Finding the right film school to nurture your talent isn’t hard with this list that comprises the top film schools around the world. With options all over the U.S. as well as in foreign locales, film students have numerous options for learning the art of cinematography, editing, scoring, direction and production, among other specialties and genres. Explore this ranked list to discover film schools that meet the demands of your budget and the course work you wish to learn.
Before we start, we must mention what film school we personally believe is the best with 95% of graduates finding industry jobs upon graduation:
Nashville Film Institute (NFI)
The Nashville Film Institute focuses solely on filmmaking, with a fully immersive 9-month crash course in the art. The Cinema Production program provides successful students with a diploma and the skill set necessary to move forward with a filmmaking career. The school also offers an Acting for the Camera course that provides a Certificate in Acting in just 1 to 3 months.
Tuition: $26,255 to $37,955 for Cinema Production; $1,000, $1,500 and $2,000 for Acting for the Camera program modules
Columbia University School of the Arts
The Columbia University School of the Arts features two Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs for film students — screenwriting/directive and creative production. This film school also offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in film and media studies for students of Columbia and Barnard College. The curriculum here puts a spotlight on storytelling, with keen attention paid to helping students refine their creative visions. Additionally, a strong focus on diversity makes this school a go-to choice for students wishing to explore social justice themes and the evolution of films worldwide.
Tuition: $61,172 (first year); $62,912 (graduate)
Alumni: Katherine Bigelow, Moira Demos, Kahane Cooperman, James Mangold and Jennifer Lee
American Film Institute
Named the number one film school in the U.S. by the Hollywood Reporter, the American Film Institute offers courses in cinematography, production design, editing, producing, screenwriting, and editing in sunny Los Angeles, CA. The AFI Conservatory also offers year-round seminar series in which guest lecturers delve into numerous film genres, and most of these sessions are available to fellows via AFI’s Louis B. Mayer Library. The general public can also access sessions via AFI’s YouTube channel, including this recent one with Billy Eilish:
Additionally, the school provides opportunities for women filmmakers with special workshops for cinematography and directing.
Tuition: $64,575 (first year); $65,800 (second year)
Alumni: David Lynch, Patty Jenkins, Mimi Leder, Todd Field and Ed Zwick
USC School of Creative Arts
Considered one of the top film schools in the world, the University of Southern California School of Creative Arts’ Cinematic Arts program effectively operates as a miniature version of a Hollywood studio. State-of-the-art facilities that include high-tech edit bays, scoring states, mixing rooms, soundstages, and an IMAX theater provide students with cutting-edge opportunities to refine their craft. Here, students can learn everything about film, television, and interactive media, with special focuses on directing, producing, critical studies, animation and digital arts, interactive and immersive media, and writing.
Tuition: $79,063 (undergraduate); $36,415 to $53,391 (graduate)
Alumni: Shonda Rhimes, Robert Zemekis, Judd Apatow, Matthew Weiner and John Carpenter
Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts consistently ranks among the best film schools in the world with programs that cover every facet of the industry. Its Sodaro-Pankey Undergraduate School of Media Arts and Conservatory of Motion Pictures provides undergraduate and graduate degrees in the following areas:
- Animation and visual effects
- Film production
- Film studies
- Creative producing
- Television writing and production
- Broadcast journalism and documentary
- Public relations and advertising
- Screen acting
This film school credits its award-winning faculty — some of whom still work in the film industry — for its high ranking. Further, guest lectures, special events, resident filmmakers and special events make Dodge College of Film and Media Arts an attractive option for potential students.
Tuition: $54,540 (undergraduate); $45,124 (graduate)
Alumni: Ben York Jones, Jason Michael Brescia, Justin Simien and Matt and Ross Duffer
NYU Tisch School of the Arts
The Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts makes over 5,000 films per year, and its notable graduates include lauded filmmakers such as Chris Columbus, Martin Scorsese, and Vince Gilligan. The faculty and staff encourage students to learn by doing, and the film school offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Encompassing everything from cinematography and film production to editing and television writing and production, this school also offers students dual degrees that combine cinema and business tracks.
