fbpx

Best 12 Film Degree Programs in 2021

August 20, 2021 | Staff Writers

Film Degree
Degree Finder
BestValueSchools.org 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.

The study of film covers a broad range of related topics, which can be seen from the various film degree programs available in the education marketplace. Each of these available film degree programs prepares students to fill the many rewarding and creative positions available in the film industry.  

Filmmakers are storytelling artists. Most students with a serious interest in working in the entertainment industry – as a director, a screenwriter, a camera equipment operator, an editor, or a producer, typically begin their career by enrolling in one of the quality baccalaureate film degree programs with a major or academic focus in film or media.

Top 5 Film Degree Programs

Rank School Location
1Florida State UniversityTallahassee, Florida
2School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the ArtsWinston-Salem, North Carolina
3Full Sail UniversityWinter Park, Florida
4The University of ColoradoBoulder, Colorado
5Ithaca CollegeIthaca, New York

A bachelor’s film degree program offers both a comprehensive general education plus the opportunity to begin to explore the many facets and aspects available for those students who wish to an academic degree from one of the nation’s film degree programs. Some programs offer more technical education, whereas others may focus on the creative aspects of the industry. Some of the more popular categories of film degree programs include –

  • Film Studies
  • Film Production
  • Animation
  • Mass Communications, to name a few.

As students move forward and complete more advanced film degree programs, they can specialize their film focus even further, as many graduate film degree programs provide a capstone or culminating project that allows students to demonstrate their skill and creativity.

The film degree programs noted below represent a cross-section of film programs from traditional universities as well as programs offered by highly specialized film and art schools. Each student is encouraged to consider the programs closely to ensure the program meets their academic objectives, falls within their budget, and prepares them for the next stage in their life.

Best 12 Film Degree Programs

1

Florida State University

  • Tallahassee, Florida

Florida State University (Florida State) College of Motion Picture Arts offers some of the most affordable film degree programs in the Sunshine State. Florida State University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree includes classes in advanced editing, film aesthetics, research/creative methods, film business planning, and visualization and composition, plus a professional internship, among others.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA I Motion Picture Arts – Production (120 credit units – 91 credits from film curriculum).

School Overview

Tuition: $3,233.45 per semester (Resident) – Undergraduate for four years
Student Enrollment: 42,450
Accreditation: SACSCOC & NASAD
Visit School Website
2

School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts

  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Ranked among the best film schools in the country, the School of Filmmaking at UNCSA produces “complete” filmmakers—experienced storytellers skilled in all facets of the cinematic arts and new media. With a low student to faculty ratio, UNCSA offers hands-on courses in every area of modern film production. Students collaborate on original short films, submitted to festivals, and have access to state-of-the-art equipment and immersive technologies. Partnerships with RiverRun International Film Festival and Sundance as well as a senior screening in L.A. connect students to the industry.

Degree Programs Offered

  • Animation
  • Cinematography
  • Directing
  • Picture Editing & Sound Design
  • Producing
  • Production Design & Visual Effects
  • Screenwriting (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Film Music Composition (graduate)
  • Creative Producing (graduate)

School Overview

Tuition: $6,497 per semester – Undergraduate (Resident)
Student Enrollment: 308
Accreditation: SACSCOC
Visit School Website
3

Full Sail University

  • Winter Park, Florida

Full Sail University offers some of the most innovative film degree programs from its central Florida location in Winter Park. Established in 1979, Full Sail University provides degree candidates more than 100 studios, a backlot to film on, and a variety of soundstages. In fact, Full Sail has been recognized by Animation Career Review among the top 20 animation schools in the country. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree in film with academic focuses available in post-production, production, and preproduction in less than two years.

Degree Programs Offered

  • Bachelor’s in Film
  • Bachelor’s in Digital Cinematography (available online)
  • Bachelor’s in Computer Animation in Film (available online and on-campus)

School Overview

Tuition: $10,440 per semester for full-time – Undergraduate for four years.
Student Enrollment: 21,666
Accreditation: ACCSC & NASAD
Visit School Website
4

The University of Colorado

  • Boulder, Colorado

Established in 1876, the University of Colorado (UC Boulder) Department of Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts offers several film degree programs from its Boulder campus. Students enrolled in the University of Colorado – Boulder’s film degree programs explore film from a critical perspective that includes a solid background in film history and methodologies.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BA in Film & Video Arts – Production
  • MFA in Film

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate): $15,307 per semester (Resident) – 15 credits per
Tuition (Graduate): $6,740 per semester (Resident) – 9 credits per
Student Enrollment: 37,883
Accreditation: HLC
Visit School Website
5

Ithaca College

  • Ithaca, New York

Established in 1892 as a music conservatory, Ithaca College‘s (IC) Cinema & Photography Experience at the School of Communication offers several of New York’s best film degree programs. Ithaca College offers two baccalaureate level degrees in film and cinema – a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Cinema & Photography and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) in Film, Photography, and Visual Arts.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BS in Cinema & Photography (120 credit units)
  • BFA in Film, Photography and Visual Arts (120 credit units)

School Overview

Tuition: $23,305 per semester for four years
Student Enrollment: 6,266
Accreditation: MSCHE & NASAD
Visit School Website
6

