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Schools with Film Technology Programs: How to Choose

Oct 20, 2021

While no degree program is a sure-fire bet for a job in the film industry, there are different levels of instruction. An undergraduate certificate or associate's degree in film technology can qualify an individual to get work in a film studio, while bachelor's and master's degrees in film production are more suitable for people wishing to become directors and make their own films.

Top 10 Schools for Film Majors

Below is a list of the top 10 universities in the country with film majors:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2018-2019)*
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's and Master's Undergraduate: $56,225; Graduate: $45,561
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's and Master's Undergraduate: $51,828; Graduate: $45,426
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's and Master's Undergrad In-state: $13,226; Out-of-state: $42,218;
Graduate In-state: $12,946; Out-of-state: $28,048
Chapman University Orange, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's and Master's Undergraduate: $52,724; Graduate: $31,412
Loyola Marymont University Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private Bachelor's and Master's Undergraduate: $48,522; Graduate: $18,106
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Doctoral Undergrad In-state: $14,184; Out-of-state: $43,176;
Graduate In-state: $14,131; Out-of-State: $29,233
University of California, Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's Undergrad In-state: $13,960; Out-of-state: $42,952;
Graduate In-state: $13,777; Out-of-State: $28,879
American University Washington, DC 4-year, Private Bachelor's and Master's Undergrad: $48,459
Graduate: $31,446
Wesleyan University Middleton, CT 4-year, Private Bachelor's $54,944
Pratt Institute Brooklyn, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $51,870

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider these things when choosing a film degree program:

  • Technology- The film production facilities at a school contribute to the program quality and prospective students may wish to find schools that provide instruction in the latest technology.
  • Class Size- Students who want access to the instructors' time or who desire the close-knit relationships of a smaller classroom may want to look for schools with low student-teacher ratios.
  • Ties to the Film Industry- Quality internships award academic credit and experience, as well as providing students with skills to list on their resumes.
  • Weigh the level and quality of training provided by each program against the investment of time and money required for completion.

Certificate in Film Technology

Certificate programs in film technology can often be completed in 12 months or less. They cover topics in film crew organization, camera equipment, set design, set safety, pre-production, production and post-production.

Associate's Degrees in Film Technology

Associate's degree programs in film technology can usually be completed in two years, and some programs transfer to 4-year colleges. Students take a foundation of general education classes, such as communications, math and science, combined with a core of film technology-related courses.

Bachelor's Degrees in Film Technology

Many universities and traditional 4-year colleges offer programs in film technology or film production. These programs, offered as Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, have a robust general education curriculum along with a core of film technology, cinematography and editing courses. Students are encouraged to use additional courses to specialize in a specific area, such as the film business or cinema art. In addition, bachelor's programs often include internships and work-study opportunities along with senior capstone projects.

Master's Degrees in Film Technology

Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degree programs enable students to focus their studies on a particular genre, such as animation, documentaries, short videos or experimental films. Students might zero in on a particular phase of the film production cycle and learn about film casting, direction or marketing. Prior to completion of the program, students must usually complete a thesis and portfolio. In addition to a bachelor's degree with a major, minor or significant coursework in a related discipline, applicants are generally required to complete a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission.

Individual interested in a career in the film industry will have no problem finding schools that offer majors in film production and technology at various degree levels. Schools that offer hands-on experiences and internships afford better opportunities for their students.

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