Best Master’s In Film Degrees

Whether you want to work in production or directing, animation or documentation, an advanced degree in film can help you bring your dreams into focus.

Best Master’s In Film Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

Be the director of your own career with one of the nation’s best Master’s in Film degrees.

Can you envision yourself working closely with actors, directing them intuitively through each take? Or perhaps you like to hang out behind the scenes, editing the narrative into a cohesive whole?

Whether you want to work in production or directing, animation or documentation, an advanced degree in film can help you bring your dreams into focus.

What kind of Master’s in Film degree should you get?

Each of the 20 programs on our list will provide a foundation in film theory. However, each program differs in it emphasis, structure, and requirements.

For example, some programs can be completed in under two years and others take a full three. Some programs are fine arts degrees, emphasizing creativity and placing you in workshops. Others are MAs, immersing you in theory coursework and research.

Here at College Choice we’ve done the work of laying out the details of each program. So you just need to be sure to find the best fit for you and your vision.

You should also consider online education. Not only is it a flexible way to earn your degree, it’s often one of the most affordable ways to advance your career. Check out College Choice’s Best Online Colleges and Universities.

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How much money do people make with a Master’s in Film degree?

Because there are many ways to utilize your Master’s in Film degree, there are many ways to get paid. But rest well, a job in the film industry is lucrative. For example, film and video editors make over $58,210 a year. And producers and directors make, on average, $71,620 a year.

But for those with experience and advanced education, like MA or MFA graduates, that number leaps up. Executive producers, for example, can make over $90,000 a year.

What can you do with a Master’s in Film degree?

A degree in film will open many creative and technical doors for you. Depending on the program, whether it’s creative or theory-based, you can end up working in an array of settings, from Hollywood studios to the college classroom.

You can choose to specialize in documentary film and journalism and go on to work with award-winning media outlets. Or you can earn a joint MBA and MFA (such as those offered by New York University and Chapman University) and go on to launch your own production studio.

From cameraman to the director’s chair, a Master’s in Film will help you get your foot in a competitive industry.

What are the requirements for a Master’s in Film degree?

As we’ve said, the 20 degrees below include everything from graduate certificates to an MA and MFA. The program cultures and emphases vary widely. However, there are a few key requirements that you can anticipate regardless of the program.

You will spend at least one full year taking coursework in film fundamentals. Whether you’re earning a creative or theory-based degree, these classes will provide you with the foundation you need. Such classes include:

  • World Film History
  • Directing
  • Storytelling and Narrative
  • Video and Film Editing
  • Film Theory

Then, in your second and third year you will have the opportunity to specialize in an area of your personal interest. Finally, many programs encourage you to participate in hands-on experience through workshops, film festivals, study abroad, and networking events. We’ve been sure to note those.

What are the best Master’s in Film degrees?

Some of these programs are creative and others theoretical. Some are offered through arts and design schools while others are offered through large research universities. But all 20 share one thing in common: they are the nation’s best Master’s in Film programs.

To find the top programs we looked exhaustively at every program across the country. We first examined academic reputation as well as student retention, since it’s a sign of student satisfaction. From there we looked at tuition rates as well as the placements and salaries of graduates to get an idea of the return on investment.

Our comprehensive research thus led us to the nation’s best Master’s in Film programs.

Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

The Top Master's Degrees in Film

See our rankings methodology page.

#1

University of California, Los Angeles

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 12%
Graduation Rate 92%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Learners can earn their master's in film from the University of California, Los Angeles, which offers 107 master's program options. The master's in film and television program builds advanced knowledge and skills, helping students increase their career opportunities. Working professionals benefit from the school's flexible enrollment options, which make it easier to schedule classes around other responsibilities.

The program uses a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes theoretical and practical approaches to film. Internships and hands-on learning opportunities encourage students to gain varied experience while building professional connections. Learners can specialize their film education by choosing electives and concentrations.

University of California, Los Angeles at a Glance:

Location: Los Angeles, California

School Type: Public

Admission Rate: 12%

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,442

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,544

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 61%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $18,613

Average Price After Aid: $15,718

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#2

University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Learners interested in film can enroll in a top-ranked master's program offered by the University of Southern California. Students advance their training and increase their career opportunities in the cinematic arts, film, and television MFA program. Candidates may be able to choose from campus and online enrollment options, adding flexibility for enrollees who need to work full time while in school.

Learners take theoretical and practical film classes to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the field. Internships and experiential learning opportunities build professional connections and provide real-world experience. Candidates may also be able to choose a concentration, building specialized skills in a specific area of film.

