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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, master's and doctoral 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.

Relevant programs for aspiring movie directors can be found at traditional colleges and universities as well as dedicated art schools. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available.

10 Schools with Movie Director Programs

These schools offer degrees in film production, film studies, or other topics that are relevant to aspiring movie directors.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-16)*
Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,158 in-state,
$25,458 out-of-state
Miami Dade College Miami, FL 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $2,834 in-state,
$9,661 out-of-state
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's $13,790 in-state,
$22,210 out-of-state
University of Central Florida Orlando, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
Master's
$6,368 in-state,
$22,467 out-of-state
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's,
Master's,
Doctoral
$47,750
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
Master's
$6,507 in-state,
$21,673 out-of-state
University of Southern California Los Angeles, 4-year, Private Bachelor's,
Master's,
Doctoral
$50,277
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, Private Bachelor's,
Master's
$48,436
George Mason University Fairfax, VA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,952 in-state,
$31,598 out-of-state
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
Master's,
Doctoral
$8,104 in-state,
$27,890 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for movie director schools:

  • Students may want to find out if the school provides the opportunity to pursue a particular concentration within a broader film degree, such filmmaking practices or film and media production.
  • Particularly at the graduate level, it is important for prospective students to find out whether the program focuses on advanced filmmaking practices or on research in cinema studies, so that they enroll in a program that best meets their academic needs.
  • Students may want to find out about the film production facilities at the school and the equipment that is available for student use.
  • Students may want to find out if the school offers internship opportunities at film studios.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs provide a basic introduction to filmmaking. They generally provide a broad overview of the field alongside general education coursework. After earning this degree, which typically takes two years or less to complete, aspiring movie directors may enroll in a bachelor's degree program that allows them to focus their training more specifically on directing.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

At the bachelor's degree level, students can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in film or a closely related subject. These programs begin with the same general introductory coursework as associate's degree programs, but they often allow students to focus on a particular interest area, such as directing or film production, after finishing basic coursework. Students may also earn credits for completing a real-world internship in the film industry.

Master's Degree Program

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs give aspiring movie directors the opportunity to hone their craft through advanced courses in the artistic and technical aspects of filmmaking. They may also include business and entrepreneurship studies that can help filmmakers succeed in a competitive field. Alternatively, it is possible to earn a research-based Master of Arts (MA) degree in film studies, where students have the opportunity to examine the theoretical, historical and cultural aspects of filmmaking, leading to a final thesis.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Doctoral degree programs in film are less common, and not usually necessary for aspiring movie directors, but they may cover relevant topics and provide an educational background for practice in the field. Like research-based master's degree programs, PhD programs in film or cinema studies provide students with the opportunity to take advanced courses and conduct scholarly research in a particular topic of interest.

Film directors typically earn a degree in film production, cinematography, or another related field. Students should consider the curriculum and the quality of the school's production facilities when choosing between programs.

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