Movie Director School and Degree Programs

Aspiring movie directors may choose to earn a film degree to gain hands-on practice in making movies. Read about your degree options, and explore the typical courses you'd take, like editing and film production. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need To Know

The director is one of the most important people involved in the making of a film. While it's possible to become a movie director without a degree, the skill and knowledge received at school is invaluable when it comes time to prove your worth. Students who are interested in studying movie directing can do so through undergraduate and graduate degree programs in film or related topics. Coursework may cover digital editing techniques, cinematography and other production aspects of making a film.

Schools Film academies, two-year and four-year universities and colleges
Degrees Associate's, bachelor's, master's
Courses Cinematography, lighting, screenwriting, film history, directing techniques, set design

What Will I Learn in a Film Program?

Most programs in film teach the entire process of filmmaking, from screenwriting to post-production. Film studies programs will enhance your ability to understand the creative and technical processes that go into making a movie. In addition to directing, these programs teach subjects like:

  • Cinematography
  • Editing
  • Sound design
  • Production
  • Lighting
  • Aesthetics

Most programs also require that you write and direct short films, both individually and in collaboration with others so that you have experience and knowledge in the film production process. Typically, programs examine the many branches of the industry, including reality television, music videos and commercials. Some programs also incorporate workshops with industry professionals into their curriculum so that you can gain an understanding of the challenges and rewards of being a movie director.

What Undergraduate Degree Programs are Available?

There are numerous options for coursework in movie directing at the undergraduate level. An Associate of Science in Film or in Television and Film are both two-year options. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film & Television Production degree programs are also available. Alternately, students can enroll in a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Production Design program. Online courses may be available in some programs, such as a Bachelor of Science in Digital Filmmaking program. Undergraduate topics of study may include the following:

  • Digital literacy
  • Cinema history
  • Storytelling
  • Digital image making
  • Composition and visual design

What About Graduate Degrees?

At the graduate level, students might choose a Master of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film and Television Production. Coursework may cover areas like production, short films, screenwriting, multiple-camera production and directing techniques. Another option may be Master of Arts in Film and Media Production. Graduate programs can sometimes be completed in an accelerated format.

What Kinds of Schools Could I Attend?

Going to film school is one option, though it's not the only one. Film programs are widely available at traditional colleges and universities. The following are a few examples of schools that offer programs and courses in movie directing:

  • New York Film Academy (Various locations)
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles)
  • The Los Angeles Film School (CA)
  • Savannah College of Art and Design (GA)
  • St. John's University (Queens, NY)
  • Full Sail University (Winter Park, FL)

What Do Movie Directors Do?

As a movie director, you are in charge of the creative direction of a film. You work with producers, actors and crew members to bring their vision of the film to life. Duties include approving the details of the film such as set design, filming locations, music, makeup and costumes. You also read and creatively interpret movie scripts, audition actors and hire film crew members. Technical responsibilities include managing the lighting and sound effects of the set, and cueing actors and technicians to perform specific tasks.

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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