Best Film Degrees

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

You don’t have to live in Hollywood to become a film writer, producer, or director.

In fact, some of the best film programs in the country are hidden in states like Montana and Michigan! If you’re a creative film buff looking to get in on the action, there are tons of programs for both graduate and undergraduate students. You’ll learn everything from lighting and stage directions to writing for television, film, and more. The below programs have everything you need to succeed in this competitive industry.

mini icon
Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.

Top 10 Best Film Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
2 Boston University Boston, MA
3 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
4 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
5 Chapman University Orange, CA
6 New York University New York, NY
7 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
8 University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
9 Wesleyan University Middletown, CT
10 California Institute of the Arts Santa Clarita, CA

What kind of film degree should you get?

If your dream is to work in the entertainment industry, a film degree may be your best bet. But what type of film degree is best for you? If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to look into a comprehensive bachelor’s program that will teach you all of the ins-and-outs. However, if you have some hands-on experience and are looking for an advanced degree, there are plenty of graduate programs that offer more in-depth courses and experiences for students.

If you wish to specialize in a certain area of film, like directing, editing, or screenwriting, you’ll want to look for a degree that offers that focus area. If you’d like to complete a thesis project or capstone, you’ll also want to ensure the program in which you enroll offers that!

How much money do people make with a film degree?

The amount of money you can earn with a film degree depends on what exactly you decide to do with your degree. For example, video editors and camera operators can earn an average of over $58,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while a producer or director can earn more than $71,500 a year.

Of course, your earnings will depend on your success in the field. If you’re incredibly talented in storytelling, you may very well join the ranks of top-earners like Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard. The good news is that job opportunities in the film industry are on the rise – in fact, jobs are set to increase by more than 10% over the next decade.

What can you do with a degree in film?

From working in television and film to theater and more, there are plenty of opportunities for those who hold a degree in film. Interested in screenwriting? Great! Prefer to work in lighting and audio mixing? Excellent! Working in film doesn’t mean you have to work in New York City or Los Angeles – there are plenty of media hubs scattered throughout the country and around the world that are looking for talented folks in film.

What are the requirements for a degree in film?

The requirements for a degree in film will vary based on the program you’re applying to. If you’re applying to a bachelor’s program, you may not need any experience or a portfolio to be considered for admission.

However, if you’re applying for an advanced degree, you should be prepared to submit some type of visual or written portfolio. Admitted students must usually complete a capstone or thesis project of some sort. Many programs also require students to hold a minimum GPA to be eligible for graduation.

What are the best film degrees?

Below, you will find the best schools out there that offer film degrees. These schools are not only well-known for their film programs but have also been ranked according to instructional excellence, student success, and overall student satisfaction. From California and New York to Boston and Savannah, here are the 25 Best Film Degrees!

Ranking Methodology

We’ve found that the best degrees are those that offer not only fair prices but ample flexibility and convenience as well! To find the best degrees for you, we look at the best schools in the country based on reputation, student satisfaction, program quality, and return on investment. Then we review the bottom line – just how much is this going to cost? Check out our methodology page for a more in-depth description of our data.

Once we determine all of the above, we curate a list of stellar schools for you! These not only represent the best degrees you can get but also ones that will fit your budget. Check out our picks below!

  1. Loyola Marymount University
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Loyola Marymount University (LMU) is a top-notch Jesuit school that offers a media training as part of its educational offerings. Its LMU School of Film and Television (SFTV) has been ranked within the top 10 and is close to many major Hollywood studios, providing students will access to film and TV jobs. The school is located right in Los Angeles, Calif., and is staffed with 40 instructors on the subject. Students that enroll in SFTV are exposed to array film and television courses as well as hands-on experience with 790 film productions being produced by students from 2014 to 2015.

    Program Features

    The Bachelor of film and television production program at Loyola Marymount University’s SFTV is comprised of 18 units of online or in-class work. During these classes, students will be able to complement their production, recording arts, screenwriting or animation studies. The Bachelors in Film program at Loyola Marymount University divulges deep into the history of film and TV with notable courses such as:

    • Art of the Cinema
    • Art of Television
    • Survey of American
    • International Film
    • Film Authors
    Notables

    Graduates of SFTV are in high-demand, according to the college, with many students having careers in a multitude of film and TV production that ranges from art direction to 3D animation. Students that take the film program will be intimately involved in every aspect of film including features, short films, documentaries and global film. This is designed to expose students to other cultures as well as the national histories and beliefs of others through film. The average student GPA within in the film school is 3.7.

