Degrees in Film

Learn about undergraduate and graduate program options in film. See what types of degrees are available, what you'll learn and what career options are open to film program graduates. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Film Degrees Can I Earn?

Undergraduates are usually awarded with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Film Studies. If you're interested in graduate programs, you can earn a Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Fine Arts (MFA) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the fields of filmmaking, film studies or film theory. In a film program, you'll learn about the history of cinema, film aesthetics, film philosophy and various techniques used in filmmaking.

Some programs emphasize film analysis and theory, while other programs also allow you to engage in the film production process. Undergraduate programs can provide you with a more general overview of film theory and the movie business, while graduate programs require you to perform specialized film research. Because of the production and film screening requirements, online film degree programs are generally only offered by for-profit universities.

Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees
Common Courses Cinematography, screenwriting, film movements, American film, directing
Possible Careers Screenwriter, director, producer, video editor, professor

What Courses Could I Take?

Undergraduate courses in film studies can teach you about cinema's technological development, current film technology, screenwriting and international cinema. You'll usually be able to choose from concentrations including film analysis, screenwriting, world cinema and performance. Some programs also give you the opportunity to participate in a student film project's development. You might take classes like American film, screenwriting, film movements, directing and cinematography. Specialized classes can cover genres, time periods and directors.

If you decide to pursue a graduate degree in film, most programs will require you to select a focus. These specializations might include documentaries, film and culture, European film or advanced film production. Ph.D. programs usually expand on theory and production skills, training you to become as adept behind the camera as you are in front of the screen dissecting films. Some Ph.D. programs require you to be proficient in one or more foreign language if you're focusing on international film research.

What Can I Do with My Degree?

With a film degree, you might qualify for a career as a director, producer, cinematographer, camera assistant, video editor or screenwriter. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that director and producer positions were predicted to increase nine percent from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Camera operator and editor jobs were projected to rise 11% during the same period. This growth was faster than average compared to other job sectors, but competition in the film industry can be very intense.

If you receive your Ph.D., you could teach film studies at the college level. According to the BLS, postsecondary teaching positions were predicted to increase 13% from 2014-2024, faster than average for other jobs. Job opportunities for professors were expected to rise as more students enroll in college, but full-time teaching positions will be limited as colleges hire more part-timers, reported the BLS.

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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