Best Schools with Cinema Studies Graduate Programs: List of Schools

Learn about the best schools with cinema studies graduate programs in the nation. Get university rankings, location information and degree possibilities, and compare similarities and differences between schools to make an informed decision.

School Overviews

Columbia University and the University of California - Los Angeles are two top-ranked, well-regarded schools to offer graduate programs in cinema studies. Though they're located on different coasts, both schools offer interdisciplinary film programs that cover cinematic theory and criticism, and apply them to the art, literature, sociology and philosophy of film. Both schools are also situated in metropolitan areas that offer students access to actual film productions and festivals.

1. Columbia University in the City of New York

School Highlight: MA film students at Columbia have access to research and internships at New York's top film and television archives and libraries, such as the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Paley Center for Media.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Columbia #4 on its list of national universities in 2015. The university's School of the Arts offers a master's degree in film studies, a program geared toward applicants who have previously completed a good deal of film study or similar coursework. Students can study film history and theory, script analysis and narrative.

2. University of California - Los Angeles

School Highlight: UCLA's school of theater, film and television is home to numerous film and media research centers, such as the Skoll Center for Impact Entertainment, the David C. Copley Center for the Study of Costume Design, and the Center for Performance Studies.

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) ranked #23 on U.S. News & World Report's 2015 listing of all national universities. In addition, U.S. News & World Report also ranked UCLA #5 on its list of schools to offer graduate programs in multimedia and visual communications in 2012. The school is located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, in proximity to the major movie studios of Hollywood, Burbank and Culver City. UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in film, television and digital media. Graduate degree options include a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies.

Top Graduate Cinema Studies Programs

College/University Name Location Distinction
American Film Institute Conservatory AFI ranked #4 on The Hollywood Reporter's 2014 list of the best film schools in the country. Los Angeles, CA
Brigham Young University BYU offers the largest international film program in the country. Provo, UT
Northwestern University Northwestern ranked #13 among all national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2015. Evanston, IL
San Francisco State University Students have access to six production labs, including a digital cinema lab and a sound stage. San Francisco, CA
Temple University Students can participate in the school's Los Angeles Study Away Program. Philadelphia, PA
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Students have access to the Donald Hall Collection, which holds thousands of DVDs and screenplays. Ann Arbor, MI
University of Nevada - Las Vegas UNLV offers two annual film festivals for students and alumni of the film studies program. Las Vegas, NV
University of Southern California USC ranked #8 on U.S. News & World Report's 2012 list of the best multimedia and visual communications schools. Los Angeles, CA

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