Cinematography Masters Degree Program Overviews

Apr 19, 2021

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in cinematography help students learn the technical skills and aesthetic sensibilities of the profession. Students also familiarize themselves with the process of collaborating with directors, actors and screenwriters to achieve an artistic vision. A cinematography master's degree may be earned in 2-4 years and often culminates in the development of a thesis portfolio.

Master's Degree in Cinematography

Students in cinematography master's degree programs take courses that combine lecture-based study of craft with hands-on experience. A bachelor's degree and a portfolio of work will generally be required for admission. These programs often involve extensive experiential learning with courses covering areas such as the following:

  • Photography
  • Film narrative
  • Digital cinematography
  • Film production
  • Visual design
  • Film and video lighting

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected 14% job growth for camera operators (including cinematographers) between 2019 and 2029, which was much faster than average. Competition for jobs will be fierce, since the motion picture and television industries are not hiring as many operators as in the past. According to the BLS, television, video and motion picture camera operators earned a median annual salary of $57,200 in May 2020.

By completing a master's program in cinematography, students gain valuable experiential training in camera operation, lighting and collaborating with production teams that can help prepare them for careers in the field.

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