Directing Schools and Programs

Read this article to review educational options if you aspire to be a director, whether you want to work in theater, film or TV. Explore what you'd learn in a directing program, check the prerequisites for admission, and find out more about the job duties of directors. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Directing programs explore specific industry skills and principles of the field and are usually tailored to stage or film production. Some previous industry-related experience may be preferred, and prospective students should be prepared to convey their enthusiasm and creative potential during the admissions process. Undergraduate and graduate programs are widely available.

Programs Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's
Admission Requirements Audition, interview, and/or submission of a portfolio
Courses Acting, lighting and sound, production design, history of theater or film

What Will I Study in an Undergraduate Program?

Curriculum within an undergraduate directing program typically incorporates production situations, theatrical composition, acting and movement. Design elements, like lighting, sound and costume design, are also commonly taught, as well as both the historical and contemporary trends of the industry. In addition to coursework, many programs require that you gain production experience through camera and stage directing projects, internships and workshops. A Directing Certificate may be available with a 12-course requirement. Students might also choose an Associate of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Filmmaking. A Bachelor of Arts in Directing may also be available. Coursework may include:

  • Acting
  • Movement
  • Performance ensemble
  • Script analysis
  • World theater/theater history
  • Stage management
  • Scenic design

What Graduate Programs are Available?

Formal training programs in directing are available at many four-year colleges and universities. Graduate degree programs in directing or film programs that teach directing principles may focus on a specific area of directing, like theater, while many others teach the art of directing for all areas of the profession. A Master of Fine Arts in Directing/Producing may be available as a four-year degree program. Students will work with faculty in an internship and a thesis will be required in the final year of study. A Master of Fine Arts in Directing is a widely available degree program from some of the nation's most prestigious universities. Students will have the opportunity to work with local theaters and playwrights. A Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking and a Master of Arts in Film and Media Production are additional options. Students could also complete a Certificate in Drama that could pair with a master's degree program.

How Can I Qualify for Admissions?

Admission into degree programs in this field can be competitive. Most programs require that you audition or interview with faculty in order to be admitted into the school. This process may include performing a monologue, discussing your directing experience, providing examples of your creativity or submitting scripts that you have written. Consider these schools that offer directing programs:

  • Boston University (MA)
  • Yale University (New Haven, CT)
  • New York Film Academy (NY)
  • Pace University (New York, NY)
  • UCLA (Los Angeles, CA)

What Exactly Does a Director do?

Directors work in many different mediums, including film, television and theater. They work alongside producers, actors, crew members and executives to bring a script to life and tell a story via their production project. Directors are responsible for managing the entire production crew and are ultimately responsible for the creative and artistic direction of a project. Directors perform a wide variety of tasks, which include:

  • Making technical and creative production decisions
  • Hiring and managing cast and crew
  • Reading and interpreting scripts
  • Approving set designs and locations
  • Overseeing rehearsals
  • Directing the camera angles of each shot

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.

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