Film Studies: 93 Schools to Know

Film studies is an academic discipline that focuses on different critical, historical, and theoretical approaches to film. In some schools, film studies is included in media studies or taught along with television studies.

Film studies as an academic discipline focuses on exploring narrative, cultural, and artistic implications in cinema and takes a critical approach to the production and creation of film. Studying film in this way provides a solid foundation for anyone looking to become a filmmaker or work in this field. Aspiring film critics and those who want to work in production also gain essential knowledge by studying this subject.

Some examples of the subjects, theories, and movements you might explore when pursuing further education in film studies include:

  • Classical cinema
  • Continuity editing
  • Diegetic sound
  •   Film language
  • Film noir
  • Genre
  • Melodrama
  • Method acting
  • Mickey Mousing
  • Mise-en-scène
  • Mode
  • Montage
  • Production cycle
  • Propaganda
  • Realism
  • Star image
  • Vertical integration
  • Auteur theory
  • Cognitive theory
  • Deconstruction
  • Feminism
  • Formalism
  • Ideological analysis
  • Post-colonialism
  • Postmodernism
  • Reception studies
  • Semiotics
  • Structuralism
  • Cinema of attractions
  • Soviet montage
  • German Expressionism
  • Surrealist film
  • Classical Hollywood
  • Italian Neorealism
  • French New Wave
  • Underground film
  • Cinéma vérité
  • Direct cinema
  • New Hollywood
  • New German cinema
  • New Spanish cinema
  • Dogme 95
  • Digital cinema

93 Film Studies Schools Aspiring Filmmakers Should Check Out

Whether you’re interested in working as a screenwriter, director, producer, or anything in between, gaining a solid foundation through your education is the first step. You can pursue an associate, bachelor’s, or even a graduate degree in film to further your knowledge. You’ll find both in-person and online programs available across the United States and even around the world where you’ll create a thesis and learn the ins and outs of making films.

The right fit depends on your area of focus as well as factors like cost, location, and ranking. Fortunately, there’s a program out there for just about any need. Before you buy your camera, here’s an alphabetical list of schools where you can study film to get you started:

