New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Bachelor of Arts


New York Film Academy Liberal Arts and Sciences New York Film Academy Liberal Arts and Sciences

Overview & Course Description

This section lists the Liberal Arts & Science courses offered for BA Media Studies students. BA students begin their undergraduate studies with Foundation Studies courses in conjunction with their major discipline, and continue their studies in courses in Arts & Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Natural Sciences and History of Art, Theatre & Media.

    Foundation Studies

    Foundation courses focus on the basic academic skills needed to succeed in college: writing, critical thinking and problem solving. These courses build a foundation for more specialized subjects requiring advanced written and oral communication skills. The skills mastered will prepare students for the advanced course work in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and form the basic foundation of a well-rounded artist.

  • English Composition This course encourages students to become skilled readers in a variety of literary contexts, and to become skilled writers who compose for a variety of styles and genres. Both writing and reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations and subjects, as well as the way genre conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing.
  • Physical and Mental Wellness The course covers a variety of physical and mental wellness topics such as diet, exercise, stress management, mental health, team building, alcohol and drug use, sexual health awareness and safety education. Students are also introduced to safe practices in physical exercise and stunt work used in the business of filmmaking.
  • Public Speaking This course is designed to organize critical thinking and improve speaking skills. Students will give several prepared and ex tempore speeches in class on a variety of topics. The skills developed here will serve in school, life and filmmaking, including the ability to "pitch" projects for development.
  • Introduction to Computing Lectures and hands-on assignments cover a wide variety of topics such as hardware organization, computer programming, the internet, limits of computing, the research process and graphics usage. Students are introduced to software used in the business of filmmaking, as well as those programs needed to succeed in their college careers.
  • Critical Thinking This course explores theories of knowledge as well as the process of thinking critically. The class guides students to approach thinking more insightfully and effectively. Substantive readings, structured writing assignments, and ongoing discussions help students develop language skills while fostering sophisticated analytical thinking abilities.
  • College Mathematics This course aims to provide a concise introduction to mathematics. The language of mathematics is formally discussed, starting from the concept and functions of numbers along with a solid development of algebra, geometry and some trigonometry. The fields of probability and statistics are also introduced.
  • Drawing This course covers the necessary tools, materials and techniques to communicate ideas visually. Lectures and assignments demonstrate the basics of how our brains interpret form via value changes. The rendering examples demonstrate the use of pencil, chalk and marker. Students practice practical applications of technique to render value changes, form and shadows to communicate lighting strategies. Further study leads to the visual development of a storyboard and how this tool aids the filmmaking process.

  • Arts & Humanities

    Through courses in the arts and humanities, students are introduced to great works of literature and their impact on culture and society. Course work guides students to become conversant with the terminology, techniques, attitudes, ideas and skills that these arts comprise in order to understand the dynamic relationship between author and reader; artist and society.

    The study of the Humanities is intended to develop skills to interpret and understand the human condition and humanist values. This interpretive understanding should evolve into the development of personal insights and a critical evaluation of the meaning of life, in its everyday details as well as in its historical and universal dimensions.

    Together, these fields are intended to provide the tools for students to utilize language in their films and add depth to projects illustrating the human condition.

  • Comparative Literature This course explores literary works within their historical context by examining issues such as politics, class, religion, patronage, audience, gender, function and ethnicity.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Dramatic Literature This course will introduce students to exciting and thematically rich classic dramatic texts (plays and films), as well as their contemporary stylistic counterparts or adaptations. This “classic first, contemporary next” method will help to first ground students in the basics of dramatic storytelling, and then to develop the dynamic analytical skills needed for insightful discussions, stimulating performance approaches, and innovative storytelling explorations.
  • Art, Culture & Society The class will explore the role of art and the artist in society, both in a historical context and in the world today. It will look at the impact artists’ works have - or do not have - in the cultures in which they live, and will explore the concept of artist as celebrity, ambassador and spokesperson. The course is primarily genre based; that is, it will focus on a distinct art-form each time it is offer (art, music, theatre, film), but will consider the impact of major artists across all genres. Visits to museums, concerts, films and theatres will form an integral part of the course.

    Prerequisite(s): Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature
  • World Religions An introduction to major religions of the world, this course will introduce students to the beliefs and practices of the world's living religious traditions as well as train students in the basic methods of the academic study of religion. The course discusses how it is possible to learn about - and learn from - a variety of religious traditions without being or becoming an adherent of any single tradition. The course includes both Western and non-Western religions.

    Prerequisites: Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature
  • Philosophy of Ethics An examination of ethical ideas from Plato and Aristotle to later Western philosophers. Central topics are the relationship between morality and the good, the nature of justice, the objectivity and meaning of moral claims and the possibility of relativism in ethical judgments. Readings are drawn both from classics and contemporary writing, showing how the study of ethics derives from sources such as law, religion and political thinking, as well as formal philosophy.