University of Southern California at a Glance:

Location: Los Angeles, California

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 11%

Graduate Tuition In State: $46,272

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $46,272

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 69%

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#3

University of California, Berkeley

School Information
Location Berkeley, California
Admission Rate 16%
Graduation Rate 93%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Learners interested in film can enroll in a top-ranked master's program offered by University of California, Berkeley. The art practice MFA program helps students advance their education and increase their career opportunities. Flexible enrollment options appeal to busy enrollees balancing school with work or other responsibilities.

The program uses a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes theoretical and practical approaches to digital media production. Internships and experiential learning opportunities build professional connections and provide real-world experience. A concentration also helps learners specialize their training and pursue focused careers after completing the master's degree.

University of California, Berkeley at a Glance:

Location: Berkeley, California

School Type: Public

Admission Rate: 16%

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,442

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,544

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 63%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $19,323

Average Price After Aid: $18,522

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#4

Columbia University

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 5%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master's in film program at Columbia University appeals to students seeking career advancement. Located in New York City, the private university offers a variety of enrollment options for degree-seekers, including online programs. During the master's in film and media studies program, learners take their film knowledge to the next level thanks to accessible graduate courses.

Master's candidates participate in campus life and benefit from the university's support services. Financial aid advisors connect students with resources to pay for graduate school, while academic advisors recommend course selections. Master's degree-seekers also take advantage of training and networking events.

Columbia University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 140

Total Online Master's Programs: 12

Admission Rate: 5%

Graduation Rate: 95%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $47,600

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $47,600

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $77,900

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#5

New York University

School Information
Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 16%
Graduation Rate 85%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master's in film program at New York University stands out for its academic rigor and flexibility. The graduate film program allows students to grow their earning potential and advance their careers. At the school, graduate programs offer flexible enrollment options, including schedules designed for working professionals.

The program's curriculum blends theoretical and practical approaches to encourage a comprehensive understanding of film. Students apply their training in internships and other hands-on learning opportunities, which strengthen career-ready skills. Concentrations and electives let learners individualize the program based on their interests and professional goals.

New York University at a Glance:

Location: New York, New York

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 16%

Graduate Tuition In State: $33,408

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $33,408

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 52%

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#6

Stanford University

School Information
Location Stanford, California
Admission Rate 4%
Graduation Rate 94%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Stanford University offers a film master's program that helps graduates advance their career. The private university offers programs on its Stanford campus and online options designed for degree-seekers who require additional flexibility. In the MFA in documentary film program, learners take graduate-level courses to strengthen their understanding of film.

College resources and support services provide guidance to master's candidates throughout their degree. Academic advisors help with course selections, while career counselors offer workshops, job fairs, and resume reviews. Master's degree-seekers also take advantage of tutoring centers, library services, and service learning opportunities.

Stanford University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 89

Total Online Master's Programs: 11

Admission Rate: 4%

Graduation Rate: 94%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 5-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $52,479

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $52,479

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $92,800

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#7

Loyola Marymount University

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 80%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Loyola Marymount University offers 37 master's programs, including a highly ranked film master's degree. The MFA in film and television production program serves students seeking advanced education and increased career opportunities. Candidates benefit from flexible learning options, which make it easier to work while enrolling in graduate school.

During the program, learners complete a challenging curriculum that builds comprehensive knowledge of film. Students complete internships and hands-on learning opportunities to complement their classroom knowledge and expand their professional networks. Candidates may also be able to choose a concentration, building specialized skills in a specific area of film.

Loyola Marymount University at a Glance:

Location: Los Angeles, California

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 44%

Graduate Tuition In State: $18,606

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,606

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 93%

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#8

Emerson College

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 33%
Graduation Rate 82%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Emerson College offers a top-ranked program in as one of its 15 master's degrees. The MFA in film and media art serves students seeking advanced education and increased career opportunities. Flexible enrollment options help candidates balance graduate courses with work or other obligations.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and practical knowledge to build a comprehensive understanding of film. Students prepare for the workforce with internships and other hands-on learning opportunities. Learners choose concentrations and electives to build specialized skills in a specific area of film and media art.

Emerson College at a Glance:

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 33%

Graduate Tuition In State: $30,624

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $30,624

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 80%

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#9

Boston University

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 19%
Graduation Rate 88%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Boston University offers a top-ranked program in film as one of its 170 master's degrees. The MFA in film and television studies strengthens subject-specific knowledge, allowing graduates to pursue advanced career opportunities. At the school, programs offer flexible enrollment options that appeal to busy enrollees balancing school with other responsibilities.

The master's curriculum builds comprehensive knowledge, highlighting theoretical and practical approaches to film. Students apply their classroom knowledge through internships and hands-on learning opportunities, which also build professional connections. Candidates may also be able to choose a concentration, building specialized skills in a specific area of film.