Tuition: $47,750 (undergraduate)
Alumni: Joel Cohen, Martin Scorcese, Morgan Spurlock, Vince Gilligan and Spike Lee
California Institute of the Arts
The first degree-granting school in the U.S. focused solely on visual and performing arts, the California Institute of the Arts lets students maintain complete copyright and control of their works. This film school offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in numerous fields, with programs for acting, music scoring, film and video, film directing, creative writing, and integrated media. Tracks for experimental and character animation make CalArts especially well suited for students interested in cartoons, while programs for behind-the-scenes specialties such as lighting and costume design provide an all-inclusive educational experience.
Tuition: $50,850 (undergraduate); $40,720 (graduate)
Alumni: Alex Hirsch, Tim Burton, Brad Bird, Brenda Chapman and Lee Sheldon
National Film and Television School
Just a short drive from London sits the National Film and Television School, winner of the 2018 BAFTA for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema. This film school boasts over 30 certificate courses and MA and diploma programs that teach students what they need to know to break into and succeed in the film industry. Its main claim to fame is that it gives film students more behind-the-camera instruction and time than other film schools, making it especially well-suited to those who wish to direct.
Alumni: Nick Park, Lynne Ramsey, Roger Deakins, Mark Herman and Bernard Rose
Sheridan College Institute of Technology
When students want to focus on animation, they go to Sheridan College Institute of Technology. With numerous alumni working at Disney and Pixar, this Canadian film school’s animation department graduates tout Academy Award nominees and winners among their numbers.
Alumni: Brent Butt, Dean DuBois, David Soren, Raman Hui and Domee Shi
Chicago’s DePaul University offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in Film and Television. With a generalist approach to TV production and filmmaking, DePaul’s BA program focuses on teaching students use of cutting-edge digital technology and aiding them in exploring the theory and aesthetics behind classic cinema pieces. The BFA track delves further into the technical side of media production and lets students choose between 11 unique filmmaking concentrations.
Classes, internships and special programs provide practical production experience, and students take classes at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios to help them learn on a dedicated soundstage. The film school’s Project Bluelight program enables collaboration between students and faculty, with the end goal of creating full-length feature films or short independent productions. Additionally, the DePaul LA Quarter immerses students in Hollywood culture for 10 full weeks, sending them off to Los Angeles where they learn on a studio lot and intern at established film studios and media companies.
Alumni: Vera Drew, Daniel Willis, Zoe Lubeck, Alexis Auditore and Ali Rizvi
Florida State University
Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts offers BFA degrees in production and animation and digital arts plus graduate programs in writing and production. With a 5:1 faculty to student ratio, the school immerses students in projects so they get practical filmmaking experience. The Torchlight Program supplements creative studies with industry-related business courses and provides internships to help students hit the ground running in their filmmaking careers.
Tuition: $7,238 (in-state undergraduate)
Alumni: Wes Ball, Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski, Jonathan King and T.S. Nowlin
Australian Film, Television & Radio School (AFTRS)
Recognized as one of the world’s top film schools, AFTRS holds more than 5,000 awards and selections from festivals such as Cannes and Sundance thanks to its student films. State-of-the-art facilities and an excellent faculty make AFTRS an attractive option for international film students as does its proximity to Bondi Beach. Students are spoiled for choice when it comes to disciplines, with offerings including:
- Production design
- Radio and podcasting
- Screen music
- Research and development
- Screen studies
Undergraduate degrees include a BA in Screen Production, while MA degrees include Screen and Screen Business. The school also offers industry certificates, short courses, teacher training, and seminars.
Tuition: $43,920 (undergraduate); $93,600 (graduate)
Alumni: Chris Noonan, Gillian Armstrong, Dion Bebe, Anthony Partos and Jane Campion
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
Situated near Turner Studios and Adult Swim, SCAD offers students both learning opportunities and internships. The film school’s Savannah Film Studio provides 22,000 square feet of green screens and soundstages so students get their feet wet by doing, and more than 200 of its students and alumni had a hand in 21 films nominated for Oscars in 2020. Cutting-edge technology in the SCAD Digital Arts Center keeps students ahead of the curve, and this film school hosts two festivals — The Savannah Film Festival and aTVFest — to showcase its students’ work.
