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Movie Director Schools, Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Prospective movie directors can find training through film and production programs, which are offered at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Each degree program allows students to work on individual projects and introduces core movie director topics, such as screenwriting, directing, editing and cinematography.

Selecting a Film and Production School

An associate's degree in filmmaking can be completed in two years of full-time study, and it provides students with an overview of essential directing topics. A bachelor's degree program takes an additional two years to complete and may allow students to choose a concentration area.

Some common concentration areas include screenwriting, camera operation, editing and directing. Additionally, a senior thesis film may be required to complete a bachelor's degree. Lastly, a master's degree program in filmmaking is considered to be the terminal arts degree in the field and focuses on the completion of various short film projects and a longer thesis film. Classes tend to emphasize the development of hands-on skills pertinent to the movie occupation.

An associate's degree in this field prepares graduates for various lower-level film production jobs, such as grip and gaffer positions. A grip is responsible for setting up different types of film equipment, including the camera dolly tracks, scaffolding and platforms. In contrast, a gaffer oversees the electrical department. Graduates of a bachelor's or master's degree program can compete for jobs as camera assistants, assistant directors or focus pullers. Graduates of filmmaking degree programs only attain the top-level positions, such as movie director or cinematographer, after spending many years working their way up the ranks.

Prospective students should also take into account the quality and amount of equipment a film department has to offer. Film cameras that are no longer used in the industry may be of little use to graduates once they enter the job market. The skills a student obtains while enrolled in a film production degree program should be transferable. Also, a prospective student should ensure that there is an abundance of film cameras, lighting equipment and editing stations for use. Long waits to check out equipment can slow down production on film projects.

Largest Schools by Student Population

College/UniversityStudent PopulationInstitution Type
Arizona State University67,0824-year, Public
Miami Dade College57,2224-year, primarily associate's, Public
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities51,1404-year, Public
University of Central Florida50,1214-year, Public
New York University42,189 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Florida State University38,6824-year, Public
University of Southern California33,7474-year, Private not-for-profit
Boston University31,7664-year, Private not-for-profit
George Mason University30,6134-year, Public
University of Iowa29,1524-year, Public
University of South Carolina - Columbia27,4884-year, Public
St Petersburg College26,6594-year, primarily associate's, Public
Florida Community College at Jacksonville25,9034-year, primarily associate's, Public
Northeastern University25,8374-year, Private not-for-profit
University of Illinois at Chicago25,8354-year, Public
Drexel University21,5374-year, Private not-for-profit
Ohio University21,3694-year, Public
CUNY Hunter 21,2584-year, Public
Southern Illinois20,6734-year, Public
Syracuse University19,3664-year, Private not-for-profit

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