Boston University at a Glance:

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 19%

Graduate Tuition In State: $54,720

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $54,720

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 55%

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#10

Northwestern University

School Information
Location Evanston, Illinois
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 94%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students seeking increased professional responsibilities can earn their master's in film degree at Northwestern University. From its Evanston campus, the private university meets the needs of diverse degree-seekers by offering flexible enrollment options. During the MFA in documentary media program, learners complete a challenging, graduate-level curriculum that builds an advanced understanding of film.

College resources and support services help master's candidates participate fully in campus life and meet graduation requirements. Financial aid advisors recommend scholarships and grants, while academic advisors help with course selections. Master's degree-seekers also take advantage of tutoring centers, library services, and service learning opportunities.

Northwestern University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 147

Total Online Master's Programs: 4

Admission Rate: 9%

Graduation Rate: 94%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $56,067

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $56,067

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $71,900

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#11

Chapman University

School Information
Location Orange, California
Admission Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 81%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 0% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master's program in film at Chapman University offers an affordable, rigorous option for graduate learners. The MFA in film and television production program allows students to grow their earning potential and advance their careers. Flexible enrollment options appeal to busy enrollees balancing school with work or other responsibilities.

Learners gain a comprehensive understanding of film through a curriculum that highlights theoretical and practical approaches. Students strengthen their knowledge through internships and other hands-on learning opportunities, which also build valuable professional connections. Electives and concentrations allow learners to individualize the program around their professional goals.

Chapman University at a Glance:

Location: Orange, California

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 56%

Graduate Tuition In State: $34,957

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $34,957

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 87%

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#12

The University of Texas at Austin

School Information
Location Austin, Texas
Admission Rate 32%
Graduation Rate 86%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Texas at Austin offers a total of 113 master's degrees, including a top-ranked program in film and media production. The MFA program builds advanced knowledge and skills, helping students increase their career opportunities. Candidates benefit from flexible learning options, which make it easier to work while enrolling in graduate school.

The program uses a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes theoretical and practical approaches to film. Students strengthen their career-readiness through internships and hands-on learning opportunities. Faculty advisors help learners choose electives and concentrations to specialize their education.

The University of Texas at Austin at a Glance:

Location: Austin, Texas

School Type: Public

Admission Rate: 32%

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,998

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,966

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 67%

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $10,686

Average Price After Aid: $15,502

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#13

California Institute of the Arts

School Information
Location Valencia, California
Admission Rate 25%
Graduation Rate 61%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

The master's program in film at California Institute of the Arts offers an affordable, rigorous option for graduate learners. The MFA in film and video program helps students grow their career opportunities and increase their earning potential. Candidates benefit from flexible enrollment options, including schedules designed for full-time professionals.

Learners take theoretical and practical film classes to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the field. Internships and hands-on learning opportunities strengthen classroom skills and help students expand their professional networks. Learners select electives and concentrations to specialize their film education in a specific area.

California Institute of the Arts at a Glance:

Location: Valencia, California

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 25%

Graduate Tuition In State: $50,850

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $50,850

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 94%

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#14

Stony Brook University

School Information
Location Stony Brook, New York
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 76%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students interested in advancing their career can earn their master's in film at Stony Brook University. From its campus in Stony Brook, New York, the public institution offers several enrollment options, including online programs designed for working professionals. During the MFA in film program, learners build on their undergraduate knowledge to gain an advanced understanding of film.

Master's candidates access a generous selection of college resources and support services during their degree. Academic advisors recommend course selections, while financial aid counselors connect students with scholarship and grant opportunities. Master's degree-seekers also take advantage of training and networking events.

Stony Brook University at a Glance:

Total Master's Programs: 82

Total Online Master's Programs: 13

Admission Rate: 44%

Graduation Rate: 76%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,310

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $23,100

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $44,000

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#15

Savannah College of Art and Design

School Information
Location Savannah, Georgia
Admission Rate 96%
Graduation Rate 70%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The film master's programs at Savannah College of Art and Design, among 32 master's degrees, offer a rigorous education. Students advance their career opportunities and increase their earning potential with an MA or MFA in film and television. Graduate programs offer flexible enrollment options that make it easier for enrollees to fit classes into their schedule.

The master's curricula incorporate theoretical and practical knowledge to build a comprehensive understanding of film. Students prepare for the workforce with internships and other hands-on learning opportunities. Learners specialize their film education by choosing electives and concentrations.

Savannah College of Art and Design at a Glance:

Location: Savannah, Georgia

School Type: Private

Admission Rate: 96%

Graduate Tuition In State: $38,475

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $38,475

Percent of Students Awarded Aid: 98%

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