Tuition: $37,375 (undergraduate); $38,475 (graduate)
Alumni: Eleanor Davis, Sean Murphy, India Aire, Vicki Lau and Thomas Kalnoky
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
In operation for over 60 years, the UCLA film school combines television, theater, and film tracks into a single program for an immersive learning experience. This film school offers bachelors and masters degrees plus provides continuing education via its UCLA extension program. A new Media Arts Lab designed for making and viewing virtual reality productions awaits film students here as do special programs such as FilmLAB that sends grad students to the Telluride Film Festival to attend workshops and labs by top filmmakers. Additionally, the school’s Studio 22 provides first-hand experience in media production.
Tuition: $16,246 (in-state undergraduate); $46,000 (out-of-state undergraduate); $29,520 (in-state graduate); $41,765 (out-of-state graduate)
Alumni: Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller, Francis Ford Coppola, Alex Gibney and Frank Marshall
Boston’s Emerson College features a Film and Media Art MFA program that lets students work with both traditional and emergent media. With courses designed to provide a firm grounding in video, film, interactive, and audio production, it helps graduates create immersive multimedia experiences for their audiences. The Bright Lights series allows students to screen their works before media professionals and attend and participate in discussions and presentations by media professionals. This film school touts the following benefits for students:
- Exploration of media genres, criticism, and theory
- Teaches use of cutting-edge media technologies
- Boasts faculty members who are working artists
- Offers state-of-the-art facilities for media projects
- Has no GRE requirements for its three-phase program
- Allows program completion within 2 to 3 years
- Provides day and night classes for student convenience
In addition to Emerson College’s home campus in Boston, the film school also boasts a 107,000-square-foot campus in Los Angeles on Sunset Blvd. and partners with Paris College of Art for a 3-year MFA program.
Tuition: $48,560 (undergraduate); $20,416 to $30,624 (graduate)
Alumni: Adele Lim, Norman Lear, Iliza Shlesinger, Henry Winkler and Stefani Robinson
Tel Aviv University
The Steve Tisch College of Film and Television at Israel’s Tel Aviv University provides students with opportunities to study film history, criticism, and theory. This film school specializes in film and television production, cultural studies, script writing, and digital media, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in each of these tracks. Courses here are available in both English and Hebrew, and partnerships exist with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for further learning opportunities.
Los Angeles Film School
Offering both online and on-campus learning, the for-profit Los Angeles Film School resides in the historic RCA building on Sunset, putting students at the heart of the city’s entertainment industry. This film school has a high acceptance rate and offers students courses in direction and producing, and they can show off what they learned in the 300-seat campus movie theater. Additional areas of learning include animation, entertainment business, and digital filmmaking.
Tuition: $47,000 (entire program)
Alumni: Kyle Newachek, Brian Taylor, Martin Pensa, Jaycen Joshua and Brandon Trost
New York Film Academy (NYFA)
With campuses in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles as well as Italy, China, and Australia, NYFA offers students around the country — and the world — chances to learn a variety of TV and movie techniques. Different campuses offer different programs, including AA, BA, MA, BFA, and MFA degrees, but the for-profit film school itself provides learning in production, direction, cinematography, 3D animation, and digital editing. Camps for teens and kids help younger filmmakers start their educations early, while online programs extend its reach even further. Tuition to NYFA varies based on the location and degree program film students choose.
Alumni: Bill Hader, Aubrey Plaza, Max Peltz, Wil Willis and Jeremy Harris
Purchase College (SUNY)
Purchase College at the State University of New York provides students with several degree tracks focused on filmmaking, including:
- Cinema studies
- Film and video production
- Media studies
- Playwriting and screenwriting
- Studio production
Encouraging students to write, direct, and produce their own films ensures a well-rounded approach to their future careers. A public university, SUNY consistently on U.S. lists for top schools, and its low tuition costs enable an excellent education at an affordable price point.
