Best Schools with Cinema Studies Graduate Programs: List of Schools

Jul 18, 2018

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.

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  • 0:02 School Overviews
  • 0:45 Columbia University
  • 1:24 University of California
  • 2:19 American Film Institute
  • 2:49 Top Programs

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School Overviews

Cinema studies programs are highly interdisciplinary. They typically cover cinematic theory and criticism and apply them to the art, literature, sociology, and philosophy of film. Some programs also give students hands on experience creating films.

Three great schools for cinema studies include Columbia University, the University of California - Los Angeles, and the American Film Institute. The first two were nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2017, and the third is world-renowned. All three are situated in metropolitan areas that offer students access to actual film productions and festivals.

Columbia University

U.S. News & World Report ranked Columbia University #5 on its list of national universities in 2017. 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.

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.

University of Californi

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) ranked #24 of all national universities and #2 for graduate programs in fine arts according to U.S. News & World Report's in 2017.

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.

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.

American Film Institute Conservatory

The American Film Institute provides master of fine arts programs in six cinema related subjects. Students can earn an MFA in cinematography, directing, editing, producing, production design, and screenwriting. The program focuses on hands-on training with filmmaking.

While an undergraduate degree is usually required for admission, those without a degree may also be considered for admission as associate fellows, which lead to a certificate of completion, rather than an MFA.

Top Graduate Cinema Studies Programs

Here are some more schools that provide graduate level training in cinema studies:

College/University Name Distinction Location
Brigham Young University BYU was ranked #68 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report for 2017. Provo, UT
Northwestern University Northwestern ranked #12 among all national universities by the same source. 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 #23 on U.S. News & World Report's 2017 list of the best multimedia and visual communications schools. Los Angeles, CA

Whether students are interested in the production or analysis of film, graduate level programs in cinema studies are available at top institutions, with world class facilitates.

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