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Top Schools for Film and Cinema Studies

Read about film and cinema studies programs, through which students can learn how to direct, operate a camera and become familiar with media forms and theater. In addition to profiles of four top-notch institutions, this resource includes a handy list of other schools in the United States that offer programs in film and cinema studies.

Students interested in film and cinema studies can find both undergraduate and graduate programs in film and cinema studies, including majors in movie and television production, new media and screenwriting.

School Information

The four schools summarized below include two national universities, a private art college and a regional university. Three of the schools were ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report for 2017, and one of them has rare NGO status.

University of California in Los Angeles

School Highlight: Famous alumni include Francis Ford Coppola and James Dean.

The University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research school that U.S. News and World Report ranked tied for 24th among national universities for 2017. Programs in film and cinema studies are available through the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. Undergraduate majors include digital media, film, television and theater. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are also available in playwriting, animation and media studies. To complement their majors, students can also pursue professional programs in screenwriting and producing.

University of Southern California in Los Angeles

School Highlight: Famous alumni include George Lucas and Will Ferrell.

The University of Southern California (USC), the state's oldest private research school, ranked tied for 23rd among national universities in 2017, according to U.S. News and World Report. The university is home to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, one of the most prestigious film programs in the country. At the school, students can pursue programs in film and television production, screenwriting and interactive media, among other areas. Individual programs culminate in an undergraduate or a graduate degree.

Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA

School Highlight: The filmmakers who brought you the movies Armageddon and 300 studied at the Art Center College of Design.

Art Center College was the first design school in the world to be awarded NGO status the by the United Nations. Undergraduate programs in film and cinema studies include film and entertainment design. A master's degree in broadcast cinema is also available. Additionally, the Art Center College of Design serves as a vocational school for returning U.S. soldiers who want to work in the art and design field.

Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA

School Highlight: The school offers a major in film.

At Central Washington University, students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Film with a specialization in cinema studies, production or screenwriting. Core courses within the major include studies in courses such as media aesthetics and film theory. The program culminates in a senior colloquium in which students compile a portfolio of their films and analytical work. For 2017, Central Washington University was ranked #11 among public schools in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

Top Film and Cinema Studies Programs

Students can also find strong educational offerings in film and cinema studies at these schools:

  • CUNY College of Staten Island in Staten Island, NY, offers bachelor's and master's degrees in film and video studies.
  • Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA, provides placement services for graduates.
  • At Kean University in Union, NJ, students have the option to study abroad.
  • At Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI, the cinema studies department offers bachelor's programs.
  • At Sacramento City College in Sacramento, CA, certificate programs are available.

There are both private institutions and public universities at which students can find excellent film and cinema studies programs, which can include both theoretical coursework and practical filmmaking training.


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