Tuition: $8,267 (in-state undergraduate); $18,117 (out-of-state undergraduate)
Alumni: Parker Posey, Zoe Kravitz, Ving Rhames, Stanley Tucci and Wesley Snipes
Loyola Marymount University
Situated on the California coast, LMU School of Film and Television has undergraduate and graduate programs for those looking to break into the movie and TV industry. Courses in virtual reality, monetization of digital content, and punk and queer cinema mark LMU as a cutting-edge film school, and the university partners with Film Independent and Village Roadshow Entertainment Group to help students learn by doing. The school recently opened the Howard B. Fitzpatrick Pavilion — a 24,000-square-foot facility housing labs, an AR/VR classroom, and an 86-seat theater. Programs offered by this film school include:
- Film and television production
- Film, TV, and media studies
- Recording arts
Additionally, LMU offers film students chances to study abroad, and its relationships with well-established media companies and studios aids students in landing plum internships that help them learn and network.
Tuition: $49,550 (undergraduate); $39,720 (graduate)
Alumni: Emily Spivey, Barbara Broccoli, John Bailey, Raul Guerra and Brian Helgeland
Consistently ranked among the best colleges for arts education, the Pratt Institute offers a BFA in film. This film school approaches learning with a full-spectrum approach, teaching students with a series of projects that take them through the filmmaking process from start to finish. Some filmmaking modes covered include documentaries, experimental films, video art, and hybrid media.
Tuition: $51,870 (undergraduate): $33,984 (graduate)
Alumni: Liz Hannah, John Requa, Glenn Ficarra and Aubrey Smyth
University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW)
A plethora of Hollywood productions moving into the Carolinas gives UNCW students hands-on learning opportunities with combined tracks for film studies and film production. This film school helps students create over 500 films annually, and every year it hosts the Visions conference and festival that awards student achievements and publicly showcases their works. UNCW offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Film Studies.
Tuition: Requires potential student inquiry
Alumni: Chase Kilber, Joel Fernando, Cam McHutchinson, Tripp Green and Hillary Pierce
Established in 1946 by Czech filmmakers, FAMU International in Prague is one of the oldest film schools in Europe. The Czechoslovak New Wave began here, resulting in two Oscar-winning foreign films in the early 1960s, and FAMU consistently ranks in the top 15 of international film schools. It offers 12 programs in Czech and four in English and features a total of six accredited study programs. Students at FMU can take the following study tracks:
- Documentary film
- Animated film
- Scriptwriting and dramaturgy
- Audio visual studies
Tuition: $8,700 EU (undergraduate); $10,150 to $17,360 EU (graduate)
Alumni: Evald Schorm, Milos Forman, Jan Sverak, Emil Kusturica and Vera Chytilova
San Francisco State University
San Francisco State University’s School of Cinema helps students develop their personal creative vision and voice with courses that cover cinematography, production, direction, editing, and sound. Founded in 1967, this film school also focuses on animation, theory, criticism, and history. Degrees offered include a BA in Cinema for undergraduates and a MA and MFA for graduate students.
Tuition: $2,871 (undergraduate); $3,588 (graduate)
Alumni: Gloria Borders, Christopher Boyes, Arthur Dong, Delroy Lindo and Steve Zaillian
University of Texas at Austin
The UT Moody College of Communications Department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF) provides film students with a well-rounded education at an affordable price point. Situated at the heart of Texas’s state capitol, this film school thrives amid an engaging environment filled with live music venues and more than its fair share of renowned filmmakers and artists. Mixing the theoretical with the practical aids students in learning on their feet, and it also offers summer camps for young filmmakers. Its TV Writer’s Room course walks students through writing a show and pitching it to television executives at major networks.