Top Film Schools

  1. University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts; At $42,000 per year in Los Angeles, the film programs at this school offer extensive technical training and hands-on work opportunities.
  2. New York University Kanbar Institute of Film & Television; The famous New York City-based school is widely recognized for its cinema and performing arts college. Tuition usually caps in at around $54,000.
  3. American Film Institute; Set in the sunny Los Angeles, the accredited film school ” champions progress in visual storytelling to empower storytellers, inspire story lovers and further the limitless power of the moving image.” Tuition is around $60,000 per year.
  4. UCLA School of School of Theatre, Film, and Television; This city of angels school serves “as a premier interdisciplinary global professional school that develops outstanding humanistic storytellers, industry leaders and scholars whose diverse, innovative voices enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.”
  5. Columbia University School of the Arts; The film program at this New York-based university includes bachelor- and master-level courses. Tuition ranges from $44,000 to $51,000 per year.
  6. Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts; Students at this school learn all aspects of filmmaking in the first two years and choose a specialty to focus on at the end of the sophomore year. Tuition is around $20,000 for undergraduate students and ranges from $15,000 to $20,000 for graduate students.
  7. California Institute of the Arts; Situtated in Valenicia, California, this school was actually founded by by Walt Disney and is an experimental school with various focuses available to students. Tuition is $38,000 per year.
  8. Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television; The film program here has been offered for 10 years, and a third of all students get internships. Undergraduate tuition has a base of $38,000 per year, while graduate students pay $985 per credit along with other fees.
  9. Wesleyan University College of Film and Moving Image; At $56,000 per year in Kalamazoo, Michigan, this liberal arts school focuses on all aspects of filmmaking, including traditional methods.
  10. Emerson College; This school in Boston offers a range of course options and specialties for students. Similar to Loyola Marymount, undergraduate students have a base tuition of $33,000 per year while graduate students pay $1,004 per credit hour.
  11. UT Austin; Situated in the lone-star state, students at this school are surrounded by the influence of South by Southwest, an annual film festival, and a massive indie film scene. Tuition is $5,000 for in-state students while out-of-state tuition ranges from $8,000-$16,000.
  12. Stanford University; The prestigious California school offers an extensive array of arts programs. Tuition as of 2020 is around $53,000.
  13. DePaul University School of Cinematic Arts; Located in the windy city of Chicago, this school is best known for its acting program, although it offers many other film and media courses. Program fees vary.
  14. Vanderbilt University; The Nashville-based school’s film department is a “vibrant interdisciplinary program devoted to the study and production of film across media platforms, streaming devices, and environments.” Tuition as of 2020 is around $52,000.
  15. Boston University; The well-known university’s film program “is committed to teaching students how to tell stories over multiple platforms such as film, television and new media.” Tuition tends to be around $56,000.
  16. California College of the Arts; With campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, you can learn all about film while going to a school specializing in the arts. Tuition is around $53,000.
  17. Academy of Art University; Also located in San Francisco, this art school offers an array of different schools, including ones dedicated to writing in film and media production. Tuition for this California school is $23,000.
  18. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Specializing in experimental film, this Wisconsin-based school’s tuition is $18,000.
  19. University of Colorado; This Boulder, Colorado, -based school’s film program “aspires to integrate the critical, historical and theoretical study of cinema, media and the visual arts, with artistic and commercial practices.” In-state tuition is $12,500 while out-of-state tuition is $38,818.
  20. Ithaca College Park School of Communications; This New York-based communications school is looking to “shape the future of media.” Tuition for Ithaca College is $45,000.
  21. Ringling College of Art and Design; In sunny, Sarasota, Florida, students can earn bachelor’s degrees in digital filmmaking, computer animation, photography, and game design. Tuition is $17,000 a semester.
  22. Savannah College of Art and Design; This Georgia-based school has varying program fees. The current director of SCAD was once a casting director for CBS, providing access to education that keeps students current in the latest filmmaking trends.
  23. Rhode Island College; The film school here “offers students the opportunity to explore all kinds of moving images from across history and from national and international perspectives.” In-state tuition sits at around $9,000 while out-of-state tuition is $23,000.
  24. Columbia College – Chicago; This Chi-town school offers media production skills as well as a comprehensive digital cinematography platform. Tuition is $27,756 a year.
  25. Florida State University; Based in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, the 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio and support of student filmmaking endeavors help this school stand out for filmmakers. Tuition for in-state students ranges from $6,000-$22,000, while out-of-state tuition ranges from $24,000-$39,000.
  26. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD); The film, animation, and video program here produces well-rounded filmmakers. Tuition ends up at $40,000 per year.
  27. ArtCenter College of Design; This Pasadena, California, school believes in “learning by making,” and is home to state-of-the-art facilities and film equipment. Tuition is a little under $45,000.
  28. San Francisco State University; This California school has a plethora of film majors, including fiction, experimental, and documentary filmmaking. The program fees vary.
  29. Syracuse University; At $54,000 per year, you can learn filmmaking, animation, visual effects, video art, and other elements of computer art in this well-rounded program.
  30. Pratt Institute; This Brooklyn-based school is a little different from other film/art schools, where students don’t have to choose a specialty but rather receive a well-rounded education. Program fees vary.
  31. Cornell University; This ivy league school has lots of different options for those wanting to pursue a career in media, including a film minor. Tuition for Cornell is $57,000.
  32. Full Sail University; Located in Winter Park, Florida, Full Sail University offers bachelors’ and masters’ degrees in film. Tuition for Full Sail lands at $24,000.
  33. Temple University; With program fees varying at this Philadelphia college, students can learn about lesser-known aspects of filmmaking, such as distribution, fundraising, and exhibition, to increase their odds of success.
  34. University of Arizona Hanson Film Institute; University of Arizona’s film school works to combine the arts and business sides of film. This Tuscon, Arizona, school is around $12,000 for in-state students and $36,000 for out-of-state students.
  35. USC Marshall School of Business; This department at USC will help you get the upper hand on the business side of film in the Hollywood capital of Los Angeles.

