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First Year Focus

What are good classes for first-year Radio/Television/Film students?

Students entering Northwestern with a major in Radio/Television/Film enroll in RTVF 220, Analyzing Media Texts, in the fall of their first year. This course is an introduction to the study of the moving image and covers basic elements of style across media including film, television and interactive media.

In the winter or spring of the first year, students are required to take RTVF 190, Media Construction, which is a hands-on course that teaches students the technical fundamentals involved in shooting and editing video. It is a prerequisite for all upper-level production courses in the department.

Students majoring in Radio/Television/Film must also take another 200-level RTVF course. Selections include RTVF 260 Introduction to Screenwriting or an introduction to a specific media topic under the RTVF 298 course number. Comm St 275 Persuasive Images: Rhetoric of Popular Culture (typically taught in the winter) may be taken as a substitute for this requirement.

I am considering transferring into Radio/Television/Film: what should I do?

If you are interested in transferring into RTVF, it’s a good idea to begin by taking a class in the department. RTVF 190, 220, 260 and the freshman seminars are all good places to start.

If you are considering the RTVF major and would like to discuss it with an advisor, contact the Student Resource Center by calling 847-491-7214 and request an appointment with an RTVF interschool transfer advisor. If you decide you would like to transfer, you can visit the Registrar’s website to review the process for Interschool Transfers and, if appropriate, complete the online form. After you complete the form, it will be sent first to your current school for approval, and then to SoC. You will be contacted once we have received the form, and at that point you will make an appointment with an RTVF advisor to go through the details of the transfer.

The online interschool transfer form must be submitted and approved by an advisor by the Registrar’s Office deadline.

Does the Department offer any minors?

Yes, the Department offers minors in Film & Media Studies and Sound Design that are open to all Northwestern students. Students in the major may also minor in Sound Design. If you are interested in declaring a minor, call 847-491-7214 to make an appointment with a Minor Advisor.

Distribution Requirements

Distribution requirements are the liberal arts classes that all students in the School of Communication must complete to receive a bachelor’s degree.  There are three categories of distribution requirements: Math/Science/Technology; Individual and Social Behavior; and Humanities and Fine Arts. During your first year, explore courses of interest to you in WCAS and begin to meet your distribution requirements.

AP and IB Credit

No AP or IB credit may be applied to the RTVF major. AP and IB credits may be applied to the SoC distribution requirement with certain restrictions  (see SoC Table). If your credit is not yet posted, have your scores sent from the College Board to the Registrar’s Office for processing.

Once your AP/IB credit is posted to your transcript, it can be applied to your distribution requirements as follows:

  • One AP/IB credit in each of the three areas: Math/Science/Technology; Individual and Social Behavior; and Humanities and Fine Arts
  • An additional six AP/IB credits may apply as additional distribution classes
  • A final credit may count as an elective
  • The maximum total number of AP or IB credit that may apply is 10

Other questions?

You can review the requirements for the Major or either of the Minors in the Undergraduate Catalog. Additional academic questions may be directed to one of the Department’s academic advisors: Catherine Carrigan c-carrigan@northwestern.edu, Kalisha Cornett krcornett@northwestern.edu, or Freda Love Smith freda-love-smith@northwestern.edu . SoC students can make an appointment via advising.northwestern.edu. Non-SoC students can make an appointment by calling 847-491-7214.