Cinematography Schools in the U.S.

Cinematography schools are intended for students who would like to pursue careers in filmmaking. In addition to filmmaking, cinematography requires the ability to supervise and manage a film crew. Important factors to consider when choosing the ideal cinematography school include quality of equipment, faculty experience and proximity to filming venues.

How to Select a Cinematography School

Many schools refer to cinematography programs as film production or filmmaking programs, though the topics covered are comparable. Cinematography schools cover the creative and technical aspects of filmmaking, and some may even incorporate business aspects. Students often can earn a fine arts degree and can begin with a bachelor's degree. Students who wish a masters degree, a masters of fine arts degree, or a PhD, can find programs, as well.

Further considerations for this field:

  • When choosing a cinematography school, students should focus on programs taught by a talented or well-credentialed faculty.
  • Several degree paths are available in cinematography or filmmaking, allowing students some degree of creativity with the types of courses they choose.
  • Choose a program that incorporates studies on the filmmaking business with instruction on cinematographic techniques.

Program Information

Besides learning the technical skills required for cinematography, other courses are needed to successfully complete a degree in a program. These courses may include, but not be limited to:

  • Directing
  • Editing
  • Producing
  • Critical Studies
  • Theory

Top Ten Cinematography Schools

College/University Institution Type
University of Southern California private, not-for-profit, 4 year
New York University private, not-for-profit, 4 year
American Film Institute private, not-for-profit, 4 year
University of California-Los Angeles public, 4 year
California Institute of the Arts private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Columbia University private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Chapman University private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Loyola Marymount University private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Wesleyan University private, not-for-profit, 4 year
Emerson College private, not-for-profit, 4 year

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