Film / Video And Photographic Arts Other

A film degree familiarizes a student with the history and techniques of filmmaking and prepares him for what he will encounter working in movies or television. Individuals with film degrees seek work among the positions within and surrounding the film industry, such as editing, screenwriting or serving as part of a crew on a film set.

The need for a medium-specific degree is a subject of disagreement among those who work in film. Some dispense with school and instead adopt an apprenticeship approach to their training, taking low-level jobs on set first and working their way up to positions of greater creative control.

Yet a degree in film, particularly if it comes from one of the best film schools, confers certain advantages. These include a deep knowledge of the history and theory of the craft; useful personal and professional connections; and training in a range of technical skills that prepare students to work with the most current technologies and equipment.


There are all sorts of film schools, and there is no single universal supervisory body performing accreditation. Instead, different types of schools receive accreditation from different agencies. For instance, many of the schools offering associate's degrees are accredited by the A.C.C.S.C, which oversees vocational schools. Some art schools with film programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Four-year colleges with film schools or film departments are accredited by their regional accreditation bodies. Some film schools have no accreditation at all.

Film degrees vary widely in what they provide students, with some focusing primarily on practical skills, and others providing a framework of film theory. The discipline has become increasingly represented in post-secondary education since the 1990s.

Certificates in Film

As a supplement to a bachelor's degree or a Ph.D., a certificate in film is something like a double major, indicating a keen interest in the subject. Courses for the certificate can be both academic and practical.

  • History of film
  • Genres of film
  • Seminars in film
  • Introductory production classes

While a certificate of this kind does not make its bearer job-ready, the background it provides may qualify a graduate to teach film at the undergraduate level,

Associate's Degree in Film

Associate degrees in film require a high school transcript or GED. Most take around four years to complete. Courses concentrate on the technical aspects of film making, and film survey courses are generally part of the curriculum as well.

  • Film appreciation
  • Film criticism
  • Scriptwriting
  • Digital film making

An associate's degree can provide a student with the skills necessary for some entry-level roles in film or television production.

  • Production assistant
  • Multimedia assistant
  • Script supervisor
  • Travel coordinator

Bachelor's Degree in Film

A bachelor's degree in film is usually a four-year program that introduces the student both to the history of the medium and the skills necessary to create his own work. Besides general education, the coursework includes classes that provide experience with the tools film makers will use after graduation.

  • History of the motion picture
  • Screenwriting
  • Cinematography
  • Film editing
  • Digital media
  • Directing
  • While a bachelor's degree in film does not guarantee a job, the skills and experience gained in its pursuit are useful. Internships and student projects all add up to hours logged solving the problems of making movies.

    • Assistant director
    • Assistant camera operator
    • Assistant editor

    Master's Degree in Film

    It takes between two to three years to complete an M.A. or an M.F.A. in film. Some of these film programs are very specialized, guiding the student toward a focus on, for instance, directing, cinematography, or theory.

    • Screenwriting
    • Production and post-production
    • Cinematography
    • Sound
    • Historiography
    • Thesis hours

    A thesis project, either a film or a paper, is usually a requirement of a master's program in film. Graduates bearing a master's degree may find work in film through networking with classmates and faculty, or through marketing the particular skills they have developed during the production of student efforts. Some of the top film schools provide large budgets for student movies, allowing aspiring filmmakers to work at professional levels.

    • Editor
    • Second director
    • Cinematographer

    Ph.D. in Film

    A Ph.D. in film examines and contributes to the scholarship of film and is research-oriented. A filmed thesis is sometimes the result of doctoral study, but more often a dissertation concerning film is the product.

    A doctoral student in film participates in dissertation hours and seminars. The nature of his concentration determines the type of seminars and other coursework he takes.

    • Research design
    • Film criticism
    • Visual analysis
    • Narrative studies

    A film scholar with a Ph.D. has a number of employment options, including the following:

    • University professor
    • Administrator
    • Film archivist
    • Independent writer and researcher

    Featured Schools

    Programs offered:

    • Digital Cinematography, Bachelor of Science
    • Sportscasting Bachelors - Online

    Programs offered:

    We found 45 schools offering film degree programs in the U.S.

    >> See all 45 Film / Video And Photographic Arts Other Colleges in the U.S.

    Film Schools Ranked By US News and World Report

    Yale University
    New Haven, CT  |  Total Enrollment: 11099

    Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
    School of the Art Institute of Chicago
    Chicago, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 2578

    Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's
    Rhode Island School of Design
    Providence, RI  |  Total Enrollment: 2086

    Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 1212

    Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's
    University of New Mexico - Main Campus
    Albuquerque, NM  |  Total Enrollment: 23670

    Degrees Offered: Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
    School of Visual Arts
    New York, NY  |  Total Enrollment: 5286

    Degrees Offered: One but less than two years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's
    Rochester Institute of Technology
    Rochester, NY  |  Total Enrollment: 14106

    Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's
    University of California - Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 36890

    Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree, First-professional certificate
    California College of the Arts
    Oakland, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 1180

    Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's
    Columbia College Chicago
    Chicago, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 9056

    Degrees Offered: Bachelor's, Master's

    Browse All 45 Colleges With Film Programs

    Title City State Enrollment
    Ai Miami International University of Art and Design Miami FL 997
    Andrew College Cuthbert GA 329
    Arkansas Career Training Institute Hot Springs AR 139
    Art Institute of Seattle Seattle WA 2561
    Bergen Community College Paramus NJ 11993
    Brooks Institute of Photography Santa Barbara CA 670
    California College of the Arts Oakland CA 1180
    Chapman University Orange CA 4353
    Columbia College Hollywood Tarzana CA 100
    Community College of the Air Force Montgomery AL 378162
    Csb School of Broadcasting - Boston Wellesley Hills MA No Data
    Csb School of Broadcasting - Farmingtonb Farmington CT No Data
    Csb School of Broadcasting - Hasbrouck Heights Hasbrouck Heights NJ No Data
    Csb School of Broadcasting - Palm Beach North Palm Beach FL No Data
    Csb School of Broadcasting - Stratford Stratford CT No Data
    Desales University Center Valley PA 2549
    Gallaudet University Washington DC 1689
    Goddard College Plainfield VT 589
    Greenfield Community College Greenfield MA 2277
    Hampshire College Amherst MA 1175
    Hollins University Roanoke VA 1043
    Holyoke Community College Holyoke MA 5754
    Howard University Washington DC 10010
    Illinois Institute of Art at Schaumburg Schaumburg IL 870
    Ithaca College Ithaca NY 6170
    Keiser College - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale FL 3086
    Marlboro College Marlboro VT 416
    Minneapolis College of Art and Design Minneapolis MN 615
    Pitzer College Claremont CA 924
    Rhode Island School of Design Providence RI 2086
    Robert Morris College Chicago IL 4938
    School of Visual Arts New York NY 5286
    Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale IL 22552
    Southern Maine Community College South Portland ME 2334
    Suny College at Brockport Brockport NY 8524
    The Art Institute of Phoenix Phoenix AZ 1070
    The Art Institute of Portland Portland OR 666
    The Illinois Institute of Art Chicago IL 1395
    The University of the Arts Philadelphia PA 2037
    University of California - Irvine Irvine CA 20211
    University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago IL 24942
    University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia SC 23728
    University of Southern California Los Angeles CA 29194
    Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis MO 12118
    Woodbury University Burbank CA 1342