Best Value Film Studies

  1. University of North Carolina School of the Arts; This school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, allows tudents todive into film and its connection to design, production, dance, drama, and music. Tuition is $5,000 for in-state students and $18,000 for out-of-state students.
  2. City University of New York; This college has locations across New York City and Brooklyn, and is one of the oldest film schools in the United States. The tuition for this school is $24,000 and higher.
  3. University of Alaska Fairbanks; The Alaskan school’s film program allows students to work on film sets and other main-stage productions. In-state tuition for the school is $7,000 while out-of-state tuition is $21,000.
  4. Watkins College of Art Design & Film; This Nashville art school offers BFA’s and MFA’s to potential film students and has a leading projection and screening theatre. The college’s tuition is $24,000.
  5. Miami Dade College; Located in the sunny Florida, this school’s film program provides an 120-hour degree of film, television, and digital production. Tuition for this major is $15,000.
  6. California State University, Northridge;
  7. New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, CA)
  8. New York Film Academy (global)
  9. New York University Kanbar Institute of Film & TelevisionNew York University Tisch School of the Arts (New York, NY)
  10. The New School (New York, NY)
  11. Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ)
  12.   Pacific Union College  (Angwin, CA)
  13. Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY)
  14. Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT)
  15. Regent University (Virginia Beach, VA)
  16. Rhode Island College (Providence, RI)
  17. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) (Providence, RI)
  18. Ringling College of Art and Design (Sarasota, FL)
  19. Sheridan College Institute of Technology (Oakville, Ontario, Canada)
  20. St. Cloud State University ( St. Cloud, MN)
  21. Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
  22. San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA)
  23. Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA)
  24. Southern New Hampshire University (Manchester, NH)
  25. State University of New York at Binghamton (Binghamton, NY)
  26. State University of New York at Fredonia (Fredonia, NY)
  27. State University of New York at Oswego (Oswego, NY)
  28. State University of New York Purchase College (Harrison, NY)
  29. Stephens College (Columbia, MO)
  30. Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY)
  31. Tel Aviv University (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  32. Temple University (Philadelphia, PA)
  33. Tiffin University (Tiffin, OH)
  34. UCLA School of School of Theatre, Film, and Television (Los Angeles, CA)
  35. University of Alaska Fairbanks (Fairbanks, AK)
  36. University of Arizona (online)
  37. University of Arizona Hanson Film Institute (Tucson, AZ)
  38. University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)
  39. University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
  40. University of Colorado (Boulder, CO)
  41. University of Georgia (Athens, GA)
  42. University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
  43. University of Montana (online)
  44. University of Nebraska – Lincoln (Lincoln, NE)
  45. University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Winston-Salem, NC)
  46. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
  47. University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)
  48. University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (Los Angeles, CA)
  49. USC Marshall School of Business (Los Angeles, CA)
  50. University of Virginia (online)
  51. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
  52. UT Austin (Austin, TX)
  53. Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
  54. Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)
  55. Watkins College of Art Design & Film (Nashville, TN)
  56. Wayne State University (Detroit, MI)
  57. Wesleyan University College of Film and Moving Image (Middletown, CT)
  58. Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI)

Not sure if you’re ready to pursue further education in film studies? Keep this statistic in mind: From 2019 to 2029, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of film and video editors to grow by 22%. Just a bachelor’s degree in film studies qualifies you for entry-level positions in areas such as producing and directing.

If you’re interested in learning more about film studies, apply to Nashville Film Institute to gain professional qualifications as a filmmaker.