Quinnipiac University

  • Hamden, Connecticut

Students in Quinnipiac University’s Film, Television and Media Arts (BA and BFA) programs combine storytelling skills with the ability to create compelling digital content for both the large and small screens. Coursework focuses on intensive hands-on training in all phases of digital media production, and has students producing content for theatrical, television and web-based distribution. They have Emmy® and other award-winning faculty that are active in the profession as writers, producers, editors, cinematographers and directors, and they bring those experiences back to the students. Coursework can be supplemented with a semester of study in Los Angeles in the QU in LA program, along with internship opportunities and field acquisition coursework in places as diverse as Ireland, France and South Africa.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BA in Film, Television & Media Arts
  • BFA in Film, Television & Media Arts

School Overview

Tuition: $24,100 per semester for full-time – Undergraduate for four years
Student Enrollment 9,708
Accreditation: NECHE & NASAD
Visit School Website
7

Emerson College Visual & Media Arts School

  • Boston, Massachusetts

Emerson College’s Visual & Media Arts School (VMA) offers one of the most unique film degree programs with its Global Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) in Film Art. Students enrolled in Emerson College’s film degree programs are tasked with creating videos, films, and public media art installations, all in the name of creative expression. Students study abroad in the Dutch countryside and Paris (and other European communities) while spending summers learning how to implement creativity with cutting-edge equipment. Emerson College operates several theatres and other venues for students to practice their craft. The Global BFA program is only one of their film programs, as they also have four year and graduate programs in film at their Boston campus.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA in Film Art

School Overview

Tuition: $25,120 per semester – Undergraduate
Student Enrollment: 4,919
Accreditation: NECHE & NASAD
Visit School Website
8

The California Institute of the Arts

  • Santa Clarita, California

The California Institute of the Arts School of Film & Video offers several of the most innovative educational film degree programs in the western portion of the United States. All students enrolled in CalArts’ Bachelor of Fine Arts’ film degree programs must pass a graduation review to graduate but learn practical and technical skills in a workshop-like environment. CalArts’ film degree programs allow students to explore film and video production at its most fundamental levels, including editing, design, and sound production, among others.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA in Film & Video – a 4-year program.
  • MFA in Film & Video– a 3-year program.

School Overview

Tuition: $ 26,425 per semester for BFA and MFA programs
Student Enrollment: 1,520
Accreditation: WASC & NASAD
Visit School Website
9

New York University

  • New York City, New York

New York University (NYU) Tisch Arts/Institute of Film & Television offers some of New York’s finest film degree programs with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) program in Film and Television with available concentrations in television, cinematography, producing, documentary, directing, or post-production, among others. New York University’s cinema studies film degree program is recognized to be one of the first university divisions in the nation devoted exclusively to film.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BFA in Film and Television (128 credit points)

School Overview

Tuition: $26,812 per semester – Undergraduate for four years
Student Enrollment: 52,885
Accreditation: MSCHE
Visit School Website
10

Boston University

  • Boston, Massachusetts

Boston University’s (BU) College of Communication offers some of the finest film degree programs in New England, offering an interdisciplinary approach to storytelling on TV and film and any other media options. Student projects created at Boston University’s Redstone Festival have received Academy Award nominations, with the College of Communication listed among the top 25 film schools in the nation. The bachelor’s degree program explores the fundamental film areas of screenwriting, production, studies, and management. All degree candidates have the opportunity to participate in an internship in Los Angeles through Boston University’s film degree program.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BS in Film & Television
  • MFA in Film & Television Studies

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate): $28,427 per semester for full time
Tuition (Graduate): $28,628 per semester
Student Enrollment: 33,729
Accreditation: NECHE
Visit School Website
11

The University of Southern California

  • Los Angeles, California

The University of Southern California (Southern Cal) Cinematic Arts/Division of Film Television Production is one of the west coast’s best film degree programs with its two baccalaureate degree options (BA & BFA) and Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA) in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production. Students explore the many ways to relay stories from tiny mobile devices to giant IMAX screens, using cutting-edge editing software and technologies.

Degree Programs Offered

  • BA in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production (128 credit units)
  • BFA in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production (128 credit units)
  • MFA in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production (52 credit units)

School Overview

Tuition (Undergraduate): $28,628 per semester – for four years.
Tuition (Graduate): $17,607 per semester – for three years.
Student Enrollment: 48,321
Accreditation: WASC
Visit School Website
12

American Film Institute

  • Los Angeles, California

American Film Institute (AFI Conservatory), which is recognized as offering some of the nation’s best film degree programs with a certificate and a Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA) program in Film with an academic concentration in Cinematography, Editing, Producing, Design, Screenwriting, Directing or Production. Classes are taught in workshop facilities and include cycle production, dramatic analysis, and the craft of cinematography, to name a few.

Degree Programs Offered

  • MFA in Film with an emphasis in Cinematography

School Overview

Tuition (Graduate): $29,975.50 per semester
Student Enrollment: 334
Accreditation: WASC & NASAD
Visit School Website

Film Schools Ranking Methodology

The film degree programs that are noted above include a cross-section of the available film programs at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

The data amassed to analyze these film degree programs was obtained from each school’s dedicated website or the College Navigator website, managed by the NCES o the National Center for Education Statistics. Tuition fees, unless noted otherwise, are for the academic calendar year of 2020 – 2021.

  • Semester tuition fees were calculated using 15 credit units for baccalaureate degree programs (to allow for the completion of 120-semester units in four years) or nine credits for graduate degree programs. If the tuition fees deviate from this protocol in any way, this will be noted as such.
  • Student enrollment data is indicative of the higher learning institution’s size, which can be an essential facet of a student’s educational decisions.
  • Accreditation information has been provided for each school at the regional and specialized accreditation level.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

Degree Finder
BestValueSchools.org 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.
Scroll to Top