Movie Directing Courses and Diplomas

Learn more about what movie directors do while making a film. Explore your degree options in the film and cinema field, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, and read about common coursework for these programs. Check whether some online course options are available for aspiring movie directors. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

If you are a movie lover wanting to see if your films could stand the test of time, the coursework to obtaining your degree will prepare you on that path. Options as your disposal will be a 2-year associate's degree, a 4-year bachelor's degree or a 2-4 year master's program.

Online Rare, but individual courses and workshops, or degrees from private, for-profit schools
Programs Associate of Arts in Motion Pictures, Associate of Science in Film, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Motion Pictures and Television, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Directing, Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing
Classes Cinematography, directing, documentary film, film history, film production, short film writing, film criticism, post-production, animated film

What Does a Movie Director Do?

When the production of a movie is set into motion, the director is tasked with translating the written script into a visual experience that will compel the target audience. This means that when you begin your career as a director, you will be responsible for many aspects of a film's creation, including guiding actor performances, organizing technical crews and maintaining an efficient filming schedule. In order to guide a large number of people it requires to create a film, you will utilize a working knowledge of every part of the film's production including cameras, lighting, audio, editing, acting and design.

What Degrees Will Help Me Become a Movie Director?

While formal training isn't required to become a director, most movie directors begin their careers by attending film school. Ranging from the associate's to the master's level, degree programs that can lead to a career in directing are offered in community colleges, universities, colleges and schools that specialize in media production.

An Associate of Arts in Motion Pictures and Television and an Associate of Science in Film are viable options for those interested in movie directing. Associate degree programs are designed to cultivate a wide-reaching and foundational knowledge base in film-making and give you hands-on experience over two years. You will take courses in several aspects of film-making, give and receive criticism in workshops, learn to use equipment and prepare for a directing career by creating your own films. Some associate's degree programs are designed to allow you to begin your career immediately, but most prepare you to enter a bachelor's degree program. In addition to the kind of material covered in an associate's degree program, bachelor's degree programs may offer you additional experience opportunities and a wider array of classes, since they are typically four years long. A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Motion Pictures and Television and Directing are options that are available.

What Graduate Programs Are Available?

While associate's and bachelor's programs expose you to all aspects of film-making in general, a Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing program provides training and experience specifically designed to lead to a career in directing movies. You may take hands-on courses in different styles of directing, receive one-on-one mentoring from directing faculty, produce several films in collaboration with other students and complete a thesis in the form of a professional-quality film. Master's programs can be 2-4 years in length and typically require a bachelor's degree (though not necessarily in film) and a portfolio as part of the application process.

What Courses Will I Take in a Movie Directing Degree Program?

Because a director is responsible for overseeing every part of a movie's production, you may take a number of different film-related courses while preparing for your career. You may also take courses in professional training and portfolio development. Here are some examples of topics covered in a movie directing degree program:

  • Directing the actor for the camera
  • Cinematography
  • Documentary film
  • Final Cut Pro
  • American film history
  • Film production workshop
  • Writing for the short film
  • Film criticism
  • Animated film
  • Film history and analysis
  • Production/post-production
  • Writing and directing

Can I Find Movie Directing Degrees Online?

Online degrees in film-making are few in number, though there are some degree programs offered by private, for-profit schools. Some universities offer individual courses and workshops online, but not full degrees or certificates. Online film study will likely require a computer, Internet access and specialty software related to film and audio editing.

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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