Colleges with Film Majors for Aspiring Film Directors

Programs specific to film directing are more commonly found at the graduate level, but undergraduate students can look for film and television production, film arts or film production programs. When selecting a school, aspiring movie directors may want to consider program coursework, school location and hands-on learning options.

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At the undergraduate level, film programs may cover acting, writing, producing, cinematography, post-production and directing. Some programs cover one area, others multiple areas; however, not all undergraduate programs in film include a focus on directing or production.

10 Film Schools

While much of the profession is learned through experiences, there are several reputable film bachelor's degree programs that provide students with a solid foundation of skills.

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit $50,277
New York University New York, NY 4-year, private not-for-profit $47,750
California Institute of the Arts Valencia, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit $43,986
Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY 4-year, private not-for-profit $53,000
California College of the Arts San Francisco, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit $43,708
Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit $42,795
CUNY Hunter College New York, NY 4-year, public $6,782 (in-state), $13,892 (out-of-state)
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, private not-for-profit $46,320
Pratt Institute-Main Brooklyn, NY 4-year, private not-for-profit $46,586
Ithaca College Ithaca, NY 4-year, private not-for-profit $40,658

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Here are some important criteria to consider when making a decision about where to go to school:

  • Students should find out about the school's facilities, such as a sound stage or digital editing studios, as well as the audio equipment that they can use, such as digital auto recorders with microphones, high definition cameras and lighting gear.
  • Directors who want to augment their training with studies of other aspects of film, such as acting and production, should make sure that the curriculum allows them to take classes in those areas.
  • Students should find out if the school offers internship opportunities where they can gain hands-on experience on a real TV or movie set.
  • Students may want to consider the school's location; those that are located in major entertainment hubs like New York or Los Angeles might provide a more diverse array of internship and networking opportunities.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Aspiring film directors can earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in a subject such as film, film production or media studies. At some schools, these topics are also available as minors. Most of these programs provide a comprehensive overview of the filmmaking process, covering every aspect of production from initial script writing to camerawork to digital editing to project funding. They include both theoretical classes and practical training opportunities, as well as a general education. Prior to graduation, students may be required to submit a final thesis.

When aspiring film directors are choosing a school, they may also want to consider location, course topics, and if the school has a highly-ranked graduate program in film or movie directing for further studies. There is often a large hands-on element to most training programs.

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