Digital Movie Production Degrees in California with Course Info

Jul 30, 2019

Essential Information

Individuals interested in digital movie production training in California can find a variety of 2-year colleges and 4-year universities that offer programs in film and media studies, cinema and production. The programs may feature specialization areas and internship opportunities. Students may also take on a senior thesis or a film project to complete their programs. Educational options include but are not limited to the following certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs:

  • Film with options in film studies and digital film/video productions,
  • Cinema Production/Filmmaking
  • Fine Arts in Production with an emphasis in cinematography or directing
  • Cinematic Arts with a production track

Below are ten of the largest public and private non-profit schools that offer programs in film or digital movie production. A comparison table shows individual program offerings and at-a-glance tuition info.


California State University - Sacramento

California State University - Sacramento offers a bachelor's program in film that provides specializations in film studies and film production. Students in both programs can gain a strong foundation in film production, criticism and history. Courses in the production track may include staging and lighting for digital video, digital film production, short screenplay writing and film/video editing theory. The school houses facilities such as digital audio labs, a video studio/sound stage, Final Cut Pro stations and professional audio production equipment.

City College of San Francisco

Located in San Francisco, City College of San Francisco has an associate's degree in cinema production program. This 2-year program covers basic principles of film production and the use of digital and film technology. Students also can learn about the different film stocks and basic storytelling skills. Some of the available courses are digital film editing, film production, cinematography and lighting, sound for motion pictures and motion picture directing. Students have access to state-of-the-art equipment, including film cameras, video cameras and computer labs.

Pasadena City College

Pasadena City College in Pasadena has a certificate program focused on filmmaking in the digital century. This rigorous program provides the fundamental skills needed to work in cinema and combines contemporary and traditional practices. Students can learn about digital video, as well as film formats. The program leads to an Occupational Skills Certificate that is transferable to select 4-year degree programs. In addition, students have access to the college's Digital Media Center, a virtual network for new media and entertainment professionals.

San Francisco State University

Students at San Francisco State University in San Francisco can earn bachelor's and master's degrees in cinema. The undergraduate program includes introductory courses in cinema production, theory and history. Students also select a concentration from media and culture, animation, fiction filmmaking, documentary filmmaking and screenwriting. The 60-credit Master of Fine Arts program focuses on developing technical proficiency and creative vision. Additionally, the school offers a film minor and a Master of Arts in Cinema Studies. Facilities include a 150-seat screening theater, a 2,500-foot shooting stage and post-production studios for traditional and digital media.

Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College in Santa Monica allows students to earn an associate's degree in film studies. This 60-unit program provides digital filmmaking training from pre-production to post-production. Topics covered include film and video production planning, digital filmmaking, cinematography and entertainment technology. Students also learn to critically analyze film as an art form. This degree is transferable to 4-year bachelor's programs elsewhere.

University of California - Berkeley

The University of California - Berkeley offers a bachelor's in film program that includes core and elective courses, such as avant-garde film, digital media, television and video production. Available courses include film and video production and screenwriting. The university's Doctor of Philosophy in Film and Media has a digital media production component that can be blended into other areas of study. Students also have access to the Digital Media Labs Consortium, an initiative that pools production resources and helps to develop digital media production curricula at member schools.

University of California - Irvine

Found in Irvine, the University of California - Irvine offers a bachelor's program in film and media studies. This program introduces students to the history and theory of cinema, digital media, broadcast and other media. The program includes hands-on experience in video production and screenwriting. Internships are available in various segments of the film industry, including digital media production. Additionally, students are eligible for study abroad programs.

University of California - Los Angeles

Students who attend the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) can earn a bachelor's degree in film,television and digital media. This liberal arts-based program includes courses in film, video and television production. Students also select a senior concentration in narrative film production, digital media, cinema and media studies, documentary, animation or screenwriting. A professional internship is required during the senior year.

Graduate students can pursue a master's or doctoral degree program in cinema and media studies. Additionally, the school has specialized Master of Fine Arts programs in cinematography and production/direction. Both programs require four years to complete. All students have access to the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California in downtown Los Angeles offers various undergraduate and graduate programs in film. The university's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film and Television Production program combines a comprehensive specialization in production with a liberal arts background, while the Bachelor of Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film and Television Production focuses on the aesthetic and technical aspects of motion pictures and television. Additionally, the school has a Master of Fine Arts program where students can choose from six specialties: Producing, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, or Sound.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Digital Movie Production Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
California State University - Sacramento 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Arts in Film with options in film studies and film production,
Minor in Film Studies
$7,310 (in-state); $19,190 (out-of-state)*
City College of San Francisco 2-year, public; large city Associate in Science in Cinema Production $1,696 (in-state); $10,372 (out-of-state)*
Pasadena City College 2-year, public; midsized city Occupational Skills Certificate in Cinema Production/Filmmaking $1,166 (in-state); $7,548 (out-of-state)*
San Francisco State University 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Arts in Cinema,
Minor in Cinema,
Master of Arts in Cinema Studies,
Master of Fine Arts in Cinema
$7,260 (in-state); $19,140 (out-of-state)*
Santa Monica College 2-year, public; small city Associate in Arts in Film Studies $1,142 (in-state); $8,918 (out-of-state)*
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, public; midsized city Bachelor of Arts in Film,
Doctor of Philosophy in Film and Media with a digital media production component
$14,184 (in-state); $43,176 (out-of-state)*
University of California - Irvine 4-year, public; midsized city Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies $13,700 (in-state); $42,692 (out-of-state)*
University of California - Los Angeles 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media,
Master of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies,
Master of Fine Arts in Production with an emphasis in cinematography or directing,
Doctor of Philosophy in Cinema and Media Studies
$13,226 (in-state); $42,218 (out-of-state)*
University of Southern California 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film and Television Production,
Bachelor of Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production,
Master of Fine Arts with specialties in Producing, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, or Sound
$56,225*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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