Electron emissive thin films that possess the thermionic properties of macroscale dispenser cathodes have been fabricated using standard RF sputter deposition techniques. These films are based on a compositionally modulated structure using W and a Ba-containing ternary oxide. These films exhibit uniform work function values of 1.9 to 2.2 eV with high emission coefficients of 2 to 26 A·cm−2K−2. Electron microscopy shows that W layer coalescence and continued particle growth occurs with prolonged annealing, eventually disrupting the original surface layer. Chemical modification of the oxide during deposition may provide a route to limit the extent of W coalescence and preserve surface metallization layers on these films. These films are designed to be integrated into thermionic micro-devices.