What Are the Best Schools for Film Studies?

Learn what to expect from a top-rated film studies school. Find out which three schools are considered the best in the country and what degree programs each offers in the area of film studies. Schools offering Film degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Qualities of an Excellent Film Studies School?

You may want a school with excellent on-campus or nearby access to film collections, festivals, screenings, institutes and libraries. Dual degrees or some online coursework might interest you. Perhaps you'd like study abroad or unique honors program options. Three schools with diverse programs follow.

What Are Three Top Film Studies Schools?

Chapman University in Orange, CA

Chapman, a private school in the Los Angeles area with approximately 9,500 students, ranked fifth among U.S. News & World Report's Regional Universities (West) in 2019. It was named a Best Western College by The Princeton Review.

The Conservatory of Motion Pictures in the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Media Arts offers bachelor's and master's degrees in film studies and related media arts disciplines. Majors might contribute to Sapere Aude, an honors program publication. Master's candidates will view a wide range of films, exploring history, theory and aesthetics and learning academic research and writing skills. You could earn a joint law or graduate business degree in film and TV production.

Brandman University, Chapman's online affiliate, offers a bachelor's degree in culture and media studies. A partnership with a Singapore university makes a 2-year producing program possible. These are some of the programs offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Film Studies
  • B.A. in Screenwriting
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Creative Producing
  • BFA in Digital Arts
  • BFA in Film Production
  • Master of Arts (M.A.) in Film Studies
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film Production
  • MFA in Film and TV Producing
  • Juris Doctor/MFA in Film and TV Producing
  • Master of Business Administration/MFA in Film and TV Producing

Columbia University in New York, NY

Columbia, an Ivy League school, tied for third in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report evaluation of national universities. The NYC location permits internships with cultural institutions like the Film Society of Lincoln Center or museums as well as opportunities to attend conferences and festivals.

You could earn a bachelor's or a master's degree in film studies at the School of the Arts. Barnard and Columbia College students may cross-register for courses. Film studies majors study history and theory as well as technical and aesthetics elements of film. MFA programs in screenwriting or directing and in producing are also offered.

You could work with Columbia Undergraduate Film Productions or on graduate student films. You could earn these degrees:

  • B.A. in Film Studies
  • M.A. in Film Studies
  • MFA in Screenwriting and Directing
  • MFA in Creative Producing

University of Chicago in IL

UC tied for third among U.S. News & World Report national universities in 2019. Its Department of Cinema and Film studies offers courses in worldwide cinema, taking advantage of UC's humanities and area studies programs. In the undergraduate major in cinema and media studies, you'd train in critical and historical methods of analysis. Graduate admissions are only to the Ph.D. program. Grants are available for research-related travel.

The Film Studies Center hosts the Gerald Mast Film Archive, including early cinema and the Black Images collection. Its Study Collection represents important genres and directors. You'd also have access to UC's Video Data Bank, the Chicago Film Archives, new media and mass culture workshops, media from The Center for the Study of Languages and the East Asian Studies Film Library that could support specialization.

You could be involved with the campus Experimental Film Club and its screenings and symposia, with Fire Escape Films, a student production entity, or with Doc Films, with opportunities to program film series. These degrees are possible:

  • B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Cinema and Media Studies

Other Schools with Film Studies Programs

College/UniversityInsitution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Amherst College4-year, PrivateAmherst, MAN/A
Dartmouth College4-year, PrivateHanover, NH$54,000
Cornell University4-year, PrivateIthaca, NY$30,000
Georgia State University4-year, PublicAtlanta, GA$9,000
Pace University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY$31,500
Ohio State University4-year, PublicColumbus, OH$12,000
San Francisco State University4-year, PublicSan Francisco, CA$8,500
Temple University4-year, PublicPhiladelphia, PA$17,000
University of Arizona4-year, PublicTuscon, AZ$13,000
University of California-Irvine4-year, PublicIrvine, CA$13,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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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