Best Cinema Studies Graduate Schools

Master's and doctoral degree programs in cinema studies can expose you to career options ranging from film pre- and post-production to teaching. Read on to find out how the top schools can give you an edge in this competitive job field. Keep reading to explore program options and what you'll study at three good schools. Get information about lecturers, film screenings and facilities. Schools offering Film degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Top Cinema Studies Graduate Program?

If you're interested in film production, look for programs that will allow you to make industry contacts through internships and public screenings of your work. Laboratory and equipment facilities should also be state-of-the art. If you're interested in a teaching career, consider programs that will provide access to extensive film and video libraries. Also look for programs with distinguished graduates, students and faculty.

What Are Three top Schools for Graduate Cinema Studies?

California Institute of the Arts in Valencia

The private California Institute of the Arts is a performing and visual arts school. Industry professionals are regular campus visitors, and faculty members are active industry practitioners.

Three Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs are available in the areas of film and video, experimental animation and film directing. As an aspiring producer or director, you'll have access to cutting-edge laboratories and equipment. You can take advantage of the video synthesizers, Macintosh workstations, and audio mixers available in the school's Video Studio and Videographics Lab. Computer animation, sound recording, video mixing, and dubbing equipment are all accessible to students. The school also boasts a Film Services department with viewing facilities and an extensive film and video collection.

The Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater hosts the school's student film series and film festivals. You can also exhibit your work through the school's showcase screenings, internships, community arts partnerships and exchange programs. Programs for graduate cinema studies at CalArts include:

  • Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing
  • Master of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation
  • Master of Fine Arts in Film and Video

Emory University in Atlanta, GA

Emory University is a private institution that has been ranked at #21 among U.S. News & World Report's top national universities in 2019. Emory is also a top-150 school in the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities (

Students in the Master of Arts in Film Studies program attend several weekly and special campus film screenings featuring classic, commercial and international films. Prominent scholars and filmmakers also speak on campus. Other resources include archived film industry trade papers and other cinema-related collections. You can also access the Heilbrun Music and Media library's nearly 20,000-volume film collection. Metropolitan Atlanta resources include the Atlanta Film and Video Festival and internship opportunities with local companies like Turner Classic Movies. The following degree programs are available:

  • Master of Arts in Film Studies
  • 4 + 1 Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Film and Media Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy Certificate in Film Studies

New York University in New York, NY

New York University (NYU), a private university, was 32nd in the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities. It was also ranked and tied at 30th among national universities by U.S. News and World Report in 2019.

NYU resources include the George Amberg Memorial Film Study Center's 38,000-plus video and film prints. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and the Museum of the Moving Image are two of many other nearby resources. As a graduate cinema student at the Tisch School of the Arts, you'll have access to Cinematheque, a weekly screening of rare films.

If you're interested in an academic career, the school's cinema studies department also hosts film-related conferences and panel discussions in addition to annual experimental film lectures. If you're interested in film production or preservation, you can find internship opportunities with film, television and radio studios, production companies and film library archives. Program graduates have found jobs at the Museum of Modern Art and the Anthology Film Archives, to name a few. Graduate programs available include the following:

  • Master of Arts in Cinema Studies
  • Master of Arts in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Cinema Studies

Ten Graduate Cinema Studies Schools

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation Estimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
University of California, Los Angeles4-year, PublicLos Angeles, CA $11,000
University of Southern California4-year, PrivateLos Angeles, CA $44,000
American Film Institute Conservatory4-year, PrivateLos Angeles, CA $57,000
College of Staten Island CUNY4-year, PublicStaten Island, NY $10,000
Columbia College-Chicago4-year, PrivateChicago, IL $1,000
Columbia University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY $46,000
Howard University4-year, PrivateWashington, DC $31,000
Savannah College of Art and Design4-year, PrivateSavannah, GA $37,500
University of California-Berkeley4-year, PublicBerkeley, CA $11,000
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor4-year, PublicAnn Arbor, MI $23,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Denver

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Denver
  • University of Chicago

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Chicago
  • National University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: La Jolla
  • Emory University

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Atlanta
  • Columbia University in the City of New York

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • Chapman University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Orange
  • Yale University

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: New Haven
  • American Film Institute Conservatory

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Los Angeles