    Prerequisite(s): Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature; and Art, Culture & Society
  • Genre & Storytelling The course focuses on exploring different genres of film and theatre. Through screenings, lectures, and text analysis, students will begin to identify the models (and audience expectations) of various genres.

    Prerequisite(s): Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature; and Art, Culture & Society
  • Cultures & Encounters The course is a study of non-Western art, film, theatre and society with emphasis on Asia, Africa and Islamic art and cultures. Not all story-telling derives from Homer and Aristotle, nor is all art influenced by the Renaissance. A world-view that is truly global is crucial for today's emerging artists.

    Prerequisite(s): Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature; and Art, Culture & Society
  • Playwrights & Screenwriters Students study contemporary playwrights and screenwriters. Text analysis and plot structure are treated as fundamental tools of critical analysis. Students learn how to interpret given elements of writing, such as mood and subtext, to enhance performance, with emphasis on the similarities and differences on writing (and performing) for the stage and for the screen.

    Prerequisite(s): Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature; and Art, Culture & Society
  • American Cultural History Supplies the knowledge of U.S. history that is critical for understanding how America has come to prominence in today's global society. Objective is to make students aware of the nation's rich and complicated past, and how this background has shaped the diverse aspects of America's complex national character. Covers major developments in U.S. history and culture from European settlement to early 21st century.

    Prerequisite(s): Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature; and Art, Culture & Society
  • European Cultural History Explores the history of Europe through film. This course serves as an introduction to themes in European history from the Ancient Greeks and Romans through the Renaissance, nationalist movements of the 19th century, World Wars I & II to the student revolts of 1968. Through our discussions of Europe’s past, the course will consider broader questions of globalization, world citizenship and identity in modern life.

    Prerequisite(s): Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature; and Art, Culture & Society
  • Interactive Storytelling As technology and media platforms evolve, visual storytellers will constantly be reviewing, adjusting, and refining their ideas with a direct view to marketing them to the widest possible audience. Awareness of the modes and formats of story analysis, dramatic structure, and game design, will influence the narratives we make.

    Interactive Writing Workshop will support the students’ narrative development to design a professional interactive story. The class will also look at gaining representation and/or development funds from a publisher, to actually shipping and publishing.

    Prerequisite(s): Studies in Global Media
  • Studies in Global Media This course examines the concepts of “Globalization,” the “Global Village” and “Localization.” Students will analyze the cultural, political, socio-economic, and societal influences of the US Media on Global markets as well as how Global Media has begun to transform domestic markets. Students will examine the connections between media, communication, business and the Entertainment Industry around the Globe.

    Students will study the history and current state of Global Media to uncover trends and understand how the consumer and audience are now Global. Students will investigate how a Global Media has influenced local markets and consumers. Students will gain an understanding of how Global Media has led to social, economic, political, and activist change around the World. Students will discover what it means to be “Global Citizens.”

    Prerequisite(s): Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature; and Art, Culture & Society
  • Ethics of Video Games Ethics refers to standards of right and wrong in society. Students study and debate ethics in play experiences and how play is a way of learning about the real world. Poignant case studies are presented from games such as: September 12 (an anti-terrorism simulator), Grand Theft Auto (an amoral, open world), Populous (a god game), Bioshock (a game with a morality engine) and other games. Students learn about meta-game behavioral issues such as cheating, violence, and the four types of players found in online worlds – Explorers, Achievers, Socializers, and Killers.

    Prerequisite(s): Dramatic Literature or Comparative Literature; and Art, Culture & Society, plus Philosophy & Ethics

  • Social & Behavioral Sciences

    Social and Behavioral Science courses develop students' understanding of the diverse personal, interpersonal and societal forces that shape people's lives. They teach students how to approach these subjects through the concepts, principles and well-established methodologies of the social and behavioral sciences.

  • Psychology of Performance (Acting) Basic understanding of the workings of consciousness and the deep connection between thoughts, emotions and behavior will be examined. Students will explore the inner workings of their own psyche and what is required to effectively explore the craft of acting in an open-minded and productive manner. The course is designed to help students deepen the practice of their craft while maintaining a healthy balance between school and personal life. Interpersonal communication as well as the demands placed on the individual within the group dynamic will be explored.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Psychology of Performance (Film) An exploration of major concepts of psychology as they relate to acting, entertainment and performance. The course provides working knowledge of the current and historical developments in psychology (cognitive, developmental, experimental, personality, social and clinical) as students apply constructs to personal, creative, work, collaborative and conceptual challenges in the entertainment world. Students will write and create projects concerning these aspects of their craft and career.

