Where in California Can I Find Film Schools?

Learn about film schools in California. See degree and specialization options, program requirements and courses, and associated costs and program duration. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Film schools in the state of California offer both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Read on to learn about specialization areas, prerequisites, and important information about the colleges offering these programs.

What You Need to Know

You can find film schools at 4-year, private institutions across California. Bachelor's and master's degrees related to film are available. You can expect to spend 4 years of full-time study working toward a bachelor's degree, and you'll need to dedicate 2 years to earning a master's degree. Most programs provide opportunities for hands-on experience in the field. Continue reading for more details on the California schools where you can study film.

Film Bachelor's Degree Programs in California

Biola University

Biola's bachelor's degree program in cinema and media arts gives you the option to choose from one of four concentration areas. Depending on your chosen specialization, you can learn to construct a screenplay, monitor a film budget, survey filming locations, distribute a film or edit a film. This school also offers courses that train students in directing and producing films found outside of Hollywood, including commercials, music videos, industrial films and documentaries.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Cinema and Media Arts
  • Specialization Areas: Screenwriting, production, media management, off Hollywood (specific training in a particular area of production, such as documentaries, commercials or industrial films)
  • Program Length: Four years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $34,498 per academic year (for 2015-2016)
  • Prerequisites: Christian background
  • Requirements: High school diploma or its equivalent, minimum 3.0 high school GPA, ACT score of at least 19 or SAT score of at least 920; two references (one from a church), personal response essays
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; roughly 4,400 undergrads and 2,000 graduate students

John Paul the Great Catholic University

Located 15 miles away from downtown San Diego, John Paul the Great Catholic University offers training in sound recording techniques, visual storytelling, design, directing, film financing, video journalism and cinematography. You also have the option to specialize in an area of production, such as producing or screenwriting. Since this school is religion-based, you may also be required to complete religious studies courses.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Communications Media
  • Specialization Areas: Screenwriting, producing, production
  • Program Length: Four years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $24,900 per academic year (for 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: High school diploma or its equivalent, ACT/SAT test scores, two references or letters of recommendation, entrance essay
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; roughly 200 undergrads and 100 grad students

San Francisco Art Institute

The film program at San Francisco Art Institute aims to train you in contemporary art concepts, film history and distribution techniques. If you are interested in enrolling in this program, expect to participate in hands-on training through studio courses and workshops. The school provides access to production resources including film and video cameras, audio recording devices, lighting and grip equipment and 24-hour editing suites.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Fine Art in Film
  • Program Length: Four years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $41,272 per academic year (for 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: High school diploma or its equivalent, SAT/ACT scores, letter of recommendation, work portfolio, artist statement
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; roughly 500 undergrads and 200 grad students

University of Southern California

Located right outside of downtown Los Angeles, the University of Southern California's (USC) School of Cinematic Arts houses the school's film programs. The school offers specialized degree programs that can train you to work in post-production, animation, scene construction, scriptwriting or visual effects. Depending on your specialization, you may learn to use film cameras, editing software and sound equipment.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Specialization Areas: Critical studies, film and television production, animation and digital arts, screenwriting, interactive media
  • Program Length: Four years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $50,277 per academic year (for 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: High school diploma or its equivalent, SAT or ACT scores, personal goal statement, writing sample, three letters of recommendation, visual sample and work portfolio (for production track)
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; over 18,700 undergrads, nearly 23,700 graduate students

Film Master's Degree Programs in California

San Francisco Art Institute

Students in this program may learn advanced techniques using digital and film cameras, optical printers, film editing systems, microphones, grip equipment and recording devices. Before you are allowed to graduate, you must participate in this school's annual graduate exhibition. This program also offers additional development opportunities through teaching assistantships, tutorials and seminars.

  • Program Name: Master of Fine Arts in Film
  • Program Length: Two years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $43,204 per academic year (for 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: Bachelor's degree in related field, work portfolio including at least two samples, two letters of recommendation, artist statement, six units of art history courses (can be taken during the first year of the MFA program)
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; roughly 500 undergrads and 200 grad students

University of Southern California

While enrolled in one of USC's graduate film programs, you'll have the opportunity to hone your artistic and technical abilities. In addition to advanced versions of the specializations offered at the bachelor's degree level, this school offers a producing track exclusively for graduate students, which offers training that can prepare you for a career as a studio executive. The only additional requirement for this specialization is to complete a production course during the first semester.

  • Program Name: Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts
  • Specialization Areas: Critical studies, film and television production, animation and digital arts, writing for screen and television, interactive entertainment, producing
  • Program Length: Two years, full-time
  • Tuition and Fees: $40,670 per academic year (for 2015-2016)
  • Requirements: Bachelor's degree education in related field, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, writing sample, visual sample, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, resume
  • School Type: 4-year, private, not-for-profit; over 18,700 undergrads, nearly 23,700 graduate students

With both undergraduate and graduate degree programs available, the state of California offers great opportunity to prospective film students at Biola University, the University of Southern California, San Francisco Art Institute, and John Paul the Great Catholic University.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

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