List of Top Colleges with Movie Directing Programs

Movie directing is the process of turning a written script into a short or full-length film. Find out about rankings and program offerings for the top colleges with movie directing programs.

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School Overviews

Located in the hub of the moviemaking industry, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) both offer studies in the cinematic arts. Both institutions are nationally recognized for their fine arts programs. UCLA offers bachelor's and master's degree programs related to movie directing, while CalArts features a master's degree program only.

1. University of California - Los Angeles

School Highlight: UCLA tied for the 25th best ranking among national universities in 2015 according to U.S. News & World Report.

The UCLA School of Film, Theater and Television's graduate fine arts program was ranked tied for fourth in 2012 by U.S. News & World Report on its 'Top Fine Arts Programs' list.

The Bachelor of Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media is a liberal arts program. Students can take classes related to movie directing, such as directing the camera, stylistic studies for the moving image and screenwriting. The university counts Francis Ford Coppola, Rob Reiner and Tim Robbins among its alumni.

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Production/Directing is a 4-year program with an emphasis in film direction. Each year of coursework highlights a specific area of filmmaking, including the filmmaking process, professional training, movie production and completion of a thesis project. Students take classes in directing the actor for camera, film analysis, post-production sound and writing for the short film.

2. California Institute of the Arts - Valencia, California

School Highlight: The graduate fine arts program at CalArts ranked sixth on U.S. News & World Report's list of 'Top Fine Arts Programs' in 2012.

The MFA in Film Directing is a 3-year program with faculty mentors that help create each individual's course of study. The program spotlights acting, scene study, screenwriting and critical thought, and students are required to complete a film each year. Curriculum includes studio acting, cinematic storytelling, narrative editing and one-act production.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Cinematography and Film Production
  • Film and Cinema Studies
  • Photography

Top Schools with Movie Directing Programs

College/University Name Distinction Location
Arizona State University Film students may have the opportunity to work on a Universal Pictures film set for a semester through the university's cooperative education relationship with the studio Tempe, AZ
Chapman University Film program faculty have worked on over 300 total feature film productions Orange, CA
Columbia University in the City of New York Undergraduate film students can get additional experience working on productions through the Columbia Undergraduate Film Productions (CUFP), a student-run organization New York, NY
Cornell University Film students can design an independent major, and they have the option to coordinate their study of film with studies in another discipline Ithaca, NY
CUNY Brooklyn College Film students intern with companies like HBO, Showtime Networks, NBC Universal, Magnolia Pictures and Jigsaw Productions Brooklyn, NY
New York University University offers a dual Master of Business Administration (MBA)/MFA that allows students to learn both the creative and business sides of the film industry New York, NY
Rochester Institute of Technology University offers a BFA that focuses on film and animation Rochester, NY
Stanford University University offers an MFA focused specifically on documentary film production Stanford, CA
Temple University Film students can spend a term in Los Angeles interning in the entertainment industry, taking courses and networking through the university's LA Study Away program Philadelphia, PA
The University of Texas at Austin University is located in a city with a thriving film scene, as the home to world-renowned directors like Robert Rodriguez and the host of several film festivals, including South by Southwest Austin, TX
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