    Prerequisite(s): English Composition and Critical Thinking
  • Contemporary Psychology This exploration of the basic concepts of psychology provides a general introduction to topics in various schools of cognitive, social and clinical psychology. Students will be challenged to apply their understanding to contemporary issues as well as to the own artist work.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Introduction to Economics An interdisciplinary introduction to economics as a normative aspect of modern society. Topics include: markets as a means of coordinating human behavior toward the achievement of specific social objectives, how and why markets may fail to achieve these objectives, the evolution of non-market institutions such as rules of law as responses to market failures, and theories of unemployment and inflation in their historical context.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • International Politics An introduction to international politics, applying various theories of state behavior to selected historical cases. Topics include the balance of power, the causes of war and peace, change in international systems, and the role of international law, institutions, and morality in the relations among nations.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • General Anthropology The course examines the main trends in contemporary anthropological theory, from physical anthropology to conceptual and ethnographic approaches. It will concentrate on several key theoretical approaches that anthropologists have used to understand the diversity of human culture, such as structuralism, Marxism, feminism, practice theory, critical ethnography, and postmodern perspectives.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Sociology An introduction to the systematic study of the social sources and social consequences of human behavior, with emphasis upon culture, social structure, socialization, institutions, group membership, and social conformity versus deviance.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Anthropology of Media Explores how media technologies and genres are produced, used and interpreted in different cultural contexts around the world. Emphasis is placed on the effect of different media on people’s social identities and communities, including families, nations and religions.

    Prerequisite(s): General Anthropology
  • Emerging Media & Society In this course, students will examine the ethical, social and far-reaching issues involved in Emerging Media and Society. Students will analyze and interpret the ways technology and information impact upon and are impacted by, culture, storytelling, consumers and audiences from various genders, ethnicities, and economic levels. What are the ethical ramifications of emerging technologies on consumers and audiences? Are media outlets aware of their influence? Are consumers and audiences?

    Prerequisite(s): International Politics, Introduction to Economics or Sociology

  • Natural Sciences

    The Natural Sciences reveal the order, diversity and beauty of nature, enabling students to develop a greater appreciation of the world around them. The Natural Science courses will require students to acquire factual information, to use scientific methodology, and to develop an appreciation of the natural world. Students should gain an understanding of how to reason and investigate critically, drawing conclusions from fact and not opinion.

  • Environmental Biology An interdisciplinary study of human interactions with the environment, examining the technical and social causes of environmental degradation at local and global scales, along with the potential for developing policies and philosophies that are the basis of a sustainable society. This course serves as an introduction to the natural sciences and the scientific method. The course will include an introduction to ecosystems, climatic and geochemical cycles, and the use of biotic and abiotic resources over time. The relationship of societies and the environment from prehistoric times to the present will also be discussed.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Geology This course introduces students to the basics of geology. Through a combination of lectures, labs, and field observations, we will address topics ranging from formation of the elements, mineral and rock identification, and geological mapping to plate tectonics, erosion and climate engineering.

    Prerequisite(s): Environmental Biology and successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Physics This course covers the fundamental principles of physics, including Newton’s laws of motion, the mechanics of motion, vectors, velocities, and elastic and inelastic collisions, among others. Students will incorporate examples from everyday life, such as car crashes, basketball, air travel, and sports in their work. The emphasis will be on developing a conceptual understanding of physical processes, as well as problem-solving skills.

    Prerequisite(s): Environmental Biology and successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology This introductory course provides an overview of the basic anatomy and physiology of the body's major systems. It is designed to strengthen or develop a vocabulary in human anatomy and physiology, and an understanding of how the body works.

    Prerequisite(s): Environmental Biology and successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Astronomy The fundamentals of planetary, stellar, galactic and extragalactic astronomy will be covered. Designed for the non-specialist, the course provides a basic understanding of the nature of astronomy and its relation to physics. In addition to focusing on selected topics within our solar system, the course will engage students in more philosophical debates within astronomy including the origin of the universe and the search for extraterrestrial life.

    Prerequisite(s): Environmental Biology and successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Principles of Geography This course is a systematic study of the various elements that make up the Earth's physical environment, weather, climate, vegetation and land forms. In this course students will learn to: Interpret maps and analyze geospatial data; understand and explain the implications of associations and networks among phenomena in places; recognize and interpret the relationships among patterns and processes at different scales of analysis; define regions and evaluate the regionalization process; characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places.

    Prerequisite(s): Environmental Biology and successful completion of all Foundation Courses

  • History of Art, Theatre and Media

    Artists need to know the history and traditions of the forms and fields in which they work. Actors, directors, writers need to broadly know the history of film, theatre and other arts in order to enrich their own creativity and build on the work of great masters. The courses in the History of Art, Theatre and Media inspire and challenge students by exposing them to masterpieces of the past, creative trends of the present and innovative ideas for the future. Students gain an understanding of how their own works fit into the traditions of film and theatre, as well as an awareness of how to move that tradition forward through their own, personal, work.