  2. Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The Boston University College of Communication Film and Television program is a progressive learning environment that is set within the prestigious school’s two campuses. Located in Boston, this university has a history that dates back to 1839 and is well established in the film industry with notable instructors including documentary filmmaker Sam Kauffmann and award-winning producer-writer-director Garland Waller and Mary Jane Doherty.

    Program Features

    The Bachelors of Film and Television at Boston University is comprised of 128 credits and 32 four-credit courses. Here, you’ll learn the art of storytelling along with writing, image creation, and managing and producing films and television productions. The history of film and television is also explored, giving students the skills they need to excel in a career in film or television. Some of the courses include:

    • Storytelling for Film and Television
    • American Masterworks
    • Television Drama
    • The Holocaust
    • Film Industry
    Notables

    Boston University’s involvement in the film and television world runs deep as it offers a student content distribution network with butv10 and is intimately involved in the Redstone’s film festival in New England. It also has its own production house with Hothouse Productions, where it encourages student ideas and growth. The classes for the Film & Television program are designed to be small, giving each student the opportunity to work personally with the faculty that is made up of internationally acclaimed writers, filmmakers, and media professionals.

  3. Ithaca College
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Ithaca College was established in 1892 and is stationed in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Here, students are able to thrive in a campus setting that is both close to Manhattan and Toronto, both bustling districts for the film industry. The school hosts a variety of classes for film majors that are designed to enhance their ability to ability to work in an array of mediums. The Bachelors of Film, Photography, and Visual Arts falls under the Roy H. Park School of Communications and is accompanied by a diverse range of instructors in the photography, cinema, film, writing, and production fields.

    Program Features

    The Bachelors of Film, Photography, and Visual Arts falls under Ithaca College’s bachelor of fine arts program. IT encompasses 120 credit hours focusing on the film, photography and visual arts studies. Under this program, students will learn an array of mediums to prepare them for today’s film requirements. There is also the opportunity to travel around the world with the school’s program to learn hands-on from acclaimed film professionals including courses in Los Angles to as far away as Italy. Some of the courses students can expect to take are:  

    • Writing for Screen Media
    • Thesis Cinema Production
    • Hollywood and American Film
    • Fiction Film Theory
    • History of Photography
    Notables

    At Ithaca College, students will be introduced to the art of photography and film production first as part of their Bachelors of Film, Photography, and Visual Arts degree. Here, students will learn to record, develop, and edit video. The Bachelor’s program is designed to help students learn to juggle an array of projects while also learning to meet tight deadlines while learning to manage their creative energies. The school prepares students with a broad array of skills related to the film industry to ensure they have the ability to work in the environment that is constantly changing.

  4. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Southern California (USC) is top private research school that extends across 15 acres of learning and living with approximately 2500 students in attendance each semester. The school offers film studies through its USC School of Cinematic Arts. This part of the school was founded in 1929 and provides a global understanding of film and media throughout time. USC, overall, has been ranked as a top school in several reports and employs a faculty of 4000. It is located in Los Angeles.

    Program Features

    For students looking to obtain a degree in film degrees at USC, the school offers both a Bachelors of Art and a Bachelors of Fine Arts. The Bachelors of Arts track provides the necessary skills a student would need for the art of filmmaking while the Bachelors of Fine Arts offers more extensive studies and more technical training. The program at USC incorporates 128 units, where students are able to select from a number of different electives. Typical courses include:

    • Directing in Documentary
    • Fiction and New Media
    • Cinematic Arts Laboratory
    • The Production and Post-Production Assistant
    • Introduction to Film Graphic – Animation
    Notables

    As part of the film program, USC offers the First Look film festival which is open to friends, family and of course, the Hollywood community. Here, students present their films to the public and a reception complete with awards is provided. The school also offers students the ability to acquire thorough knowledge and appreciation of film, television and new media as well as allowing them to express themselves creatively video, film or new media. The school also offers a graduate degree program with a Masters of Fine Arts in six areas of studies including producing, directing, cinematography, editing, production design, and sound.

