Skip to main content


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 courses that satisfy the media history and theory requirement for the major are all good places to start. Students intending to interschool transfer must meet with a departmental advisor. Please visit the Registrar’s website for more information about how to set up an appointment and begin the process. The online interschool transfer form must be submitted and approved by the end of week four.

Does the Department offer any minors?

Yes, the Department offers two minors: Film & Media Studies (which does not give priority registration for Production/Writing courses- these courses do not count toward the minor) and Sound Design. These minors are open to students outside of Radio/Television/Film. RTVF majors 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.

How can I learn about student groups?

RTVF students participate in several student organizations. You can learn more about some of them here. Students interested in learning more about the student film community can sign up for the Undergraduate RTVF Student Association listserv by following these instructions: log in to the email account you want to use to subscribe, compose the following email:


Subject: <leave blank>

Body: SUBSCRIBE RTVF FirstName LastName

Note: Do not include a signature in the email body. The signature will stop your subscription from going through.

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 outside SoC and begin to make progress toward 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 requirements with certain restrictions (See SoC Policy)

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, or Kalisha Cornett SoC students can make an appointment via Non-SoC students can make an appointment by calling 847-491-7214.