Online Courses for Aspiring Film Directors

Learn about online undergraduate and graduate film courses, which may be offered as standalone courses or as part of the curriculum for an online degree program. Explore the course topics you could study, like directing techniques and film history, and find out how online learning works. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Courses Will I Take?

Film directors don't just sit in the director's chair; they fill many roles on a film set. Courses cover many aspects of film production, editing and direction. Diverse study will help you fully understand operations on set as well as the role of all the other employees working on a film. You also may complete student film projects, which allows you to practice your directing skills.

Film History

Film history courses examine the major movements that shaped cinema. Courses usually cover the origins of the industry in the silent era, as well as important eras such as the Golden Age of cinema, which occurred between 1940 and 1974. The courses often cover the works of great directors who shaped and changed filmmaking, such as Francois Truffaut, Billy Wilder, and Akira Kurosawa.


Directing courses teach students the practical hands-on aspects of filmmaking. Courses cover technical and artistic theory and script breakdown to help the director learn how to translate storytelling into a visual work. Many schools also offer courses in directing actors and working with the crew.


Screenwriting courses teach students the elements of a screenplay, including story structure, character development, dialogue, and themes. The courses also teach students the correct format for a screenplay.


Cinematography courses familiarize students with the technical aspects of working with cameras and filming. The courses often contain a hands-on approach and usually require a student to produce a short film. The courses teach about blocking a scene, camera angles, lighting, and other principles to make captivating images.


Editing courses teach the theories of film editing, including the concepts of continuity and montage. Students often work with editing software, such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid.

How Do the Courses Work?

You should plan to use a computer with a fast Internet connection for all of your online courses. The Internet connection is especially important for film courses because you may be expected to download or upload large film files. You may need to purchase film editing software, such as Final Cut Pro; software may be offered at a discount if purchased through the school. You may also need a digital camera or other film equipment. Although you need access to your own equipment, online courses are often less expensive than their on-campus counterparts because you don't have to pay campus and building fees.

Most online film courses are asynchronous, which means you can complete work in your own time (you still need to submit assignments on specified deadlines). Some schools offer courses that include real-time faculty lectures or student discussions.

What Levels of Courses are Available?

Online courses in film direction are offered at both undergraduate and graduate levels. You may be able to earn a bachelor's degree - possibly a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, or a Bachelor of Science - online. Many aspiring film directors also go on to earn a master's degree. Some schools also offer associates degrees or certificate programs online.

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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