  • Film Art Film Art is an introduction to the art of film and its evolution as a medium of expression. It will cover the diverse possibilities presented by the cinematic art form, including narrative, editing, cinematography, mise-en-scene and sound. The aim of this course is to familiarize the students with a wide variety of films, classic and contemporary, American and international, mainstream and experimental.
  • Critical Film Studies I This seminar teaches students to identify the techniques used by cinematic innovators in the history of filmmaking. The course explores ways that the crafts of directing, cinematography, acting and editing developed the cinematic art. Students are encouraged to view their own creative work in the context of the history of filmmaking.

    Prerequisite(s): Film Art
  • History & Aesthetics of Photography I Students study, analyze and critique the work of master photographers from the birth of photography in the 19th century right up until 1960.

    In class, students will investigate the ways in which seminal photographers of this era held a mirror up to society, allowing us to see the technological, artistic, social and cultural currents of life through the lens. Examining master photographers’ techniques, aesthetics and approaches segues into students’ individual shooting and research projects.

  • History & Aesthetics of Photography II This course continues the history of photography from 1960 onwards, investigating cultural, historical and ideological aspects of this era’s most enduring and penetrating images. During class, students will trace the development of analog and digital photography throughout the rise and dominance of the electronic media. Discussions will focus on how these media permeate every aspect of mainstream consciousness and in turn, influence the way contemporary society reads images.

    Prerequisite(s): History & Aesthetics of Photography I
  • Critical Film Studies II This seminar continues the examination of narrative filmmaking. Style, structure and the narrative form itself are discussed through the study of filmmakers from the international arena, as well as examples from the world of documentary and new media. This course challenges students to identify techniques and a conceptual framework to apply to their own body of work.

    Prerequisite(s): Critical Film Studies I
  • Art History The course emphasizes the language of visual culture with a particular focus on the symbols, strategies and messages employed in major works of visual art. Incorporating the methods of art analysis, the course also introduces students to other forms of visual culture (architecture, advertising, fashion, gaming, and moving image media like television), while comparing and contrasting these within a philosophical and historical setting.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • History of Theatre A concise study of the history of theater from the Greek and Roman theater to the present. Each era of history will be examined through formal study, plays, theatre architecture and historical documents, as well as film versions of stage plays. Plays will be drawn from Western and non-Western sources. Students will be required to attend live theater performances to fulfill writing assignments.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • History of Photography This course is an introduction to major conceptual trends and ideas in the history of photography, from its invention to the present day. Technological, artistic, social, cultural and journalistic currents of the medium will be covered in depth.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • History of Graphic Design This course surveys the pivotal events and achievements that led to the current state of graphic communication. Through lectures, videotapes, discussions, presentations and research, students are introduced to the creative thinkers, important innovations and breakthrough technologies that have shaped the evolution of visual communication.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • History of Documentary This course will introduce students to the history and theory of documentary cinema. The course will review and analyze the evolution of the documentary film genre and the varieties of approaches adopted by non-fiction filmmakers. Study will include various modes of documentary form: expository, observational, interactive, reflective, and assorted hybrid modes. The course will also explore a number of other important areas in documentary filmmaking, including ethical and legal questions as well as the importance of thorough research.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • History of Animation This course focuses on the history and aesthetics of animation, with references to related arts such as live-action cinema, puppetry and comics. Screenings include a wide range of commercial and experimental works produced throughout the world. Students create small projects and written works pertaining to course topics.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • History of Sequential Art Highlighting significant works of sequential art including their historical roots and major influences, students in this survey analyze trends, styles, techniques, subject matter and works of important artists across the sequential art spectrum.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • History of Video Games Although the medium of video games is only forty years old, it already has a rich history that influences the industry today. An understanding of the history of video games is essential to the future game designer, not only because it serves as a common foundation for those who work in the industry, but only by understanding the mistakes and successes of the past will future game developers create the great games of tomorrow.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • Topics in Modern & Contemporary Art History Covers in-depth study of selected directors, genres or themes. Varies from semester to semester. This course will focus primarily on film movements of the 20th Century to the present, with an emphasis on the study of individual directors, genres or themes. Films will be analyzed by studying the formal elements of cinema (mis-en-scene etc) as well as aesthetic, cultural and historical/national contexts.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
  • History of Design This course narrates the history of design, from its roots at the beginning of the 19th century through the modern times. It will explain the social, economical and political settings of each era, through the descriptions of the major design works of the past two centuries, analyzing every kind of design: architecture, interior, product, mobility, fashion and graphic design.

    Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of preceding Foundation Studies courses
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