  5. Chapman University
    Location

    Orange, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Chapman University is situated in Orange, Calif., where it educates students on a variety of subjects. It was initially founded as Hesperian College in 1861 in Woodland, Calif., but has moved to a university system that also encompasses a Semester at Sea program. It has been named as a top college in the Western region by U.S. News and World Report, ranking sixth. Its Bachelors in Film Studies is just one film and television related undergraduate majors it offers.

    Program Features

    With the Bachelors in Film Studies, students are exposed to the study of film both in a historical sense as well as in a critical review approach. The coursework is made up of a variety of genres of films in addition to learning about filmmakers, international films and filmmaking practices. To obtain a Bachelors in Film Studies, students must complete 36 credits with some classes including:

    • Introduction to Visual Storytelling
    • Introduction to Film Aesthetics
    • Film Analysis
    • History of Film to 1959
    • History of Film 1960–Present

    Notables

    At Chapman University, the Film Studies program is designed to educate students and give them the skills to enter the film industry as a critic, reviewer or archivist. The Bachelors in Film Studies also helps prepare students to continue on to graduate school at Chapman University with a Masters in Film Studies, Film Production or other film or media discipline. The film studies academic are part of the school’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, where students can also obtain an Integrated Undergraduate Master of Arts in Film Studies degree. This provides students with a Masters of Arts in Film Studies. The program encompasses five years instead of the standard six that most colleges offer.

  6. New York University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Set right in New York City, New York University has the advantage of being close to a bustling hub of businesses both in and out of the film industry. The school which was founded in 1900 has a long heritage as a top school with 2629 students in attendance each semester. It offers a truly global experience to students allowing them to take advantage of the partnership it has secured with worldwide universities for overseas education. More than 50 percent of its students take advantage of the offering for at least a semester. The school’s film program is also part of a partnership with Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at the Tisch School of the Arts that provides students with a comprehensive education during the best resources at each school.

    Program Features

    With a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Film & Television at NYU, students are giving the skills they need to be hired by studios, production companies, and television networks. The Bachelors of Fine Arts in Film & Television also provides for a student to obtain a Bachelors of Business at the same time. For the coursework in the film program, students are introduced to range of classes from animation, and cinematography to screenwriting and directing. Some of the most notable classes are:

    • Frame and Sequence
    • Sound Image
    • Introduction to Animation
    • Performance Studies
    • Storytelling Strategies
    Notables

    The Bachelors of Fine Arts in Film & Television at NYU is a prestigious program to get into at the school with only a limited number of available spots open to new enrolling students. Attendees wishing to participate in the dual degree offering in business and film at the school must present a portfolio of their work in order to be accepted. The film program is attractive to an array of students that want to learn the business aspect of the film industry but also have a love for film and television.

  7. Florida State University
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Florida State University opened the doors to its Film School in 1989. The school which has a legacy that dates back to 1851. It is the oldest continuous education facility in Florida. It is located in Tallahassee where the Florida State University Film School also resides. It has more than 41,000 students in attendance each semester and continually ranks as a top school with US News & World Report. It has most recently jumped five spots to 33rd.

    Program Features

    The Florida State University Film School offers a Bachelors in Motion Picture Arts with the ability to focus more specifically on Production or Animation and Digital Arts. Both courses are three-year programs that include an array of class offering to provide students with the skills necessary to land jobs in the film industry. Students can take courses in:

    • Screenwriting
    • Production
    • Lighting
    • Cinematography
    • Editing and Sound
    Notables

    Through the Florida State University Film School, students will have 24/7 access to facilities and equipment and be able to enjoy a 4:1 student/teacher ratio. Of the graduates of the program, 97 percent of them find a job within the film industry within one year, according to the school. The school also offers a graduate program with a Masters in Fine Arts for Writing or Production. This program runs six semesters and promotes student thesis projects in a variety of film festivals across the country long after graduation.