Tuition: $5,815 (in-state undergraduate); $20,601 (out-of-state undergraduate); $7,071 (in-state undergraduate); $13,608 (out-of-state graduate)
Alumni: Matthew McConaughey, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, Owen Wilson and Eli Wallach
SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Department of Transmedia typically ranks within the top 25 film schools thanks to its hands-on learning opportunities. Alumni from this film school work within the film industry at places like DreamWorks, Showtime, and Pixar, and graduates have screened their films at Sundance, MOMA, and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Students here have opportunities to learn around the country and world, with six-week summer training in Los Angeles and international study programs in Prague, Florence, and Moscow, among other locales. Syracuse offers degrees including BFAs and MFAs in art photography, art media, film, and computer art.
Tuition: $48,780 (undergraduate); $29,160 (graduate)
Alumni: Danny Zucker, Lila Yacoub and Mike Lasker
University of Montana
UM’s College of the Arts and Media offers programs in Documentary Film and Media Arts. The Documentary Film certificate program grounds students in the history and craft of nonfictional narratives and the theoretical aspects while also teaching cinematography, sound-mixing, and video editing. With undergraduate and graduate degree paths, this school’s Media Arts program explores every facet of filmmaking and delves into related aspects such as animation and game development. Many of this film school’s classes are available online for student convenience. Tuition to UM runs $7,700 to $25,000 per year.
Tuition: $7,000 to $25,000
Alumni: Kelly Gorham, Aaron Pruitt, Scott Sterling, Paul Breno and Dawson Dunning
Columbia College Chicago
Located in the heart of Chicago, Columbia College’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts provides courses that lead to a BA or BFA in film and television. Chances at professional mentoring and work on film lots in Chicago and Los Angeles make this film school the go-to choice for ambitious students. Additionally, the college partners with the YouTube Creator Institute to aid film students with digital media production and promotion.
Alumni: Aidan Quinn, Pat Sajack, Common, Bob Odenkirk and Michelle Monaghan
University of North Carolina School of Arts (UNCSA)
UNCSA offers a robust combination of undergraduate, graduate, and summer filmmaking programs for students who want to make the most of its small class sizes and high-quality instruction. Degree paths for undergraduates include:
- Picture editing and sound design
- Production design and visual effects
Graduate courses in screenwriting and creative production take students deeper into their crafts, while summer programs offer students a crash course in filmmaking or animation. The school recently added a Media and Emerging Technology Lab to help students stay at the forefront of filmmaking.
Tuition: $6,497 (in-state undergraduate); $23,731 (out-of-state undergraduate); $9,196 (in-state graduate); $23,899 (out-of-state graduate)
Alumni: Jada Pinkett Smith, Jeff Conaway, Mary Louise Parker, Missi Pyle and Kristin Chenoweth
Montclair State University
A partnership with Sony gives The Film Institute at Montclair State state-of-the-art equipment for its film students. Robust course work that encompasses every facet of the film industry paired with access to industry conferences, competitions, and internships ensures student success, and it also offers help with portfolio creation and job searches after graduation. This film school provides on-campus and online learning, with summer courses available for those who can’t make regular classes.
Tuition: $6,534 (in-state undergraduate); $10,514 (out-of-state undergraduate); $668 (in-state graduate); $949 (out-of-state graduate)
Alumni: Melba Moore, Bruce Willis, Dania Ramirez, Kevin Carolan and Lorene Scafaria
Ithaca College’s Roy H. Park School of Communications offers students a BFA in film, photography, and visual arts. Suitable for students who wish to learn everything about the filmmaking process, the college knows graduates require skill sets comprising the whole of digital media. Though based in New York, this film school offers programs that take students to Los Angeles for internship opportunities.
Tuition: $65,599 (undergraduate)
Alumni: Mike Royce, Deborah Snyder, Ricki Lake, Amanda Setton and Mark Romanek
A private school located in Los Angeles County, Biola University differs from most film schools due to its religious focus. Its cinema and media arts program integrates biblical themes, making it a great choice for students looking to break into the $5 billion per year Christian movie and television industry. It features a 50,000-square-foot soundstage, theater, office, and classroom complex, providing cutting-edge technology and lots of space for students to hone their crafts.
