Best Cinematography Schools

Discover what you should look for when selecting a school for your cinematography studies. Read about three schools with cinematography programs, and find out what degrees they offer. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look For In A Top Cinematography School?

Consider schools that have the proper facilities and equipment, such as cameras and microphones. You might also want a school that allows students in different disciplines to network and work together on film projects. Many schools host film festivals, which can allow you to show off your work and gain a reputation for yourself. Finally, look for programs that contain opportunities for internships in the real world.

What Are Three Top Cinematography Schools?

University of California In Los Angeles

UCLA tied for 19th among national universities in U.S. News & World Report's evaluation for 2019. The School of Theatre, Film and Television integrates theatre, digital media, film and television studies. A film and television major addresses history and theory as well as basic production studies.

The core faculty is supplemented by visiting professionals, adjuncts and the Kodak Cinematographer-in-Residence. You could examine film and television titles in the UCLA Film & Television Archive and attend its sponsored programs and festivals. The following degree programs are offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Film and Television
  • Master of Fine Arts in Cinematography

University Of North Carolina School Of The Arts in Winston-Salem

This unit of the public UNC system grants high school, undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as college arts diplomas for students taking art courses only. It's an arts conservatory offering filmmaking training with an optional cinematography emphasis. As a student, you'd have opportunities to collaborate with the music, dance, design, theatre and production divisions.

You'll need an application portfolio specific to cinematography to be considered for this program. The cinematography curriculum involves a hands-on, progressive evolution over the 4-year program from simpler through more complex projects and gradual introduction of the cinematographer's tools. Each year has specified production requirements. Available degrees include:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Filmmaking with a Cinematography emphasis

University of Southern California in Los Angeles

USC tied for 22nd among national universities in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report ranking. George Lucas, Ron Howard and Jon Landau are among well-known graduates. As an aspiring cinematographer at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, you might enter the graduate film and television production program or the interactive media program after earning a broad liberal arts pre-professional degree.

You'd learn principles of single and multiple camera production as well as interactive cinema skills. USC hosts a unique Student-Industry Relations office that assists with professional development, continuing education courses, festivals and distribution for students' short films. This office sponsors First Look, the student film festival. First Look awards are offered to cinematographers and others in a Directors Guild of America screening. Available degrees include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Cinema Arts, Film and Television Production
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinema Arts, Film and Television Production
  • MFA in Film and Television Production - Cinematography
  • MFA in Interactive Media

Ten Schools That Offer Cinematography Degrees

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Undergrad In-State Tuition*
New York University 4-year, PrivateNew York, NY$52,000
American Film Institute4-year, PrivateLos Angeles, CAN/A
California Institute of the Arts4-year, PrivateValencia, CA$49,000
Columbia University4-year, Private New York, NY$59,000
Chapman University4-year, PrivateOrange, CA$53,000
Loyola Marymount University4-year, PrivateLos Angeles, CA$48,500
Wesleyan University4-year, PrivateMiddletown, CT$55,000
Emerson College4-year, PrivateBoston, MA$47,000
University of Texas-Austin4-year, PublicAustin, TX$11,000
Boston University4-year, PrivateBoston, MA$54,000

*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:

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