  8. University of California-Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of California-Los Angeles offers film degrees through its UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. The school was originally opened in 1947 as the Theater Arts department of UCLA. In 1990, the university official launched the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. At UCLA, students are able to participate in a variety of education offers at the public school which is located in the Westwood district of Los Angles. For film students, the school is especially attractive due to its location in Los Angeles – the hotbed of the film industry.

    Program Features

    To obtain a Bachelor in Film from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, students are taught a liberal arts education that includes the study of film and television history as well as theory and production techniques. Students must complete a 16-course curriculum that amounts to approximately 75 units. Here, students are entertained to courses that include:

    • Introductory Screenwriting
    • Digital Media Studies
    • Cinematography
    • Overview of Contemporary Film Industry
    • Film Editing
    Notables

    The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television is particularly noteworthy for its film and television educational coursework offering students the ability to participate in its own film festival, theater lab and actor showcases. The school extends to students an extensive graduate program with focuses on a series emphasizes from cinematography to screenwriting. According to the school, many graduates have gone on to become successful writers, producers, directors, editors, cinematographers, journalists, authors, and executives in both major film studios and independent filmmaking. Some find themselves in an educational role as well.

  9. Wesleyan University
    Location

    Middletown, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Wesleyan University, located in Middletown, Conn., was founded in 1831 and today is a premier college to obtain a Bachelors in Film at. The school offers a total of 45 majors of study in both Bachelors of Arts and graduate degrees. As a liberal arts college, it also provides doctor of philosophy degrees in 11 fields of study. In total student may elect to take one of its 900 courses that are also provided in the area of film studies.

    Program Features

    With a Bachelor in Film Studies, students are provided an educational background on the history of film as the well as the practice of analysis, which is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of film mediums. Students can enter the film studies program in their sophomore year after completing the perquisites and completing two of the introductory film course with at least B+ grade. Upon completion of the courses, students will be able to enroll in courses such as:

    • The History of Spanish Cinema
    • Film Noir
    • Directorial Style: Classic American Film Comedy
    • Myth and Ideology in Cinema: Hollywood Sex, Race, Class, Culture
    • Television Storytelling: The Conditions of Narrative Complexity
    Notables

    At Wesleyan University, film studies students are provided access to the Wesleyan Cinema Archives. This gives students unprecedented access to a collection of film files and historical documents that can be useful and informative in their studies. The Wesleyan Cinema Archives have been used by filmmakers from around the world and are an extremely valuable resource for the school as the well as the students that use it. Students are also treated to use the Rick Nicita Gallery, where they can showcase their films to the public.

  10. California Institute of the Arts
    Location

    Santa Clarita, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in beautiful Valencia, Calif., the California Institute of the Arts or as it is commonly referred CalArts is a unique art school that was started by Walt Disney and his brother Roy. The two had the vision for the school for a decade before opening its doors to the famously chaotic first semester in 1970. Today, students are able to select from 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in its six schools that include Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater. The school has 951 undergraduates with filmmaking up its highest concentration of students.

    Program Features

    With a Bachelors in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Film, students will have the ability to learn from a total perspective that can help them to be a fully-rounded film professional. At CalArts, the Bachelors Of Film/Video program is a four-year track that has a Mid-Residency Review in the students third semester. Some of the courses that students can elect to take are:

    • Filmmaking Fundamentals
    • Video Production Workshop
    • Digital Editing: Adobe CC
    • Cinematic Voices: In Person
    • Film History
    Notables

    At the California Institute of the Arts, students can also choose to receive a Bachelors in Character Animation, Experimental Animation, and Film Directing with the Film department of the school. The school also offer graduate degrees in film and video that include class work in history, theory, and criticism as well as a variety of production and technical workshops. Students can also elect to take an intermediary discipline also with their current area of focus, allowing them to hone their additional artistic talents in another field of study.

mini icon

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.


Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

November 6, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Earning a law degree opens professional doors. However, law school graduates owe an average of over . Scholarships and other forms of financial aid can help law school students obtain...

College Preparation Checklist

College Preparation Checklist

October 19, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Preparing for college before the first day sets up new students for success. Beginning college can be overwhelming, even for learners who have taken college-level classes in the past. Knowing...

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.