Tuition: $44,382 (undergraduate)
Alumni: Chris Masi, David Jacobson, Evan Arnold, Scott Derrickson and Rob Bredow
Academy of Art University
Located in San Francisco, the Academy of Art University features a Motion Pictures and Television program plus tracks in complementary fields such as animation, music and sound design, and game development. Five professional sound stages help students get their feet wet in the film industry, and the faculty takes a hands-on approach so they know what to expect when they start their professional careers. Proximity to Silicon Valley gives students access to emerging technologies such as virtual reality. Courses at this film school teach students the ins-and-outs of:
- Production design
Tuition: $25,000 annually
Alumni: Jan Phillip Kramer, Jason Sperling, Mark Kofer, Sadie Williams and Ruby Wang
One of the U.S.’s top schools, Wesleyan University offers a highly ranked film studies program on its Connecticut campus. This liberal arts school’s College of Film and the Moving Image dives deep into history and analysis while combining theory with practice. Students learn at a new 16,000-square-foot Basinger Center for Film Studies, which includes a soundstage and a 412-seat theater to screen their works.
Tuition: $72,758 to $74,908 (undergraduate)
Alumni: Joss Whedon, Michael Bay, Akiva Goldsman, D.B. Weiss and Jenno Topping
Part of the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers Filmmaking has a conservatory-style setting that immerses students in the craft. Only 26 spots for this program are available each year on the school’s New Brunswick campus, making it highly competitive in the film school world. Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Thomas Lennon runs The Documentary Film Lab, offering film students opportunities to work on international projects. The recently opened New Brunswick Performing Arts Center on the NJ campus provides screening space with seating for 300. Graduates of this program receive a BFA degree in filmmaking.
Tuition: $12,772 (in-state undergraduate); $29,833 (out-of-state undergraduate); $20,944 (in-state graduate); $38,544 (out-of-state graduate)
Alumni: Avery Brooks, Mike Colter, Calista Flockhart, Jane Krakowski and Kristin Davis
ArtCenter College of Design
Located in the Pasadena mountains in California, the ArtCenter College of Design features three tracks for film students — cinematography, directing, and editing. A full-time casting director helps students with casting their films, and the school’s Media Maker Lab fuses the advertising and film production departments for more learning opportunities.
Tuition: $23,667 (undergraduate); $25,012 (graduate)
Alumni: Roger Avary, Kevin Benson, Michael Bay, Brooke Roberts and Zack Snyder
Film and Television Institute of India
Created by the Indian government in 1965 and housed on the grounds of the famous Prabhat Studio, the Film and Television Institute of India teaches students what they need to know to make it in Bollywood — and Hollywood! Screening facilities provide opportunities for students to show off their films, and an extensive film library helps them study the classics. This international film school features courses in direction, screenplay writing, editing, cinematography, sound design and recording, screen acting, and art direction and production design.
University of California, Santa Barbara
Founded in 1973 as a small program, UCSB’s film program outgrew its original confines to become the Department of Film and Media Studies in 1996. Its BA curriculum teaches students film theory and history, delving into international media development, and provides excellent education on nonfiction and fiction filmmaking, web-based media production, and screenwriting, among other disciplines. The film school’s MA-PhD program dives deep into history, theory, and critical analysis, enabling students to perform intensive research pertinent to their future careers. Currently, the school is adding more depth and nuance to its already-innovative program with courses in:
- Environmental media
- Risk and media
- Data visualization
- Sound studies
- Global and emergent media
- Media industry and policy
Tuition: $14,391 (in-state undergraduate); $44,145 (out-of-state undergraduate)
Alumni: Adam Levy, Amanda Greenblatt, Craig Borders, Georgia Packard and Brad Silberling
University of Arizona
Blending critical analysis and film history with industry studies, the University of Arizona’s film program helps students develop creative, business, and legal acumen within the field. A strong focus on diversity gives this film school’s BA Film and Television Producing and Studies degree program an up-to-the-minute feel, and students have opportunities to intern with local and regional media professionals and Hollywood production centers for enhanced learning. Additionally, this school has a Film and Television Production BFA program that covers technical aspects such as direction, cinematography, and editing along with sound production and screenwriting.
