with building column in background


There's no question that TV, film, video, video games and virtual reality dominate communications today and will play an even greater role as digital media evolves in the future. Screen Studies will equip you with a critical toolbox to understand, analyze and create screen media.

Our program is a collaborative, interdisciplinary track of study that draws on courses from literary studies, communication studies, creative writing, fine arts, history and psychology. It also emphasizes hands-on learning opportunities through on-campus programs and off-campus internships. Partnerships with the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke and with local television stations offer students practical experience beyond the classroom.  

We offer both a major and a minor in Screen Studies.