Film Schools in New York City with Degree Program Overviews

Feb 26, 2019

New York City has several film schools located within five miles of its downtown area. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools to make an informed education decision.

New York City Film Schools

Undergraduate and graduate programs in film and television, filmmaking, media arts and other related areas can be found at several schools in New York City, three of which are profiled below. In addition to a summary of the programs, this resource includes a comparison table with essential information about these schools as well as an overview of a few other schools in the area with related programs.

  • Students can find undergraduate and graduate film programs at New York University, a 4-year, private school located a little over 1.5 miles from Manhattan's downtown. Unique to the university is its postproduction center, which includes 150 workstations loaded with industry-standard software.
  • CUNY Hunter College is a 4-year school located roughly two miles from Manhattan's downtown. Once enrolled, students have access to a television studio, two screening rooms and a video-editing lab.
  • A 4-year, Ivy League institution, Columbia University, is about five miles from downtown Manhattan and offers bachelor's and master's degree programs for aspiring filmmakers. It also has an Artist's Resource Center which provides scholarships and career help for students.

Comparison of Schools

Use the following table to compare the acceptance and undergraduate tuition rates for the public and private schools featured in this article. See how many full-time and part-time students return after one year and how many graduate within six years of enrollment.

New York University CUNY Hunter College Columbia University
School Type 4-year, private, not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 51,123* 23,005* 30,454*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $50,464* $6,982 in-state; $14,372 out-of-state* $57,208*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 54%* 81%* 59%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 28%* 40%* 7%*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 93% full-time; 71% part-time* 83% full-time; 80% part-time* 97% full-time; 91% part-time*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (students began in Fall 2011) 84%* 52%* 95%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

New York University

New York University (NYU) is a private New York City institution that enrolls more than 51,000 students annually. NYU students can earn film degrees through the Tisch School of The Arts, which is divided into five departments. One of these departments, the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, houses the university's film and television programs and related resources.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television

Undergraduate students who wish to major in film and television must apply to both NYU and the Tisch school's film and television department. To be considered for admission to the latter, applicants are required to submit a 5-part creative portfolio. Film students have the opportunity to crew productions put together by upperclassmen and peers. Freshmen begin the film studies program with courses that focus on film history, scriptwriting, and production.

Master of Fine Arts in Film Production

The Master of Fine Arts in Film Production is a conservatory program that can be completed in three or four years. Students learn hands-on while making four short films over the course of the program. Films focus on character study and narrative. These filmmaking projects allow students to learn about scriptwriting, rehearsing, directing, sound design and more. In the third year, students decide on a film that will be their thesis project that will be completed by the fourth year.

Master of Business Administration and Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production

This dual MBA/MFA degree is offered as a cooperative program between the Tisch School's Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television and the Stern School of Business. The program is designed for aspiring film executives and producers and allows them to earn both degrees in three years. In addition to MFA courses and the typical MBA classes, students complete coursework that explores the business aspects of the film industry.

CUNY Hunter College

Hunter College was founded in 1870 and is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. The school enrolls more than 23,000 students each year and is the largest of the CUNY system schools. It offers both undergraduate and graduate programs that could interest aspiring filmmakers.

Bachelor of Arts in Film

This major requires 30-36 credit hours of film courses. Students complete analytical, production, and elective film courses. Some of the class offerings include movies in American culture, film production, screenwriting, women and film, and film history. Students also have the option of completing an internship, an advanced seminar, and/or an independent research course.

Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Media Arts

Hunter College's Film and Media department offers an MFA in Integrated Media Arts for students who have a goal of finding a career in contemporary media. The 48-credit program requires students to complete workshops, seminars, research, internships, and a thesis project. Some of the course offerings for the MFA include culture jamming, developing and producing the documentary, and motion graphics and animation.

Columbia University

Columbia University was founded in 1754 and is the fifth oldest college in the country. More than 30,000 students attend the university each year. Columbia University's School of the Arts offers undergraduate and graduate film programs.

Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies

Coursework primarily focuses on film history and theory, various types of genre films, and the creative process. Students also take workshops in filmmaking and screenwriting. Aspiring filmmakers can obtain hands-on film making experience in several ways; they can join the student-run organization, CUFP (Columbia Undergraduate Film Productions), complete an internship with a film company, or help graduate students create their films.

Master of Fine Arts in Film

The Master of Fine Arts in Film offers concentrations in directing and screenwriting, as well as creative producing. Courses in theory and history along with technical training begin the first semester of the program. During the first year, all students gain foundational knowledge in directing, screenwriting, and producing. The second year requires students take advanced courses in directing, screenwriting, or producing. During the third year, students complete a thesis. Screenwriting and directing students complete either a feature-length screenplay or direct a film, while creative producing students complete an industry internship and oral presentation.

Master of Arts in Film and Media Studies

The graduate degree in film studies focuses on history, theory, and criticism, rather than filmmaking. Undergraduate work in film is required for admission. Students take 30 credits of coursework and seminars, in such areas as cinema and new media, historiography, and current film theories. They also complete a written thesis.

Other School Options

New York City students interested in film studies can also explore the film program at the School of Visual Arts located in New York City. The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and CUNY College of Staten Island, in Staten Island, both offer film degree programs as well.

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