Tuition: $526 per unit
Stony Brook University
A relatively new film school, Stony Brook University’s MFA Film Program gives graduate students a deep education on independent filmmaking. A partnership with Killer Films aids the school in its quest to support indie filmmakers, and its key selling point is hands-on experience. Industry professionals mentor film students, providing assistance with every facet of the filmmaking process from scriptwriting and casting to production dynamics and a grounding in media business such as financing and marketing. The campus sits on Eighth Ave. in Manhattan, but many courses are available online.
Tuition: $7,379 (in-state undergraduate); $16,214 (out-of-state undergraduate); $9,153 (in-state graduate); $15,048 (out-of-state graduate)
Stanford University’s Film and Media Department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the craft. Famous for its MFA documentary program, this film school sits near California’s Silicon Valley, bringing the technological aspects of filmmaking into focus.
Tuition: $50,000 (undergraduate); $42,479 (graduate)
Alumni: Lisa Joy, Laura Bialis, Dana Fox, Jon Alston and Sarah Naftalis
Beijing Film Academy
Founded in 1950 and the largest educational institution focusing on film and television in Asia, the Beijing Film Academy provides students with a multidisciplinary approach to filmmaking. This film school’s program includes four tracks — technique, historical, theoretical, and production. To ensure students get a hand-on learning experience, production aspects comprise 50% of the courses. Classes taught in English make the Beijing Film Academy an exciting choice for international film students.
Northwestern’s School of Communication has undergraduate and graduate programs for filmmakers in its Radio/Television/Film department. Majors in this program learn directing, screenwriting, and production along with management for arts and entertainment and media analysis and criticism at the film school’s Chicago campus, and MA and MFA programs help students extend their learning into filmmaking specialties such as documentary media and writing for screen and stage. Famous alumni of Northwestern’s film school include Seth Meyers and Steve Colbert.
Tuition: $56,232 (undergraduate); $74,756 (graduate)
Alumni: Warren Beatty, Megan Markle, Billy Eichner and Greg Berlanti
Boston University’s Department of Film and Television offers BS undergraduate and MS and MFA graduate degrees. The BS curriculum features intensive courses on cinematography, directing, sound design, editing, and short film production, and it also focuses on creative producing, screenwriting, and entertainment management for a start-to-finish approach to filmmaking. Graduate-level courses let students closely examine film history and literature for a deep dive into social and cultural implications and developments. High-tech facilities and opportunities for internships with media partners ensure students receive a well-rounded film school experience at Boston University.
Tuition: $54,729 (undergraduate)
Alumni: Josh and Bennie Safdie, Jim Gianopulos and Jennifer Getzinger
EICAR International Film School of Paris
EICAR provides learning opportunities for international film students, offering BFA and MFA degrees in a variety of specialties. Though it’s a French school, EICAR has classes in English, with BFA tracks lasting 3 years and MFA tracks lasting 2 years. Its comprehensive programs cover cinematography, screenwriting, directing, production, and editing, and this film school also boasts a 1-year filmmaking program that gets straight to learning by doing. Access to professionals, including master class lecturers, helps students network before they venture forth on their filmmaking careers.
Tuition: $14,250 EU (undergraduate); $ 19,950 EU (graduate); $15,590 (one-year filmmaking program)
California State University at Northridge
CSUN’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts (CTVA) offers seven TV and film-focused programs. This film school provides education in television production, including narrative and documentary, VR and emerging media, screenwriting, and entertainment media management. Additionally, its filmmaking track dives deep into every aspect of the art, grounding students in both craft and technology. Proximity to Hollywood gives students a chance to network and intern at major companies, which along with low in-state tuition makes it an attractive option for budding filmmakers.
Tuition: $6,972 (in-state undergraduate); $8,406 (in-state graduate)
Alumni: Brian Miller and Tiffany Brown
Rhode Island School of Design
Rated the fifth best art school in the U.S., Rhode Island School of Design boasts a robust filmmaking and animation department. Though low on the bar when it comes to teaching industry business, this film school known as Harvard for artists ranks highly for its intensive media courses, including a BFA track for film, animation, and video and a MFA track for digital and media. RISD shares resources and faculty with Brown University to ensure a high-caliber educational experience.
Alumni: Gus van Sant, Ellen Kuras, David Byrne, Seth McFarlane and Martha Coolidge
Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema
Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema sits on the lot of Steiner Studios, the home of television’s “Gotham” series. Besides the advantages conferred by location on a working studio lot complete with soundstages and pre- and post-production facilities, this film school also includes tracks that go deeper into the filmmaking process, including options that focus on screenwriting, the sonic arts, and media scoring. A public and private partnership lowers costs for students, with an eye toward creating a diverse, dynamic student body.
Tuition: $10,567 (in-state graduate); $15,282 (out-of-state graduate)
School of Visual Arts
Located in New York City, SVA helps students express their personal creativity, showcasing their films at the Dusty Film and Animation Festival to get it in front of industry professionals. Access to working filmmakers in the Filmmakers Dialogue program lets students quiz those who’ve already done it so they know what to expect in the field. Hands-on filmmaking opportunities and tracks that focus on cinematography, screenwriting, directing, sound, and editing ensure students get a thorough grounding in the craft. The School of Visual Arts offers a BFA in Film and an MFA in Photography, Video, and Related Media.
Tuition: $22,500 (undergraduate); $25,200 (graduate)
Alumni: Fred Armisen, Steve Carr, Jared Leto, Bryan Singer and Craig Gillespie
Centro de Capacitacion Cinematographica (CCC)
Situated in the part of Mexico City commonly known as Mexican Hollywood, CCC offers only Spanish classes. If students have excellent language skills, however, they can get a top-notch filmmaking education at CCC for a nominal cost. Students at this film school benefit from a large soundstage, full audio production facilities, and extensive training in digital filmmaking.
Tuition: $1,600 annually
Alumni: Everardo Gonzalez, Tatiana Huezo and Rodrigo Prieto
Ringling College of Art and Design
Known for its animation program, Ringling College of Art and Design boasts a three-building complex complete with expansive soundstages, live mix and pre-recording suites, and multiple editing suites alongside classrooms, meeting spaces, and specialty stages. This film school lets students team up with actual clients so they can get real-world experience before they graduate, and it offers BFA degrees in computer animation, creative writing, film, and motion design, among others.
Alumni: Patrick Osbourne, Michelle Phan, David Bromstad and Brandon Oldenburg
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Film students looking to experiment with content and form can go to School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With an eye toward out-of-the-box thinking, this film school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio degree and graduate program to students that covers film, video, new media, and animation. Its Gene Siskel Film Center gives students a place to screen their creations and showcases works by alumni of the school. To further enhance learning, this film school includes a Video Data Bank that highlights contemporary artists and access to The Flaxman Library’s 16mm Film Study Collection.
Tuition: $1,740/credit hour (undergraduate); $1,798/credit hour (graduate)
Alumni: Walt Disney, Lara Flynn Boyle, Orson Welles and Robin Tunney
Temple University’s School of Theater, Film, and Media Arts focuses not only on the craft, but also what happens before and after. Instruction on raising funds for flicks, how to best exhibit films, and how to distribute students’ creations comprise its BA with concentration in producing. This school also offers a BFA with concentration in directing that aids student filmmakers moving into the profession or furthering their education with graduate work. Though Temple is located in Philadelphia, students at its film school have options for learning in Los Angeles and Venice.
Tuition: $18,602 (in-state undergraduate); $31,562 (out-of-state undergraduate)
Alumni: Bob Saget, Tom Sizemore, Patrica Wettig, Richard Brooks and Norman Fell
No matter your locale, you can find film schools to fit your professional ambitions and budget. Explore this ranked resource to find certificate, Bachelors, and Masters programs that hone your filmmaking skill set and prepare you for a career behind the camera.